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The 17 Best Apple Accessories for Buyers on a Budget

Apple makes dependable accessories for all its products — but they’re not the cheapest.


Apple makes dependable accessories for all its products — but they’re not the cheapest. So it’s a good thing a bunch of third-party companies like Anker, Insignia and AmazonBasics offer respectable substitutes for a fraction of the price. Below you’ll find our recommended alternatives to popular accessories that Apple makes for its iPhone, Mac and iPad lines. Because who really wants to spend $80 on a new charger for the MacBook?


USB-C to Lightning


What it does: Allows you to connect and charge many of your Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod or AirPods) to your Mac or new iPad Pro.

Apple: Apple USB-C to Lightning Cable, $19+
Alternative: Anker Powerline II, $18

USB-C Charge Cable


What it does: Charges, synces and transfers data between two USB-C devices, like two Macs or new iPad Pros.

Apple: Apple USB-C Charge Cable, $19+
Alternative: AmazonBasics USB Type-C to USB Type-C, $7

Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) Charging Cable


What it does: This cable supports Thunderbolt 3 and can transfer data at faster speeds. It supports DisplayPort video output, so you connect your Mac or iPad Pro to an external monitor. It also supports faster charging (up to 100W).

Apple: Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) Charging Cable, $39
Alternative: Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Cable, $25

Apple Watch Magnetic Charger to USB Cable


What it does: A charging cable for your Apple Watch (any model).

Apple: Apple Watch Magnetic Charger to USB Cable, $29
Alternative: Insignia Apple Watch Charging Cable, $25

Lightning to USB Cable


What it does: A basic charging cable for your iPhone, iPad, iPod or AirPods. It can plug into any USB-A port, on a computer, wall adapter or portable power bank.

Apple: Apple Lightning to USB Cable, $19+
Alternative: AmazonBasics Nylon Braided Lightning to USB Cable, $10

30-pin to USB Cable


What it does: A charging and syncing cable for older iPhones, iPads and iPods. Apple stopped making devices that use the 30-pin connector in 2014.

Apple: Apple 30-pin to USB Cable, $19
Alternative: AmazonBasics Apple Certified 30-Pin to USB Cable, $7


Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader


What it does: If you use a digital camera, you can remove the SD card and quickly upload high-quality photos and videos to your iPad or iPhone with this accessory.

Apple: Apple Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader, $29
Alternative: RayCue Lighting to SD Card Reader, $15

USB-C to SD Card Reader


What it does: Allows you to quickly and easily transfer photos and videos from your digital camera to your Mac or new iPad Pro.

Apple: Apple USB-C to SD Card Reader, $39
Alternative: Anker USB C Hub, $30

Lightning to Micro USB Adapter


What it does: Allows you to connect an iPhone, iPad, or iPod to any micro USB charging cable.

Apple: Apple Lightning to Micro USB Adapter, $19
Alternative: AmazonBasics Micro USB to Lightning Adapter, $11

USB-C to USB Adapter


What it does: Allows you to connect any USB-A charging cable to a Mac or iPad Pro with a USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port.

Apple: Apple USB-C to USB Adapter, $19
Alternative: AmazonBasics USB Type-C to USB 3.1 Gen1 Female Adapter, $8

USB Ethernet Adapter


What it does: If Wi-Fi is unreliable, you can use this to directly connect your Mac to an Ethernet network.

Apple: Apple USB Ethernet Adapter, $29
Alternative: Anker USB 3.0 Unibody Aluminum Gigabit Ethernet Adapter, $20

Wall Adapters

5-Watt USB Power Adapter


What it does: The entry-level charger that comes with your iPhone. It will not charge your iOS device to its 7.5-watt potential.

Apple: Apple 5W USB Power Adapter, $19
Alternative: AmazonBasics One-Port USB Wall Charger, $7

12-Watt USB Power Adapter


What it does: This is capable of charging any of the newest iPhones, iPads (non-Pros) and Apple Watch models to their fullest potential. It’s not powerful to charge a laptop.

Apple: Apple 12W USB Power Adapter, $19
Alternative: iClever 12W USB Wall Charger, $12 (2-pack)

18-Watt USB-C Power Adapter


What it does: This is the wall adapter that Apple recommends with its 11-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd generation).

Apple: Apple’s option, $29
Alternative: Anker PowerPort PD 1 USB-C Wall Charger, $20

30-Watt USB-C Power Adapter


What it does: Apple recommends using this wall adapter with its MacBook or new MacBook Air with Retina display. It can charge any USB?C–enabled device.

Apple: Apple 30W USB-C Power Adapter, $49
Alternative: Anker USB Type C Wall Charger, $26

61-watt USB-C Power Adapter


What it does: A fast wall adapter for any device with a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port. The charging cable must support Thunderbolt 3, too. Apple recommends using with a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Apple: Apple 61W USB-C Power Adapter, $69
Alternative: Anker PowerPort Speed PD 60, $37

87-watt USB-C Power Adapter


What it does: The fastest and most powerful wall adapter that Apple sells. Designed for device with Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, such as the latest Macs and iPad Pros. The charging cable must support Thunderbolt 3, too.

Apple: Apple 87-watt USB-C Power Adapter $79
Alternative: Insignia Type-C Wall Charger, $50

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