The best way to Flip a MacBook Right into a Desktop Mac

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A man at as desk looking at a MacBook and two large desktop monitors.
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MacBooks excel at being light-weight, moveable workstations, and have among the greatest battery life within the recreation. With the fitting peripherals, additionally they make succesful desktop machines. Right here’s learn how to flip your Apple laptop computer right into a desk-friendly workstation.

Utilizing Exterior Displays with Your MacBook

Utilizing an exterior monitor along with your MacBook will be transformative. You should use the laptop computer show, together with an exterior monitor, or hook up several monitors and place your MacBook out of the way in which. The macOS remembers issues like your most popular decision and window association everytime you join or disconnect an exterior monitor.

Understanding the constraints of your MacBook is essential. Its age and {hardware} capabilities will dictate what you possibly can and might’t do. One of the simplest ways to seek out out for certain is to seek for your mannequin on the Apple Support web site.

For instance, looking for a “15-inch 2016 MacBook Professional” yields technical specs for the base 2016 model. Beneath the “Video Assist” part, it states this mannequin helps two exterior shows with a decision of 5120 x 2880 at 60Hz, or 4 shows with a decision of 4096 x 2304.

You should use the identical technique to grasp learn how to join any exterior monitor to your MacBook. The 2016 MacBook Professional we searched helps native DisplayPort over USB-C, which suggests it has no HDMI output, simply USB-C, therefore, the “native.” The spec sheet states that HDMI, VGA, and Thunderbolt 2 are additionally supported, however you want an adapter to make it work.

CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock

Notice that if you wish to use a number of HDMI displays with a MacBook, you want an adapter with a number of HDMI outputs, just like the CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock ($129).

In the event you’re utilizing Thunderbolt to attach your monitor, you may have the ability to daisy-chain shows collectively. In different phrases, you’d join one show to your MacBook, and a second to that first show.

Each shows will then present up, and you should use them independently in macOS. Be sure to examine that your MacBook and monitor help the mandatory expertise before you purchase.

RELATED: How to Use Multiple Monitors on Your Mac

Selecting an Exterior Keyboard

In the event you’re utilizing an exterior monitor as your main show, and thus, placing your MacBook elsewhere, you’ll want a option to sort. The apparent selection is Apple’s wi-fi Magic Keyboard ($99). In the event you choose having a numeric keyboard, you will get the Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad ($129) for an additional $30.

Apple Magic Keyboard 2

Each keyboards join through Bluetooth, are rechargeable, and use Apple’s iPhone and iPad Lightning charging connector. There’s a full set of multimedia keys and the same old Mac-specific structure you’re used to in your MacBook keyboard. You may even specify different keyboard layouts, like British English or Japanese, at checkout in the event you choose.

Whereas Apple makes a strong keyboard, there are many different choices on the market. Nearly any USB or wi-fi keyboard (RF or Bluetooth) ought to work along with your Mac. You can even use apps like Karabiner-Components to customise your keyboard structure. This additionally means you possibly can remap keys—just like the Home windows Alt key to Command—so you should use them on a Mac.

Mechanical keyboards are additionally a strong possibility. Though steadily marketed for players, these are perfect for anybody who spends a number of their day typing. Do your analysis so that you perceive how mechanical keyboards differ from the usual membrane design. Every change design has a unique really feel and sound, however they are often changed individually with customized keycaps, if that’s your factor.

Kinesis Advantage2 Keyboard

In the event you’re intent on going above and past on your desktop setup, you may wish to consider an ergonomic keyboard. They arrive in all sizes and shapes, from the concave curves of the Kinesis Advantage2 ($349) to the cut up design of one thing just like the ErgoDox EZ (beginning at $270).

Controlling the Mouse Pointer

In the event you’re studying this, you’re already aware of the MacBook’s outsized, multi-touch trackpad. If you wish to emulate its really feel and performance, look no additional than Apple’s Magic Trackpad 2 (from $129). There’s nothing else in the marketplace fairly prefer it, so if contact enter is essential to you, that is what you want.

Not solely is the trackpad enormous, rechargeable, and wi-fi, but it surely additionally gives you with entry to the identical multi-touch features you’re used to in your MacBook. This consists of pinch-to-zoom, two-finger scrolling, and other macOS gestures that make getting round your makeshift desktop a comparatively painless expertise.


