Add these Mac accessories to your back-to-school shopping list

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited August 2018
So you're getting ready to head back to school, perhaps with a new MacBook or MacBook Pro. You may want to add a few accessories to get the most out of your device. AppleInsider has rounded up the best accessories for your Mac to make returning to school even better.

Macbook Pro

Apple leather sleeve






Instead of snapping on a cheap and ill-fitting plastic shell, we prefer Apple's premium leather sleeves to cover our Macs. They fit like a glove and offer just the right amount of protection while still keeping things slim.

They aren't cheap, however. 12-inch MacBook owners can grab them for $149 while the 13-inch and 15-inch Pros run $179 and $199 respectively.

Twelve South ParcSlope stand

Twelve South ParcSlope


Using your laptop on a desk can be tedious and uncomfortable. By using a simple stand like the Twelve South ParcSlope, it raises the screen to a more ergonomic angle and reduces stress. As a bonus, ParcSlope not only works with your MacBook but your iPad as well. It is on sale at Amazon for $39.99 (currently $10 off with a clippable coupon).

CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 docking station

The last few generations of MacBook Pro have all come with nothing but a quartet of Thunderbolt 3 ports and a sole audio jack. Any student who wants to have a lot plugged in, like Gigabit Ethernet, a monitor, USB-A/C devices, speakers, an SD card, etc should look into a docking station.

CalDigit TS3 Plus


CalDigit's TS3 Plus is the best option for this, with all of the above and 85W of power delivered over a single Thunderbolt 3 cable. It is a compact device and runs $299 on Amazon.

Satechi USB-C hub

Docking stations are great on your desk, but on the go, you need a more portable solution. Satechi has a whole range of compact USB-C hubs that are great for taking with you to class or coffee shop.

Satechi USB-C Hub



The basic model still has an HDMI out, USB-A, and USB-C but runs $54.99 instead, nearly 1/6 of the CalDigit price.

Libratone Track+ headphones

Normally, while sitting at our desk we prefer some cushy over-ear headphones (like the stellar Shinola Canfield). However, if we were just picking up one pair to wear in the dorm and on the go, we'd take a look at the Libratone Track+ (review).






They have adaptive noise cancelling that works great wherever you take them, like on the bus. Additionally, they have a passthrough audio mode to let in ambient noise, making them safe to wear while walking down campus streets. Plus they have incredible sound and a gym-friendly design.

Amazon has them in stock for $199.

Mophie Powerstation AC

Mophie Powerstation AC


Often times while running around campus, you don't have time to charge up your phone, let alone your laptop. Most people think of portable batteries for their iPhones, but Mophie's huge Powerstation AC is perfect for all your gear. Your iPhone can be charged over the USB-A port, your MacBook can be charged with the 30W USB-C port, and everything else can be powered up with the 100W AC outlet.

The fabric covered 22,000mAh Mophie Powerstation AC will run $199 on Amazon.

Power Adapter Extension Cable




Sooner or later you're going to have to plug in, though. When you do, having an Apple extension cable means you don't have to sit on top of the wall socket. This 1.8m cable replaces the one between that wall outlet and your MacBook's power brick. So you can even unplug it and loan the cable to a new campus friend who has an older MacBook with the MagSafe connector.

The Apple Adaptor Extension Cable costs $19 at Apple or on Amazon.

Peak Design Everyday Messenger/Backpack

All this gear needs to go somewhere as you tote it around campus. There's no shortage of different bags out there, but our favorites happen to be the Everyday Messenger and Everyday Backpack by Peak Design. These cleverly designed satchels can carry everything you need for a day in classes - laptop, iPad, books, backup battery, and more.

Peak Design Bags


They've got both messenger and backpack styles to fit whichever preference you align with. They are covered in every anchor, strap, pocket, compartment you can think of.

The Everyday Messenger is $249 and the Everyday Backpack is $259.

AirPods





When it comes down to it, our favorite headphones of all have to be AirPods (currently on sale for $144.99). We featured these in our iPhone and iPad accessory guide and we have to feature them again here. Using iCloud, they sync the Bluetooth profile across all your devices (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV) including the Mac.

Simply put them in and choose them from the audio menubar drop down. When you head out, leave them in and choose them on your iPhone.

Apple Magic Mouse

Surely one of the best features of the MacBook and MacBook Pro is that gorgeous trackpad but sometimes you need more precision. Sometimes you just want to use a mouse again and now you can buy a Space Grey one to match.

Apple Magic Mouse 2 in Space Gray


The Apple Magic Mouse 2 in Space Grey was originally sold only with the iMac Pro but now you can buy one for your MacBook for $99 from Amazon.

Looking for a new Mac to pair with these accessories? Check out our back-to-school buyers guide to help you decide which MacBook or MacBook Pro is right for you.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    At 3.6/5.0, the Amazon reviews for the Satechi hub are less than stellar. Lots of complaints along the lines of “works...mostly” and “gets too hot”. 

    There really isn’t anything much better?
  • Reply 2 of 18
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,430member
    Pity MacBooks and MBAs are so geriatric compared with the alternative windows machines.
  • Reply 3 of 18
    phredphred Posts: 10member
    The extension cable-what is the purpose of it?Why not just use cable that comes with Mac?The Mophie power station-how much time per charge?
  • Reply 4 of 18
    phred said:
    The extension cable-what is the purpose of it?Why not just use cable that comes with Mac?The Mophie power station-how much time per charge?
    Because the heavy Power brick hanging off the wall can dislodge and also a smaller plug is easier to fit into tight spaces. Apple should have included it in the new Macbook Pros as it is a good item to give you range to inconvienient plug locations.

