The Best MacBook Accessories For 2021

Spread the love

A few days ago I wrote a post over the best iPad Pro accessories, which you can read here. I had a lot of fun researching and writing it and decided to go ahead and follow up with today’s post, which is the best MacBook accessories – in my opinion, anyways.

I’m going to try to be a bit more organized in this post. So, for the first half of this list, I’m going to cover what I see as being the most essential MacBook accessories. These are the ones you can’t live without. If you already have those or just want to skip to the exciting stuff, start at #6. That’s where I’m going to get into the less essential (but super slick) accessories.

As with the last post, some of these accessories might be good for an iMac as well as a MacBook. Most won’t, however, so keep that in mind.

I picked some really good ones, so be sure to check them all out!

Side Note: I am not sponsored by any of these products! These are my honest and genuine opinions, as always.

The 12 best MacBook accessories for 2021

1. Hubs and adapters

It’s a dead meme, so I’m not going to beat on the MacBook port situation any more than has already been done. Suffice to say, if you own a MacBook that’s been released in the last five years, you only have USB C ports on your machine.

Though I am a proponent of switching to the USB C standard (it’s better in every conceivable way to every other port and we should all support it), there are still plenty of situations where you’ll find yourself needing more than just a USB C port.

That’s where hubs and adapters come in! I think having at least one really good USB C hub is a must. The Hyperdrive series is great for MacBook Pro devices, while cable-connected hubs like the ones from Anker are well-suited to the MacBook Air and the standard MacBook.

I recommend splurging and getting the hub that has every kind of connection on it so that you don’t have to buy another one in the future. There are tons of options on Amazon for as little as $20 to over $100.

2. A Time Machine drive

One Mac feature that I am known to beat to death and will proudly continue to do so is Time Machine. There are a million and one reasons to take advantage of this feature (like keeping your PhotoShop files protected).

If you don’t know, it’s a built-in Mac feature that will automatically back up your entire Mac system and database every hour. You just need a big external hard drive to plug into your Mac. Specifically, you should get an external drive with double the storage capacity of your Mac. That will probably be 500GB for most users.

I use and have been super pleased with the Samsung line of SSDs. SSDs are Solid State Drives, which means that there isn’t a spinning disk inside. It’s all flash storage.

I previously had a hard disk drive (HDD) with a spinning disk, and it broke the first time I dropped it. Since the whole point of a backup drive is to protect your data, I don’t recommend HDDs, even though they are more affordable.

The only situation I would recommend you get an HDD for is if you’re never going to take it from your desk. But if that was your plan, then I’d recommend getting a NAS storage device. You can read more about NAS drives here.

That said, if you really want an HDD or just don’t have the budget for a big enough SSD, grab one from Western Digital. They make pretty good stuff.

3. A gaming controller

Next on our list of the best MacBook accessories is a bit of an odd one: A gaming controller. While I don’t think this is an accessory that every user is going to care about having, those that like to game will be pleased to know that macOS has built-in support for most modern gaming controllers.

That means you can take your PS4 or Xbox One controller from the living room to your desk and start gaming with a controller on your MacBook in just a few minutes. Here’s my tutorial on connecting these controllers to your Mac – it’s really easy.

I don’t need to go into why a gaming controller is helpful on a MacBook. Just keep in mind that it will only work with games that support it by default. For other games, you’ll need a third-party mapping app, which you can find for free online. I cover this in the tutorial, too.

4. A Magic Mouse

This is my first and probably only controversial opinion on this list of the best MacBook accessories. But I have to speak my truth.

I like the Magic Mouse.

I bought the Magic Mouse when I was super broke using my tax refund. It was the first accessory I ever got for my MacBook. Before that, my entire career’s workflow involved nothing other than my MacBook.

I’ve had the same Magic Mouse ever since and love it. Everyone loves to joke about how you have to flip the Magic Mouse upside down to charge it, but you only need to charge it once a year, so I’ve never cared about that. And it has a purpose – it forces you to use the mouse wirelessly. It’s an annoying Apple-ism, but it does make sense.

