The initial ride of having only USB-C ports on MacBook Pros since 2016 is over. However, the dongle situation is not. In addition to dongles, you may want to pick up a handful of other accessories for your new (or existing) MacBook Pro to keep it safe and clean. Here are 3 must-have 2018 MacBook Pro accessories that I highly recommend.
Let’s start with the protection of your new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air 2018. I personally do not like putting any hard case on my laptop. I had one on my MacBook Pro 2015 model, but I didn’t really like it. Here’s why:
First, it made the device significantly heavier. Since a hardcover shell is always on the MacBook Pro, there’s no way to not feel the excess weight when carrying it around. Second, although it gave good protection to the Mac, it was really hard to take the hardcover shell apart.
And finally, when I got rid of the case altogether, there were signs of wear thanks to the hardcover shell. I regretted putting that on my MacBook Pro a lot.
So, after I got the 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, I opted for a sleeve.
1. Inateck Sleeve for MacBook Pro
The Inateck Sleeve, that also comes in at 13-inch for the 13-inch MacBook Pro and 2018 MacBook Air 2018, is not only light but also gives enough protection from bumps and maybe even drops.
The edges or the corners are really strong so even if you bump into the corner of a table or a wooden door, it will keep your MacBook safe inside.
The inside of the sleeve feels soft and the laptop slides in a perfectly smooth motion. So much so that I never have to put pressure, nor does the MacBook slide around once it is inside the sleeve.
The Inateck Sleeve for MacBook Pro comes with one additional small bag for keeping your mouse. Of course, you’re free to use it for other purposes (I used it to keep my passport in it when traveling).
Even the sleeve itself has rooms for an additional tablet. After shelving your MacBook Pro inside, you can also put another iPad, Kindle, or any other small and flat device or documents inside. There’s a separate room for it inside the sleeve so it will not collide with your MacBook Pro.
On the outside, just to the back of the sleeve, there’s another pair of pockets where you can store small documents, papers, earphones, or even your smartphone. I haven’t found a great use for it yet since it’s outside and I fear things may fall from it, but realistically speaking, the opening is tight enough that the contents inside should not fall down unless you really try hard to make it happen.
I bought this sleeve for my 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar from Amazon. Amazon does not officially sell this to Bangladesh, so I had to proxy it through another service. If you’re from a country where Amazon operates, you can check the current price of the sleeve by clicking the link below.
2. USB-C to Everything
Why USB-C ports on MacBook line of laptops is the best thing ever is the topic of another post, but regardless of how beneficial it is for the future, we’re living in the present, so we need some dongles to connect our existing accessories.
Apple’s USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter
I think that the first thing that you should purchase that will come in handy in nearly all dongle situations is the USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter that Apple sells for $69. Outrageous price aside, I carry it with my bag everywhere and I really only need this and not much else.
It has one USB-C passthrough for charging the laptop or connecting another USB-C cable, one HDMI port, and one regular USB-A port. Unless you need to connect two USB-A ports at the same time, this adapter is all you’ll need.
Satechi Aluminum Multiport Adapter V2
If you do need more than one USB-A port, you can’t go wrong with Satechi’s Aluminum Multiport adapter. It has more ports that you’ll possibly need: 3 USB 3.0 ports, 1 SD card reader, 1 microSD card reader, 1 HDMI port, 1 Gigabit Ethernet port (like, why will you even need this!), and 1 USB-C passthrough for charging.
The best thing about it is that all of it comes from a single USB-C port on your Mac. That means this is almost a must-have hub if you have the 12-inch MacBook with a single port. With the USB-C passthrough, you can connect all those accessories and still charge the MacBook.
The worst thing about the Satechi Aluminum Multiport Adapter V2 is its price. It costs higher than Apple’s Digital AV adapter. But the high price is justified here for the ridiculous amount of ports you get. For the convenience that it gets, I think everyone should consider seriously about getting one of this.
