MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Users Report Issues with USB 2.0 Devices

Jun 17, 2020
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Many 2020 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro users are reporting issues with connectivity to USB 2.0 devices. The issue is related to using USB 2.0 devices becoming irresponsive when connected via a USB-C hub.

USB 2.0 Device Connectivity Issue with MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

The issue has been reported on Reddit with USB-C docks from StarTech 7, Satechi, and Anker.

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When I use an external USB-C hub in any port of my MBP, and connect USB 2.0 devices that include a Filco keyboard and a Razer DeathAdder mouse... after a while (minute or hours) the USB 2.0 devices will stop responding (keyboard dead, mouse not moving or clicking).

The problem is widespread and has been reported many times on Apple forums by different users.

When I disconnect my USB devices they are not recognized when I reconnect them to the same USB-C port. The same happens if osx goes to sleep. Eventually I run out of USB-C ports and need to restart the computer to fix the issue. Anyone know a fix for this or a way to reset the USB connection?

Device maker Elgato also has a support page for USB 2.0 device issues when connected to Mac USB 3.0 ports. According to Elgato, the issue is related to USB 2.0 devices connecting at very low speeds.

For example, Elgato Game Capture HD might show up in the System Information application under "USB 3.0 High-Speed Bus", but won't be properly connected.  It will list its speed as "Up to 12 Mb/sec".

The actual speed of the connected device should be 480 MB/sec.

Elgato has suggested a workaround for this issue, which is to use a powered USB 2.0 hub.

Right now, if you see a problem with the connection to an USB 3.0 port, the best solution we recommend would be to use your device with a powered USB 2.0 hub, which is connected to a USB port of a Mac that supports USB 3.0.

The affected devices so far seem to be 2020 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models. The issue could not be replicated on 2019 and older models, which means that there is an issue with either the chipset used in the new MacBooks, or how macOS recognizes external devices on these computers.

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Apple's support page for USB on Mac does not provide much information on troubleshooting this issue. As per the current details shared on the company's support page, it is obvious that USB 2.0 devices are being recognized as USB 1.1 devices, which is causing issues with device connectivity.

The original post on Reddit says that the workaround was to use a CalDigit USB-C hub, which fixed the issue because it is a terminating proxy which means that it shows USB 2.0 devices as USB 3.0 devices to the Mac. Most other USB-C hubs show USB 2.0 as just USB 2.0 to the Mac.

It is unclear if this issue can be fixed via a software update or if it is a hardware issue. We will update this post once Apple shares a response on this issue.

Products mentioned in this post

MacBook
MacBook
USD 1031.61
MacBook Air
MacBook Air
USD 675.67
MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro
USD 1031.61

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