Although the MacBook Pro has been around for many years, it has evolved significantly. It has become a powerful computer that can handle almost anything users throw at it. With recent changes, it’s a more streamlined laptop, thinner and lighter, and it comes with a considerably enhanced display as compared to previous models. And gone are the days when Apple skimped on RAM and included a CD/DVD drive in its MacBook Pro line.
MacBook Pro Accessories
There is never a shortage of items that can help boost your Mac’s productivity and help it become more efficient and powerful. A USB-C battery pack can give you an extra charge so you have some more juice on the go, allowing you to work in a situation where plugging it in isn’t an option. Bluetooth earbuds give you the freedom to use audio without having to be tethered to your laptop with a cord. For artists, an external graphics processor, such as the BlackMagic eGPU Pro allows your MacBook Pro to have process workstation-class graphics capabilities. Even something small like a good screen cleaner can go a long way, removing fingerprints that mar your display. Finally, a stand to raise your MacBook Pro off the desk not only helps prevent it from overheating, it’s actually healthier and ergonomically correct to have it at eye level.
The USB-C Issue
The most visible change on the MacBook Pro (and other MacBook models) in the past few years is the absence of nearly all the ports. Actually, Apple has simplified things – the only port on the MacBook Pro (other than the ubiquitous headphone jack) is the USB-C (also known as a Thunderbolt 3) port. The Thunderbolt port serves as the power adapter port, as well as the port for anything else that connects to the MacBook Pro including USB devices, external displays (today, virtually all external displays use HDMI connectivity), camera cards and even ethernet cables.
A few different varieties of these adapters are available. Some of them are simply “dongles,” which connect the hub to the computer, while others are more sleek and connect flush to the side of your MacBook Pro. Of course, there are all sorts of devices that can connect to your MacBook Pro that don’t require a physical port, but instead use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. These include wireless printers and scanners, input devices (a mouse, keyboard, trackpad and tablets) and speakers - all of which you can use to boost your computer’s performance.
Things to Avoid
Some programs and apps can bog down your MacBook Pro’s performance and cause it to be sluggish overall. For the most part, these are optional downloads from developers that aren’t always transparent with their intentions. For example, a decluttering app offered for free can become an annoying popup, harassing you to buy the premium version. Also, avoid any software that promises the ability to automatically scan for trouble, such as malware, as these types of programs run in the background and hog valuable processing power.
Always install any application updates from inside the application, never from an outside source or online popup window. For example, never click a link to update Adobe Flash Player that pops up from a webpage. To update it correctly, launch System Preferences on your Mac; click on Flash Player and update it from there. Updating applications in any other way compromises the integrity of your MacBook Pro by inviting some less-than-helpful software into your laptop. Finally, Apple provides periodic updates to its OS which often help performance. So don’t delay when it prompts you to run an update, as you’re putting the overall power of your machine at risk.
Other Ways to Help Boost Your Mac’s Power
Disable all startup items (System Preferences>Users & Groups>Login Items) to avoid a glut of programs launching every time you power on your Mac. Keeping a clean desktop also helps, so store those files in another folder (in Documents, for example) to speed productivity. Large files on your desktop can bog things down considerably. Uninstalling unused or older versions of applications helps, as most major software developers (namely Adobe and Microsoft) do not override or delete older versions of the software when they install a new one. Running first aid on the hard drive (using Disk Utility, which is in Applications > Utilities) can eradicate hard drive issues that slow down your laptop. Another trick is to “zap the PRAM,” which involves restarting the computer while holding down the P, R, Command and Option keys and allowing the startup chime to sound three times.
Finally, good care and common sense obviously help. Shutting down your MacBook Pro when you don’t plan to use it for an extended period of time, not allowing it to overheat, and preventing physical damage – all go a long way toward keeping your machine running optimally over the long run.