Dongle-tangling: Use dark chaotic forces and never lose your headphone adapter again

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Dongle-tangling is the hottest thing since AirPods.
Dongle-tangling is the hottest thing since AirPods.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You know how headphone cables always get tangled? In the past, I have put a cable down carefully, and picked it up just moments later, and the wires have already tied themselves into knots. And you know what else is super-annoying? Apple’s stupid USB-C and Lightning headphone adapters, the kind that you have to use if you want to plug headphones or cables recent into iPads and iPhones.

But what if there was a way to take both these annoyances, and combine them into something … slightly less annoying?!? That would be amazing, obviously. Today we will see how to use the powerful dark force of tangling to stop you from losing your headphone jack dongles.

This $10 dongle changed how I use my iPad

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USB-C adapter
Anker’s little dongle is super handy.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The latest iPad Pro comes with a proper USB port, in the shape of USB-C. Now, as long as you can find the right cable or adapter, you can plug in pretty much anything short of a printer, and it will work as expected.

But you still need to find the right cable, or resort to a USB hub (none of which are really designed to work well with a tablet). In the past, that meant buying lots of USB-C to microUSB, USB-C to miniUSB, USB-C to USB-B cables, and so on.

If only I’d discovered this USB-C adapter first.

How to plug an Ethernet cable into your iPad

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This is a great-looking hub, but it still has problems.
This USB-C hub adds Ethernet to the 2018 iPad Pro, but any iPad can be hooked up with the right dongle.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Ethernet? In 2018? Yes. Maybe you work in an office without Wi-Fi. Perhaps you need to connect your Mac and iPad together directly with a cable for super-fast file transfers. Or maybe you just want the most reliable network connection possible — when recording a podcast, for example.

Whatever the reason, Wi-Fi hasn’t completely ousted Ethernet yet. And using Ethernet on your iPad is easy. If you’re hooking up an old Lightning iPad, it’s pretty easy. If you’re connecting a new USB-C iPad Pro, it’s dead easy.

The one dongle every MacBook owner needs

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Calbit dongle
We found the one dongle to rule them all.
Photo: Erfon Elijah

The 2018 MacBook Pro is one of the sexiest machines Apple’s ever made. There’s just one problem: you need a bunch of dongles to use all your favorite accessories.

Because the MacBook Pro only has USB-C ports you’ll need a dongle for ethernet, a dongle for an HDMI display and another dongle to connect your gadgets that use USB-A, which is like everything. CultCast host Erfon Elijah, aka The Gadget Hunter, has been on the search for the perfect dongle solution for people on the go. In his latest video he reveals his favorite new dongle of 2019.

If you’re ready to taste the sweet relief of living life with just one dongle, pay attention:

Powerful MacBook dock lets you escape ‘dongle hell’

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Linedock
LineDock has ports, power and plenty of storage.
Photo: Linedock

CES 2019 bugLinedock is a device designed to deliver power and salvation from what its creators refer to as “dongle hell.”

It’s a massive messiah at two pounds with nine ports, a 20,000mAH battery with 100 W pass-through charging and an onboard SSD with up to 1 TB of storage.

Make sure you get copies of all your family’s photos this holiday season

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Share family photos
The Camera Connection Kit has some surprising tricks.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

This weekend, you’re “enjoying” some extended time with your family. After you’ve fixed their devices, and taught them that the battery of their iPhone lasts way longer if they don’t leave the damn screen on the whole time, you might decide to swap some photos. You may grab the your old childhood snaps off your mother’s iPad, or photos of the family recipe book off your father’s iPhone.

There are a few ways to do this — slow, fast and faster, wired or wireless. Let’s see how to transfer photos between iPhones and iPads.

Here’s what happens when you plug Thunderbolt gadgets into your 2018 iPad Pro

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Thunderbolt iPad Pro 2018
The new iPad Pro can’t use Thunderbolt accessories, but it can recognize them.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Thunderbolt cables and plugs look exactly like USB-C cables and plugs, but they are incompatible. Or rather, you can plug both kinds into a Thunderbolt port and any connected peripheral will work, but you can’t plug Thunderbolt into USB-C. Or rather you can plug it in, but it won’t work. You see? We’re confused already.

But what happens when you plug a Thunderbolt accessory into the new 2018 iPad Pro?

Cult of Mac’s 2018 Apple wish list

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iPad Pro2
What the next iPad might look like.
Photo: Martin Hajek

Cult of Mac's 2017 Year in Review With 2018 about to begin, why rehash everything that already happened, just to fill up some space while we take time out for Christmas? Let’s go with a different year-end cliche? Yes, it’s a wish list for Apple products in 2018.

Some of these will almost certainly come to pass, while others perhaps will not. One is probably doomed before you even read about it here. Let’s take a look at what Apple products I hope will part me from my money in the coming year.