Got the new 2021 MacBook Pro? Congratulations! Don’t just stop there yet, it’s time to get some accessories to level up your MacBook Pro experience.
In this list, we’re going to show you the best accessories you should consider adding to your shopping list to get the most of your MacBook Pro, whether it’s 14-inch or 16-inch, we’ve got you covered.
Note: we’ve personally bought and used many of the items below, and recommend them because they are useful. You don’t need to get all of them, obviously — they might break the bank! 🙂
Just select those that fit your needs at the moment and don’t overspend on things you think you’ll use but leave in a corner somewhere after using them once (sound familiar?)
Reading tip: use the Table of Contents below to help navigate to the right categories.
Now that you’ve bought a MacBook Pro and are used to the Apple macOS system, what’s next? Get some basic accessories other Mac fans are also using!
Cases & Protection
If you’re new to MacBook Pro, the first thing you should do is get some protection for your laptop. You’ll need a backpack or bag, or a hard case or sleeve. Choose the item(s) that best fit your need as well as your personal taste and sense of style.
Laptop Bags or Backpacks
A backpack is best for those who travel or work with a MacBook Pro. They can also carry other digital gears like a tablet, a camera, or an iPhone. KOPACK is one of the best out there. It’s sleek, clean-looking, and comfortable to wear with the padded shoulder straps. 2 sizes are also available, which is perfect for your new 14-inch or 16-inch MBP.
A messenger or brief bag is another great way to protect your MacBook Pro for everyday commuting and traveling. solo Briefcase is our recommendation. See our review of the best MacBook backpacks for more options.
Hard Shell Cases
If you want to protect your MacBook Pro from scratches or personalize it with your favorite colors or stickers, you should get a shell. We recommend this one from IBENZER as it also comes with a keyboard skin cover. You can also see more options in this post: Best MacBook Hard Shell Cases.
If you want to protect your MacBook against drops or cracks, get a sleeve made with sufficient padding to offset normal drop damage. Lacdo is our favorite. More options can be found in our MacBook Pro sleeves roundup.
Power, Adapters & Cables
For the new 2021 MacBook Pros, they have a limited number of ports, including USB-C ports that support Thunderbolt 4. You’ll face problems connecting your old peripherals. Thankfully, Apple offers a number of adapters and converting cables to take care of it. Some of the items come with your Mac when you purchase it; you may want to get an extra one just in case.
Over time, your MacBook battery will wear down, meaning you’ll need to charge it more often. In some cases (e.g. traveling or commuting), you are unable to do so. That’s why a portable power bank is awesome. It will help extend the battery life of your laptop and allow you to get more work done.
USB-C to USB Adapter
If your external devices are not USB-C compatible, then you would need to get an adapter to connect standard USB-enabled devices such as external keyboards, flash drives, or mouses to your MacBook Pro. We recommend this one from AmazonBasics.
USB‑C Power Adapter
Getting an extra power adapter saves a lot of hassle when you often forget to bring it home, to the office, or wherever you go. Apple’s USB-C Power Adapter offers fast and efficient charging. Apple also recommends pairing it with your MacBook Pro with USB-C ports for optimal charging performance.
USB-C to Lightning Cable
This adapter lets you connect your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) to the latest USB-C MacBook for data transfer or charging your Apple Magic Mouse. We recommend this one made by Anker.
USB-C Memory Card Reader
Even though the new MacBook Pro comes with a SDXC card slot, if you are a photographer who uses other memory card types such as MicroSD, you’ll need a card reader compatible with USB-C ports on your MacBook Pro. Cable Matters is a nice one that fits all kinds of SD cards.
USB-C Hub or Docking Station
If you have a number of external peripherals to connect to your MacBook Pro and feel the built-in ports aren’t enough, this USB-C Hub from UGREEN allows you to charge your Mac, connect keyboards or memory cards, stream videos to TV via HDMI, and much more. Read our best USB-C hubs review to see other great options.
If you have multiple displays/monitors that need to connect to your new MacBook Pro, a docking station is a better option. Take a look at our best MacBook Pro docking station review for more. Or learn the differences between USB-C hubs and docking stations here.
Cleaning & Cooling
MacBooks, like other tech gadgets, are prone to dust and dirt build-up. When the heat sink gets stuffed, your Mac may get hot very quickly. There are other situations when your Mac can overheat – for example, improper placement and runaway apps. That’s why you should keep your laptop clean and cool by putting it in an air-conditioned area. But there are other tools you can use to protect your MacBook Pro from overheating as well.
You might have heard this before, but there are a lot of considerations for choosing the best cooling pad for your MacBook Pro: size, weight, how quiet the fans are, turbo boost, etc. Most cool pads are based on USB and we recommend this one from Havit. Do note that you would need a USB to USB-C adapter for it to work.
All computers and digital devices are bound to get a bit dirty here and there, and they are not as resilient as they may seem. Cleaning your MacBook Pro screen and keyboard using a paper towel (or your finger) can damage the device. That’s why you need professional cleaning tools like Screen Mom. Learn more from this best screen cleaner roundup we curated.
