Apple's MacBook has become so ubiquitous it's no wonder this laptop has an extremely robust ecosystem of accessories. Of course, no two people have the same needs, so accessories can really help fill in the gaps in a workflow. The best ones can increase productivity or provide access to additional ports and, in general, can increase one's quality of life significantly. While there are way too many accessories to cover every single one in this guide, we will take a look at some staple categories and a few of our favorite recommendations for each one.
Although the trackpad on the MacBook isn't bad for casual browsing, a reliable mouse is a great accessory for extended periods of use. A good mouse should be comfortable and, while that can mean very different things depending on the individual, we've got a few options to recommend. The Logitech MX Master 3S is one of our favorites for the office and at home. It has great ergonomics that help alleviate wrist strain, a healthy number of mappable shortcut buttons, and Logitech's fantastic MagSpeed scroll wheel, too.
Alternatively, if you're looking for something a bit more portable, the Logitech MX Anywhere 3S is a good choice. As its name suggests, the MX Anywhere 3S is Logitech's latest travel-sized mouse. It measures up at a respectably small 3.96" by 2.56" and only weighs 3.5 oz. The new S variant features an 8K DPI sensor and quiet-clicking buttons, which are nice quality-of-life updates. Some other alternatives include Apple's own Magic Mouse or even Magic Trackpad, if you want something independent of the one on your MacBook.
Whether it's for backing up important files, quick access for transferring photos or videos, or simply keeping sensitive documents close at hand, a reliable and portable storage device is a must-have. One of our favorites is the Samsung T7 Shield. It's fast, secure, and the T7 Shield's combination of performance, price, and size are hard to beat. It's so compact you could store it just about anywhere and now it's protected with a rugged, rubber exterior. This device is also IP65-rated for dust and water resistance, and can handle drops of up to 3 meters (9.8 feet).
You might also consider a hard drive instead of an SSD. The LaCie Rugged RAID Shuttle is a top-tier performer and has a huge 8TB capacity. An even more budget-friendly external hard drive is the Western Digital My Passport External Hard Drive. It provides the most value, with a 1TB drive costing around $60. It also comes in a range of storage capacities from 1TB up to 5TB and includes AES 256-bit hardware encryption.
USB Hubs and Docks
The port selections on the MacBook have always been on the limited side, thanks to Apple's simple and clean design philosophy. That's where a USB hub or dock comes in to provide additional connectivity via extra ports. Docks or hubs can add USB slots or various card readers. If you're looking for additional USB-A slots, we're big fans of the Twelve South StayGo USB Type-C Hub, which also has an HDMI port and a microSD slot incorporated into its compact design, alongside integrated cable storage. If you're in need of more USB-C ports, consider the Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub. It's small and sleek and adds an additional four ports with data transfer speeds of up to 5 GB/s.
Some USB hubs have a built-in hard drive, like the OWC miniStack STX & Thunderbolt™ Hub Xpansion. The miniStack connects to your host system using a Thunderbolt™ 4 port that provides up to 96W of Power Delivery, while three additional Thunderbolt™ 4 ports provide 15W of power and may be used to connect additional peripherals, including keyboards, mice, and up to two displays.
The latest MacBooks are more battery efficient than ever, but it never hurts to carry a spare power adapter or even a battery pack for emergencies. GaN chargers are becoming more popular, and for good reason. They're small, but can output way more power than regular power bricks. For example, take the BoostCharge Pro 65W GaN Wall Charger from Belkin, which can output 65W of power to two devices, but is smaller than most of the 20W chargers of old.
A battery pack is another useful accessory for MacBook users who constantly find themselves without access to a wall outlet. Belkin's 20000mAh Boost Charge Power Bank can provide some extra juice throughout the day, providing about 9 hours of additional battery life for most MacBooks. It features two USB-A outputs and a single USB-C input, and can charge up to two devices at once. A personal favorite is this 733 2-in-1 65W GaN Wall Charger, from ANKER, which acts as a wall charger and a power bank in one. It has a small enough profile that's perfect for just throwing in a bag, but also offers a 10,000mAh battery pack when you aren't near an outlet.
Working on a laptop for long stretches of time can do a real number on your head and neck. Thankfully, laptop stands help alleviate strain by propping up your laptop to get more closely aligned with that recommended eye-level sweet spot. Single-height stands like the mBar Pro+, from Rain Design, not only elevate your laptop but also help your device get better air circulation. Alternatively, a vertical laptop stand like the Twelve South BookArc can help your desk stay organized and clean if you'd rather use an external monitor instead and just want a dedicated spot for your folded up MacBook. Regardless of the stand you're using, you'll definitely need a wireless keyboard like the MX Keys Mini, since you won't be able to use the built-in one while using the stand.
Protective Gear Sleeves and Cases Backpacks
Whether you're a photographer or videographer who carries a ton of gear alongside your MacBook or you're just looking for a compact everyday bag for commuting, protective gear is never a bad idea. It also comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. For example, if you're looking for something with a slim profile that you can slip into an existing bag, consider a sleeve or a hard case. Want to place your MacBook into a well-padded backpack? We've covered our recommendations for some of the best options pretty recently with notable choices like the Incase ICON or the Subterra Daypack from Thule.
Is there an accessory you swear by that didn't make the list? Let us know in the Comments section, below, if you have any recommendations that you think are essential for making the most of your MacBook!