MacBook Pro 2021 should end dongle hell — here’s how

MacBook Pro 2021 ports
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Apple has gone pretty minimalistic with recent MacBook Pro models, which the company designs to be svelte and portable. But how portable can your laptop really be if you have to tote around additional dongles and other adapters just to keep your Mac connected?

Apple may have come up with a solution to this for the next crop of MacBook Pro models. And according to a well-sourced Apple analyst, it involves more ports. 

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors in a note spotted by MacRumors that the 2021 editions of the MacBook Pros are "equipped with more types of I/O, and most users may not need to purchase additional dongles." It's unclear exactly what kind of new ports will be added, but it looks like that's a major focus for Apple for the line going forward. 

The 16-inch MacBook Pro and 13-inch Intel based model have four Thunderbolt 3 ports, while the MacBook Pro with M1 has just two (one of our biggest complaints about that model, actually). MacBook Pros come with these ports, despite the fact that many other Apple devices like the iPhone use Lightning to connect. 

An earlier report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman claimed the 2021 MacBook Pros will bring back the SD card reader, in addition to making other changes (Farewell, Touch Bar.) The return of an SD card slot would be a major boon for creators and individuals who rely on removable storage. This would also eliminate the need for dongles that plug in and make for less of a headache when carting the MacBook around. 

According to Kuo, we could see these changes as early as the third quarter of this year with 14- and 16-inch models with the various different port additions returning. 

Apple has, of course, has remained mum about the situation. But given the lack of access MacBook Pro laptops offer without additional ports, this is a great decision for those looking to swap from PC to Mac but feel held back by the lack of options. Nothing has been confirmed just yet about the future MacBook Pro, but if you’re currently on the fence about buying a new MacBook Pro, it may be prudent to wait around and see if this rumor does come true. 

Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over 13 years for publications including Tom's Guide, MTV, Rolling Stone, CNN, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, and more. She's also appeared as a panelist at video game conventions like PAX East and PAX West and has coordinated social media for companies like CNET. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel in the vein of Saya no Uta. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.