Ports and Connectors

On the sides of your Mac are a few small, geometric-shaped holes on your computer that may differ from one another. These are your computer's ports, which are used to connect other devices (aka peripherals) to your Mac.

You've probably heard the words "FireWire" and "USB" tossed around at work or your local computer or electronics superstore, but what exactly do these terms mean?
This Apple MacBook Pro has most of its ports located on its side—your port locations may vary.

Your keyboard and mouse are connected to your computer's USB ports. If you're connected to the Internet, you probably have a modem connected to your computer's Ethernet port, unless you're connected wirelessly. Look no further for high-speed I/O performance, connect your device like Thunderbolt capable displays, storage devices, and video capture solutions directly to your Mac's Thunderbolt port. Learn to connect your Mac to an audio system or to connect headphones or speakers using the audio ports. As you progress through your Mac life, you'll probably get the desire to buy a peripheral or two—or 10. To help make your connection choices a little easier, let's take a look at the different ports your Mac may have.

iMac (Mid 2011)
MacBook Air
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2011)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2011)
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Late 2011)
Mac mini (Mid 2011)
Mac Pro (Mid 2010)

Learn more about USB and Firewire ports, devices, and basic troubleshooting. Got a new Thunderbolt Display, see which Macs connect to it. 

Help - I Don't Have Enough Ports!
Apple computers vary in the number of ports each features—more specifically, a MacBook, for example, has fewer USB and FireWire ports than a Mac Pro. But you may run into a situation where your Mac doesn't have enough ports to connect your growing peripheral collection. So how are you supposed to hook up all your peripherals?

Easy. Get a hub.

There are plenty of third-party USB and FireWire hubs on the market. These hubs work in the same way that a power strip allows you to plug in more electrical devices into a single socket. Companies such as Belkin and Kensington offer a wide variety of hubs. And if you're looking to create your own computer network, you'll find plenty of Ethernet hubs on the market too.