Mac Tutorials

How to Fix USB Accessories Disabled on Mac

Want to learn how to fix USB accessories disabled on your Mac? Try the following:

  1. Disconnect and reconnect the external device to your Mac.
  2. When reconnecting, try using a different USB port if necessary.
  3. If your external device is paired to a USB or hub, connect it directly to your Mac.

If you’re tired of dealing with the frustration of USB accessories disabled on Mac, you're not alone. Many Mac users face this common issue, and we understand the pain and inconvenience it can cause when your USB accessories cease to work. But fear not, with our guide, you’ll explore the reasons behind this connection issue and mentor you towards a seamless experience with your USB accessories.


Before we start:


Have you ever wondered how to enhance both the functionality and security of your Mac when dealing with USB accessory issues? To help fix these issues, we recommend you try out MacKeeper's Antivirus.


This handy software stands out due to its real-time protection feature. Our antivirus will actively safeguard your Mac from malware and viruses, which are known to interfere with the security and performance of USB accessories.


To use MacKeeper’s Antivirus feature on a Mac device:

  1. Download MacKeeper on your MacBook.
  2. Launch the app, choose Antivirus from the sidebar, and allow it to Enable Antivirus.
  3. After the application process is completed, click Next.
  4. To enable protection, you may be asked to quit MacKeeper and drag the app to your Applications folder in Finder, all before re-opening MacKeeper.
  5. You should now see two options, one letting you enable real-time protection and the other allowing you to initiate a scan of your Mac for any threats.

Why do you see USB accessories disabled messages

When encountering the frustrating USB accessories disabled on Mac message, several factors could be at fault. Here's a breakdown of potential causes from our experts:

  • A loose or damaged USB cable. It may lead to a poor connection, triggering the error
  • Connecting too many USB devices at once. Such action can exceed the power capabilities of your Mac
  • Issues within your Mac's software or system. They can disrupt USB device recognition, too
  • Corrupted or outdated USB drivers. That’s another reason behind hindering your USB devices
  • External Issues with hubs. This might include faulty hubs or those with inadequate power
  • Malware or viruses. These are known to interfere with your Mac's USB functionality.

Hint from our experts: If you face the USB accessories disabled error message, even when there’s no USB device connected, this may indicate an underlying issue. Consider addressing interference issues like corrupted SMC or NVRAM, outdated drivers on your USB device, or outdated firmware on your Mac to resolve the peculiar problem.

How to enable USB accessories on Mac

When you're struggling to enable disabled USB accessories on Mac, you'll be pleased to know there are multiple solutions at your disposal. Below, our team will share tips for those who have already connected their USB gadget to their Mac but have some issues with it.


Here's a list of the recommended solutions to enable USB accessories on your Mac:

1. Disconnect and reconnect USB device

This straightforward method to fix USB accessories disabled on Mac simply involves disconnecting and then reconnecting your USB device to address any connectivity issues you may be facing.


To disconnect and reconnect a USB device on your Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the USB device that is experiencing connection problems.
  2. Safely eject the device from your Mac to ensure you don't corrupt or damage any files.
  3. Gently unplug the USB device from your Mac's USB port.
  4. Wait 10-15 seconds for the previous connection to be terminated.
  5. Reconnect the USB device back into your Mac.
Before disconnecting your USB device from your Mac, identify the USB Device that is causing a nuisance to ensure you are not about to disconnect the wrong device from your Apple laptop or computer device.
Step 1. Find the USB device that is experiencing connecting issues
Now you can process to Safely eject the device from your Mac, in order to minimise the risk of file corruption or damaging hardware during disconnection.
Step 2. Safely eject the device from your Mac
Once it's safe to eject, gently unplug the USB from your Mac's USB port as an Initial troubleshooting step to address connectivity issues.
Step 3. Gently unplug the USB from your Mac’s USB port
Pause for a brief 10-15 seconds before reconnecting the USB device to the same or a different USB port on your Mac, to help resolve any connection problems.
Step 4. Wait a few seconds before reconnecting the USB back to your Mac

2. Connect the USB device directly to the Mac

Connecting your USB device directly to your Mac is a crucial step in troubleshooting connectivity issues. Deciding to bypass additional adapters or hubs, can often achieve a more stable connection.


Here’s how to connect a USB device directly to your Mac:

  1. Identify the USB device you wish to connect directly to your Mac.
  2. Ensure that the USB port on your Mac is available and free from obstructions.
  3. Gently insert the USB device directly into an available port.
  4. Give your Mac some time to recognize the device.
Once you've found a suitable USB device you can insert it directly into your Mac's port. Allow a couple of seconds for your Apple Macbook or computer to recognise the new USB device.
Insert the USB into your port and give a Mac some time to recognize it

To master how to format a USB drive on Mac, ensure a secure connection first and check out our handy guide.  

3. Put your Mac to sleep and wake it up

Another solution to resolve connection issues when your Mac keeps saying USB accessories disabled is to put your device to sleep and wake it up again.


Here’s how:

  1. Head over to the Apple menu and click > Sleep.
  2. Press Option-Command-Media Eject, or if your MacBook has a touch bar, add the sleep button to the control strip.
To initiate putting your Mac in sleep mode to help resolve any USB accessory connection issues you just need to click on the Apple icon, scroll down and click on sleep.
Step 1. Find the Apple icon and scroll down to click on Sleep
To reawaken your Mac, the options include just re-opening the display or utilizing the option-command-media eject (if available). For MacBook users with a touch bar, you can add the Sleep Button to the Control Strip.
Step 2. Open the display or press Option-Command-Media Eject

4. Unplug some of the USB devices

To ensure your USB devices receive enough power, reduce the number of external USB devices connected to your Mac at one time.


