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The adapters you’ll need for Thunderbolt and the Mac
Apple’s Macs come with Thunderbolt ports that are USB-C compliant. Depending on the model you choose, a new MacBook Pro comes with two or three of these ports. A pair of them are included in the new MacBook Air. Two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports are included in a 24-inch iMac, and some models also have two USB-C ports. You most likely have devices that use USB-A, Thunderbolt 1, Thunderbolt 2, DisplayPort, HDMI, or another type of connection. What is the best way to link these devices? With the use of an adaptor.
If you’re planning on purchasing a new 24-inch iMac, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air, make sure you budget for the necessary adapters. Except for a power adapter, Apple doesn’t include any in the box.
A combo dock, such as the Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter ($60 on Amazon), is your best bet. It has a USB-C pass-through port, two USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI port that supports 4K (30Hz) resolution. You won’t have to carry along different adapters with you.
If you don’t want to use a dock or can’t find one with the connectors you require, Apple or another firm will almost certainly have an adapter for you. We’ve put together this guide to assist you figure out what you’ll need, and we’ve included links to the necessary adapter in the Apple Store or on Amazon.
Check the return policies; third-party adapters can sometimes fail to operate. When possible, examine user reviews and specifications to ensure that the adapter can perform the tasks you require.
What is the best way to connect USB-C devices?
The Thunderbolt ports on the current 24-inch iMac, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air operate with USB-C devices that have the same connection shape as Thunderbolt devices. You may just insert a USB-C device into one of the Thunderbolt ports to use it. There’s no need for an adaptor. Whew.
What is the best way to connect USB-A devices?
The USB-A connector is the one you’re probably most familiar with. It’s the same USB port that was used on earlier MacBooks. (Terms like USB 4, USB 3, and USB 2 refer to the data transmission speed through the port.)
You can get a dock, such as the Satechi stated before. Apple’s $19 USB-C to USB Adapter is another option.
Get a USB-C to USB-A hub if you need to connect numerous USB-A devices. A USB-C to 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub from Anker ($26 on Amazon) delivers four USB-A ports.
What is the best way to link micro B SuperSpeed devices?
External storage devices frequently use this connection. You’ll need a new cable, such as the StarTech USB C to Micro USB Cable, which costs $15.
The cable’s name is misleading because it could be mistaken for a micro USB cable. However, if you go to StarTech’s product page, you can see a clear photo of the cable’s micro B SuperSpeed connector, which is not the same as micro USB.
How to link an iPhone or iPad to a computer
You can acquire the USB-C to USB Adapter stated above in the USB-A section for the iPhone and iPad if you’re still using the USB-A to Lightning (or 30-pin if you’re using an older device) cable that came with your device.
You don’t want to use an adapter? A $19 Lightning to USB-C cable is available (1m). A 2-meter version is also available for $29.
More latest iPhones and iPads contain a USB-C to Lightning connection, and the iPad Pro has a USB-C charging cable, therefore the converter isn’t required for those devices.
Connecting the Lightning EarPods
Thanks to Anker, there’s a USB-C to Lightning adaptor. Amazon has it for $25. This adapter features a female Lightning connection on one end, allowing you to connect your Lightning earbuds. The other end of the cable is a conventional USB-C connector that you may put into your MacBook or 24-inch iMac.
How to Use a 3.5mm Headphone Plug to Connect Headphones
You’re in for a treat. The 3.5mm headphone jack is found in the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and 24-inch iMac. Simply plug it in and you’re ready to go. That was simple.
Assume you require a second headphone jack. A splitter, such as the Belkin Speaker and Headphone 3.5 mm AUX Audio Cable Splitter ($5 on Amazon), can be used. The Boompods Multi Headphone Audio Splitter, which costs $10, fits into the headphone connector and adds four jacks.
What is the difference between Thunderbolt 1 and Thunderbolt 2 devices?
Older Thunderbolt connectors differ from the Thunderbolt connector on the current MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and 24-inch iMac. Apple’s $49 Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter is everything you need.
How to Install an External Display
Because there are so many various types of display connections, this one may take up a significant portion of your cash. Be prepared to purchase a number of adapters.
DisplayPort and mini DisplayPort
A USB-C to DisplayPort cable or adapter is required to connect to a DisplayPort monitor. The Cable Matters USB-C to DisplayPort Adapter cable costs $18 on Amazon and supports 4K TV at 60Hz.
