Much has been made about the fact that the new MacBook has just one USB-C Port, including our own article lamenting Apple’s design choices. As much as we’d like to see a second port on this stylish – and ultraportable – new laptop, for now we’re stuck with learning to live with just a single port for transferring files, connecting all of our devices, and charging the computer. But all is not lost. There are ways to ease this transition and make life easier for yourself. If you plan on purchasing the new MacBook when it ships in a few weeks, here are some ways you can maximize the use of that single USB-C port.
Buy a USB Adapter
The quickest and easiest way to alleviate the challenges of having just one USB port on your new laptop is to buy an adapter that provides more options. Apple will actually ship two such adapters alongside the MacBook on April 10. The first of those products is the USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter, which offers both a standard USB port and a USB-C charging port, as well as an HDMI port for connecting an external monitor. The other is the USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter which also includes both the standard USB and USB-C ports, but does away with HDMI in favor of a VGA port instead. These two dongles cost $79 each, and will no doubt be amongst the best selling accessories for the new MacBook as early adopters scramble to get the most out of their laptops.
Wireless networking can help users overcome the new MacBook’s lack of USB ports too. For instance, using a WiFi enabled printer or network drive can eliminate the need to plug either of those devices directly into your computer. A number of manufacturers, including HP, Epson, and Canon, offer printers that can connect to your wireless network, allowing every computer in your home to print to the same device. Additionally, most wireless printers will even allow iPhones and iPads to print as well, extending their functionality even further. Similarly, a network drive from Western Digital, Seagate, or NetGear will allow users to share files and back-up their hard drives wirelessly too.
File Sharing Via AirDrop and iCloud Drive
Apple’s proprietary AirDrop feature allows you to quickly and easily share files between your devices without the need to ever connect them via the USB port. AirDrop is completely wireless and incredibly easy to use, so long as your Mac is running OS X Yosemite and your iPhone or iPad are updated to iOS 8. Similarly, iCloud Drive can sync files across those devices too, making it easy to transfer documents, photos, notes, and just about any other kind of file.
Bluetooth Keyboards, Mice, and Trackpads
When using their laptops while sitting at a desk, many users prefer to plug in a full-sized keyboard or mouse. These accessories can help us to be more productive in an office environment for instances, particularly when using an external monitor as well. With its built-in Bluetooth 4.0 technology, the new Macbook can connect to Apple’s Wireless Keyboard, Magic Mouse, or Magic Trackpad – not to mention numerous third party peripherals –completely wirelessly. These handy devices still provide a great deal of versatility for interacting with our computers without the need to take up a USB port.
Third Party Battery Packs and Chargers
It has already been confirmed that Apple will allow third party battery packs and USB-C chargers to work with the new MacBook. That means there is a good chance that more than a few of those adapters will come with extra USB ports built in, eliminating the challenge of keeping your laptop charged while also being able to plug in extra peripherals or devices. Just when those chargers will begin to appear on the market remains to be seen, but it seems like a logical answer to the single USB port issue.
WiFi Enabled SD Cards
AirDrop and iCloud are great for transferring photos from an iOS device, but what if you prefer to use a DSLR, dedicated point and shoot, or mirrorless camera for your photos instead? You’ll either have to learn to deal with the new MacBook’s single USB port (and complete lack of an SD card reader), or you could purchase an Eyefi SD card instead. Available in 8, 16, and 32 gigabyte sizes, these cards are compatible with most cameras, and have embedded WiFi chips that allow them to connect wirelessly to your computer (or tablet and smartphone) to share photos. The process is quick, easy, and completely cable free, allowing you to connect other devices through your USB-C port.