Dongles for MacBook Pro "headless desktop"


Presentation by Peter Roll at June 2018 General Meeting - This is how Peter solved using his MacBook Pro in a stand as his desktop computer when at home.

The setup is as follows:

  • 27-in. Apple Cinema Display (2011): mini displayport + USB-A 2.0 + camera + audio
  • Lots of other USB 2.0 & 3.0 devices (Time-Machine, HDs, flash drives)
  • daily use as desktop computer, in a stand
  • occasional use for presentations

The problem:

  • how to turn on the MacBook Pro without taking it out of its stand?
  • what dongles to get to utilize the MBP USB-C ports?


Overview & Conclusion

These are the items and processes used to solve the problem:

  • CHOETECH 4K 60Hz Mini Displayport Adapter with Type-C charging port.                Amazon $18.99
  • WAVLINK 7-port USB 3.1 Type-C Hub; 6 USB C + 6 USB-A ports; Aluminum Design with 5V/6A Supply Adapter.     Amazon $24.99
  • ANKER 3-Port USB 3.0 Aluminum Portable Data Hub + GB Ethernet Port Amazon $26.99     Discontinued by Anker, but still available from Amazon and other vendors; many other manufacturers supply cheaper version of similar adapters — see Amazon link above.



Review Details


Frontal view of the desktop arrangement with all the connections.
Everyday conditions:  MacBook Pro starts up and shuts down when I want it to - hands off.   Special circumstances:   -  Start-up anytime:  remove USB-C connector from CHOETECH powered by MDP adapter for 10 seconds, then replace then the MacBook Pro starts up in about 15 seconds.  -  Shut-down anytime:  use Apple --> Shut Down command as usual.
Diagram of the connections with the mini display port adapter and the macbook pro and the monitor.
Picture of the back of the mini display port adapter.

My Road Dongles for presentations:

CHOETECH USB-C to HDMI Adapter (4K@60Hz) Thunderbolt 3 compatible at Amazon for $26.99.