Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Many projectors still only accept a VGA connection, especially in fixed installations. And while older Windows notebooks usually have a VGA port directly available, Macbooks always need an adapter, as far as I understand it.

How many different adapters are there for reasonably recent versions of Macbooks (that are likely to be still in use today)? Sometimes the owners of the Macbooks forget those adapters, and then a hectic search for other Apple users starts in the hope of finding the adapter.

If I wanted to have a set of adapters in case any Macbook owner forgot theirs, how many and which ones exactly would I need?

share|improve this question
1  
Are you looking to catalog that recent MacBooks have Mini DisplayPort (and these work in thunderbolt ports) and mini DVI video out so two Apple adapters will cover anything back to iBook days (which had a compact VGA out)? –  bmike Dec 17 '12 at 23:14
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

With the help of Mactracker, I've compiled a list of all the connectors used on Mac portables in the last decade or so.

If you stick with machines since 2009 (actually late 2008 discounting one iteration of the 17" MBP), you can get away with just a mini-Displayport adapter.

Adding to that a DVI and mini-DVI adapter will cover you every Intel (2006 and on) portable (as well as most G4 PowerBooks), except for the first MacBook Air (of which there aren't many, but it requires a micro-DVI adapter).

Mini-Displayport/Thunderbolt

mini-displayport/thunderbolt

  • MacBook Pro 13" and 15": Late 2008 and on
    • 17": Early 2009 and on
  • MacBook: Late 2009 and Mid 2010
  • MacBook (Aluminum): Late 2008
  • MacBook Air: Late 2008 and on

DVI (full-size)

dvi

  • MacBook Pro: 2006 to early 2008; late 2008 (17" only)
  • PowerBook G4 (15" and 17"): April 2002 and on

Mini-DVI

mini-dvi

  • MacBook: early 2006 to Mid 2009
  • PowerBook G4 (12"): September 2003 and on

Micro-DVI

micro-dvi

  • MacBook Air (original, early 2008)

Mini-VGA

mini-vga

  • iBook: May 2002 and on
  • PowerBook G4 (12"): January 2003 model (PowerBook6,1)
share|improve this answer
2  
Very thorough! And nice photos. –  Daniel Lawson Dec 18 '12 at 0:18
add comment

Looking at this list, I'd say that the most important adapters for you to keep around are the mini-DVI, mini-DisplayPort and the Thunderbolt ones. The other two (micro-DVI and mini-VGA) are either old and outdated or simply quite rare. So for the most part you should be safe with those initial three. If you want to be completely on the safe side though, you should look into getting those other two, older ones, as well.

share|improve this answer
    
My iBook uses the mini-VGA adaptor. –  Daniel Lawson Dec 17 '12 at 22:47
    
Would you say my answer still aplies though? Or is it still common, in your experience, with computers as old as the iBooks? –  burnso Dec 17 '12 at 23:01
    
I'll admit I don't see a lot of iBooks in circulation anymore. –  Daniel Lawson Dec 18 '12 at 0:16
add comment

The different connections on a MacBook or MacBook Pro have almost changed with every new versions of the laptops.

If we go back only a couple of years MacBook Pro had built in DVI connector and there were adapters for DVI to VGA. Later on came the Mini DisplayPort and Mini-DVI.

Today we have Apples new Thunderbolt in the laptops. Some also have HDMI.

I suggest going to Apple Store - Cables and check out what there is still on the market.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.