Best Accessories for MacBook Pro

These are the best accessories I use to help me create the best working setup for my M1X 16″ MacBook Pro for home and travel

The new MacBook Pro in 2020 is probably on of the best laptops ever released for content creators. Apple have added more ports and I/O options that mean you now have even better access to different accessories. Say goodbye to dongles!

I’ve been recently converted from PC to the Apple ecosystem, leaving behind faulty PCs and Windows laptops plagued with issues. Now I want to maximise the potential of my MacBook Pro, with the most useful accessories that will boost my work flow.

So I want to talk about my most efficient desk setup and travel set up and which accessories I use to make my MacBook Pro the best content creation tool or productively device.

So what are the best accessories for MacBook Pro users?

Apple Magic Keyboard

The MacBook Pro already has its own keyboard, Many users like to set up a desktop style set up when at home. When I am home I dock my MacBook Pro is in its docking station, and connected to my 27″ BenQ monitor.

I like this Magic Keyboard. It’s Bluetooth, and has keys that feel good. The travel is just right.

The size also is also perfect. I don’t need a number pad, as I prefer the minimalist look. There is another version with a TouchID key, but I’m happy with my version.

My Keyboard
Apple Magic Keyboard - US English - Silver
Best Choice
Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID (for Mac Computers with Apple Silicon) - US English - Silver
Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad (for Mac Computers with Apple Silicon) - US English - Silver
Apple Magic Keyboard - US English - Silver
Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID (for Mac Computers with Apple Silicon) - US English - Silver
Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad (for Mac Computers with Apple Silicon) - US English - Silver
$99.00
$149.00
$179.00
My Keyboard
Apple Magic Keyboard - US English - Silver
Apple Magic Keyboard - US English - Silver
$99.00
Best Choice
Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID (for Mac Computers with Apple Silicon) - US English - Silver
Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID (for Mac Computers with Apple Silicon) - US English - Silver
$149.00
Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad (for Mac Computers with Apple Silicon) - US English - Silver
Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad (for Mac Computers with Apple Silicon) - US English - Silver
$179.00

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

One of the biggest advantages of this set up is using the larger screen real estate when connecting a monitor. You can also use a dual set up for even more screen space.

The next big advantage of switching to a desktop set up is moving the eye level higher means better posture and less back pain issues from sitting looking down.

Apple Magic Mouse

Docking the MacBook Pro means needing a keyboard as well as a mouse. There are a lot of contenders and I’ve probably tried them all.

Apple Magic Mouse (Wireless, Rechargable) - Silver
  • Magic Mouse is wireless and rechargeable, with an optimized foot design that lets it glide smoothly across your desk
  • The Multi-Touch surface allows you to perform simple gestures such as swiping between web pages and scrolling through documents.

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The worst was the Logitech trackball. I bought this thinking it would help with my wrist pain, but I found it frustrating to use and didn’t help at all with reducing stress on my wrist.

Logitech MX Master 3 wireless mouse is probably the most popular mouse with its two scroll wheels for vertical and horizontal scrolling.

Logitech MX Master 3 Advanced Wireless Mouse, Ultrafast Scrolling, Ergonomic, 4000 DPI, Customization, USB-C, Bluetooth, USB, Apple Mac, Microsoft PC Windows, Linux, iPad - Graphite
  • Ultra-fast magspeed scrolling - Remarkable speed, precision & quietness of electromagnetic scrolling with all new magspeed wheel - up to 90% faster, 87% more precise & ultra-quiet
  • Comfort shape and intuitive controls - Work comfortably with perfectly sculpted shape and ideally placed thumb wheel and controls

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

However, I’ve found that I am content with my Apple Magic Mouse. It has a premium feel with the materials used to make it. It has a simple design that uses multiple hand gestures to perform scrolling, swapping tabs etc.

It’s actually quite clever.