Note: when you’re cleaning, it’s best to shut down your Mac and unplug the power adapter just in case.
For Productivity & Health
Machines are machines. They help you do more only when you know how to use them properly. What do we mean by “properly”? That means without affecting your health and productivity! That’s why you may find some of the following accessories worth checking out.
Display & Mounts
An external monitor or screen is extremely useful when you use a MacBook Pro for work and need to communicate with colleagues in the same office. Meanwhile, a mount or stand allows you to adjust the screen to eye level so you can improve working comfort and reduce strain — all good for your health.
Depending on your MacBook Pro model, you may want to check whether your MacBook supports Ultra HD resolution before buying a 4K/5K display. Also, since your new MacBook Pro has Thunderbolt 4.0, you may want to get a monitor that supports Thunderbolt 4.0. Read our best monitors roundup for our top recommendations.
A stand can elevate your MacBook Pro and help you view the screen more comfortably, as well as enhance venting to avoid overheating. See this article to learn more about whether or not you’ll need a laptop stand. As for the best stand that fits your notebook and personal style, we recommend consider those options Rain Design mStand and Nexstand.
Note: If you also decide to purchase an external display for your MacBook, you may be interested in getting a vertical laptop stand like Twelve South BookArc to save space.
Mice & Keyboards
All laptops, including MacBook Pro, don’t come with a mouse or external keyboard–but there are times you may find yourself needing those devices to work more efficiently. For many, a mouse especially is important–it’s much easier and more comfortable to use than the built-in trackpad.
If you’re used to an external mouse, it’s definitely worth it to buy one for your MacBook Pro so you’re not banging your head when the trackpad is too slow. We love Magic Mouse because it works seamlessly with Mac. You can also read our best mouse for MacBook review for more choices.
Note: Although the mouse is wireless, charging requires compatible ports, and many non-Apple mice are based on USB ports. That means would need to use a USB to USB-C adapter.
If you don’t want to limit yourself with the small built-in keyboard on your MacBook Pro, or if you’ve elevated your Mac with a stand, you probably need an external keyboard. If the Apple style fits you, consider Magic Keyboard or Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad. If you prefer a PC-style keyboard, consider Logitech MK545 and Anker Ultra. More options can be found in our detailed review.
Headphones & Speakers
Are you used to having headphones or speakers whenever you’re at work or leisure? Below are some of our favorites.
There’s a lot to consider while choosing headphones that fit your style. Color, weight, sound quality, in-ear or around-ear, wireless or not, etc. all matter. We can’t recommend which ones you should use, but Bose QuietComfort, and of course, Apple AirPods Pro are all worth considering.
A set of external speakers can make your favorite songs, podcasts, and movies come to life, turning your MacBook Pro into the ultimate entertainment rig. Check out these great options from our MacBook speakers roundup.
For Data Security
These days, data stored on your Mac are probably much more valuable than the computer itself. You can’t afford to lose data or “share” it unexpectedly. However, like every other kind of technology, storage media can be used up or die any day. What do you do? Back it up and protect it. Don’t forget to get a laptop lock as well. The following accessories are great for data protection.
Storage & Backup
We all know the importance of data backup, and there are a variety of ways to do this, such as via online backup services and external drives. Most of us prefer the latter for privacy and convenience, and we recommend them as well. If you’re into Apple products, consider AirPort Time Capsule.
A privacy screen is particularly useful when you use your MacBook Pro in public, or at work, and display sensitive information you want to protect. The best filters mount to your MacBook screen so that only people right in front of your MacBook display can see the content, while strangers or coworkers will only see a black screen.
Software & Apps
Unlike hardware or real accessories you can touch, software is sort of “invisible”. But don’t underestimate the power of software or apps, because you literally can’t live without them. There are plenty of well-developed apps that can help increase productivity or protect your MacBook Pro.
Here is a list of great ones:
If you just switched from a PC to Mac, you probably used Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more back in the PC age. Luckily, Microsoft also offers the Office suite for macOS, cutting out the learning curve for Apple iWork.
Setapp is an app subscription service for the Mac, like “Netflix for software”. It includes a collection of the best Mac apps in a single folder, saving you time and money.
This virtual machine app allows you to run Windows 10 on your Mac. How cool is that? If you need to work with programs that are specifically for PCs, get this app immediately.
Running out of disk space on your Mac? CleanMyMac X is one of the best Mac cleaner apps. It can help you reclaim tons of storage so you can save your most important stuff like photos and videos.
A must-have for professional photographers and creative designers. Creative Cloud is packed with apps like Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere, etc. for graphic design, video editing, and much more.
If you are a small or medium-sized business owner dealing with payroll, sales and tax stuff is boring. But with Quickbooks, your life will be much easier.
That’s it for this list of best accessories for the new 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021 models). We’ll keep it updated if we find new items.
Last updated: Feb. 18, 2022