Other than that, I love the Magic Mouse. It’s super smooth, scrolling on by swiping is so much nicer than using a mouse wheel, it’s comfortable, it has gestures, etc., etc. While I love the trackpad on MacBook, having a mouse nearby gives you a lot more control. I like to use my trackpad for swiping and zooming and my mouse for pointing and clicking.

5. A Bluetooth keyboard

If you have a MacBook that came out in 2020 or later, you can probably skip this one. But if you’re like the rest of us and have a MacBook from 2015 to 2019, then a Bluetooth keyboard is a necessity.

I’m getting angry just writing this one. The level of shoddiness that went into the MacBook butterfly keyboard is appalling, and the fact that Apple continued to put it into multiple generations of MacBooks is beyond disbelief.

I’ve had to get my keyboard replaced twice, and within a week of the second replacement, it stopped working again. I bought a Bluetooth keyboard after that and never looked back.

It’s unacceptable for a $1,200+ device, but that’s the situation. I’ll be replacing my MacBook with whatever MacBook comes out this Fall (hopefully the M2 MacBook). But until then, I can’t live without my Bluetooth keyboard.

My recommendations would be the Macally solar-powered keyboard if you don’t want to worry about charging it (I’ve had mine for a year and have never charged it – and I’m a writer). If you don’t mind charging it, grab a Jellycomb. I picked one up for my partner and almost like it more than my Macally keyboard.

Of course, you could always splurge and get a mechanical keyboard. I don’t know anything about mechanical keyboards, though, so I’ll leave that to your research.

6. The Brydge vertical dock

Alright, so as promised, we’ve made it to the fun part of our best MacBook accessories list. This is one of my favorites.

The Brydge vertical dock is a stand for your MacBook. You set your MacBook in it, and it holds it up, looking nice and sleek.

But there’s some other magic going on, and that’s that this dock has USB C connection points in the stand. So when you set your MacBook in the stand, you’re plugging it into the dock.

Once plugged in, you’ll notice that there are some ports on the front of the Brydge vertical dock itself. So you can plug devices into the dock, and they’ll be connected to your MacBook whenever you plug it in.

In case that doesn’t paint the full picture, this means that you can use your MacBook like a Nintendo Switch. You buy an external display, keyboard, and mouse, connect them to the dock and use your MacBook as if it were a desktop computer when you’re sitting at your desk.

Then, when you want to go out, you just pull your MacBook out of the vertical dock, throw it in your back, and it’s instantly portable again.

Maybe it’s just me, but this is so cool it makes me giddy. I had already had the idea to turn my MacBook into a portable desktop computer and was stoked to find that a product exists to help you do just this.

This is a pricey accessory, especially considering that you’ll need to buy a bunch of peripherals to go with it. But it’s super cool, so I’ll allow it. Just make sure you buy the dock that’s right for your MacBook! Otherwise, it won’t work.

7. The Tomtoc accessory organizer

The next exciting item on our list of the best MacBook accessories is a case by Tomtoc. I think Tomtoc makes some of the best professional cases for iPad and MacBook, and this one is no exception.

It’s a sleeve that you can use to hold your MacBook. It slips in and can then be carried in the case by a handle. But that’s not what makes this thing special.

What makes this MacBook accessory one of the best is how much other stuff it can carry in such a small amount of space. It has tons of pockets, straps, and slips to hold everything you need for your MacBook. It can hold your cables, headphones, charging blocks, an iPad as well as your MacBook, mouse, and hard drive.

I don’t know about you, but that’s everything I ever find myself carrying. A perfect alternative to lugging around a backpack.

8. A secondary display goes a long way

Another accessory that I think will completely change the way you use your MacBook is a secondary display. I never even considered getting a secondary display until I realized I could use my iPad Air as a secondary display. Once I tried it, though, it became a must for the way I use my MacBook.

I won’t spend too much time on how helpful a secondary display is. You can come up with your own workflow. What I will spend some time on, though, is which secondary displays you should consider.