An converter, such as the Answin USB C to Mini DisplayPort adapter ($18 on Amazon), is required to connect a monitor through mini DisplayPort.
If you have a 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro, you will have a full-sized HDMI 2.0 connector. You may connect a conventional HDMI cable to the MacBook Pro.
For other Macs, Apple sells the USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter for $69, which has a USB-A port and a USB-C port for charging only. Take note: In August 2019, Apple introduced a new version of this adapter (model number A2119) that supports HDMI 2.0. The previous model (A1621) is HDMI 1.4 compatible. When buying, look for the model number (at an Apple store, you likely will get the new model). The differences between the two adapters are detailed in an Apple support document.
If you don’t want to spend that much money, you can acquire a USB-C to HDMI adaptor, like Anker’s USB-C to HDMI Adapter ($17 on Amazon). The Nonda USB-C to HDMI Adapter ($18 on Amazon) is a favorite of ours. Look for at least 1080p capabilities while shopping for such adapters. The Nonda adaptor supports 4K video.
A 6-foot USB-C to DVI Adapter from Cable Matters is available for $20 on Amazon. They also have 3-foot ($19) and 10-foot ($23) variants available.
Apple sells a USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter ($49 on Amazon) for connecting a VGA monitor. Aside from a VGA to USB-C connection, it also has a USB-A connector for attaching a USB device and a USB-C charging port to keep your laptop battery charged.
The Benfei USB-C to VGA Adapter, which costs $13 on Amazon but lacks USB ports, is a more economical option.
How to Connect to an Ethernet Network
You’ll most likely utilize Wi-Fi, but having an ethernet connection offers advantages. To connect to an Ethernet network, you’ll need an adaptor, such as the Belkin USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter, which costs $35 on Amazon.
How to connect SD cards
If you use a DLSR or another form of standalone camera, it may include a wireless file transmission option. If not, an adaptor, such as the Cable Matters Dual Slot USB C Card Reader ($10 on Amazon), is required to access the SD card.
If you already have a USB-A card reader, you may try Apple’s $19 USB-C to USB Adapter or a USB-C dock.
Connecting FireWire Devices
You may use Apple’s $19 USB-C to USB Adapter if you have a FireWire to USB-A cord. If you have a device with a FireWire 1394 4-pin connector—it looks like this and was often used on video cameras—and you need to connect it, you may use a USB-A to FireWire 1394 4-pin cable ($8 on Amazon) with Apple’s USB-C to USB Adapter.
It becomes difficult to connect FireWire 400 and 800 devices. Apple sells a Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter for $29, however it features an outdated Thunderbolt connector that won’t work with a new MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or 24-inch iMac’s Thunderbolt port.
You might try daisy-chaining adapters, but that’s usually hazardous and may not work, let alone be harmful for the adapters. Connect the Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter to Apple’s $49 Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter, which is then connected to the Mac.
How to Connect a Printer to a USB-B Port
Many printers now enable wireless connections, eliminating the need for a cord. However, you may have an older printer or find wireless printing problematic. A USB-B port is found on the majority of consumer printers. It has a squarish connection, unlike USB-A or USB-C.
You’ll need a cable with a USB-C to USB-B connection, such as the Cable Matters USB C Printer Cable. A one-meter cable costs $7, and different lengths are available.
If you already have a USB-C to USB Adapter, you may connect in the USB-A to USB-B cable that comes with your printer. The adapter is then plugged into the laptop.
How to Install a Traditional MagSafe Power Connector on a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro
The 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air power adapters do not include a detachable MagSafe connection. When someone fell over the power wire on their laptop, MagSafe came in handy.
However, a MagSafe connector may still be added, and there are various charging cables available with magnetic connectors that can break apart when the cable is tugged. Many of the adapters available on Amazon appear to be the same product but branded by various merchants. And, with Amazon user review fraud so prevalent, it’s difficult to depend on such reviews for guidance.
Without having tried these cables ourselves, our best suggestion is to seek for cables that enable Apple quick charging, are long enough for you to use (at least 6 feet), and are built of high-quality materials (like a braided cable). Some cables can be used for data transfers as well, therefore verify the data rate. Some have a right-angle connector; ensure that such a connector does not obstruct the port next to it. Also, keep in mind the warranty and return policy.