USB ports not working on Mac? Here’s how to fix them

Universal Serial Bus, or usually known as the USB, has been one of the best connectivity type creations for our devices. And now that they are so widely used, from mobile phones to computers, even TVs and cameras, they sure have become a prime cable type.

As our most external storage devices like external Hard Disks, Pen Drives work on USB, it can be a real pain when, and if, our USB ports on Mac stop working.

And that’s not even the end, nowadays almost all of our keyboards and mice work via USB too, be it wired or Bluetooth since PS2 has been gone for a long time.

So we usually have multiple USB ports on our Macbooks, but what if they all stop reading your devices?

Well, do not panic. To get rid of the glitched USB ports on Mac, let’s start our easy fix.

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Are USB ports not working on Mac? Here’s how to fix them.

Since USB ports are something we might have to use on a regular basis, we can not afford them to be in a non-working state.

So without much of a delay, let us start the guide on how to fix the USB port not working on a Mac.

Since there could be multiple reasons for one problem, there are multiple solutions too. So let’s look at the first one.

  1. Update The Firmware

Drivers, firmware is what runs our hardware, from drives to speakers, peripherals, and even the ports. They give information and instructions to the OS telling about how to handle the hardware.

So one simple short fix for nonworking USB ports is to check and update the pending firmware updates. This can be done from the App Store of your Macbook.

To do so, open the App Store and click on the “updates”. Once in the app list, you may find some apps pending update requirements.

  1. Unwind Recent Changes

Some potentially malicious applications installed, or changes made in settings might hinder the normal working of USB ports.

To do so, we need to go back to the App Store, if the applications that we uninstall make no difference with the working of USB ports, so we can reinstall them again.

Now that we know of two methods to get our USB ports working back again, there can still be bigger issues sometimes. So let’s move on to our more technical steps if the USB ports on our Mac are still not working

  1. Reset the RAM

As we know RAM is a very crucial part of our systems, as everything performing depends on it. So resetting the NVRAM and PRAM might do wonders for us.

The PRAM and NVRAM, or short for, Parameter-Random Access Memory and Non-Volatile- Random Access Memory can be reset to solve some minor problems occurring with our Macs.

To reset our PRAM and NVRAM, we will follow these steps –

  • Turn off the computer
  • Turn it on again, but while turning on, press the buttons of the ‘Command’ key and Option (Alt) key and the keys ‘P’ and ‘R’ altogether, press these keys and hold.
  • Now keep these buttons pressed and wait till you notice a flash and a sound on your Mac screen.
  • Once done, leave the keys, and just wait for the regular sound of chiming that a Macbook makes by default on turning ON.
  • Since that small process will be doing the resetting of our PRAM and NVRAM on the Macbook, our work is done, wait till the Mac turns on and loads up as usual.

Since this method usually solves the problem most of the time, we do not need to worry more. But there can still be some persistent hurdles of technology, so we got one last method to solve our non-working USB ports.

USB ports not working

  1. Resetting our Mac’s SMC

Resetting again? Yes, but this time it is something very different. What is an SMC you might ask? Well SMC stands for System Management Controller in Macs. Once again, this is another bit of a technical process, so be careful a little bit.

Resetting the SMC usually fixes a lot of other issues too, and not just with unresponsive USB ports. But since this is our only problem now, let’s get it over with.

For Macbooks :

To reset the SMC on our Macbooks, we need to follow these simple steps –

  • Turn off/shut down the device, which is our Macbook.
  • Plug in and turn on the charging on the Mac.
  • At once, while turning ON the Macbook, press the buttons of ‘Hold’ key, ‘Control’ key, and ‘Option’ key on your mac, along with the main Power Button.
  • Now as your Macbook gets powered on, release all the buttons at once.
  • That small step will do the resetting of our SMC in the background, meanwhile, wait for the loading up of your computer.

That will be our small and simple technical resetting the SMC for Macbooks, let us move on to the next step if we are using iMac or Mac Pro, or Mac mini.

USB ports not working

For iMac and etc :

To reset our SMC on the iMac, Mac mini or Mac Pro, let’s follow the given procedure –

  • Power off/shut down the iMac device.
  • Remove/unplug your charging cable from the device.
  • Now unlike our Macbook counterpart of resetting SMC, we do not need to press multiple buttons, but only the Power Button, that is, press it for five seconds, and leave it.
  • Now again plug in your charging cable to the iMac device and power it on.

A slightly different method for different devices as they are configured a little bit different, but pretty much still solving our issue.

Now, these four methods are usually capable of solving your unresponsive USB ports on a Mac, but if the problem still remains unsolved, it is advisable to get to the nearest Apple Service Center, as there could be other hardware/software problems much severe, or even the ports could be damaged.

To find the nearest service center of Apple, you can use the original Apple website.


So this was our detailed and easy to go guide for USB ports not working on Mac. As difficult it might be to face the USB ports not working on Mac, that much easy it can turn out to be solved sometimes.

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