11 Simple Fixes for a Mac USB Port that isn't Working

Jul 31,2019 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions


If you were to take a sample size of some of the most common technical issues faced by frequent users of Mac computers you will be surprised to know that USB related issues are among the most common. There’s so much that can go wrong when using USB to store or retrieve data such as a wrong connection or an unresponsive port. In this article we will show you 11 simple ways to fix a Mac USB port that has refused to work.

Overview of Mac USB port that isn't Working

If your USB port is not working try out the simple fixes first before proceeding to the more technical solutions. The port may have failed because there is a problem somewhere. Try these simple fixes listed below

Check your connections:

  • The cable is not properly connected
  • The detritus inside the port may be blocking signals (blow air through it to open it up)
  • The lightning cable may not be attached properly to your external hard drive. Adjust it
  • Basic Solutions

    Try restarting the system to see if it will work.

    Is the Port faulty?

    If a simple Restart doesn’t work try to identify the fault lines. Unplug the device and try plugging it again using another USB port on the same MAC system. Do the same on a different MAC system. If it works on a different port or system it means the first port you tried is bad or none of the ports on the first computer is functional.

    If the device does not work on a different ports or another device, go to the next Solution.

    Is the Cable at fault or is the device failing?

    Answering this question can be quite tricky. To find out you have to interchange devices and cables on different computers to be sure.

    Cable Maintain the device and port you’ve been using on the same Mac computer but try a different cable. If this works it means the previous cable is faulty.

    Device If the cable is not to blame use a different device on the same port with the previous cable. If this works it means the previous Device is not responsive and is the reason why the port was not working. A non performing device may be as a result of incompatibility issues with your MAC OS. This is something that a driver update can fix.

    Update the SMC

    After close examination if you consider the MAC system to be at fault you should consider updating the System Management Controller. To reset the SMC , do the following on your Mac, iMac, iMac pro and Mac mini system.

  • Shut system down
  • Remove power cord
  • Wait for some seconds
  • Re-connect Power cable
  • Wait for some seconds again then turn system on
  • If your system is a MacBook

  • Shut it down
  • Ensure it is connected to a power source
  • Hold down left Shift key – Control- option key and power button at once for a few seconds. When you see light on adapter change color it means that SMC is reset Release the keys you held down
  • Punch the power button again for system reboot
  • Reset NVRAM/PRAM

    To reset PRAM and NVRAM press down Cmd-option ALT- P and R keys then turn on Mac. Continue to hold these keys down until you hear the Restart sound. Release keys afterwards

    Update Mac

    Another simple fix will need to update Mac to a recent version. Mac updates can be done from the App store . Just click on Updates to install listed Mac OS that are available. Make sure you backup your data before updating drives. Once update have being installed and the system has restarted check the port to see if it is working now.

    We are hopeful that one of these fixes will restore your Port to full functionality so you can access your data stored in your device but if none these tips work for you, enlist the help of a technician who is vast in the repair of Mac computers and accessories to provide a permanent solution for your Mac USB Port not working Issue.

    Sue Wen

    staff Editor

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