CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. How we test computers

Getting a new MacBook Pro? You'll need this, too

The new MacBook Pros and the 12-inch MacBook include Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports as their sole connections. In order to use some of the most popular peripherals, you'll need to have one of these accessories.

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
3 min read
Sarah Tew/CNET
Watch this: Dong talks dongles

Face it, connecting devices to your new Mac laptop, be it the new MacBook Pro (the 13-inch version of which pretty much replaces the MacBook Air as the new budget, compact, full-featured notebook) or the 12-inch MacBook , can be annoying..

Each includes one to four Thunderbolt3/USB-C ports (Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C are interchangeable ports) as their sole connectors. Most peripherals on the market today aren't natively compatible with Thunderbolt/USB-C. They'll need an adapter to function, and that's where this list comes in.

Each of the devices below will allow you to connect your Mac notebook with a monitor, portable drive and SD card of your choice.


The SMK-Link USB-C Multi Port Hub

Josh Miller/CNET

SMK-Link USB-C Multi Port Hub

At $99 the SMK-Link USB-C Multi Port Hub is the most expensive dongle on this list but it might just be the only one you'd need. It adds all the popular peripheral connections to a USB-C port including three regular USB 3.0 ports, one SD card slot, one miniSD card slot, an HDMI port (4K video capable,) and a Gigabit Ethernet port. It also has a USB-C port of its own for pass-through charging. Read the full review of the hub.


Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter.

James Martin/CNET

Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter

This adapter adds two USB 3.0 ports and one HDMI (with support for 4K video) to your computer. It also comes with a USB-C port, but only for pass-through charging. And it worked well in my testing. It's a bit pricey, however, costing $60 on Amazon. Read the full review of this adapter.


The Satechi Type-C USB 3.0 3-in-1 Combo Hub.

James Martin/CNET

Satechi Type-C Pass-through USB Hub

If you don't need the HDMI port, you can opt for the Satechi Type-C USB hub. This hub adds two USB 3.0 ports, one SD card slot and one miniSD card slot to the Mac, so it's great for photographers. It also has a USB-C port, but like the multiport adapter above, it's only for pass-through charging. The hub also looks like it was made for the MacBook itself, and comes in four colors for you to choose from. It worked well for the most part in my testing though proved to be a little flimsy. You can find it on Amazon for $50. Read the full review of the hub.


The Choetech Type-C USB 3.1 Hub.

James Martin/CNET

Choetech Type-C USB 3.1 Hub

Now if you need HDMI and USB 3.1, and don't care about SD cards, the Choetech hub is a better choice. Basically if you want a compact accessory that allows you to hook your MacBook to an external screen and host a regular USB device this is a great device to carry along. It worked very well and as a bonus, its USB-C port can do both pass-through charging and data connection. At just $33 on Amazon, it's a steal. Read the full review of the hub.


The Nonda USB-C to USB 3.0 Mini Adapter.

James Martin/CNET

Nonda USB-C to USB 3.0 Mini Adapter

This tiny accessory turns the MacBook's USB-C into a regular USB 3.0 port, allowing you to plug all traditional non-Type-C USB devices into your laptop. Note that with the 12-inch MacBook, you can't charge your computer when using it, though. For just $10 on Amazon, this is the cheapest way to connect a regular USB device, such as your iPhone 7, to a USB-C-only computer. Read the full review of the Nonda Adapter.


The Griffin BreakSafe USB-C cable.

James Martin/CNET

Griffin BreakSafe USB-C cable

With Apple's going all USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 on its new laptop, the MagSafe power adapter no longer needs to be used. This means if you trip on the charging cable, you might send your laptop flying. The Griffin BreakSafe USB-C cable prevents just that. It's not cheap, costing some $60 on Amazon, but if it can prevent just one mishap, it's already worth the investment. Read the full review of the BreakSafe here.

Watch this: Glyph's Atom SSD and Atom RAID SSD portables drives are super fast

Atom SSD portable drive

The Atom SSD is not a dongle or a hub. Instead, it's a super-compact, rugged, portable drive that has a USB-C port. This allows it to work with any USB-C-only computer right out of the box. Also extremely fast, this is likely the best portable drive to date. Read the full review of the Atom SSD.