How-to: Troubleshoot faulty USB hubs after waking Mac from Sleep Mode

With the plethora of USB devices available, such as iPhones, iPads, iPods, digital cameras, and printers, many machines do not have enough ports to keep everything connected. Fortunately, USB hubs are readily available and can provide much needed USB port additions. However, some hubs may not respond well when your Mac wakes from sleep.

With the plethora of USB devices available, such as iPhones, iPads, iPods, digital cameras, and printers, many machines do not have enough ports to keep everything connected. Fortunately, USB hubs are readily available and can provide much-needed USB port additions. However, some hubs may not respond well when your Mac wakes from sleep.

According to a recently updated knowledge base article from Apple, some USB hubs may disconnect after your Mac wakes from sleep. This can cause system instability, resulting in unexpected performance from your machine and your connected devices.

Just as when you disconnect an external hard drive before ejecting it, data loss can occur if your drive is connected to a USB hub and this issue occurs.

As the knowledge base article states, these issues occur when:

  • Your USB hub does not support the proper sleep/wake sequence.
  • A USB hub is connected downline, meaning to another USB hub. Plugging a USB hub into your Apple display (or any other display) or your keyboard would also be considered downline.
  • The computer is woken from a mouse, keyboard, or other external device.

Troubleshooting
Your main input devices should be connected directly to a USB port on your machine. Plug your keyboard or mouse into a port on your Mac or consider going to a Bluetooth solution.

You should use the power button on your Mac to wake your machine from Sleep Mode instead of using a device connected via USB hub.

Always connect external USB hard drives directly to your machine. This avoids the potential data loss that may occur if your USB hub were to fail.

Other notes
If you need to use a USB hub, find a powered one to purchase. Nonpowered USB hubs generally downgrade the USB connection to USB 1.1, which may affect the performance of many of your devices, including iOS devices and digital cameras.

How do you manage all the devices that need to connect to your machine? Let me know in the comments!

About the author

    Joe is a seasoned Mac veteran with years of experience on the platform. He reports on Macs, iPods, iPhones and anything else Apple sells. He even has worked in Apple retail stores. He's also a creative professional who knows how to use a Mac to get the job done.

     

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