USB Issues On Mac & Related FAQs Answered

Usb issues on MAC

While Mac computers work seamlessly, several issues eventually pop up out of nowhere. Although these issues are small technical glitches, they can affect performance in the long run if left unresolved. 

One such issue is the sudden connectivity error in Mac’s USB ports that is preventing you from connecting any external device and peripherals to the computer. 

Before you move on to applying a workaround, check if the USB itself is at fault and might not be working and if there’s nothing wrong with the Mac. 

When this problem occurs, the first and foremost sign you notice is that Mac stops recognizing the USB. Let’s check what you can do to find the USB unrecognized error. 

Check the Power & Ports

Turn on the USB device before you connect it to the MacBook and make sure that the cable is connected properly. If the computer has more than one similar port, connect the cable to another port to check if it works. Else, you may need to contact the manufacturer. 

Connect Other Device

If you are still not able to use the external device after switching ports, try to connect another USB to the first port. There might be an issue with the device itself. If you are wondering how to check it, unplug all the USBs and restart the computer, as there might be a storage-related issue. 

Install or Update Drivers

You might need to install or update the drivers to be able to use the type of USB you are trying to connect. Even if you have drivers pre-installed, update them as they might have turned redundant. Visit the manufacturer’s website for detailed information. 

Unplug All USBs

If you have multiple external devices connected to the port, unplug and remove all the USBs except the one you are trying to access. Moreover, connect the USB directly to the laptop instead of the USB dock, as it might be at fault and prevent the connection. 

Check USB on Mac

After connecting the USB to the Mac, check if it appears in the System Information. To check if the device displays in the list of connected items, click on the Apple menu and select About This Mac, and tap on the System Report button. Check if the USB is listed in the Hardware section. 

Check the USB Hub

If the external device is connected to a USB dock or hub, make sure they both work at the same speed. Make sure you connect the device to the right port, such as USB 3.0 SuperSpeed device must be connected to USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Hub. 

Reset SMC & PRAM

If the MacBook is not detecting the external device, you may need to reset the SMC and PRAM as they control certain hardware components on the computer. Resetting them is easy, and it may not take more than a few minutes.

Update macOS

Check if the latest macOS version is waiting to be installed by navigating to the Software Updates section. More often, USB-related issues are related to the software, and updating to the latest version can be a possible fix to resolve the problem. 

Uninstall Conflicting Apps

Sometimes, the USB connectivity issue has nothing to do with hardware malfunction or operating systems. There might be an application that is colliding with the USB and preventing it from working smoothly. So, detect and disable or delete the app permanently. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know that USB ports work on a Mac?

When you connect any external device to the USB port, it must appear in the System Information. To check if the device displays in the list of connected devices, go to the Apple menu, click About This Mac, tap on the Overview tab, and select System Report. 

Why is the Mac detecting only one USB at a time?

Although the problem is rare, you can check if all the devices connected to the Mac are working appropriately. Also, check if the USB is compatible with running on the Mac model you are using. You may need to install additional drivers for all the USBs you need to connect. 

Can USB ports on Mac fail?

USB ports on Mac can fail under several circumstances. If you spill liquid on the USB port, it may stop working completely. If the USB is damaged, the computer may not detect it as the device may have turned inaccessible. You need to get the USB port and device repaired to make them work. 

About the Author

Sudip Majumdar

Tags: apple, macbook