With the 2021 MacBook Pro, we finally saw the return of legacy ports. Unfortunately, that's not the case on the 13-inch MacBook Pro and older devices. For these machines, it's best to purchase a USB-C adapter. Luckily, there are many available at various price points. Here are the best USB-C adapters for your MacBook.
Nothing is simpler and more necessary than a single-use USB-A to USB-C adapter, and nothing is more reliable than having one directly from Apple. With this dongle, you won't ever have to worry about whether it'll be supported with future updates. In addition, it supports syncing and charging, so you're covered for all of your basic iPhone to MacBook Pro needs.
Best budget adapter
For a no-frills connection, you won't get any cheaper than this. Amazon's simple connector charges your USB-A device and supports 5Gbps data transfer. It's similar to Apple's adapter but costs half the price and is perfect for the current 13-inch MacBook Pro and best MacBooks on the market.
If you're planning on connecting your MacBook Pro to a TV set or external display, you will need a video adapter like an HDMI cable. This adapter from Plugable lets you connect your MacBook Pro to a display and stream everything on your screen. It also supports up to 4K video and is backward compatible with older HDMI technology.
For SD cards
When transferring your precious memories, you don't want to use a low-quality device. I recommend using Apple's SD card reader even though it's a bit more expensive than the competition. It transfers high-resolution photos at UHS-II speeds for ultra-fast transferring. You won't have to worry about it failing with future macOS updates, either.
It's all here
Designed for Apple M1 machines (although anyone with USB-C can use it), this impressive adapter has it all. Ultra-sleep, it features dual 4K HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, USB-C PD charging, USB-C data, USB-A data, SD card readers, and an audio jack — all using just a single USB-C port.
This three-port adapter lets you connect to VGA, USB-C, and USB-A. It supports Thunderbolt 3 super high-speed data transfer and supports audio and video passthrough. You can mirror to your VGA-enabled TV or display what's on your Mac in 1080p. It's perfect for people that want to play movies from an external drive through their Mac and display it on a big-screen TV.
You don't need a USB-C headphone adapter for any MacBook (at least not yet). But if you stumbled across this page looking for something for your iPad Pro or Nintendo Switch, or if you want to plug in two pairs of headphones into your MacBook Pro, this is the adapter you'll want. It has a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) chip, which happens when you plug a pair of 3.5mm headphones into a device with a USB-C port.
Gamers, presenters, and people on conference calls know how important it is to have a hardwired internet connection, but unfortunately, the MacBook Pro doesn't have an Ethernet port. Belkin's adapter provides Gigabit Ethernet connection speeds so you can play online games, video chat with your entire company, or download that document your boss wanted you to read without worrying about throttling your Wi-Fi connection.
This universal cable is my personal favorite; I take it everywhere with me. It's made of kevlar and has three connector options: USB-A, USB-C, and micro-USB. It also supports USB-C PD (power delivery) at up to 100 watts. It's 1.5 meters long and made out of kevlar so that you could throw it off the side of a cliff, and it'll still work like new to connect your devices to your MacBook Pro.
Adapter, hub, or docking station: Which one is right for you?
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Adapters are the simplest peripherals for port versatility. They are almost always a single-port changeover, like USB-C-to-USB-A or USB-to-Lightning, though sometimes they may have one or two additional ports, like HDMI. My recommendation is always to have a USB-A-to-USB-C adapter like the one Apple sells on hand because that's the most commonly-used cable for connecting peripherals to your computer.
Hubs make your MacBook Pro more versatile, providing several different ports. They also tend to be more portable because they're lighter and smaller (and don't usually need a wall plug). If the adapters listed here aren't giving you enough options, you may need a USB-C hub instead.
Docking stations are designed for multi-display use with charging support. They usually have their own power supply and can charge your laptop and mobile devices while also providing fast data transfer and 4K or 5K display support. For the most part, they're meant to be stationary to give your desktop workflow more versatility and convenience. A docking station may be your best bet if you're looking for the ultimate tool for your high-speed data transfer, multi-display 4K or 5K connection, and built-in charging.
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Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.