Best USB-C adapters for MacBook Pro iMore 2021

Legacy ports might be returning on future versions, but the current MacBook Pro doesn't have them. Instead, you're left with several USB-C ports, which makes adapters essential for many users. Here are our favorite USB-C adapters, which work with the best MacBooks on the market today at various price points.

Apple USB-C Adapter

For USB-A: Apple's USB-C to USB Adapter

Staff pick

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. It does support syncing and charging, so you're covered for all of your basic iPhone to MacBook Pro needs.

AmazonBasics USB-C adapter

Best budget adapter: AmazonBasics USB-C to USB 3.1 adapter

For a no-frills connection, you aren't going to 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.

$9 at Amazon
Plugable Usb C To Hdmi Adapter

For HDMI: Plugable USB-C-to-HDMI Adapter

If you're planning on connecting your MacBook Pro to a TV set or external display, you're going to need a video adapter like an HDMI cable. This lets you connect your MacBook Pro to a display and stream everything that's on your screen. It supports up to 4K video and is backward compatible with older HDMI technology.

Apple Card Reader adapter

For SD cards: The Apple USB-C to SD Card Reader

When it comes to transferring your precious memories, you don't want to use something low-quality. That's why 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.

Apple USB-C VGA Adapter

For monitors: Apple USB-C Digital VGA adapter

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.

Apple Usb C To 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter

For headphones: Apple USB-C to 3.5mm jack adapter

You don't really 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 is what's happening when you plug a pair of 3.5mm headphones into a device with a USB-C port.

Belkin Usb C Ethernet

Hardwired internet: Belkin USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

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.

Nomad Kevlar USB-C Universal cable

Extra length: Nomad USB-C Universal cable

This universal cable is 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 my favorite adapter cable, and I take it with me on all my trips. It's 1.5 meters long and made out of kevlar, so 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.

$35 at Nomad

Adapter, hub, or docking station: Which one is right for you?

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. They're the least expensive but usually only do one thing. My personal recommendation is to always 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 are designed to 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 their own wall plug). If the adapters listed here aren't going to give you enough options, you may need a hub instead. Check out our list of the best USB-C hubs for MacBook Pro.

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. If you're looking for the ultimate tool for your high-speed data transfer, multi-display 4K or 5K connection, and built-in charging, check out our list of best docking stations for MacBook Pro.

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