Jeff’s 4 Must-have Touch Bar MacBook Pro Adapters

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After spending a month with Apple’s 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro I’ve found there are only four must-have Thunderbolt 3 adapters I need to attach everything I use with my computer. I don’t need all of them all the time, but they’re my go-to set for all of my wired connection needs.

Touch Bar MacBook Pro dongle list

These are the four dongles Jeff needs for his Touch Bar MacBook Pro

External Display and Projector Adapter

I love using AirPlay with my Apple TV for streaming video from my Mac, or when I’m connecting to projectors for presentations, but it isn’t always an option—especially when I’m using an external display with my Touch Bar MacBook Pro. The solution: Apple’s USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter (US$49). It supports HDMI out, has a USB A-style port for other accessories, and has a pass-through USB-C port for power.

Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter

Apple’s USB-C HDMI video adapter

Keyboards, Hard Drives, and Other Accessories

I can connect pretty much every USB device I have thanks to the USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter because they’re all plugged into a USB 3 hub. I just plug the hub into the USB A port on the video adapter and I’m in business. For the occasional device that wants its own direct connection, or when I want to use USB thumb drives at the coffee shop, I use Apple’s USB-C to USB A Adapter ($9).

Apple USB-C to USB Adapter

Apple’s USB-C to USB A adapter

The USB-C ports on my MacBook Pro support Thunderbolt 3, but the connector is the wrong shape for the stack of external hard drives next to my desk. I solved that problem with Apple’s Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter ($29.00). Bonus: The FireWire 800 drives connected to one of my Thunderbolt 2 drives show up on my desktop, too.

Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter

Apple’s Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2

Network Adapter

I’m fine withe WiFi for most of my network connections, although sometimes Ethernet is still the best option. I’m having great luck with Anker’s USB-C to Ethernet Adapter. It’s priced at $22.99 on Amazon, which is less expensive than the backordered Belkin adapter Apple sells, and it’s available now so you don’t have to wait four weeks for delivery.

Anker USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter

Anker’s Anker USB-C to Ethernet Adapter

On a side note, I’m carrying one less adapter now than I did with my 2012 Retina MacBook Pro. I did have to buy all new adapters, but I suppose having to carry fewer is a step in the right direction.

4 Comments Add a comment

  1. archimedes

    I also picked up a $13 USB C to HDMI adapter from Amazon, which seems to work fine, although power passthrough and USB are nice features of Apple’s $49 adapter.

    The USB C to Thunderbolt 2 adapter, and a Thunderbolt 2 cable, are handy for migrating data from an old Mac via Migration Assistant.

    Besides adapters, USB C to Lightning cables are definitely useful.

  2. archimedes

    One of the few advantages of getting rid of MagSafe is that now you can replace the power brick-to-Mac cable separately. I’ve had 4 or more Apple power adapters fail due to problems with the connection between the brick-to-Mac cable and the brick itself.

    Perhaps something like Griffin’s BreakSafe cable would be a decent workaround/replacement for MagSafe.

  3. webjprgm

    Since the ethernet adapter is used so rarely it seems a shame to have to buy a new one. Would the USB-C to Thunderbolt 2 adapter work to then use the Thunderbolt to ethernet adapter I already have? (This is hypothetical, I don’t currently own a machine with USB-C and do not plan to for a while.)

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