For those who take a look at Apple’s Cables and Adapters page, you’ll be greeted with numerous humorous cables that includes numerous indecipherable acronyms. What’s DVI? And the way are Thunderbolt and Lightning completely different from one another?
Right here’s a full breakdown of what adapter equipment can be found on Apple’s web site on the time of writing.
A Information to Cable Varieties and What They Imply
First, let’s dive into what the completely different cable varieties are and what they’re used for.
Mac Cable Varieties
MagSafe and MagSafe 2: MagSafe energy adapters work by holding the facility connection in place magnetically. The profit to that is that when you journey over or yank a cable out, the pc doesn’t include it.
Apple is phasing out MagSafe in favor of USB-C, which permits for charging from any port.
5K DisplayPort: Some high-powered third-party displays use this show normal to attach. In addition they require an adapter of some sort to hook up with your Mac.
Mini DisplayPort: An older Apple normal for connecting a show. Although it’s precisely the identical form as Thunderbolt 2, it can’t switch information. You possibly can inform the distinction between the 2 by the image above the port.
Thunderbolt 2: A brilliant-fast information switch and show connection normal, Thunderbolt 2 is as quick as a PCI Specific connection. Which means arduous drives that join by way of Thunderbolt 2 theoretically have the identical switch speeds as inner arduous drives. In consequence, having these ports drastically enhances the longer term upgradability of your Mac.
Thunderbolt three: The newest normal on Macs, and an enchancment on Thunderbolt 2, though the ports will not be the identical. You should use Thunderbolt three to switch information, join a show, and cost your machine.
Although Thunderbolt three ports use USB-C cables, not all USB-C ports assist the Thunderbolt three normal. For instance, the 12-inch MacBook has a USB-C port, however it doesn’t work with Thunderbolt three. Take a look at our breakdown of Thunderbolt and USB-C ports on your Mac for more information.
FireWire: Earlier than Thunderbolt, FireWire was Apple’s quickest information switch normal. Apple has phased it out on all present Macs, however nonetheless sells an adapter.
iPhone and iPad Cable Varieties
Lightning: The present wired normal for all iPhone fashions. Nevertheless, if the brand new iPad Professional is any indication, Apple will quickly transfer on to USB-C for all iOS gadgets sooner or later.
30-pin: This normal was phased out with the debut of the iPhone 5 in 2012. Regardless of this, an adapter remains to be accessible on Apple’s web site when you’re nonetheless utilizing an iPhone 4S or older.
Non-Apple Cable Varieties
USB-C: The latest USB normal. It’s a small, reversible cable that’s as near an all-in-one normal as we’ve ever had with USB. Thus, it’s not stunning that the majority new Mac notebooks ship with solely USB-C ports. A lot of the adapters on Apple’s web site are USB-C-to-something.
See our overview of USB cable types for extra element.
USB three and a couple of: Whereas USB-C is a bodily connector sort, USB 2 and USB three are connection requirements. As you’d anticipate, USB three is far sooner. You possibly can inform the distinction between them by the colour inside a connector. USB three is blue, whereas older USB 2 cables will not be.
three.5 mm audio: Your normal headphone jack cable.
SD, miniSD, and microSD Playing cards: SD stands for Safe Digital. These disks are basically tiny flash storage drives. The adapters accessible within the Apple Retailer will can help you join these drives to your Mac. A few of them require an extra adapter themselves, relying on what sort of SD card you have got.
VGA, DVI, and HDMI: The three commonest show requirements.
VGA, which stands for Video Graphics Array, is the oldest show normal. It’s an analog video sign. DVI, or Digital Visible Interface, is newer and higher-resolution. A variety of laptop displays use it.
HDMI, or Excessive-Definition Multimedia Interface, is the latest normal. You nearly actually have a number of HDMI ports in your TV, and your laptop monitor in all probability helps HDMI as properly. It’s additionally the one normal that may carry each video and sound, and subsequently doesn’t require an extra audio cable.
Ethernet: For those who connect with the web by way of a wire, that is the cable you utilize. Mac notebooks have achieved away with the port for this, requiring you to make use of an adapter or join by way of Wi-Fi.
What Ports Does Your Mac Have?
Check out the edges of your Mac pocket book, or the again of your iMac. Then be aware of what ports you have got accessible. This may range primarily based in your mannequin.
