Five Things You Still Can't Do With a MacBook Pro

It's been over 200 days since Apple debuted its redesigned MacBook Pro lineup. Offered in 14-inch and 16-inch display sizes, the new-look MacBooks wowed Apple fans and creative pros alike with their powerful custom Apple silicon, mini-LED screen, and multiple connectivity options. But there are still some things you can't do with a MacBook Pro. Here are five features some Mac users are still waiting for.

14 16 inch 2021 mbps back to back feature orange

1. Support for 120Hz 4K Displays

Five years after it removed the HDMI port on the MacBook Pro, Apple in 2021 brought back the much-used multimedia interface to its top-of-the-line notebook. Unfortunately, the HDMI port that returned isn't so top-of-the-line – it's an HDMI 2.0 port instead of an HDMI 2.1 port.

macbook pro ports hdmi sd
HDMI 2.1 technology would have allowed the port to run a 4K display with a 120Hz refresh rate. As it stands, the HDMI 2.0 port on the current MacBook Pro supports only a 4K display with a refresh rate of up to 60Hz.

Apple's decision not to support 4K at 120Hz may well have been based on bandwidth limitations, but connecting Thunderbolt/USB-C displays results in a similar maximum refresh rate. According to Apple, the M1 Pro MacBook Pro models support up to two external displays with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz, while the M1 Max MacBook Pro models support up to three external displays with up to 6K resolution and one external display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz.

2. Support for UHS-III SD Cards

In its bid to placate photographers and video producers, Apple reintroduced the SD card slot, not seen in a MacBook Pro model since 2015. What it didn't explicitly advertise is that the slot doesn't support UHS-III cards, which offer read and write speeds up to 624 MB/s. (That wasn't the only disappointment: The SD card slot on the new MacBook Pros supports UHS-II cards, but only up to 250MB/s of data transfer, not the 312MB/s speeds that the standard is theoretically capable of.)

2021 MBP SD Card Error Feature
There may not be many UHS-III cameras out there yet, but future-proofing the connectivity on a notebook that costs upwards of $2,000 is always going to be a welcome measure.

3. Ethernet Port

There's a simple enough reason why Apple didn't add Ethernet connectivity to its latest MacBook Pro: A standard Ethernet port is actually thicker than the notebook's chassis. So why should this even be considered a glaring omission?

imac ethernet port
In fact, Apple faced the same challenge with the thin design of the latest 24-inch iMac, which unlike the MacBook Pro has traditionally included an Ethernet port. Apple's solution was to place the Ethernet port in the power adapter. Apple says this "cool new innovation" allows users to keep their desks less cluttered, while still enjoying the benefits of Ethernet, which makes the lack of a similar port on the MacBook Pro power brick all the more surprising.

4. 5G Network Connectivity

Lenovo, Samsung, Acer, Dell, and HP all offer laptops with 5G connectivity, yet no Mac in Apple's notebook lineup currently supports the cellular standard. The same can't be said for Apple's iPad range, with LTE versions of both the iPad Pro and iPad mini readily available.

Apple 5G Modem Feature Triad
Should we expect the situation to change anytime soon? Perhaps so, if a report from January 2021 by well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman is anything to go by. Apple has developed "underlying Mac support" for cellular connectivity, according to Gurman, and given that we know Apple is working on its own custom modem set to appear in iPhones as soon as 2023, here's hoping that it makes an appearance in next year's MacBook Pro.

5. Wi-Fi 6E Support

Some say Wi-Fi 6E is still too new for it to be worth Apple's support yet. The counterargument is that the Google Pixel 6 and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra already comply with the standard, and users typically upgrade their smartphone far more frequently than their notebook.

linksys wifi 6e
Wi-Fi 6E offers the features and capabilities of Wi-Fi 6, including higher performance, lower latency, and faster data rates, extended into the 6 GHz band. The additional spectrum provides more airspace beyond existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, resulting in increased bandwidth and less interference for devices that support Wi-Fi 6E.

Since early 2021 – months before the new MacBook Pro was launched – half a dozen routers and mesh systems have included the latest Wi-Fi 6E band. There will be more as time goes by. All of these reasons speak to why Apple is expected to support the standard in its first mixed reality headset, which is expected later this year or next. That it could feature in the next-generation of MacBook Pro is by no means outside the realms of possibility.

Related Roundup: 14 & 16" MacBook Pro
Related Forum: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

macsplusmacs Avatar
8 weeks ago
I would love a brick with an Ethernet port. surprised it's not an upgrade option.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dingle19 Avatar
8 weeks ago
Article should be titled "Five Things You Don't Need on a Laptop"
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mtoddy Avatar
8 weeks ago

Apple's decision not to support 4K at 120Hz may well have been based on limitations of bandwidth, but the same maximum refresh rate applies to the Thunderbolt 4 ports.
Not sure what this part of the article is trying to say, but I use 4K 144Hz dual monitors at 144Hz with my MacBook Pro daily:


Attachment Image
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ghanwani Avatar
8 weeks ago
#6 No USB-A port.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
-griffy- Avatar
8 weeks ago
Point 1 makes it sound like you can't get 4K at 120 at all, but you absolutely can over DisplayPort/Thunderbolt (even past 120hz). Just not over HDMI.

