USB 2.0 accessories suffering from connectivity issues in 2020 MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2020
Some owners of the 2020 models of Apple's MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro are said to be having problems with some USB 2.0 accessories connected through USB hubs.

Apple's 2020 MacBook Air
Apple's 2020 MacBook Air


An unknown number of users are reporting issues with connecting USB 2.0 devices via a hub to the 2020 models of the MacBook Air, and 13-inch MacBook Pro. Reportedly, devices randomly disconnect, and the only element in common is that the connection has been through a hub.

"At random times during the day (2-3 times a day) my Logitech G602 mouse and external Apple Keyboard will stop responding completely and only a reboot will restore functionality," user "Retens" said on Apple's support forums. Disconnecting/reconnecting the USB Hub does not resolve the issue."

The issue was first spotted by MacRumors, which reports similar cases of disconnections, and freezing. Reportedly, the issue occurs across multiple different hubs, and with many different types of USB 2.0-based accessories.

As well as disconnecting and reconnecting the USB hub, users have rebooted, used Disk Utility, and even different user logins. One user on Reddit reports having found a workaround by changing to a CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 dock which uses terminating proxies. Essentially, terminating proxies take the USB 2.0 accessory that is locally connected to the dock, and presents the peripherals to the host Mac as being USB 3.0 devices.

Following the story discovery on Wednesday evening, AppleInsider has conducted further testing. We couldn't reliably recreate the disconnect or freeze with a single USB 2.0 accessory connected to an Amazon Basics HU3770V1 or TP-Link UH-720 hub, but could get it to lock up with two devices on occasion.

We also tried a variety of Thunderbolt 3 docks and eGPU enclosures with USB-A ports. Nearly every dock we tried uses terminating proxies for USB, side-stepping the problem. Devices using terminating proxies will identify positively as USB 3.0 devices in System Profiler, despite only listed being capable of USB 2.0 speeds.

While users have reported contacting Apple Support about the issue, Apple has yet to comment publicly.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,010member
    Of course the firmware of these USB 2 devices are perfect and flawless, right. They comply with the standard... until they don't. Look, this could indeed be a problem with the Macs involved but travel down memory lane with me to the time when an OS X update caused cheap, third party RAM to stop being recognized. Oh the outrage, the claims of skullduggery by Apple to force people to buy only Apple RAM. The whirlwind continued until some clever individual figured out the firmware on the RAM that failed was not quite right and that Apple's recent update tightened requirements for RAM acceptance. A patch for the bad RAM was even developed so it would be recognized again by Apple's hardware. That episode pointed out that the truth often reveals itself later on and we'll find out what's really going on here too.

    In the meantime, of course, this new "USB-gate" will grow legs, become a viral "thing" on tech blogs, spawn class-actions, and turn Apple into a punching bag once again. Before we even know what's going on.
    edited June 2020 razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 13
    entropysentropys Posts: 2,886member
    If only a macbook came with an actual USB-A port this would not be happening. Imagine.
    darkvader
  • Reply 3 of 13
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 2,942member
    entropys said:
    If only a macbook came with an actual USB-A port this would not be happening. Imagine.
    That was my thought, too, but you can’t be sure. USB C is the connector, not the port. If they don’t say if simply using a USB C to A adaptor helps, but it could be something with how the MacBook deals with the hubs. Since Apple is requiring people to use docks and adaptors the onus is on them to make sure they work. 

    lkrupp said:
    Of course the firmware of these USB 2 devices are perfect and flawless, right. They comply with the standard... until they don't. Look, this could indeed be a problem with the Macs involved but travel down memory lane with me to the time when an OS X update caused cheap, third party RAM to stop being recognized. Oh the outrage, the claims of skullduggery by Apple to force people to buy only Apple RAM. The whirlwind continued until some clever individual figured out the firmware on the RAM that failed was not quite right and that Apple's recent update tightened requirements for RAM acceptance. A patch for the bad RAM was even developed so it would be recognized again by Apple's hardware. That episode pointed out that the truth often reveals itself later on and we'll find out what's really going on here too.

    In the meantime, of course, this new "USB-gate" will grow legs, become a viral "thing" on tech blogs, spawn class-actions, and turn Apple into a punching bag once again. Before we even know what's going on.
    So the devices worked before and work with other computers but suddenly stop working with the MacBook. Therefore they have bad firmware? And the included ‘problem’ devices include Apple keyboards. You seem to have a case of ‘Apple Derangement Syndrome.’ From what I’ve read in the article, this is a problem with the MacBook until proven otherwise. Hopefully it’s just a firmware fix and not an issue with the usb controller chip. 
    bonobobmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 4 of 13
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,010member
    MplsP said:
    So the devices worked before and work with other computers but suddenly stop working with the MacBook. Therefore they have bad firmware? And the included ‘problem’ devices include Apple keyboards. You seem to have a case of ‘Apple Derangement Syndrome.’ From what I’ve read in the article, this is a problem with the MacBook until proven otherwise. Hopefully it’s just a firmware fix and not an issue with the usb controller chip. 
    No, it's not a fait accompli. We don't know the details. We don't even know the number of people claiming the issue. At least I'm willing to wait for the truth to come out instead of the usual knee-jerk blame Apple horseshit that goes on around here. 
    razorpit
  • Reply 5 of 13
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,176member
    I've had this issue many times. It's like playing whack-a-mole with the four ports on my 16" MBP...
    muthuk_vanalingamdarkvader
  • Reply 6 of 13
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,699member
    MplsP said:
    entropys said:
    If only a macbook came with an actual USB-A port this would not be happening. Imagine.
    That was my thought, too, but you can’t be sure. USB C is the connector, not the port. If they don’t say if simply using a USB C to A adaptor helps, but it could be something with how the MacBook deals with the hubs. Since Apple is requiring people to use docks and adaptors the onus is on them to make sure they work. 

