The Macbook Air requires a host of new accessories thanks to USB C and the new design Apple introduced last year. Unless you are upgrading from the Macbook Pro, you will need to buy new gear to outfit your MacBook Air.
The new Macbook Air with Retina Display includes two USB C ports and a headphone jack, so you’ll need to invest in USB C accessories, potentially a spare charger, and much more if you want to use your MacBook Air at a desk for longer sessions.
Apple sells a collection of items, but you’re better off looking at Best Buy, Amazon, eBay and direct to specialty retailers for many of these accessories. You get a wider selection, better options and many times better prices. To round out your device, check out the best MacBook Air cases, covers, and skins.
You will need to buy at least a few items on this list to connect an SD card, monitor, your iPhone, and other accessories to your MacBook Air. While you may need some dongles, you can buy many USB C accessories now so you only need one cable to plug-in instead of plugging multiple things together.
Here are the best MacBook Air accessories you can buy in 2019;
- External MacBook Air Battery – $69 and Up
- An Awesome Bag & Sleeve – $44.99
- AirPods & Headphones – $139.99
- USB C to Lightning Cable – $18.00
- USB C SD Card Adapter – $9.99
- USB C MacBook Air HDMI Adapter – $19.99
- 2018 MacBook Air Dock – $79.99
- USB C to USB Adapter – $7.99
- Spare Charger and USB C Cable – $25.99
- Magic TrackPad 2 – $124.99
- Magic Keyboard – $87.99
- MacBook Air Stand – $49.99
- Portable USB C Hub – $35.99
You won’t need everything on this list, but it’s a good shopping list to get started with. If you want to use your MacBook Air as a more typical desktop, you will also want to invest in a monitor to go along with the stand, trackpad, and keyboard. Keep reading for more information about each of these items.
External MacBook Air Battery – $69 and Up
The MacBook Air delivers great battery life, but sometimes you need a little bit more when you are working on the go all day or when you’re on a plane. You can buy a variety of USB C PD battery packs that can charge your MacBook Air on the go.
You want to look for a USB C PD one, which means it has a USB C connection that supports Power Delivery. That is needed to send enough power, fast enough to charge your MacBook Air. There are a lot of options, but our favorites are;
- Omni Mobile 12,800mAh – $69
- Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD – $129.99
- RAVPower 26800mAh PD Portable Charger – $75.99
- mophie powerstation USB-C Power Delivery XXL – $149.99
These can all charge your MacBook Air as well as charge your iPhone and other gadgets. The Omni Mobile charger also includes a wireless charger that you can use to charge a phone or AirPods.
An Awesome Bag & Sleeve – $44.99
You definitely need a MacBook Air bag, skin or sleeve to protect your new computer and bring it with you. There are a lot of options and you can spend a lot of money on a good bag, but one of the best entry-level bags that still does everything right is the STM Trestle. You can get this bag for $44.99 at Amazon and it will carry your MacBook Air and everything you need with it. Check out our full review of this compact and useful bag.
- Main compartment reveals padded laptop cell (will hold most 11-14 inch) and integrated tablet sleeve. Paperwork pocket for a folder or two and capacity for books, a spare sweater etc.
- Multiple external pockets: Top soft fleece lined pocket for sunglasses or phone. Front organization pocket hold pens, keys, wallet, or other smaller items. And two side pockets - one elastic, one zip for water bottle, keys, umbrella
- Comfortable padded shoulder straps with removable sternum strap to stabilize the load
- 3D foam mesh back panel with air-flow channel for a comfortable carry on the hotter days and integrated luggage pass through secures the bag to the handle of your wheeled luggage
- Large, #10 self-repairing YKK zippers with brushed aluminum zipper pulls for long-term durability
If you are looking for other options, we have a full listing of the best MacBook Air cases, covers and skins to protect your new laptop on the go.
AirPods & Headphones – $139.99
The MacBook Air does include a headphone jack, but we highly recommend getting a good pair of Bluetooth headphones to use with the MacBook Air. This removes a cable that can catch on your MacBook Air and pull it off a table, and it’s also just nice to not need any wires. Plus if you want to carry one pair that works with your MacBook Air and your iPhone without a dongle or adapter, Bluetooth is the way to go.
Three headphones top my recommendations,
If you don’t want AirPods, you need to check out our best AirPods alternatives for more options.
USB C to Lightning Cable – $18.00
The iPhone cable you use to plug your phone into your Mac no longer works. While you could buy an adapter, it makes sense to buy a USB C to Lightning cable instead. This is one less thing to lose, and it lets you fast charge using your MacBook Air charger with your iPhone.
I own several of these cables and I love them. Not only can I connect my iPhone directly to the Mac, but if I plug this cable into my MacBook Air charger I can fast-charge my iPhone XS Max. This also works for the iPhone X, XS, XR, 8 and 8 Plus. When fast charging the iPhone charges up to 50% in 30 minutes.
Apple sells two official USB C to Lightning cables.