Most common mice may even work along with your Mac, whether or not they’re wired or wi-fi. Some wi-fi mice require an RF dongle that you just join through your MacBook’s USB port. Apple’s Magic Mouse 2 (from $79) will do the job, however so will many cheaper alternate options. Though most of those will work along with your Mac, double-check that it’s explicitly acknowledged for any mouse that you just purchase.

There are additionally choices if you wish to keep away from any wrist issues or carpal tunnel syndrome. Ergonomic mice are designed for individuals who spend hours per day at a desk, clicking and dragging. There are various extraordinary designs to select from, together with vertical mice, which arise sideways, and trackball mice, which let your fingers do a lot of the strolling.

Don’t Neglect About Storage

One of many largest limitations of contemporary laptops is storage capability. Solid-state drives (SSDs) are quick and sturdy, however they’re nonetheless pretty costly in comparison with mechanical arduous drives. In order for you your MacBook to drag double responsibility as a desktop, you’re probably going to wish some form of exterior storage.

This may very well be one thing so simple as a single USB-attached arduous drive. The drive can be utilized to again up your Mac with Time Machine and retailer private knowledge. When you’ve got the money, although, you possibly can go for an exterior SSD. It’ll offer you a lot sooner learn and write speeds.

For one thing a little bit extra sturdy, think about investing in a correct storage answer. Purpose-built RAID enclosures sit in your desk and supply an enormous quantity of flexibility. RAID permits you to map a number of exterior arduous drives in quite a lot of methods, together with as a single quantity or mirrored backup. In the event you give attention to knowledge redundancy, you possibly can merely swap out a drive if it fails with minimal trouble.

G-Tech G-RAID Enclosure

In the event you’re going the RAID route, get the quickest enclosure you possibly can afford. In case your MacBook has Thunderbolt 3, get an enclosure that helps that normal. Enclosures can be found as bare-bones shells so you possibly can add your individual drives or already stuffed with arduous drives.

Old style arduous drives are perfect for house use as a result of they’re low cost and don’t go away your desk, in order that they received’t be broken in your commute.

You can even use network-attached storage (NAS) drives. These make your drives obtainable over your native community and even the web, in the event you choose. NAS drives, although, are slower than these immediately related to your MacBook, particularly over a wi-fi community.

Fighting a paltry quantity of house in your MacBook? There are additionally choices to increase its storage!

Docks and Hubs Simplify the Transition

Docks and hubs serve two functions for MacBook homeowners: increasing the variety of ports, and simplify using your MacBook as a desktop.

CalDigit Dual HDMI Thunderbolt 3 Hub

The primary profit is pretty self-explanatory. When you’ve got a latest MacBook, you’re fortunate to have something apart from a USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) port for connecting exterior units, like USB sticks. A hub can remedy this subject by offering a wider vary of ports. A whole lot of hubs are designed with portability in thoughts, whereas others perform extra as docking stations in your desk.

Docks actually shine after they’re used as a single level of connection for all of your desk peripherals. In the event you join all displays, storage units, and different peripherals to a dock, you possibly can merely join your MacBook to a hub or docking station once you get house, and voilà: desktop!

Transportable hubs are low cost, present restricted growth, and take up little or no room in your desk. One thing just like the Satechi Multi-Port Adapter ($80) or Anker 7-in-1 USB-C Hub ($60) will present ample expandability in a comparatively small bundle.

In the event you’d somewhat sit your Thunderbolt 3 MacBook in a simple-powered vertical docking station, think about the Brydge Vertical Dock ($169).

Brydge Vertical MacBook Dock

If you wish to take it a step additional, take a look at the CalDigit TS3 Plus ($249). This dock gives twin 4K monitor help, a card reader, line-in and audio-out, gigabit ethernet, and it even permits for Thunderbolt daisy-chaining.

There are hubs obtainable for each funds or requirement, so store round to seek out the one which most closely fits your house workplace setup.

One MacBook Can Do It All

In the event you’re struggling to justify the acquisition of an iMac or new M1-equipped Mac mini, your cash is likely to be higher spent on exterior displays and USB-C hubs, as a substitute.

Sooner or later, the hole is bound to widen between Apple silicon processors designed for cellular and desktop use. For now, although, there’s little or no separating the M1 Mac mini from the M1 MacBook Air.

Are you new to working from house? Take a look at our Mac tips for working remotely to make the transition with ease.

RELATED: What Is Apple’s M1 Chip for the Mac?

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