Apple’s assist web site has a really useful web page that helps you identify the ports on your Mac. It has footage of all of the attainable ports and what they appear like.
With out additional ado, listed below are the adapters on Apple’s web site and the way you should use them.
Thunderbolt three and USB-C Adapters
USB-C to SD Card Reader: Join SD playing cards to a Mac by way of USB-C.
USB-C to USB Adapter: Join older USB-A gadgets to a Mac with USB-C. The opinions point out that this adapter doesn’t work with USB three, which implies that a USB three.x machine will join at USB 2 speeds.
USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter: Join an HDMI show to your USB-C Mac, whereas additionally supplying you with one other USB-C port for charging, plus an additional USB-A port.
Belkin USB-C to HDMI Adapter: This third-party adapter solely has an HDMI to USB-C conversion, with no further ports.
Belkin USB-C to VGA Adapter: In case you have an previous monitor or TV, this adapter will allow you to join your USB-C Mac to it.
USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter: This cable connects a VGA machine to your USB-C Mac. It additionally supplies one other USB-C port for charging, together with one USB-A port.
Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter: Join your previous Thunderbolt 2 gadgets to your new Thunderbolt three Mac with this adapter.
Moshi USB-C to DisplayPort Cable: This cable means that you can join your Thunderbolt three Mac to a 5K DisplayPort monitor. To not be confused with Mini DisplayPort.
The Belkin USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter: Join your USB-C Mac to an Ethernet port.
PROMISE SANLink3 N1 NBASE-T Ethernet Adapter: For those who work in an atmosphere that makes use of 10 Gigabit Ethernet or sooner (like an enhancing studio or manufacturing workplace) you should use this adapter to hook up with your Thunderbolt three Mac and keep that lightning-fast velocity.
Thunderbolt 2 Adapters
Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter – Apple: Join an Ethernet port to your Thunderbolt 2 Mac.
Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter – Apple: Although FireWire isn’t as fashionable these days, you possibly can nonetheless apply it to your older Mac with this adapter.
Different Mac Adapters
Apple HDMI to DVI Adapter: In case your Mac has an HDMI port, you possibly can convert the cable to DVI. Needless to say this is not going to switch audio.
MagSafe to MagSafe 2 Converter: For those who nonetheless have a MagSafe-compatible Mac, you possibly can convert your previous chargers to MagSafe 2 with this adapter.
iPhone and iPad Lightning Adapters
Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter: The iPhone 7 removed the headphone jack. Convey it again with this Lightning adapter.
Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar: This adapter splits your Lightning port into two, permitting you to each cost and take heed to audio on the similar time.
Belkin 3.5 mm Audio + Charge Rockstar: Equally, this adapter splits your Lightning port right into a headphone jack and one other Lightning port.
Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader: Join an SD card to your iPhone or iPad for fast picture or file imports.
Lightning to Micro USB Adapter: This adapter will convert a Micro-USB charger to work along with your Lightning port.
Lightning to USB Camera Adapter: This adapter converts your Lightning port to USB-A, particularly for connecting a digital digicam.
Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter: This adapter works with USB three ports. It additionally has an additional Lightning port so you possibly can cost your iPad or iPhone on the similar time.
Lightning to VGA Adapter: Use this adapter to attach your iPhone or iPad to an older TV or monitor by way of VGA.
Lightning Digital AV Adapter: Use this adapter to attach your iPhone or iPad to a TV or monitor by way of HDMI.
Belkin Ethernet + Power Adapter with Lightning Connector: Join on to the web utilizing an Ethernet cable along with your iPhone and iPad for a sooner and extra steady connection.
iPhone and iPad Non-Lightning Adapters
Apple 30-pin to VGA Adapter: For those who nonetheless have an previous iPhone or iPad, you should use this adapter to hook up with an older VGA monitor.
Apple iPhone TTY Adapter: In case your iPhone or iPad has a headphone jack, you should use this adapter to hook up with a Teletype machine.
Belkin Audio Splitter (3.5 mm-M/2×3.5 mm-F) : Use this adapter to separate your headphone jack into two headphone jacks nice, for sharing.
For Energy Adapters, Apple Is Higher
Apple adapters are dear, however the high quality and reliability is value the additional price. Take our recommendation and ensure you all the time buy an authorized Apple charger for your Mac.
Learn the total article: A Guide to Apple’s Adapters and Ports for Mac and iPhone