If you’ve got yourself a shiny new MacBook before heading back to school or uni, you’ll want to make the most of it – and keep it safe. That not only means grabbing a case, sleeve, or bag to save it from scratches, but also picking up a few techie accessories to get the most out of it – as well as limitations of the single USB-C port if you have a 12in MacBook.
That’s why we’ve created this guide, which we think includes just about everything you should need to turn your MacBook into the ultimate laptop.
This round-up was originally put together specifically with the 12in MacBook in mind (both 2016 and 2017 models), but we’ve expanded it for other MacBook models too.
You might want to check out our similar guides bags and sleeves for the
MacBook Air and
Moshi Tego Sling Messenger
One of the most important things for a laptop is the ability to carry it around – and safely. That not only means safe from bumps and scratches, but also from opportunistic thieves – and luckily the Moshi Tego Sling is perfectly capable of protecting against both.
This padded messenger bag is built from slash-proof material, and boasts RFID-shielded pockets and inward-facing zips, meaning no-one can unzip it without you noticing. It’s also super sci-fi, perfect for your new MacBook.
There’s a dedicated laptop pouch that’s big enough to fit MacBooks up to 13in, along with enough other pouches and pockets to manage your other belongings. Luckily the whole thing is still pretty compact though, and the crossbody design means you can sling it over either shoulder.
Get it on
Amazon for £99/$134.95.
Twelve South BookBook
Twelve South makes some excellent quality products. This BookBook cover joins its growing range of cases that look like something you’d find on a dusty shelf in a French castle.
It adds a little bulk to your svelte MacBook, but given it’s the thinnest laptop in Apple’s range this is also the least bulky BookBook. It has a lovely padded interior to prevent scratches, with the option to strap your laptop in and use it as an open book-style case, or as a simpler slipcase.
It’s available for the 12in MacBook, 13in MacBook Pro and Air, and 15in Pro on
Amazon and directly from
G-Technology 1TB G-DRIVE
excellent USB-C hard drive has 1TB of memory for all your backup and storage needs, but bear in mind this is a 7200 RPM machine, it’s not an SSD (solid state drive).
The USB-C transfer speeds to and from the 12in MacBook are exceptionally zippy – we moved a 70GB music collection in under 5 minutes to our machine. Note that you can use it with the supplied regular USB cable on any other PC or Mac too, but speeds will be slower.
You also have to format the machine for use on either PC or Mac, though with a bit of tinkering we were able to set it up to work with both operating systems simultaneously.
Check out this article which explains how to do that!
Pick it up from
Apple for £74.59/US$79.95/AU$134.95 or from Amazon where it’s slightly
This excellent snap-on case from Moshi is the best choice if you want to protect your MacBook with a case that can stay on, while also showing off the MacBook’s exquisite design. The Moshi case is a hardened plastic that is just the right side of opaque, so inevitable scratches don’t really show, while allowing the colour of the device to shine through.
It comes in two sections that snap onto both halves of the computer, allowing full use of the hinge, keyboard (obviously) and ports (all two of them). It even has four rubberised feet to stop it sliding about.
It’s available for the 12in, 13in, 15in and 16in MacBook, Air, Pro and Retina Pro models directly from
Moshi for US$54.95 (around £44.22) or on
Woolnut Leather Sleeve
€75 (approximately $85)
One of the most impressive sleeves we’ve used recently, the Woolnut sleeve for the 12in MacBook is available in this smart brown or black. The Swedish brand specialises in MacBook sleeves, so the craftsmanship is on point. You can see its full MacBook collection
The felt lining will keep your MacBook safe from harm, plus it’s so versatile with its classic look that you could take this into the board room or the espresso bar and not look out of place.
12in option costs € 39.00 (around £35.17/US$43.74/AU$63.86). There are also versions for the
13in and 15in Macbook on Amazon.
Knomo Barbican Leather Sleeve
This is hands-down one of the best quality and well made laptop sleeves for the MacBook. From the business exec taking it from meeting to meeting to the practical student who needs a decent case, the Knomo Barbican makes an ideal sleeve.
It’s made from PU coated leather and has a well-padded interior into which the MacBook fits snugly – it won’t be sliding about at all in transit. When in use it’s even slim enough to fit into a backpack. A zipper guard when closed protects your computer from scratches.
Each case has a unique code printed on the inside that you can register with Knomo so that if lost, your case (and potentially expensive MacBook) can be returned to you by its finder.
Pick it up for
£70 from Amazon. It’s not available directly from Knomo anymore, but you can find loads of other
Designed with women in mind, this handbag/briefcase design is elegant and practical at the same time. It fits laptops up to 14in, so the MacBook fits in easily – and given that laptop’s slim profile, you’ll have tons of room for your day-to-day bits and pieces too.
There’s a removable shoulder strap and a pocket on the inside that would fit an iPad or notebook as well. It’s available in black and grey and is perfect for work or everyday casual use.
It’s also lined with an RFID signal blocker in the left front pocket for extra protection. Pick it up directly from
Knomo or from
Amazon for £83.99/US$84.24/AU$143.75.
From $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year
The MacBook is a powerful work tool, and you may well be perfectly happy using Pages, Numbers and Keynote as your productivity software. However, you might prefer Microsoft’s insanely popular Office software.
And with good reason – Word, Excel and Powerpoint are brilliant for getting stuff done, it’s just a shame that they don’t come bundled with Macs. The best way to get it is through a flexible Microsoft 365 subscription. You can pay as little as £5.99 per month for access to the software, and you can cancel at any time on certain plans.
It’s a great way to get instant updates too, as the packages are all online to download. There are also options for business too.
See which package suits you best here.
We’ve also got a
full guide on Office for Mac, which you can read here.
Belkin USB-C Car Charger
You may be familiar with in-car phone chargers, but Belkin has made a USB-C charger for use on the road that is able to power and charge your MacBook.
Belkin claims it’s the first of its kind, and the ability to meeting-hop in your car while charging your MacBook is a great option to have. Also, with many other devices adopting USB-C this handy little accessory will prove itself very handy over the coming years.
Pick it up from
Amazon for £24.99/
This well-made stand from Griffin is useful if you want to use your MacBook as a desktop replacement. It comes in three parts and is easily assembled for use on a flat surface. Place the laptop open on the rubberised arms, and you find it at comfortable viewing height for all-day use.
Be warned, though – you can’t type while it’s on there as it’s too high. This is a stand intended to be paired with a separate keyboard and mouse. It’s an excellent, affordable and packable solution to using your laptop in a comfortable desktop scenario.
Pick it up from
Amazon for £39.95.