When purchasing a new Mac, you may want to pick up some accessories to go along with it. Which accessories you pick depends on your needs. A Time Machine hard drive is a must. Some people may want a printer, while other may want a scanner to go paperless. You may want to consider a network router, UPS or MacBook case as well. A set of EarPods can come in handy as a small headset for those that record audio or video or use FaceTime often.
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today’s episode let’s look at accessories you may want to consider when buying a new Mac.
So I get this question a lot. When buying a new Mac which accessories should you get with it. Well, it’s up to you and how you use your Mac but here are some suggestions and some things to think about.
One accessory that you shouldn’t be without is a backup drive. See episode #700 for why. I go into detail there. You can get either an external USB drive, they are really cheap. Or if you have several Macs or you want to backup over your network you can consider getting a Time Capsule as your network router.
So looking at network routers that is the first thing you may want to consider. Now how do you have internet in your home. You may have a wireless internet connection through the device provided to you by your DSL or cable modem provider. That may be fine for a lot of people. Other people may want to hook up another router like Airport Extreme or Time Capsule to give them more functionality. You can do a lot of cool things with an Airport Extreme and Time Capsule and it provides usually much better service and range than the free one that you get with your ISP.
Now a lot of times when people think of computer accessories they immediately think of printer. But it may not be necessary to get a printer in today’s world. People are printing less and less. It is easy to carry things around with you today on your Mac, if you have a portable Mac, or to have things on say your iPhone or other mobile device. So printing isn’t always necessary but sometimes it is useful. Like for instance printing boarding passes before an airline flight, printing a shopping list, or printing a map up to get to somebody to get somewhere. So it can be useful. Printers are pretty cheap. I hate inkjet printers because they very often break, they run out of ink very quickly and once they run out of ink the first time they never seem to work quite as well with the replacement cartridges. But they are cheap and for people who need to print every once in a while you may look into getting a printer.
On the opposite end of things you may want to look into a device that actually takes paper out of your home office. For instance get a scanner. You can get a cheap scanner and solution that does one sheet at a time like the one from Neatworks. I use the ScanSnap which is a really cool fast scanner for scanning lots of things in. What these devices do is they allow you to get rid of paper. So you get a bill or something in the mail, or some document you can scan it in, you have it as a pdf and you can shred or throw away the original. So instead of having a filing cabinet filled with paper that you probably never will go back to you instead have a searchable set of files on your Mac.
Now if you are using a Mac that plugs directly into AC power like an iMac you may want to consider getting a UPS, an uninterruptible power supply. What this means if you have a power outage, even if it is just for a second, instead of your Mac shutting off it will remain on because you kind of have a battery backup to last you five, ten, fifteen minutes which is useful for saving your files and shutting down gracefully. It also can be great if you leave your Mac on or in sleep mode it won’t just shut down if there is a quick power surge. See episode #378 for more information about uninterruptible power supplies. They are very useful and actually pretty cheap.
Now if you do have a portable Mac like a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air you may want to consider buying a second power adapter. Especially if you have a situation where you are always going between work and home or school and home. It can be a pain to pack up the power adapter, wind up the cord each time, put it in your bag, and then remember to do that every time you move. And if you leave that power adapter behind you may be in trouble. When I used to bring a MacBook to and from work every time I bought an extra one so that I had one sitting at work and one sitting at home and I never had to move either one.
Also, for a MacBook you may want to consider getting protection for it. You can get a case, there are all sorts of different cases, various levels of protection, various levels of quality and style. Then maybe something to carry it in as well. It depends a lot on the person. I use my MacBook mostly between my home office and my sofa and then I stuff it in a nice padded carryon for taking on trips. So I don’t really need to protect the case very much. But a student who is always throwing it into a backpack, taking it out every different class, and moving around constantly throughout the day might want to get some sort of protection.
Another accessory to consider is an external SuperDrive. So Apple sells these pretty cheaply and they give you an optical drive for Macs that don’t have them. Since all the MacBooks now don’t have optical drives and also Mac Minis don’t come with it, it can be very useful if you are still using CDs and DVDs or to create DVDs it can be useful to have one of these.
Lastly is one you may not think of right away but pick up a set of Apple’s ear pods which are the headphones that come with say the iPhone and the iPod. If you get the set that you buy by itself it comes with volume controls and a microphone which basically makes it a headset and guess what, this headset works with your Mac. You plug that into the headphone jack on your Mac and the microphone will work as well. So if you do things like recording your voice you have a little microphone down here rather than the one all the way over on your Mac. If you use something like Skype or FaceTime you can use these ear pods as a headset as well. It’s much better because you can actually communicate with somebody in a semi public place which you couldn’t do using your speakers, and also you get better quality with the microphone closer to you and the ear pods in your ears.
So that is a look at some accessories you may want to consider when buying a new Mac.
I hope you found this useful. This is Gary with MacMost Now.