First, an iPad. If you already own an iPad, there’s a good chance you can use it as a secondary display using the Sidecar feature. Check out this article to learn how.

Second, for those that wanna go all out, the LG 38WN95C-W 38-inch curved display is amazing. It has a Thunderbolt 3 port, so no adapter is required. It’s $1,600 though, so there is that.

For a more affordable option, there’s the Asus ProArt display. Not as impressive, but still really solid, it’ll last you forever – it’s a good one. And it’s only $300. You will need an adapter, though, as it only has HDMI ports. You can find HDMI to USB C cables on Amazon, though, which I recommend buying anyway. They’re super helpful.

Fourthly and lastly, there’s the LG UltraGear 24GL600F-B 24-inch display. This is a budget-friendly option, at just $180. This one will need a USB C to HDMI adapter as well.

9. Twelve South MagicBridge

This item on our list of the best MacBook accessories won’t be for everyone. It’s pretty specific.

The Twelve South MagicBridge is a tray that can perfectly hold a Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad. So to start, you’ll not only need to buy this accessory, but also a Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad from Apple.

If you have these two accessories already, then the MagicBridge can be a really helpful device. By merging these two accessories into a single device, it makes it easy to hold both your keyboard and trackpad in your lap, move them around the house, work in bed, and a bunch of other things.

For people who don’t use this workflow, this device is pretty superfluous. But if you work with these two accessories all the time, the MagicBridge is pretty great.

10. Moft Z Invisible Thin Sit-Stand

I think this is my favorite item on our best MacBook accessories list. It blew my mind the first time I saw it. And it’s so well-suited to the way I work that it feels like it was made for my desk.

The Moft Z Invisible Thin Sit-Stand is a foldable MacBook stand. It allows you to hold your MacBook at various angles depending on how you fold this, and at every angle this thing is sturdy.

You can have your MacBook resting at a tilt on this stand, or have it titled so severely that it’s better as an iPad stand. Or you can completely expand this thing so that it holds your MacBook ten inches off of your desk, allowing you to work while standing.

In other words, it lets you quickly switch between different sitting and standing positions at a moment’s notice. I’m someone who loves to switch between sitting and standing while I work, so this thing is a godsend. A little pricey for what it is ($70) but if you’re like me, the price is worth it.

11. Third-party utility apps

As we near the end of our list of the best MacBook accessories, I have two bonus items that kind of cheat the theme of this article. But hear me out!

The first cheat item is third-party utility apps. These are third-party apps that alter the functionality of your Mac.

These are apps like Ejectify, which automatically ejects connected drives from your MacBook when you close the display; Magnet, which adds window snapping to your Mac; Dropover, which gives you a little shelf to make dragging and dropping easier; and Hidden Bar, which helps you organize your Menu Bar.

All of these sorts of apps are just a few bucks each (or free). And for that small price, you get something that makes some aspect of your Mac lightyears nicer. They’re convenient, helpful, and lots of fun to try out.

If you’re someone who loves finding these sorts of apps, be sure to check out my monthly series of the best macOS and iOS apps. I try to find unique and lesser-known apps like this all the time and post them on AppleToolBox each month. Check it out!

12. Stickers!

And that brings us to the end of our list of the best MacBook accessories: Stickers!

Stickers are pretty much always a superficial accessory. However, they’re a great way to personalize your MacBook and make it feel like yours. They also help you identify your MacBook from everyone else’s.

It’s a bit of a MacBook tradition to plaster your laptop in stickers, so don’t be afraid to go all out! Etsy is a great place to find unique stickers for your interests. Although you can just as easily find stickers attached to Coke bottles, at the doctor’s office, and everywhere in between.

Make the most of your Mac with the best MacBook accessories

And that’s it! Those are, in my opinion, the best MacBook accessories. You can completely change your MacBook workflow with just one of these items. I recommend buying one item off this list now and then until you eventually have them all for the ultimate MacBook experience.

For more tips, tricks, and insights on all things Apple, check out the rest of the blog here at AppleToolBox.

Leave a Reply