Segrewall USB-C Hub
If you’d like to spend a little less and want something that connects to the side of your MacBook Pro instead of a dangling dongle, you could go with Segrewall’s USB-C hub.
It does not have as many ports, though. It only has 2 USB-C passthroughs, SD and TF card reader, 1 HDMI port, and 2 USB 3.0 ports.
Because it connects to the side via two USB-C ports, you will need the MacBook Pro to use it. It will not work with a 12-inch MacBook. You will be able to use it with the 2018 MacBook Air, though, which has two USB-C ports on the left side.
If you have to decide between Apple’s Digital AV Multiport and this one, I would say go with this one if you have a MacBook Pro or 2018 MacBook Air. If you can increase the budget just a little bit, go with the Satechi. But if you want to spend as little as possible, check out the next option.
USB-C Adapter by Aukey
What if you wanted to go even cheaper and more clutter-free? Check out the USB-C adapters by Aukey. These are the only things I have, other than the Apple Digital AV Multiport adapter, for my MacBook Pro and MacBook.
The idea here is simple: Instead of carrying dongles or attaching a hub to your MacBook, you do the opposite. You connect these little adapters to the USB-A cables of the accessories that you use.
For me, that means I keep a handful of these connected to the USB cable of my external drive, the memory card reader, and anything else that I may need to connect to my MacBook.
These dirt-cheap adapters are the best way to go if you don’t particularly need HDMI or Ethernet port that comes with other hubs. For connecting SD card, I bought a Transcend memory card reader a long time ago, and I can keep using it with my MacBook thanks to these handy little adapters.
With any of the abovementioned hubs or adapters depending on what your needs are, you will be all set for the dongle life.
The dongle life, for me since last year, hasn’t been as bad as people made it out to be. In fact, even when I traveled with the 12-inch MacBook* that only has one USB-C port, I did not feel limited when transferring files to it from my GoPro. I had the right adapter and it wasn’t miserable as portrayed by people – most of whom never actually used it – on the web.
3. Cleaning the Surface – iCloth
For three years, I’ve been relying on iCloth for keeping the surface of all of my gadgets including MacBook Pro and iPhone clean. From cleaning screen to the keyboard on the Mac, iCloth wipes have been really useful for me.
The best part about the iCloth is that it’s not just for your MacBook or iPhone (or just Apple products, despite the Apple-esque name). If you have devices – laptops, smartphones, smartwatches, camera lenses, monitors – you will find it useful.
For removing skin oil, fingerprint and other small particles that always make it to the iPhone and MacBook Pro displays, you can swipe with the iCloth and it will be clean like new in just a few moments.
According to the product description, iCloth contains isopropyl alcohol along with proprietary ingredients. I don’t really know what those ingredients are, of course, but I do know that they have been serving me well!
I first bought a small pack and eventually went with a large pack containing 100 wipes. Each of these wipes is pre-moistened and individually wrapped, and I’ve seen that even after years, they work just as fine given that the individual packets are not torn. That means even if you buy the large pack, you’ll never have too many because you’ll always have devices to clean.
Do note that the large pack’s individual wipes are bigger as well. So, depending on the amount and size of the displays that you intend to clean, you may want to get the size that will work best for you.
iCloth says that the larger wipes are pilot-approved and used by major airlines. I don’t know how true that is. I can only say from my experience that I’ve never been disappointed by them. I carry a bunch of iCloth wipes in my bag all the time while having a large stock available at my home for all my gadgets.
That means if you buy just one thing from this list of recommendations, it should be the iCloth.
Over to you
There are tons of accessories that you can use for your MacBook Pro. The above suggestions are just to cover three aspects for your new or existing MacBook Pro/MacBook/MacBook Air that comes only with USB-C ports.
With the three of them, you’ll ensure the physical protection of the laptop, connect all sorts of peripherals and accessories to it, and keep it clean and shiny as new.
If you have a MacBook Pro accessory that you’d like to recommend, don’t forget to take advantage of the comment form below!