Packing for WWDC

WWDC is my favorite conference. It’s an intense week of being immersed in the latest thoughts and works from Apple and a great chance to learn from their team first hand.

You can get a little more out of the conference by packing the right gear, so let’s talk about what than means.

Packing for iOS 10 Beta 1

There will be new beta versions of iOS and macOS (assuming the rumors are true). They will be awesome, but they will have bugs.

The bugs almost always affect battery life on iPhones and iPads. If you are going to install the new betas, pack a second device. You will regret it if you install iOS 10beta1 on your carry device.

I find watchOS to be more stable, but don’t forget to carry your charge cable. If you leave it at the hotel, you won’t be able to install the beta until you’re 50% charged and on the charger.

Most of Apple’s updates are OTA now with the beta install profiles, but you will want to ensure you carry a device cable with you at all times regardless. If you’re like me and carry a MacBook that means packing the external HDMI adapter or a USB-C to lightning cable. I actually pack both (for charging reasons).

Staying Charged

You will need your laptop power adapter. There are places to charge in the sessions as well as at lunch.

You should bring at least one 10W or 12W adapter for your iPhone and/or iPad. I also suggest packing an external batter pack. If you have a MacBook you can get ones that will recharge your computer as well through USB-C. This way you can charge things while they are in your bag instead of leaving them on a table where you might forget them. Don’t forget that little adapter for your pencil.

WiFi and Internet

There is good Wifi in most sessions but you will want to pack a hotspot for when you’re doing after-hours coding or on the first day when the WiFi is usually pressed to its limits.

I used to carry a Sierra Wireless AirCard 763S Mobile Hotspot but at this point cellphones are faster, have longer battery life and better reception (even with those crazy high gain LTE antennas plugged in – I’ve tried…). Since I don’t want to use an iPhone for this I pack an Android phone just to use as a hotspot. (In my case an HTC 10, but anything most newer Android phones should work.)

You should also pack a wired ethernet adapter for downloading larger files. Apple sets up wired ethernet download stations (usually at the lunch tables) and trying to get installers or Xcode over the WiFi won’t be fun. My friend Dave has pointed out that large downloads might be ethernet only. So don’t forget your adapter or you’ll be buying one.

The Other Stuff

I suggest bringing a set of noise cancelling headphones. You will want to drown out loud conversations at some point. I like the Bose QuietComfort 20 headphones but it’s completely a matter of personal taste.

If you have a 12” Macbook, you should also bring a Apple USB-C to USB Adapter. There are some things that don’t work quite right when plugged in any other way.

Also, make sure you have a pen. If for nothing else custom forms at the airport.

The Complete List

Here’s my complete list:

  • Apple 12” MacBook
  • Apple 9.7” iPad Pro
  • Apple iPad Mini 4
  • Apple iPhone 6s+
  • Apple iPhone 6s
  • HTC 10
  • Bose QuietComfort 20 headphones
  • USB-C Charger with USB-C cable
  • USB-C to Lightning cable (x2)
  • Anker PowerCore+ 20100
  • Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter
  • Apple USB-C to USB Adapter
  • Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable
  • Belkin USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
  • Tombow Rollerball Pen

Be safe, have fun, and take care of each other.

– MM


Mark Madsen

When I started writing Apps and APIs, phones had buttons!


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