EDIT: The article cites the technical specs for the M1 Pro and M1 Max, which only states 60hz, but that's a bit misleading because it is saying the M1 Max supports, all at the same time, running the built-in display at full resolution, three 6K displays, and one 4K display, at 60hz. As in you have the internal display AND four monitors running at 4K or above all plugged in at the same time, it can handle that at 60hz.

If you aren't using all that bandwidth at the same time it is more than capable of handling two 4K displays at 144hz over DisplayPort/Thunderbolt.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
awer25 Avatar
8 weeks ago
How else will they tempt us to buy the next model?
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

2021 MBP Profile Feature Yellow

What Next for the MacBook Pro's Ports?

Friday December 10, 2021 2:54 am PST by
With Apple bringing the MagSafe charging port, HDMI port, and SDXC card slot to its latest high-end MacBook Pro models, speculation about future port additions for the next iteration of the MacBook Pro has already begun. Not all users were happy about the specifications of the new MacBook Pro's ports, highlighting two main areas for Apple to build on the success of its new machines in the...
2012 retina macbook pro apple website

10 Years Ago Today: Apple Announces First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display

Saturday June 11, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
Today marks the 10th anniversary of Apple announcing the first MacBook Pro model featuring a higher-resolution Retina display. Introduced at WWDC 2012, the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro introduced a much thinner design compared to the previous model, as Apple removed the built-in Ethernet port, FireWire port, and CD/DVD drive. The notebook was still equipped with two Thunderbolt ports, two...
2021 MBP Profile Feature Yellow

New MacBook Pro Models Include HDMI 2.0 Port Instead of HDMI 2.1

Monday October 18, 2021 2:54 pm PDT by
Apple in 2016 removed all of the ports from its MacBook Pro models except for Thunderbolt ports, a design that persisted for years -- until today. The newly announced 2021 MacBook Pro models include an SD card slot and an HDMI port alongside three Thunderbolt ports. As noted in Apple's technical specifications for the new machine, the HDMI port is unfortunately not top of the line -- it is...
2021 macbook pro ports

Here Are All the Ports on the New 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Monday October 18, 2021 6:01 pm PDT by
While all MacBook Pro models released in the last five years featured only two to four Thunderbolt ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack, that changed this week with the introduction of the redesigned 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. Following years of complaints about a lack of ports, both sizes of the new MacBook Pro feature several ports that Apple had removed in 2016, including an HDMI ...
studio display

M2 MacBooks Still Officially Support Only a Single External Display

Monday June 6, 2022 1:23 pm PDT by
Apple today unveiled new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro models powered by its new M2 chip, and tech specs on Apple's website confirm that both notebooks officially support only a single external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz. The previous-generation MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro models with the M1 chip also supported only a single external display, according to Apple,...
2021 MBP Profile Feature Yellow

The New MacBook Pro Has More Ports – But Not All Users Are Happy

Wednesday November 10, 2021 3:03 am PST by
With its latest high-end MacBook Pro models, Apple restored the MagSafe charging port, HDMI port, and SDXC card slot, but not all users are happy. While there seem to be few complaints about the return of MagSafe charging, especially since the option to charge via Thunderbolt 4/USB-C continues to be available, most dissatisfied users seem to be focusing on the HDMI port and SDXC port. The ...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

Don't Buy a MacBook Pro Right Now

Friday October 15, 2021 2:18 am PDT by
New MacBook Pro models are expected to be announced on Monday at Apple's "Unleashed" event, bringing some of the biggest improvements to the product line to date, including some surprising changes, so any prospective MacBook Pro buyers should wait for the new devices to come out. According to our full feature breakdown aggregated from our coverage from a wide range of sources, including...
14 vs 16 inch mbp feature

MacBook Pro Supplier Considering Relocating Factory to Increase Production

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:40 am PDT by
Apple supplier Quanta Computer is considering the feasibility of relocating its MacBook Pro production to its factory in Chongqing, China, as output at its Shanghai plant remains constrained by lockdown restrictions, according to industry sources cited by DigiTimes. The move could gradually boost the availability of MacBook Pro models and shorten the extended delivery times that Apple...

Popular Stories

top stories 2jul2022

Top Stories: M2 MacBook Air Release Date, New HomePod Rumor, and More

Saturday July 2, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
The M2 MacBook Pro has started making its way into customers' hands and we're learning more about how it performs in a variety of situations, but all eyes are really on the upcoming M2 MacBook Air which has seen a complete redesign and should be arriving in a couple of weeks. Other top stories this week included a host of product rumors including additional M2 and even M3 Macs, an updated...
Mac Studio IO

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished Mac Studio Models

Thursday June 30, 2022 7:42 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling refurbished Mac Studio models for the first time in the United States, Canada, and select European countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, two refurbished Mac Studio configurations are currently available, including one with the M1 Max chip (10-core CPU and 24-core GPU) for...
macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...
13 inch macbook pro m2 mock feature 2

M2 MacBook Pro Much Slower Than Previous Model

Friday July 1, 2022 2:24 am PDT by
Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip features a significantly slower SSD compared to the previous model, resulting in poorer performance in some workflows, it has been discovered. Specifically, it has been found that the $1,299 base model with 256GB of storage has significantly slower SSD read and write speeds compared to the equivalent previous-generation 13-inch MacBook Pro....