Living That Dongle Life

Posted by Matt Birchler
β€” 2 min read

As we all know, the new MacBook Pros are eliciting quite a bit of frustration from the professional crowd. There are a few reasons for this, but the biggest thing I see sticking after almost a month of letting these machines ruminate in our collective conscience, is anger over the ports. In other words, #donglelife.

I've been somewhat vocal in my feeling that these criticisms are overblown. I try not to be too hard on those who think it is a big deal, because people's needs are their own and I can't tell you how to feel (although I may try to sway you a little). But when I see someone complain about needing an adapter to plug in their SD card or display, I don't feel much because I already do this on my 2015 MacBook Pro.

99% of the the time I don't have anything connected to my Mac. iCloud and OneDrive sync means my files are always on all devices at all times. AirDrop is useful when I need something moved from my phone to Mac now as well. I have a Mac mini running as a server in my house and is accessible via Wifi. And photos, well they are synced over iCloud Photo Library or Lightroom Mobile. It's rare that anything gets plugged into my Mac, but when it does, I still need dongles today.

Quickly, here's what my MacBook Pro has (aka the ports people wish Apple stuck with):

  • 1 Magsafe power plug
  • 2 Thunderbolt 2
  • 2 USB 3
  • HDMI
  • SD card slot
  • 3.5mm Headphone jack

But even with my spoils of ports, I still use adapters all the time.

First, I use a microSD-to-SD adapter to plug my camera's card into my computer. It's all well and good that Apple has a full size SD slot on there, but that doesn't help me because I need an adapter to load my photos and videos. Of note, I was on vacation this holiday weekend and was taking pictures with my Nikon. I just got home and was finally able to look a them because I forgot my adapter at home.

Second, I have an external monitor (about 3 years old) that I used daily on my old Mac mini, and use occasionally with my new Pro. It connects via VGA and DVI, neither of which my MacBook Pro has available. That means another dongle to adapt the DVI connector to mini DisplayPort to plug into my Mac. But it's literally no hassle for me because the adapter is hooked up once and then it's just a part of the cable.

I know there are people who are in different situations from me, and the hassle is a legitimate concern. But there is a lot of "internet jackassery" out there with people making this out to be the worst thing ever in order to score some sweet favs/likes/thumbs ups on social media.

Why else would you use 3 adapters to do what could just as easily be done with 1? They must really just want you to "mash that like button."

Images in this piece pulled from this video by TechnoBuffalo.