13 Disappearing Laptop Ports and How to Get Them Back

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Apple recently kicked over a hornet's nest filled with dongles when it unveiled a pair of iPhones that do away with the 3.5-mm audio jack. Unfortunately, in their zeal to save money and make their systems ever thinner, notebook vendors have also removed a lot of important connectors. Other technologies, like FireWire connectors, are just too obsolete for manufacturers to support, but if you still have devices that use them, you don't care how old they are. 
If you buy a new laptop today, you can rest assured that it will work with your old headphones, but there's a good chance it won't work with your camera's memory cards, wired office network or backup drive out of the box. The bleeding-edge 12-inch MacBook has only a single USB Type-C port to go with its audio jack, while the business-friendly Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has room for three USB ports but eschews the Ethernet connection you need in many offices.  
To help you stay connected, we've detailed some of the most important ports (or drives) you might be missing and how to get them back with the right adapters. 

Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
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  • Lunatic Says:

    Your website is hot garbage. First, optical drives aren't a "port" and half of these aren't "disappearing" because they were ALREADY gone (some for a decade) at time of writing. I had to scroll down to click next each time, which is fucking retarded because I shouldn't have to click next anyway but my god if you're going to do that at least make the page adjust or take me to a new page or take me back to the top or fucking SOMETHING. USB A was not dying out in 2016, nor was Ethernet. SD card slots aren't dying out even now at the end of 2018, and even if they were they seem to be tacked on to every USB C dongle anyway. Expresscard internally used both PCI Express and USB 2.0 to handle expansion, with the functionality of one unaffected by and irrelevant to the functionality of the other, so your USB to expresscard adapter would only work for the selection of Expresscards that worked over the internal USB interface and didn't need the PCI Express connection, which are things that already themselves had been adapted to USB. That adapter wouldn't work for things like adding USB 3.0 or high-end video capture, which is what it would still be relevant for today and what I personally continue to use it for in my dated laptop. Overall a poorly researched clickbait article on a trash website wasting space in my search results.

  • stan zap Says:

    your website is broken i don't need 13 pages of 'click next to continue' for one line of text and a picture... my mouse has a scroll wheel for a reason

  • Nigel Appleby Says:

    Now I know why I still like my Toshiba 17 inch which I bought in 2010. The only problem has been a hard drive crash - and yes I did have a back up. It has an optical drive and most ports including an SD card reader. It is heavy and slower than my PC but it does everything that I want it to.

  • Pamm M. Says:

    Great article. As a small business owner the disappearing port issue has always been a problem!

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