    Also I think one of the underrated products is the Airpods. I was hesitant at first but they are an amazing product. I didnt think I'd use them much but I use them for watching videos, teleconferences and all sorts of things I hadn't really considered. The only issue is that it lets through a lot of sound from external sources so I don't use them with flying for example (I use Bose NC earbuds). Were the Airpods a Tim Cook item or some other 'visionary' because credit where credit is due, they are good.

    Cheers Dr Hawk
  • Reply 5 of 18
    anomeanome Posts: 1,196member
    phred said:
    The extension cable-what is the purpose of it?Why not just use cable that comes with Mac?The Mophie power station-how much time per charge?


    New MacBooks no longer come with the extension cable, meaning without it you need to plug the massive (well, if you've got the 87W version) charger directly into the wall, which can be tricky on US outlets, I've found. (It can be tricky on ours, as well, but for different reasons.)

    Also, I'm not sure who you think is going "Back to School", here, but I know few students that can afford some of these things.

    tallest skilpscooter63
  • Reply 6 of 18
    Good list!

    Couldn't recommend the AirPods more! They are just brilliant.

    I'm using a clear plastic protector on my 2017 MacBook (rose gold) and am seriously considering getting the sleeve instead. :)

  • Reply 7 of 18
    These must be some rich students! 
    tallest skilpscooter63
  • Reply 8 of 18
    tailstoo said:
    These must be some rich students! 
    At $20,000+ per year for tuition/room/board, what's a couple hundred more for some cool gadgets?
  • Reply 9 of 18
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    At $20,000+ per year for tuition/room/board, what's a couple hundred more for some cool gadgets?
    End the Fed.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    mbenz1962mbenz1962 Posts: 114member
    dr hawk said:
    phred said:
    The extension cable-what is the purpose of it?Why not just use cable that comes with Mac?The Mophie power station-how much time per charge?
    Also I think one of the underrated products is the Airpods. I was hesitant at first but they are an amazing product. I didnt think I'd use them much but I use them for watching videos, teleconferences and all sorts of things I hadn't really considered. The only issue is that it lets through a lot of sound from external sources so I don't use them with flying for example (I use Bose NC earbuds). Were the Airpods a Tim Cook item or some other 'visionary' because credit where credit is due, they are good.

    Cheers Dr Hawk
    They are simply the absolute best from the technical side.  They unfortunately just didn't sit comfortably in my ears.  If Apple ever updates them with the option of silicone tips ala BeatsX or their own In-Ears, I would buy them again in a heartbeat.  This would also add some passive noise blocking for air travel.
    kingofsomewherehot
  • Reply 11 of 18
    At 3.6/5.0, the Amazon reviews for the Satechi hub are less than stellar. Lots of complaints along the lines of “works...mostly” and “gets too hot”. 

    There really isn’t anything much better?
    I’m using one of the older Satechi models. First one had a faulty HDMI port. Got it exchanged. Second one’s Ethernet port is starting to get flakey. Nice hardware, good customer support but so-so reliability. 

    Try Hyper products (https://www.hypershop.com/). I have one of their T3 hubs from Kickstarter and it’s working well. 
  • Reply 12 of 18
    tailstoo said:
    These must be some rich students! 
    At $20,000+ per year for tuition/room/board, what's a couple hundred more for some cool gadgets?
    $20,000 for tuition/room/board? Which community colllege is that?

    It’s more like $70,000 in any decent private college/university. 
  • Reply 13 of 18

    At $20,000+ per year for tuition/room/board, what's a couple hundred more for some cool gadgets?
    End the Fed.
    Um... what!? What does the Fed have to do with college tuition?
  • Reply 14 of 18
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Um... what!? What does the Fed have to do with college tuition?
    Please be joking.
  • Reply 15 of 18
    Um... what!? What does the Fed have to do with college tuition?
    Please be joking.
    Leaving aside the fact that you’re making a contrived, convoluted argument, it seems to me like you’ve not looked at student college loan interest rates versus Fed fund rates. 
  • Reply 16 of 18
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    anantksundaram said:
    Leaving aside the fact that you’re making a contrived, convoluted argument, it seems to me like you’ve not looked at student college loan interest rates versus Fed fund rates. 



    The purchasing power of the dollar today is 2.6% of what it was in 1912 before the Fed was illegally created. There was NO INFLATION until the Fed was illegally created. How do you not know how the Fed is responsible for the utter collapse of the economy?
  • Reply 17 of 18

    How do you not know how the Fed is responsible for the utter collapse of the economy?
    Because I inhabit the REAL world?
  • Reply 18 of 18
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Because I inhabit the REAL world?
    Did the images not load, are you being paid to lie through your teeth, or are you just trolling? What kind of completely uninformed statement is that? You realize that, by design, the debt in the monetary system is unpayable, right? There is more than $1 of debt for every $1. All dollars are loaned into existence. Returning all federal reserve notes to their owner–the federal reserve–still leaves the debt on the notes (and not just debt; interest on the debt), which then cannot be repaid. Read The Creature from Jekyll Island. My images prove you utterly wrong. We’re only in this mess because of the Fed, period.
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