    lkrupp said:
    Of course the firmware of these USB 2 devices are perfect and flawless, right. They comply with the standard... until they don't. Look, this could indeed be a problem with the Macs involved but travel down memory lane with me to the time when an OS X update caused cheap, third party RAM to stop being recognized. Oh the outrage, the claims of skullduggery by Apple to force people to buy only Apple RAM. The whirlwind continued until some clever individual figured out the firmware on the RAM that failed was not quite right and that Apple's recent update tightened requirements for RAM acceptance. A patch for the bad RAM was even developed so it would be recognized again by Apple's hardware. That episode pointed out that the truth often reveals itself later on and we'll find out what's really going on here too.

    In the meantime, of course, this new "USB-gate" will grow legs, become a viral "thing" on tech blogs, spawn class-actions, and turn Apple into a punching bag once again. Before we even know what's going on.
    So the devices worked before and work with other computers but suddenly stop working with the MacBook. Therefore they have bad firmware? And the included ‘problem’ devices include Apple keyboards. You seem to have a case of ‘Apple Derangement Syndrome.’ From what I’ve read in the article, this is a problem with the MacBook until proven otherwise. Hopefully it’s just a firmware fix and not an issue with the usb controller chip. 
    The problem device may not be the Apple keyboard if he plugged it into the hub
  • Reply 7 of 13
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,580member
    I have a late-2016 MBP.  I've always had a problem with USB devices.   If they're connected to the Mac with a USB-A to USB-C adapter, they'll only work if I separate the connection at the adapter and plug it back in again.   If I simply unplug the cable + adapter from the Mac and plug it back in again, they're not recognized.

    I thought I was also having a problem with a very old USB-A hub.  So I bought a USB-C hub so that there would be no adapter on the Mac side.   Doesn't matter.   Mac doesn't recognize the devices unless I unplug them at the hub and plug them back in again.    I find this to be a royal pain.   
  • Reply 9 of 13
    I have had USB Hub problems for years.  Nothing new here, they are useless.
    edited June 2020
  • Reply 10 of 13
    Considering how amazing the keyboard/trackpad is I don't use a mouse or external keyboard with my laptop. Outside of that I have almost no USB 2.0 devices left and the ones I have are all used via TB or USB-C docks.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,287member
    entropys said:
    If only a macbook came with an actual USB-A port this would not be happening. Imagine.
    That makes absolutely zero sense. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,105administrator
    zoetmb said:
    I have a late-2016 MBP.  I've always had a problem with USB devices.   If they're connected to the Mac with a USB-A to USB-C adapter, they'll only work if I separate the connection at the adapter and plug it back in again.   If I simply unplug the cable + adapter from the Mac and plug it back in again, they're not recognized.

    I thought I was also having a problem with a very old USB-A hub.  So I bought a USB-C hub so that there would be no adapter on the Mac side.   Doesn't matter.   Mac doesn't recognize the devices unless I unplug them at the hub and plug them back in again.    I find this to be a royal pain.   
    This is not the same thing, and points to a hardware problem -- likely an issue with the Thunderbolt controller -- with your particular machine.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 13
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 481member
    lkrupp said:
    Of course the firmware of these USB 2 devices are perfect and flawless, right. They comply with the standard... until they don't. Look, this could indeed be a problem with the Macs involved but travel down memory lane with me to the time when an OS X update caused cheap, third party RAM to stop being recognized. Oh the outrage, the claims of skullduggery by Apple to force people to buy only Apple RAM. The whirlwind continued until some clever individual figured out the firmware on the RAM that failed was not quite right and that Apple's recent update tightened requirements for RAM acceptance. A patch for the bad RAM was even developed so it would be recognized again by Apple's hardware. That episode pointed out that the truth often reveals itself later on and we'll find out what's really going on here too.

    In the meantime, of course, this new "USB-gate" will grow legs, become a viral "thing" on tech blogs, spawn class-actions, and turn Apple into a punching bag once again. Before we even know what's going on.

    1.  Device works on other Macs.

    2.  Device has problems on 2020 MBP and MBA.

    3.  IT'S APPLE'S FAULT.  No excuses.

    You don't get to play "blame the USB device manufacturer" when the device that has the problem is the new Mac.  It's clearly and obviously the new Mac's fault.  Apple needs to fix it.
    MplsP
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