Mouse Pad

And to go with your mouse, I like to use a mousepad. There are a few good ones out there, and for me it’s this one:

Gallaway Leather Desk Pad – 36 x 17 inch - Desk Mat Home Office Desk Accessories Desktop Protector XXL Mouse Pad Writing Desk Blotter (Black)
  • Protect your desk – from spills, scratches and stains with our desk pad/ mouse pad made from quality materials using PU leather plus a suede bottom for extra grip to prevent the desk pad from sliding
  • Comfort and Cushion – the PU Leather provides a smooth surface making it perfect for using a mouse as well as feeling great on your skin. The pad provides soft cushioning to ease stress from your wrists and elbows while you work

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Wacom Tablet

As an artist and photographer for over 10 years I have used a Wacom tablet throughout my entire career.

A Wacom tablet offers a superior alternative to the mouse or trackpad. Using the Wacom pen allows for drawing with much more precision. Making masks, dragging sliders, general painting etc.

Sale
Wacom PTH660 Intuos Pro Digital Graphic Drawing Tablet for Mac or PC, Medium, New Model, Black
  • Wacom’s trusted professional Pro Pen 2 technology in a precision graphics tablet, optimized for hours of image editing, illustration or design work
  • Slim tablet design in our most popular size (13.2” x 8.5”) with an active area of (8.7” x 5.8”) for anyone with a serious creative passion.No parallax

Last update on 2021-07-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

And Wacom tablets last years. My Wacom Intuos 4 must be over 10 years old and I’ve passed that onto my nephew and it works perfectly.

I always get the medium size. Even for travel its the right size. You may think the size small might be better for travel, but it’s too small in scale for the MacBook.

The medium has the best scale match to the MacBook Pro screen so feels more natural.

Alternatively there are drawing display tablets which Wacom also offers. I was sent the XP-PEN 13.3″ Pro which turned out to be an amazing display tablet value for the price point. Click on the link to check my article review.

AirPods

I have used the AirPods Pro and while they are great for noise cancelling, I’ve never been a fan of the in ear headphones. It’s a personal preference.

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I prefer the Apple AirPods 2, which has been updated with a new design for the Apple AirPods 3. I really love my AirPods 2, they have hours of battery and fit well in my ear.

Laptop Dock

In order to save space I dock my MacBook Pro vertically. I place it behind the monitor so it’s just out of sight.

I essentially replicate the same setup as the Apple iMac desktop setup, except that I can get up and go whenever I want.

Sale
Vertical Laptop Stand Holder, OMOTON Desktop Aluminum MacBook Stand with Adjustable Dock Size, Fits All MacBook, Surface, Chromebook and Gaming Laptops (Up to 17.3 inches), Black
  • Optimize Desktop Space - It cradles your laptop or notebook vertically and keeps your desktop well-organized and space-efficient.
  • Adjustable Size - Its adjustable width enables compatibility with most laptop or notebook brands with thickness ranging between 0.55in x 14mm to 2.71in x 69mm.

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

External Storage

In my MacBook Pro review I recommend not maxing out the storage on the MacBook Pro. I think it makes much better financial sense to get 2-4TB for the OS and files being used and then off load any unused or least often used files onto an external storage drive.

I have quite a few hard drives and I like the 2TB option:

Sale
LaCie Rugged Mini 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD - USB 3.0 USB 2.0 Compatible, Drop Shock Dust Rain Resistant Shuttle Drive, For Mac And PC Computer (LAC9000298)
  • Shock, drops up to 4 feet, dust and water resistant for all-terrain use
  • For Mac compatibility this Hard Drive requires reformatting. Refer to Application Guide for more details

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

But my main one for travel is the 4TB option:

Sale
LaCie Rugged USB-C 4TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0, Drop Shock Dust Rain Resistant Shuttle Drive, for Mac and PC Computer Desktop Workstation Laptop, 1 Month Adobe CC (STFR4000800)
  • Quickly and easily connect to the latest Windows and Mac computers with Rugged’s reversible USB-C cable, or legacy computers using the included USB 3.0 adapter
  • Enjoy fast USB-C 5Gb/s file transfers, backups, and image browsing

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

SD Cards

As this article is written for content creators you will be using this MacBook Pro for creating art, photos, and videos etc. So you should have a camera, and I recommend the Canon EOS R6.

