The 10 Best Must-Have MacBook Pro Accessories

For content creators, business professionals, and folks looking for a reliable, well-built machine that can last years, there isn’t much that can beat the sleek, solid, aluminium-clad MacBook Pro. Apple’s critically-acclaimed top-end laptop has gone through some serious reinvention over the years, with the most recent update changing the design of the laptop to feature only four USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports and a headphone jack. While the change to this port has been a bit controversial, every single port can handle charging, data transfers, and audio/video out, so you can rest assured you have enough ports to complete any project at hand.

But the major problem with USB-C: most of us use other ports for our accessories besides just Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C. That’s where we come in—we’ve gathered some of the best accessories and adapters you can buy for your new MacBook Pro, guaranteeing that you’ll get your work done efficiently, with all the benefits of USB-C while still using your existing hard drives, cables, and anything else you might own. Let’s take a look at some of the best products you can grab right now for your new, USB-C enabled MacBook Pro.

Everyone else
Lightning to USB-C cable
This is a must-have cable for anyone who uses both a 2016 or 2017 MacBook Pro and an iPhone. The cable that currently ships with Apple's iPhone line uses the traditional USB-A port we've all grown accustom to using over the years, but unless you buy one of the first two products we included in this roundup above, you won't be able to sync or charge your iPhone with your new laptop. Thankfully—or regretfully, depending on your outlook on buying cables and chargers on top of a new laptop that runs most users above two grand—Apple provides users with a Lightning to USB-C cable that runs you a cool $24.99. There isn't a whole lot special about this cable—it's of the same quality of the one included with iPhones for years, albeit with a USB-C end instead of a USB-A end. If you're willing to buy a third-party cable to save some cash, Leonis makes a braided 3.3ft cable (the same length as the standard Apple cord) for half the price, and you can grab a 6 foot version for only $8 more. It features strong reviews, and will save you a bit of cash in the process.

Pros

  • Sync and charge your iPhone without a dongle
  • Same quality as the original iPhone cable

Cons

  • Apple's cable is expensive
  • Apple's cable is often back-ordered on Amazon.
LaCie Porsche Design USB-C external drive (2TB)
LaCie is one of our favorite brands to recommend when it comes to external hard drives. They make great, reliable products at good prices, and they typically offer a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and varieties for every use case. LaCie's Porsche Design drive, meets two great requirements for what we like to see in a drive: first, it's one of the only USB-C drives you can pick up on the market, making it ideal for use with both Apple's 2016 MacBook and MacBook Pro lineup. Second, the drive features a silver aluminum finish, which looks great next to any MacBook you have lying around. They're available in 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, and 5TB mobile versions, as well as larger 6 and 8TB desktop versions that we recommend to video creators who can afford to plug in their drives instead of requiring them to be portable. For most users, the 1 or 2TB drives will probably satisfy you, offering a good mix of portability, sleek design, and speeds. Each drive is available in both silver, gold, and rose gold, and we think all three colors look great and offer a unique design to the typically-boring world of portable hard drives. There is one not-so-great aspect to this device: multiple users and reviews have reported problems with both the USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB 3.0 cables failing within a few months of use. If you opt to go for LaCie's Porsche Design hard drive, we recommend picking up a third-party USB-C to USB-C cable for a few extra bucks from Amazon.

Pros

  • Comparable prices to non USB-C hard drives
  • Sleek and well-designed
  • Storage sizes from 1TB to 8TB

Cons

  • Cables are known to fail
  • Non USB-C drives are typically a bit cheaper
Nifty MiniDrive
We don't wish to leave out those users of older MacBook Pros. Though Apple might've taken the opportunity to update their MacBook Pros in 2016 as a way to cut down on both ports and built-in functionality, plenty of users are still using their 2015—or earlier—MacBook Pros and loving them every day. For those users, we recommend getting something like the Nifty MiniDrive, a neat little accessory that uses the SD card slot on the side of your laptop most consumers don't use more often than a few times a year, and offers a flush fit into the side of your MacBook Pro. You simply take a microSD card of your choosing—Nifty does recommend some specific microSD cards, but pretty much any fast card will do—up to 256GB, and insert it into the side of your MacBook Pro. The silver finish matches the silver color of older MacBook Pros perfectly, and you'll never be able to tell the Nifty MiniDrive is in your system. The flush feel doesn't just make the product feel great—it stops you from accidentally ejecting the card and causing data problems with your machine. $39 may seem like a high asking price when you still have to include the SD card on your own, but it's a well-engineered product that makes using the SD card on your computer for some extra storage space that much easier. Nifty described the product as "semi-permanent storage," and we think it's a brilliant descriptor for what makes the MiniDrive so cool. Just remember: users of the 2016 or later MacBook Pro won't be able to benefit from the MiniDrive unless you're using it in conjunction with something like the MacSTICK above.

Pros

  • Fits flush with 2015 or earlier MacBook Pros
  • Offers up to 256GB of extra space without cables

Cons

  • Doesn't work on newer MacBook Pros
  • A bit expensive without a microSD card
Twelve South BookArc
If you're a creative professional who uses a MacBook Pro on a daily basis, there's a good chance you use a series of cables and adapters to plug your laptop into an external monitor, with separate keyboards and mice in order to use a larger display for keeping more information on the screen. It's a good idea in theory, but one of the biggest problems with using a laptop like this: there's just no good place to set your laptop while you're using it in a docked form. That's why the Twelve South BookArc exists: it's a beautifully-designed, aluminium chassis dock that allows your MacBook or MacBook Pro to be stood up from your desk or workspace, saving space in your work area and keeping your laptop safe from spills, scratches, and more. It allows for every single port to be accessed on your laptop, while also allowing MacBook Pros additional space for fan control without running your laptop at an unsafe heat. And honestly, it just looks great, available in both dark gray and silver finishes that will match your laptop elegantly no matter which model you have (we wish there was a rose gold MacBook Pro—it would look fantastic with that dark gray dock). $49.99 is a bit pricey for what is essentially a piece of metal designed to hold an already-expensive computer, but it's one of the best-looking docks you can find on the market.

