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?

  • 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, 2012 at 23:14

3 Answers 3


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).



  • 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)


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



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



  • MacBook Air (original, early 2008)



  • iBook: May 2002 and on
  • PowerBook G4 (12"): January 2003 model (PowerBook6,1)
  • 2
    Very thorough! And nice photos.
    – Daniel
    Dec 18, 2012 at 0:18

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 The other two (micro-DVI and mini-VGA) are either old and outdated or simply quite rare.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.

  • My iBook uses the mini-VGA adaptor.
    – Daniel
    Dec 17, 2012 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?
    – gburning
    Dec 17, 2012 at 23:01
  • I'll admit I don't see a lot of iBooks in circulation anymore.
    – Daniel
    Dec 18, 2012 at 0:16

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.

You must log in to answer this question.