Mac Basics: Ports on your Mac

Your Mac has ports that let you connect to displays, drives, keyboards, networks, and more. This article describes the most common ports and what they're for.

Locate the ports on your Mac

Your Mac notebook might come with a USB-C port on the side of the computer:

The USB-C port on your Mac notebook supports charging, data transfer, and other modes such as DisplayPort video. You can use a USB-C adapter to connect to HDMI and VGA displays or connect other standard USB devices. This includes devices like iPhones, iPads, and iPods for charging and syncing, and cameras, hard drives, and thumb drives for transferring data.

The USB-C port on your Mac notebook doesn't support Thunderbolt devices or displays. If you're using a Thunderbolt drive, check to see if it has a USB port you can use to connect it instead.

Other ports
Your Mac might also come with a number of other ports, located on the front, side, or back of the computer. If you have a Mac notebook, it might look like this:

Mac notebook ports

If you're using a desktop Mac, like an iMac, it might look like this:

Mac desktop ports

Find out which ports your Mac has

To learn more about which ports your Mac has, follow these steps:

  1. Find your computer's serial number.
  2. Go to the Tech Specs page on the Apple Support website.
  3. Type your computer's serial number into the search box on the Tech Specs page. The search results should include your model of Mac.
  4. Click your computer to see its technical specifications, which include its ports.

The user guide for your Mac also includes information about the specific ports included on your computer.

Learn what the ports on your Mac are used for

The ports on your Mac usually are marked with a symbol that explains what the port is used for:

  • Power port: On a Mac notebook, this is where you connect the power cable.
  • USB port: A wired external keyboard or mouse connects to your computer's USB port, as do many printers and USB flash drives. Wireless keyboards, trackpads, and printers do not need to use a USB port—these use wireless Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology. Learn more about using USB devices with Mac computers here.
  • Thunderbolt: Connect a Thunderbolt display, or connect a Mini DisplayPort to DVI, VGA, HDMI, or DisplayPort adapter. You can also connect storage devices, video capture, FireWire, and gigabit ethernet adapters directly to the Thunderbolt port on your Mac. 
  • HDMI port: You can use this port and an HDMI cable to connect to the HDMI port of an HDTV and use the TV as an external display. You can also use an Apple TV and AirPlay Mirroring to turn your HDTV into an external display.
  • Ethernet port: If you connect to the Internet without Wi-Fi, you probably have a modem or router connected to your computer's Ethernet port. If your Mac doesn't have an Ethernet port but you need one, you can connect an Ethernet adapter using USB or Thunderbolt.
  • FireWire port: Some Mac computers come with FireWire 400 or FireWire 800 ports for connecting peripheral devices such as external hard drives. If you need to connect a FireWire device but your Mac doesn't include a FireWire port, you may be able to use a FireWire to Thunderbolt adapter.
  •  Audio out: Connect your Mac to an audio system, or connect headphones or speakers using the audio out port. 
  • Audio in: Some Mac computers include built-in microphones , or an audio in port ( or ). If your Mac doesn't have an audio in port, you can use an adapter like a USB-to-audio adapter to connect an external audio source.
  • Some Mac computers include a card reader slot, like an SD card or SDXC slot. This makes it easy to transfer photos to and from your computer.

Add ports to your Mac or extend its ports with hubs or adapters

Some Mac computers include more built-in ports than others. If you need to connect more devices than your Mac has ports for, you may be able to add an adapter or card:

  • For USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt peripherals, consider connecting a third-party hub. Some devices include built-in hubs or additional ports. For example, If you've connected an external display to your computer, check to see if the display includes a built-in hub with additional ports.
  • If you don't see the port you need, or a cable doesn't appear to fit where you think it would, check to see if an adapter is available. For example, newer Mac notebooks can use the MagSafe to MagSafe 2 converter to connect to older MagSafe power adapters. If you need to connect a DVI or VGA display, you may need a Mini DisplayPort video adapter. USB-C adapters are also useful if your computer has a USB-C port.

There are many options for connecting devices available. Check the Apple Store or your local Apple reseller for options.

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Published Date:Tue Mar 22 15:19:44 GMT 2016