Pros

  • Looks great with the Apple aesthetic
  • Keeps your MacBook Pro safe while in docked mode

Cons

  • Expensive for a dock
  • A bit small for 15" models
Thule Gauntlet
Thule has long been known for their series of transportation and rack accessories for vehicles, as well as their rugged luggage lineup that have made them a popular choice for experienced travelers. Over the past few years, Thule has expanded into electronic accessories as well, offering phone and laptop cases for a number of brand-specific devices. Thule's Gauntlet case is one of our favorite picks from the company, offering a rugged sleeve for both 13" and 15" MacBook Pros, including the newer TouchBar models from 2016. It has a padded interior that keeps your laptop safe while in the sleeve, protected by a tough metal zipper and a rigid, tough exterior that can protect your laptop from drops and scratches while you're on your commute. It's a bit heavy, and obviously will add some heft to your bag or backpack on your way to work or school,  but if you ride a bike or spend long hours each week walking or running on your way to work, you'll want to spend the cash on the Thule Gauntlet. It's a great way to keep your device safe and secure.

Pros

  • Great drop and scratch protection
  • Laptop can be used without removing sleeve

Cons

  • No handle
  • Bulky and heavy
ProCase Laptop Sleeve Case
If the Thule Gauntlet is a bit too-much when it comes to what you're looking for in a case, ProCase's Laptop Sleeve is a great choice, meeting a good compromise between fashion and protection. The interior of the Sleeve has a soft-touch microfiber-like fabric that keeps your MacBook Pro clean and safe from scratches, while the outer fabric is made of a tough cloth and leather combination that resists water, so getting stuck in a rainstorm on your way home isn't a problem. Unlike the Thule Gauntlet, the ProCase Sleeve has a handle along the top of the case for carrying to work or home, and the outer pocket is great for storing accessories like wireless mice, charging cables, and anything else you need to handle your daily workflow. The case comes in a number of color choices, though we're partial to the dark gray/brown leather combination that strikes a great balance of professionalism and modern design. ProCase sells it in a number of configurations, from 12" laptops all the way to 15.6" laptop sizes, and the $19.99 (or less, depending on size) asking price means you won't be breaking the bank on protecting your investment. Definitely check this one out if you're looking for fashionable protection at a great price.

Pros

  • Looks and feels great
  • Water-resistant cover with soft-touch interior

Cons

  • Not super-protective against drops
  • Outer pocket doesn't zip
Airpods
It might seem like a strange suggestion, since the MacBook Pro still includes a headphone jack, but investing in a pair of Apple's own Airpods can work wonders if you're a long-term user of Apple's entire ecosystem of products. Apple's Airpods have been wildly lauded since their launch at the very end of 2016—to this day, it's still difficult to find a pair. They use Apples W1 chip based off of the Bluetooth wireless standard to automatically pair with your iPhone or iPad, and while your MacBook Pro won't automatically sync with your Airpods, they're still one of the best Bluetooth headsets you can get to use with a MacOS product. It's a well-known fact that Apple products play well together, and if you're looking to get the best experience out of your products, using Airpods with your MacBook Pro is a no-brainer. The completely-wireless headphones have a 5-hour battery life, and the included case charges your headphones when you aren't using them. Apple says just fifteen minutes in the case can provide 3 hours of listening time, and when combined together, the case can give you over twenty-four hours of playback time before having to be charged again. They're pricey compared to cheaper Bluetooth sets on Amazon, but none of them provide this kind of battery life without a single wire. Just don't buy them if the standard Apple Earpod design doesn't fit your ear—you won't like these very much either.
LG UltraFine 5K Display
If you thought some of our drive and case recommendations were expensive, the LG UltraFine 5K Display is like nothing else on this list. Apple directly commissioned LG to build this display for their lineup of Pro devices in late 2016, and while initial reviews were mixed due to a seriously-bad wireless interference problem when the display was placed near a router, everything's been fixed at this point. If you're a professional content creator, you're definitely going to want to look into the UltraFine display; it's one of the only 5K models on the market, and despite the extremely-expensive price, some users just won't want to live without it—especially if you're editing 4K footage regularly. The display comes with a 5120x2880 27" IPS display that looks gorgeous in person, with a great color gamut and charging capabilities for your 2016 MacBook Pro. The monitor comes with a built-in webcam and speakers, although if you're using either regularly, you'll probably want to upgrade to better-quality sets for each. Overall, it's a great product for those of us looking to invest in some serious content creating; just don't expect to pay less than $1300 for the experience. If you're willing to wait, Apple has promised 2018 will bring an update to their own Apple Cinema Display for pros, but for filmmakers and photographers looking for the best monitor on the market for their MacBook Pro, you can't beat the UltraFine 5K Display.

Pros

  • 5K Resolution Display
  • Works with MacBook Pros better than any other monitor on the market

Cons

  • Super expensive
  • Apple's making their own monitor for 2018
Posted by Jamie on June 5, 2017

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