Power Add-Ons for Your Newer MacBooks

When I finally gave in and started using a 2019 MacBook Pro as my personal axe, the first thing I did was look for things to boost the versatility of it. The 2019 15" MacBook Pro in my hands right now screams, faster than any computer I've ever used. But it also has its limitations.

You can't upgrade your internal storage. So you better like what you have. You also have to accommodate any legacy accessories you might have lying around. And quite frankly, there are some design decisions on the newer MacBooks that make me say 'what the hell?'

One Port to Rule Them All?

Apple likes to be revolutionary. It did so back in the early days of the G3 powered Mac, with the first iMac, adding USB ports for the first time to their computers — far ahead of some PCs. The difference was, Apple still included the legacy ports on those early USB Macs that people had bought peripherals for over the years.

This isn't the case with the newest MacBooks. Anyone buying a MacBook of any flavor since 2016 has found themselves stuck with a single port type: the Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port. You can literally connect anything to this port, if you have the right adapter. That's right, Apple ditched every other kind of port (except for a headphone jack) on their MacBooks in the hopes of capitalizing on the dongle market. But really? No old style USB ports, or even a card slot for memory cards? Worse is if you have a MacBook Air or the low end MacBook Pro; you only get two.

The first add-on to my MacBook Pro was a simple plug in solution to my port expansion woes. This isn't the only side-mounted port expander you can get that's made for MacBooks, but it is the only one I've found that you can actually increase your SSD storage with.

Like the others of its ilk, this port expander plugs into the two side-by-side USB-C ports (it does occupy both of them, so sorry 12" MacBook users, this is not for you.) Unlike other similar expanders, it comes with a 42mm slot for you to install a SATA solid state drive. While SATA3 isn't quite up to the speed of the internal drive on the MacBook Pro, it's perfectly quick enough to be my storage drive and hold my downloads folder, freeing up my internal for the important stuff. My only wish is that it had an ethernet port, so I do still have to tote one dongle.

The adapter itself is about $40 right now on Amazon. I used a KingDian small form factor SSD, which is available in up to 1TB sizes.

Reinventing the MagSafe

This will, to date, be in my opinion, the dumbest design decision Apple has made with the newer lines of MacBooks. In addition to getting rid of every other port on the MacBook, Apple also got rid of the MagSafe connector, and made the USB-C ports serve as your charge port.

The reason this is a stupid design decision is because the whole point of the MagSafe design was to prevent damage to your computer arising out of either a) the repeated plugging/unplugging of a charger into your computer or b) yanking your laptop off of a desk when you, a child, or pet might while passing by, snag a foot on the charging cord and take the computer right along with.

The repeated plugging/unplugging of a charger was the cause of so many earlier Mac laptops (and to this day, most PC laptops) having broken charging ports, and sure enough, one of the first things to break on a Thunderbolt 3 MacBook is the Thunderbolt port you repeatedly use to plug it in. They're pretty much designed to last just about the length of your warranty, for Apple to be able to charge you for replacement.

That's why I got this little gem. It plugs onto the end of your USB-C charger cable, and the receptacle plugs into the Thunderbolt 3 port of your MacBook. And it stays there, so you can easily, safely pop the magnet charge cable on and off of your MacBook when you're using it on the go. There are other similar plugs and/or cables to be found besides this one, but this one is the one that allows you to use your original Apple cord, and has a strong enough magnet to stay on.

Apple broke the wheel when they ditched the MagSafe. But a little Amazon gadgetry reinvented it for us.

It's the little details that I was missing on my MacBook, that I'm happy to get back in some form or fashion. Even if it is an add-on. It's helped my experience with one of the newest MacBook Pros become a more complete one, and one I can better use on the go, and in an environment where I need to plug in to a lot of different things.

Share This page!


Phone: 850.462.4543
Email: sales@infografix.net