Simple hack I used to tame the dongles and external drives on my MacBook Pro

Having a bunch of things dangling off your laptop is not all that convenient. Here's how I've improved things dramatically.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

My MacBook Pro only has four USB-C ports, so this means that I'm constantly relying on dongles to add the other ports that I need during the day. Also, since I'm working with a lot of photos and videos, I juggle several portable external SSDs.

Sometimes I have a hub, an SD/microSD card reader, and an external drive attached.

If you don't have a table, then this gets cumbersome very quickly. And even if you do have a table to work on, good much moving your laptop easily.

But I've solved this problem, and it should work for anyone who uses a laptop as a portable workstation.

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So, what have I done?

I've used Velcro.

To be precise, self-adhesive Velcro.

I got this idea when I bought some ProGrade microSD card readers. In the box was a metal plate that sticks to the magnet in the base of the reader. The idea is that you stick the metal plate somewhere to tame your reader and stop it dangling about the place.

So, I stuck mine to the lid of my MacBook Pro.

And it worked well. As long as you're not someone who doesn't want stuff stuck to your laptop, it's a great idea.

But I wanted to take it further and do the same with my hub (the Plugable 7-in-1) and external SSDs (my favorite external SSD is Crucial's X8).

I'm fond of Velcro (and the 3M alternative, Dual Lock), so I had a roll of it handy. If you don't see yourself using a roll, you can buy a few strips. I don't recommend buying the cheap no-name stuff because it's nowhere near as good.

I stuck some 4-inch furry "loop" strips to the lower left and right hand outside of the lid of my laptop, and 4-inch strips of the corresponding "hook" strips to my hub, external SSDs, and other dongles, and I was done.

The 6-inch cables that come with most of these devices fit great, offering enough slack to work, but not too much that you're going to trap the cable when closing the display.


It's a simple "hack," but it's made using hubs and docks and drives a whole lot easier.

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