9/25/23, Yom Kippur: UES & SOHO repair centers are closed / Midtown will be open

What’s the deal with the 4 Thunderbolt Ports on the 2016 MacBook Pro? – What can you use them for?

Side view of 2016 MacBook Pro thunderbolt portsThe 2016 MacBook Pro introduces a sleeker look at ports, just 4 thunderbolt ports and a single headphone jack.  Yes, no more USB ports or dedicated power charger ports.  These thunderbolt 3 ports, also known as USB-C ports, have many different uses to them. Please keep in mind thunderbolt 1 and 2 ports are different and know synonymously used as USB-C ports.

Here’s what you can use the four thunderbolt ports for on the 2016 MacBook Pro:

  • Charging your MacBook Pro
  • Connecting an external hard drive to transfer files
  • Connecting video output such as HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort

As per transfer speeds via the USB-C port, you’re looking at 5 Gbps.

For the non-Apple tech guys, you’ll be happy to know you can’t mess up plugging into the thunderbolt ports.  You can plug it in right-side up or upside-down and it will still accept it.

What if you have a USB or firewire external hard drive?  How can you connect it?  Well, that’s when you’ll need to go to the ol’ adapter graveyard and match up your connection to a USB-C port adapter.  Within time, all devices will be thunderbolt 3 connections, or at least, Apple would like it to be that way.  That will make it interesting for PC support manufacturers.  Will they have to convert their models to all thunderbolt ports?  Hopefully, this slippery slope won’t be one we encounter at that would mean having separate external hard drives that are only compatible for PCs or Macs.  Wasted IT support budgets for equipment doesn’t make sense to me.  So, hopefully, the thunderbolt port picture doesn’t become too big for the tech support computer world.

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