I use four cable connections to my MacbookPro: Power, thunderbolt to external monitor, thunderbolt to ethernet cable, and USB. In a typical day, I need to disconnect and reconnect these many times as I take my laptop to meetings.

Is there any kind of "cable concentrator" that would let me plug everything into some kind of gizmo and then connect that via a single thunderbolt or USB cable to the Macbook?

Note - I have a USB-C Mac and not a MagSafe Mac.

  • This question was originally asking about a Mac with a Thunderbolt 2 connector. Thunderbolt 3 (USB C) MacBook Pros didn't come out until after the question was asked – Skeleton Bow Jan 22 at 21:17

I think the word you are looking for is docking station.

Otherwise, if you have a spare laptop and the meetings are within the same building or VPN-enabled (i.e. on the same network as your MBP), you could just use the native OS X VNC server/client by enabling remote administration (or whatnot) in System Preferences. Then just leave your MBP hooked up, and on the remote machine, open a Finder window, hit Cmd+k, and type vnc://ip.or.hostname.of.your.mbp, and hit enter.

Alternately, if your company doesn't frown on it, you could use TeamViewer for remote access over the Internet. It has built-in proxy support if you require that, as well.

If your spare is a Windows laptop, you can install xRDP for OS X, and use Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol to remote into your MBP. I prefer RDP over VNC any day and use it almost exclusively on all of my *NIX machines.

  • I think you misunderstood my question. I do NOT have a spare laptop. Rather, I need to disconnect and reconnect 4 cables from my laptop multiple times a day as I need to take it to meetings. It might seem trivial, but it's an annoying hassle. I'd prefer to just plug / unplug a single "master" cable that's got all the others attached to it. – Scott Nov 17 '15 at 19:58
  • @Scott - That's why the first thing I said was that you need a docking station. The rest of my response was just alternative solutions to avoid purchasing a docking station. With a docking station, you can connect 1 or 2 cables (usually power and USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, HDMI, or some form of monitor output). When you leave for a meeting, just unplug from the docking station and when you return, plug it back in. I work in a corporate environment and do this all the time. – rubynorails Nov 17 '15 at 21:48

Yes, they exist but are not cheap. A better alternative might be a physical docking cradle where you can plug your Mac in as a whole. They usually come in the form of a "bring your own cables" kind of dock, which is purely a mechanical solution to your problem.

  • I've seen a bunch on Kickstarter and elsewhere. They're either very expensive (for no apparent reason other than demand) or the KS project got cancelled. – Scott Nov 17 '15 at 19:58
  • The biggest issue seems to be the converter chips which are expensive, and the specialized firmware to make it work. – John Keates Nov 18 '15 at 5:07

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