With the 2016 redesign of Apple’s iconic MacBook Pro we saw the end of USB-A, and the rise of Thunderbolt 3/USB-C. That means MacBook users often find themselves living the dongle life.
Need to plug in an external monitor? There’s a dongle for that. A wired mouse or keyboard? Dongles. Thankfully, third party manufacturers have met the challenge head on, designing a number of dongles, docks, and adapters that will make the life easier for any MacBook user.
Our list of the best MacBook Pro accessories isn’t all dongles, however. Even if you already have a full complement of dongles for your beloved MacBook Pro, check out our list here — there are more than a few additions that will make any MacBook Pro better.
This little guy is a lifesaver. It’s the smallest and least expensive item on this list, at $9, and every MacBook Pro owner should have a pocket full of these at all times. You never know when you’re going to need to plug in a keyboard, mouse, flash drive, or other accessory and these get the job done without cluttering up your ports. They also have the added benefit of matching the color of your MacBook.
If you need more than one USB-A port at a time, this four port hub from Anker will get the job done. At $17 it’s a bit more expensive than other single-port adapters, but you end up getting a much more versatile product, turning one port into four. Unlike some multi-port USB hubs, this one connects via a thin cable, so it won’t crowd out your MacBook’s other USB-C ports.
If you don’t mind spending a little extra, you really can’t do better than the OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock. This thing packs 13 ports, offering four USB-A ports, an SD Card slot, S/PDIF audio output, a Firewire 800 port, an ethernet port, two USB-C ports, a mini DisplayPort, a headphone jack, and another USB-A port on the front. Again, those ports all come at a cost — this dock starts at $300.
See? We told you they weren’t all dongles.
The Logitech MX Master wireless mouse packs a ton of features into a tiny, comfortable package. It can connect via a USB wireless receiver, or via Bluetooth — in case you don’t have a dongle handy. It has an excellent hand-feel, all the extra buttons are in just the right positions, and this thing was engineered for all-day use.
It’s been one of our favorites over the years, and it’s easy to see why. It’s the Bluetooth mouse to beat. At only $64 on Amazon, it’s cheaper than many of its contemporaries — including the Apple Magic Mouse — and outperforms them with ease.
Another Bluetooth accessory for your MacBook Pro, the Apple Magic Keyboard offers a full-sized keyboard experience if you’re tired of your MacBook Pro’s second-gen butterfly switch keys — they’re not for everyone. At $89, it’s a bit expensive, but that’s about what you can expect to pay for decent Bluetooth keyboard. Keeping your accessories connected wirelessly allows you to keep your precious USB-C ports from getting overcrowded.
With all those wireless accessories and dongles, there’s one more item you need to make your workstation complete: A professional-grade designer monitor. If you’re working from a MacBook Pro, at a desktop workstation, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be able to appreciate the rich contrast and pitch-perfect color accuracy the BenQ PD3200U provides. This 4K designer monitor starts at $800, which is a lot, but it’s a bit less than some of its similarly-sized competitors. Keep in mind, this is a 4K 32-inch monitor, so it’s like working on a big-screen TV.
Updated 11-22-17 to reflect the latest MacBook Pro lineup.