You’ll then be using SD cards which this MacBook Pro supports (sorry Canon R5 users using CFExpress Type B cards). This is another great reason to choose SD card cameras like the R6.

Check out this article here: Best SD Cards for the Canon EOS R6.

Not every camera user will have the same needs. Some users will need more photo than video or a different balance. So check out my article for a more tailored recommendation.

The best generic card that covers most needs is the Sandisk Extreme Pro line:

Sale
SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-II Memory Card - C10, U3, V90, 8K, 4K, Full HD Video, SD Card - SDSDXDK-128G-GN4IN
  • Tap into pro performance designed for professional and advanced photographers and videographers.
  • Super-fast write speeds of up to 260MB/s* help rapidly clear buffer time to support continuous burst mode shooting and cinema-quality video recording(2). Requires compatible devices capable of reaching such speeds.

Last update on 2021-08-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Power Bank

The battery on the MacBook Pro is a huge leap ahead of its predecessors specifically because of the M1 chip working more efficiently with the rest of the MacBook Pro hardware.

But it still makes good sense to have a power bank handy when you’re travelling and use up the entire battery life and have no access to a plug socket.

My favorite brand to use is Anker, I have a few small ones for my phone as well as this large one for the MacBook Pro:

Anker PowerCore 26800 Portable Charger, 26800mAh External Battery with Dual Input Port and Double-Speed Recharging, 3 USB Ports for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Android and Other Smart Devices
  • The Anker Advantage: Join the 50 million+ powered by our leading technology.
  • Colossal cell capacity: 2,6800 mAh of power charges most phones over 6 times, tablets at least 2 times and any other USB device multiple times.

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Monitor

You’ll obviously need a monitor if you’re creating a desktop setup with your MacBook Pro when you’re at the office/home.

I would recommend getting a monitor dedicated to photo/video editing rather than a gaming monitor.

So at the top end of your budget would be Eizo or NEC reference monitors which run into the multiple thousands.

The most affordable but incredibly good monitor that is almost as good as a reference monitor is the BenQ SW27; check out my in depth article by clicking on the link.

27 inches is probably the smallest you’ll want to go, with 30 inches being a good size that’s not too big or small.

BenQ SW271 27 Inch 4K HDR Professional IPS Monitor |10-Bit with 14-Bit 3D LUT Hardware Calibration| Aqcolor for Accurate Reproduction | Detachable Shading Hood, Black
  • 27 INCH 4K UHD RESOLUTION: Exceptional clarity of fine details
  • HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE (HDR): for sharpened brightness and incredible details.Dimensions (HxWxD mm) (w/o Base) (with shading hood) 14.65X24.64x9.37 inches Dimensions (HxWxD mm) (w/o Base) 14.52x24.16X2.46 inches

Last update on 2021-07-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

iPad

An alternative to using a monitor, which gives lots of screen real estate is using an iPad as a second monitor.

Now even if you already have a monitor, having an iPad would be idea when travelling and using as either a second monitor or just a second computer.

Sale
2021 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Wi‑Fi, 256GB) - Space Gray
  • Apple M1 chip for next-level performance
  • Brilliant 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion, True Tone, and P3 wide color

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

My favorite iPad is the iPad Pro 12.9″ as a second screen. However I think I would love the 11″ version as well.

Finally

This list could be quite long, and there are definitely more options. However these are the best accessories for the MacBook Pro that I personally use to work.

I’ll make sure to keep this updated as my own gear changes, as with new tools coming to the market and updates, this list will not stay the same.

Links

If you’re building a business and one the tools is this laptop, then you need to check out my definitive article on business for creative content creators: How to Start a Creative Business. All the information from starting to building a business is there.

Also don’t forget to check me out on YouTube for more video on content!