How to Connect USB Devices to MacBook Pro/Air

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Do you want to connect a USB device to your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air but couldn’t find any standard USB port on it? The traditional USB ports have been discontinued by Apple for a long time. Now you can only find Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4 ports on MacBook which are pretty much similar to the USB Type-C with just the difference in data transmission speed.

Connect USB devices to MacBook Pro or Air

We are in 2022 but still, most devices like printers, flash drives, SD card readers, pen drives, external keyboards, and others have the same old traditional USB-A connector. You will surely need to use one of these devices in your day-to-day life, but with the unavailability of the standard USB port on MacBook, it seems impossible to connect them. Then how to make it work? We will show a simple way to do that. Let’s see how!

What you need

You need to use an adapter that converts USB Type-C port into USB-A. This is called USB-C to USB adapter. It has a USB Type-C connector on one end that goes into the Thunderbolt or USB-C port on your MacBook. The other end of this adapter offers standard USB port where you can insert your USB devices (such as flash devices, external keyboard, or printers).

This adapter can also be used to connect your iOS device (iPhone or iPad) to your MacBook via Lightning to USB cable. It will let you charge your device, as well as transfer data between your iPhone/iPad and MacBook. There are so many USB-C to USB adapters available on Amazon. Here we have picked some of the best ones –

Apple USB-C to USB Adapter for MacBook

Apple USB-C to USB Adapter for MacBook


Key features

  • It’s a genuine and original Apple adapter
  • Fast data transmission speed
  • Compact in size
  • Made of good quality material

This USB-C to USB adapter is manufactured by Apple so it’s a genuine product. It is specially made for MacBook to connect USB devices through Thunderbolt/USB-C port. Besides that, you can also charge your iPhone and transfer data with this adapter. It has a single USB port so you can connect only one device at a time. Being an Apple product, it is a little pricey and that’s the only downside.

USB C Hub Adapter for MacBook

If you want to connect multiple devices to your MacBook, you can purchase a USB C Hub adapter that provides multiple ports. This will be an ultimate solution to all your needs. Apart from the standard USB-A port, it will also provide HDMI port which you can use to connect your MacBook to an external monitor.

Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter

Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter


Key features

  • 3 output ports
  • HDMI port to connect external monitor
  • USB-C port to charger your MacBook
  • Manufactured by Apple

This Apple USB-C Hub Adapter offers 3 output ports. One of them is the USB-A port where you can connect your USB devices such as a computer keyboard, flash drive, camera, or any other accessory. There is a USB-C port also that you can use to charge your MacBook while keeping it connected to a USB device at the same time. This port can also be used to charge your iOS device or transfer data via Lightning to USB-C cable. With the HDMI port, you can mirror your screen to HDMI-enabled TV or display. It is compatible with projectors and cameras as well.

Anker Power Expand Direct 7-in-2 USB C Hub Adapter

Anker Power Expand Direct 7-in-2 USB C Hub Adapter


Key features

  • Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port with 100W power supply
  • 7 output ports including HDMI and standard USB 3.0
  • 40 gigabits per second data transfer rate
  • Specially made for MacBook

Compared to Apple original adapter, this is an excellent third-party alternative with more features and premium quality. It has 7 output ports including 2 USB Type-A ports, 2 USB-C ports, and 1 HDMI port. Furthermore, there is a built-in SD and microSD card reader where you can insert the memory card of your mobile or camera to transfer data between your MacBook directly. The HDMI port allows you to mirror or stream your MacBook screen across two displays at the maximum resolution of 5K@60Hz. It’s an all-in-one adapter for connecting any type of external device to your MacBook.

Connect USB devices to MacBook Pro

Once you have got the right USB-C to USB adapter based on your preferences and needs, it’s very simple to connect a USB device to your MacBook. Here’s what you need to do –

  • Step 1: Plug in the USB-C to USB adapter to the Thunderbolt/USB-C port on your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air.
  • Step 2: Insert the USB device to the USB port on the output end of the adapter.
  • Step 3: MacBook will automatically recognise when you connect a USB device. If it is a storage device like flash drive, you can open the Finder app and find it in the left column under Locations.

Which USB devices you can connect with MacBook

You can connect the following devices to your MacBook with the USB-C to USB-A adapter:

  • USB flash drives
  • Pen drive
  • SD card reader
  • External keyboard
  • Printer
  • External mouse
  • Camera with USB-A cable
  • iPhone or iPad with Lightning to USB-A cable. This can be used for both charging and transferring data.

And the list goes on… Basically, it will support all devices and accessories that have a USB-A connector.

Frequently asked questions

Why MacBook doesn’t have a USB-A port anymore?

The USB-C has now become more standard and mainstream compared to the traditional USB-A port. There are so many benefits of USB-C port. For example, it provides a faster power supply and data transfer speed. It’s an all-in-one multi purpose port and that might be the reason why MacBook has provided USB-C instead of USB-A port.

What is the difference between USB-C and Thunderbolt 4?

They are pretty much the same and can be used interchangeably but the main difference between the two is their power supply and data transfer speed. You can consider Thunderbolt 4 as the advanced version of USB-C that works more faster and efficiently. It is only compatible with Apple MacBook.

How to connect USB devices to your iPhone/iPad?

If you want to connect a USB device to your iPhone or iPad such as a flash drive, external keyboard, mouse, or SD card reader, you have to use a different adapter which is called Lightning to USB. This will convert the Lightning port on your iOS device to a USB-A port where you can easily connect your external USB storage device or any other accessory.

How to eject a USB device from my MacBook safely?

To safely remove a USB storage device or memory card from your MacBook, open the Finder app from the Dock at the bottom and then click on the small eject icon next to the name of the external device in the left sidebar area. Alternatively, you can drag the device to the Trash on the Desktop.

How many USB devices can be connected to a MacBook at once?

You can connect any number of USB devices to your MacBook at once. However, this depends on the type of adapter you are using. If it has only one USB-A port, you can connect only one device at a time. To connect multiple devices, use a USB-C Hub Adapter that has multiple USB ports.

How to know if a USB device is connected to your Mac?

Go to the Apple menu and click on About this Mac. This will open up a window where you have to select System Report option. In the next screen, go to Hardware > USB from the menu in the left sidebar. Now here you will find all your connected devices under USB Devices Tree. If it is a storage device, you can find it in the Finder window directly.

That’s basically everything you need to know about this subject. If we missed any question, you can share it in the comments below. We would love to hear your feedback. Stay tuned with our website for more interesting guides.

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About the author

Vivek Chaudhary Author
Tech writer & founder @Geek Instructor • Vivek Chaudhary is an experienced tech blogger who has been writing about technology for more than ten years. He's written over 1500 articles covering various tech topics. Vivek is passionate about sharing his expertise to help others. Beyond the digital realm, he enjoys traveling and creating videos on YouTube.

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