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Generally speaking, if you own a MacBook, you should be happy with your purchase.
They’re good laptops. But it’s not hard to see where you might run into some annoyances. Some might be specific to Apple, others might be more general. Either way, they’re a bummer, especially when you’ve paid through the nose to get your hands on one of these things.
So, to help, we’ve rounded up a few simple accessories that can add to your Mac-owning experience in small but useful ways. They may not be applicable to everyone, and they won’t change the MacBook line’s more fundamental issues, but they should help you get more out of the device that’s eaten up so much of your time and money.
If your MacBook's hurting for storage space, an expansion card like the Transcend JetDrive Lite might be the easiest way to add it. It's neither as fast as an external SSD nor as flexible as a good thumb drive, but it's eminently simple to use: You slide it into your Mac's SD card slot, and it adds capacity that works in conjunction with your original SSD. If that works, be sure to grab the model designed for your particular machine.
Regardless of how much storage you're consuming (on any computer), it's always a good idea to keep that data backed up. The Seagate Backup Plus Slim is a compact, well-performing portable hard drive that will help you do that. We've recommended it before, but it still provides good value per dollar and comes with a helpful software suite for managing your files.
The Blockhead is a tiny adaptor that allows a MacBook charger to sit flush against a wall outlet. We reviewed it last year, and found it to do what it sets out to do. (Though its prongs don't fold up, and it doesn't do anything about the flimsy cable attached to the whole thing.) It's a niche device, but if your furniture arrangement doesn't normally play nice with that awkward white brick (or its chunky charging cord), it should help.
Another device that attaches to Apple's power adaptor, the PlugBug World won't save any space, but it makes things a little more functional. For one, it adds an extra 2.1A USB port, giving you another place to power up a mobile device.
Beyond that, it comes with a five-pack of international wall plugs, allowing you to keep using the charger if you're travelling around the globe. (Twelve South says it supports outlets in the UK, Continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, and Japan.) It's worth noting that Apple sells a similar World Travel Adaptor Kit for $A36.59, though that doesn't come with the added USB port.
The Twelve South BookArc is a tidy, well-built stand for those who tend to connect their MacBooks to external desktop gear. At $A63.08, it's more of a vanity purchase than anything else, but it looks nice, saves space, and works as it should, with any MacBook model. Its arched design also makes it useful for organising stray cables.
My must-have MacBook accessory is OWC's Thunderbolt 2 dock. Using a single Thunderbolt cable, you're given access to multiple USB ports, Ethernet, HDMI, FireWire, and audio in and out jacks, and an additional Thunderbolt port.
I've never noticed any instability or latency when using all or most of the ports. To sum it up, I wouldn't use a MacBook without one.
Most people looking for a laptop sleeve will be fine with your everyday neoprene model, but if your MacBook is more or less inseparable from your backpack, a more rugged choice like the Thune Gauntlet might be worth the premium. As we've said before, its polyurethane shell is sturdy and water-resistant, and its elastic band lets you work within the sleeve when you're on the go.
Whatever MacBook you own, chances are you're not rolling in USB ports. If you regularly connect external devices to your machine, a USB hub might be necessary.
We've recommended this 10-port model from Anker a few times now, but it remains one of the only hubs that uses USB 3.0, supports multiple 2.1A ports for quickly charging mobile devices, and has a design that doesn't chew up unnecessary room on your desk. It has more ports than you'll probably ever need, but even still, it's a solid value at $A50.47.
The MacBook's trackpad continues to grow in size and accuracy, but it can be uncomfortable to use for long periods of time. I use Logitech's Bluetooth mouse every day, and it makes a big difference. It's small enough to fit in a small bag pocket and Bluetooth, so you don't have to worry about losing a USB receiver.
If you own a new MacBook or MacBook Pro, chances are you're going to need a couple of dongles for it. AmazonBasics' USB and Ethernet option makes it easy to connect all of your old accessories and get a fast internet connection.
It's a useful accessory to have around the house, but will probably save you more than once when you travel.
This article was originally published on 5/11/2016 and has been updated.
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