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How to Use USB Devices with Your New MacBook: A Complete Guide

Using USB Cables with a New MacBook Guide

Apple, to the frustration of their customers, have done away with USB ports on their new laptops, but that doesn't mean you have to toss out your old USB cables. Click here to learn how to make your MacBook Pro compatible again.

Apple made a startling move this past year when it came to the design of their products. To the surprise and frustration of many Apple users, they began to remove USB ports from their devices.

This was and remains a major inconvenience to many Apple users. Many have collected a host of other external devices over the years, and have been comfortable using them with apple products for a long time.

These external devices might even have important information or files, which makes the inability to access them all the more frustrating.

The loss is a big one. But unless you're ready to swear off Apple products altogether, you'll need to find a way to make it work. And there are some workarounds available.

Read on, and we'll walk you through how to use USB cables and devices with your new Macbook.

Understanding USB A vs. USB C

Not all USB cables are the same.

The USB cable that you're likely accustomed to seeing and working with is known as a USB A cable. Most devices have historically used USB A to connect with computers. These include external hard drives, keyboards, webcams, microphones, printers, flash drives, and a number of other popular products.

With the absence of the USB A input on new Macs, you'll need to improvise. This will likely mean investing in one of a number of devices to make up for what Apple's removed.

The simplest solution would be purchasing a simple USB A to USB C converter. The new MacBook computers still retain USB C inputs, so a simple cable with one type on each end should solve most simple problems.

These are generally inexpensive, and Apple even sells one of their own (surprise, surprise).

Hub-Type Devices

While a simple converter cable is a quick fix, it's not the most innovative or helpful solution. For one, it means you'll be restricted to using one external device with your computer at a time.

The most helpful device to purchase, then, might be what is commonly referred to as a USB Hub. USB hubs connect to a computer via USB C inputs. And on the other end of the hub is a number of USB A inputs. In this way, the Hub acts as a converter so that your devices can still connect.

Not only that, but many Hubs are able to accept a number of USB A devices at once. Using a Hub device might actually give you more USB-related functionality than you had even with the old Macbook design, which typically only had room for one or two devices at a time.

Some hubs also contain helpful inputs for a number of other media-related devices, such as SD cards and micro SD ports. In this way, they can serve as a one-device fits all for your external inputting needs.

Adjusting For Other Needs

The above devices work as a broad catch-all for a number of USB A related devices. But depending on what you need to accomplish, there may be specific devices more attuned to your needs.

Monitors & TV Screens

You may already have a beautiful thunderbolt display set up and are reluctant to get rid of it. Or, you may still want to hook your laptop up to your main television, for working or watching things back on a big screen.

If this is this the case, what you may want to purchase is a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adaptor. The added bonus to this solution is that you can take advantage of all the ports included, which could save you from having to get other dongles.

SD Cards

If your former SD card reader connected to your Macbook via USB, you might now find yourself without a way to get photo and video uploaded to your computer. Especially if you deal with this kind of media for work, this can be a dire effect.

Luckily, there's a number of SD readers you can invest in that don't require a USB A connect. Many SD readers available can connect to a standard MacBook via USB-C. These little machines are small and portable meaning that they work great in the field.

Powerbanks and Older Android Devices

USB is also still a popular choice when it comes to charging batteries for a number of devices. No matter what kind of device you have, you might need to get a new charging cable if you typically use your laptop to charge these devices.

These devices usually have a micro USB input on the device end, so you'll just need to get a cable that goes micro USB to USB C, as opposed to the traditional USB A.

With this cable in hand, you'll be back to charging your devices easily in no time.

HDMI Adaptors

Another item you might, unfortunately, have to repurchase is a hand HDMI converter that you have at your home. If you've already bought one, it's likely an HDMI-to-USB A, meaning it won't do you any good anymore in trying to get your computer up on the living room TV.

Instead, you'll need to cough up some dough for an HDMI-to-USB C. Do that, and your home entertainment system will be Macbook friendly again for the years to come.


Most of us in the year 2018 are using wireless internet, but there are still many who use a wired system. The new MacBook doesn't have a natural ethernet plug-in or USB A, meaning your ethernet cable and your old USB adaptor have no further use.

Instead, you'll need to get an adaptor that connects Ethernet and USB C. That's the only way you'll be able to get online with a wired internet setup on these new MacBook models.

USB Cables For New Macbooks

The changes that Apple has made to their product line are frustrating, and one has to wonder why they'd be so inclined to ignore the concerns and irritation of their customer base. Maybe they'll come back around with future models.

In the meantime, there's nothing you can do besides make the USB cables you have work for you. There's a number of steps you can take to make your USB devices work with the new MacBooks, you just might need a little help from a few new adaptors and tools.

Need more help in making your new Macbook USB friendly? We're available to answer your questions and help you with whatever you need.