A peripheral is an ancillary device used to put information into and get information out of a computer. Peripherals can be external (plugged into a computer external port) or internal (expanded into one of the computer internal connections), and generally consist of input/output (I/O) devices. Common examples of peripherals are a mouse, keyboard, monitor, printer, external disk drive, and graphics tablet.

Input peripherals allow data to be entered into the computer, such as a mouse which allows the user to move and select with a pointer, keyboard which allows data to be input via its keys, and microphones which allow voice input. Furthermore, another common input peripheral is a game controller for playing computer games.

Output peripherals allow data to be sent out of the computer, such as monitors which show the output image and any computer messages, speakers which can produce sound, and printers which print out any information or images on paper.

Storage peripherals are what are used to store and retrieve any information or data on a computer. These include floppy disks, DVDs, external hard drives, magnetic tape and memory cards.

Specialized peripherals are designed for more specific purposes. These include scanners which allow images and documents to become digital information, digital cameras and video cameras which can allow video to be input, and graphics tablets which allow drawn images to be input as digital information.

As computing technology has improved, so has the technology used for peripherals. Many peripherals now use USB and other modern ports in order to connect, and many are wireless. Furthermore, many peripherals are now used for specialized purposes, such as virtual reality and 3D printing.

Although the core components of a computer are important for its operation, without peripherals, a computer would be unable to accept any input, produce any output, or store any information. As such, peripherals are essential to the operation of a computer, and are necessary for the full use of computers today.

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