In a previous post, I wrote about Ten Great Desktop Accessories for Your Mac Based Office. It was well received so I’d like to turn the focus to ten great Mac and iOS accessories that are primarily designed to be used on the go.
1. Battery Pack - If you’re a heavy iOS user, or perhaps your battery is a year or so old you may have trouble making it through the day. I recommend that everyone have an external battery (or two) that they can grab for a quick charge. I recommend two types of batteries. I like having one smaller battery that can be slipped in a pocket and will add an extra charge or two to an iPhone, enough to get you through the day. For this I like the Anker Astro E1 5200 mAh charger or the even smaller Anker PowerCore+ mini 3350 mAh “lipstick” charger. I carry one of these charges in my purse along with a 6" lightning cable so I can always recharge my phone. But for times when you’re traveling with a family or going for several days it’s also nice to have a bigger battery pack that will pack a punch and charge multiple devices and is designed to be carried in a bag. My go-to charger for this is the Anker Astro E7 mAh charger.
2. Travel Wall Charger - While we’re on the topic of power, you probably have multiple devices that you need to charge at any given time. When I travel I have to charge an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and my travel battery. For this reason I carry the Anker PowerPort USB Charger with foldable plug. It’s not much bigger than the Apple and will charge four devices, including two tablets, at once. If you’re in a hurry, plug your iPhone into one of the slots designed for a tablet and it will charge even faster.
3. Car Mount for iPhone - While many cars come with built-in GPS or iPhone to car integration, not all cars do. Or, perhaps your traveling and the rental car company wants an crazy per-day cost to allow you to use the car’s’ navigation system. An inexpensive and portable car mount will allow you to easily and temporary integrate your iPhone into any car. My current favorite is the Kenu Airframe which mounts into AC vents. There’s also a phablet version available if you have an iPhone 6 Plus or larger android phone.
4. PlugBug - When taking your notebook on the go you may also need to power up your iPhone or iPad. The PlugBug is an accessory that complements your Apple Power Adapter and adds a USB charging port allowing you to simultaneously charge your Mac and a USB device. I love using this when I travel because it gives me an extra USB port for charging in the hotel room.
5. Portable Notebook Stand - I love working with my laptop on the go, but it’s not always the most ergonomic situation. When I’m at my desk I keep my notebook on a riser to raise the screen to a more natural height. The Roost is a lightweight and ultra-portable stand that will elevate your Mac notebook to a more ergonomic level. You will need to pair it with a wireless keyboard and mouse/trackpad.
6. Bluetooth Keyboard - If you’re going to be using your iOS device, or even your Mac, on the go you may want a better keyboard. My favorite is the Logitech K811. This keyboard has a great tactile feel (very similar to Apple’s built-in keyboard), is backlit, is ultra-portable, and has the ability to pair with up to three devices making it extremely versatile.
7. Travel Tray - I hate when staying in a hotel room and there’s no good place to drop your stuff. I like the Tom Bihn Travel Tray which is a compact bag that then pops up into a container for holding loose items and can be closed with a draw string.
8. Travel Router - Connectivity when traveling can be dicey. The Edimax Travel Router is a multi-purpose device that adds ethernet connectivity to devices via USB and will create a wireless hotspot from an existing wired or wireless Internet connection.
9. Combination Cables - These days most of my portable devices connect either via micro USB or lightning. With multiple devices, that means I have a number of different cable I have to travel with. But, it’s pretty easy to find combination micro-USB/lightning cables including these from Skiva .These cables are fairly inexpensive and will reduce the total number of cables you have to carry in your bag.
10. Portable Power Source - When you’re on the go you don’t ever want to be left stranded. I keep the Schumacher XP400 Instant Portable Power Source in the trunk of my car. This gadget serves a couple of purposes. First, it will jump start a car’s dead battery and has saved me in more than one occasion. Second, it’s a really big battery that has a 12v Accessory Outlet (the same found in most cars) that can be used with an adapter to power USB devices which makes it a great emergency power source.
This article first appeared in the February Issue of ScreencastsOnline Monthly Magazine. ScreenCastsOnline monthly magazine is packed with hints, tips, articles and links to streamable versions of ScreenCastsOnline tutorials and delivered monthly via Newsstand on the iPad. You can find out more at https://www.screencastsonline.com/membership_benefits/