You can use this to charge your iPhone or iPad, sync to iTunes and even to use with SideCar to use your iPad as a second display for your MacBook Air.
USB C SD Card Adapter – $9.99
There is no SD card slot in the new MacBook Air, so if you want to transfer photos and videos you will need an adapter.
You can buy a USB C to SD card adapter for $10 to $15, which is a better deal than buying directly from Apple for $49.95.
Look for a USB C adapter that includes SD card and Micro SD card so that you can easily connect the card from your Go Pro or Drone.
I like the Satechi Aluminum Type C Micro SD and SD card reader for something very minimal. You can buy this on Amazon for $14.99.
I also like the Insignia USB C SD Card Adapter that is $9.99 at Best Buy. I have both of these and leave the Satechi in my bag and the Insignia one on my desk.
USB C MacBook Air HDMI Adapter – $19.99
If you need to connect your MacBook Air to an HDTV or a computer monitor you will need a USB C to HDMI adapter or USB C to HDMI cable.
While these cables and adapters are more common now than a few years ago, you may not find them in every meeting room, so if you connect to a projector to present or to an HDTV to unwind at the end of the day, this is something you will want to buy.
Apple sells a $69 adapter that includes HDMI and a USB port, as well as a pass-through USB C connection, but you’re better off buying from Amazon or MonoPrice.
Amazon sells the Cable Matters USB C to HDMI cable for $17.99 or you can buy a USB C to HDMI, USB and SD card adapter for $31.99 at Amazon.
Desk Ready MacBook Air Dock – $79.99
For the average user looking to connect accessories and a monitor at home, the Satechi is a great value. With it, you get all of the connections you will need including the ability to connect one monitor with HDMI and USB C pass-through charging. The ports include;
- 4K HDMI
- 3 USB 3.0
- SD Card
- Micro SD Card
- Gigabit Ethernet
That’s everything that most users will need for a home setup and it allows you to plug in your MacBook Air charger to keep the laptop charging and connected to all of your accessories with only one cord plugged in. It’s small enough to take with you, but it’s more suited for use at a desk.
USB C to USB Adapter – $7.99
You can replace most of your cables with specific USB C cables, but it pays to have a USB C to USB adapter for the first year of owning your new MacBook Air.
- Amazon Basics USB C to USB Cable – $7.99 at Amazon
- Monoprice USB C to USB Cable – $7.99 at Monoprice
- Insignia USB C to USB Cable – $19.99 at Best Buy
- Apple USB C to USB Cable – $19.99 at Apple
You don’t need to spend a ton here to get good quality. For most users the Amazon Basics is the best choice, but if you need one in a pinch look at Best Buy or Apple where you can walk in and buy one.
Spare Charger and USB C Cable – $25.99
One of the things that we recommend is getting another 2018 MacBook Air charger and USB C cable.
You don’t have to buy the adapter direct from Apple as long as you buy a 30W USB C PD or Power Delivery charger from a reputable company.
That’s significantly cheaper than buying the charger and cable direct from Apple.
Magic TrackPad 2 – $124.99
If you want to do more with your 2018 MacBook Air, like connect to a monitor or put on a stand so that it is more ergonomic, you should invest in a mouse or trackpad.
If you don’t like trackpads, check out the Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX for $48.99 at Amazon.
Magic Keyboard – $87.99
There are two thoughts when buying a new keyboard for your MacBook Air. You can buy one that has the exact setup and key movement, or buy one that is arguably more comfortable to type on.
I go with the Apple Magic Keyboard, $87.99 at Amazon because I like keeping the exact same typing feel and layout when I am at my desk or when I am mobile. This saves me time when typing lots of words every day and ultimately works best for me.
If you want a more comfortable keyboard look at options from Logitech like the Logitech K811 which includes the ability to quickly switch to your iOS device as well. If you need something cheaper, look at the K380 for $27.99,
MacBook Air Stand – $49.99
If you spend a lot of time typing in front of your MacBook Air, elevate it with the Curve MacBook Air stand, $49.99 at Twelvesouth, which will raise your MacBook up to a better height.
This stand looks amazing and keeps your MacBook Air 6.5 inches off your desk so that you aren’t hunched over or looking down at your screen all day. You can type on this if you need to, but it is designed to be used with your MacBook Air on the stand and a mouse and keyboard on the desk.
The Yohann MacBook Air stand is beautiful and is another excellent way to elevate your MacBook Air to a better height while working at a desk. Check it out in Walnut and Oak.
This is an elegant option that looks great and is a perfect upgrade to go along with your MacBook Air.
Portable USB C Hub – $35.99
The Aukey includes four USB 3.0 ports, a 4K HDMI port and a pass-through USB C charging port. The OWC dock includes a built-in USB C port, pass-through charging to your MacBook Air, two USB ports and 4K HDMI as well as a SD card reader.
Last update on 2020-12-15. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API
This article may contain affiliate links. Click here for more details.