Here’s how:

  1. Determine if there are any USB devices plugged in that you don't currently need.
  2. Carefully Eject and then unplug any unnecessary USB devices from your Mac.
Decide whether or not you have any USB accessories plugged into your Mac that could be unplugged in order to improve power and connectivity.
Step 1. Determine if any unnecessary USB accessories can be unplugged
Gently unplug any unnecessary USB accessories from your Mac to optimize performance.
Step 2. Carefully eject then unplug them from your Mac

5. Try a different port

Something as simple as trying your USB device in a different port is an effective method to resolve the Mac USB accessories disabled notification.


To plug your USB device into a different port, follow these steps:

  1. Determine which USB device has connectivity problems.
  2. Find another available USB port on your Mac.
  3. Carefully unplug the USB from the problematic port and back into a different one.

To avoid persistent USB accessory issues and tackle port-related concerns, learn how to reset USB ports on Mac.

6. Try a different adapter

If the USB connectivity problem is still bothering you, try a different adapter as an alternative solution to reboot or fix any issues with USB accessories disabled on Mac.


To use a different adapter for your USB accessories:

  1. Identify the current adapter or hub used to connect your USB device.
  2. Instead, find an alternative adapter that's compatible with your USB accessories.
  3. Carefully unplug your USB device from the current adapter and connect it to the alternative one.

7. Update the device driver and firmware

If you suspect that your USB connectivity issues come from out-of-date drivers or firmware, consider updating them.

  1. Click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen.
  2. Select System Settings and scroll to General.
  3. Choose Software Update and check for updates for your Mac or connected devices.
  4. If any updates are found, click on Update Now.
To check for any outstanding Mac driver or firmware updates, you'll first need to navigate to the Apple menu.
Step 1. Click on the Apple Menu
Next, you'll need to choose System Settings from the drop-down menu.
Step 2. Select System Settings
From the System Settings, locate General and click on it. Then you should see the option to click on Software Update to check for outstanding Firmware and Driver updates.
Step 3. Look for General and click on Software Update
If there are any outstanding updates required for your Mac's Device, Firmware, or Drivers then you'll be asked to update them here and then follow all on-screen instructions.
Step 4. If any updates are required, you’ll see it here

8. Check your Mac for malware and viruses

To ensure your device is free from malware or viruses that could affect your USB accessories, we recommend using Activity Monitor to check all drivers for safety. Here's how:

  1. Go to Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor.
  2. Review the list, checking for any with high CPU or memory usage.
  3. Click X to close suspicious apps.
  4. Search for the corresponding file in Finder and delete.
Begin Malware check by heading to Applications > Utilities, then Activity Monitor on your MacBook or Apple device.
Step 1. Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor
Examine the app list, focusing on any that are exhibiting unusually high CPU or memory usage. Should any apps show concern, you can click X to close them and delete them from your Finder if you suspect malware or viruses.
Step 2. Review the list if any cause concern, highlight, and click X

For more support on how to check for Malware on Mac, check our guide through each step of the identification and deletion process.

9. Reset SMC

Another solution to fix the annoying USB accessories disabled on Mac could be to reset your System Management Controller. Here’s how to perform a reset:

  1. Press and hold Shift-Control-Option.
  2. Simultaneously, hold the power button for 10 seconds.
  3. Release all the keys.
  4. Press the power button once more to turn the Mac on.
To initiate an SMC reset, hold Shift-Control-Option and the power button for 10 Seconds simultaneously.
Step 1. Press and hold Shift-Control-Option, holding Power for 10 seconds
After 10 seconds, release all the keys. This will turn your MAc off, so you; 'll now need to press power to turn it back on in the hopes that its actions have fixed the USB accessories disabled issues.
Step 2. Release keys and wait for your Mac to turn back on

10. Reset NVRAM

To reset the NVRAM and potentially resolve Mac USB accessory disabled issues, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by shutting down your Mac.
  2. Turn your Mac on, immediately press Option-Command-P-R, and hold for 20 seconds.
  3. If your Mac plays a startup sound, release the keys after the second startup sound.
To initiate NVRAM reset with the hopes of resolving MAc's USB accessory disabled issues, being by powering down your Mac.
Step 1. Begin by shutting down your Mac
Now to reboot your Mac, swiftly hold down the keys Option-Command-P-R for 20 Seconds. If you MAc palsy startup sounds release the keys after the second sound.
Step 2. Turn your Mac on and immediately hold the Option-Command-P-R keys

11. Reinstall macOS

If none of the solutions above helped you to fix USB accessories disabled on Mac, consider reinstalling macOS as a last resort to repair connectivity issues:

  1. Ensure you have a backup of your important data.
  2. Restart your Mac and hold down Command-R until the Apple logo appears.
  3. In the Utilities menu, select Disk Utility to erase the startup disk.
  4. Choose Reinstall macOS and follow the on-screen instructions.
To enter macOS recovery mode, to try to resolve your USB connection issues, you'll need to restart your device and hold Command-R until the Apple logo appears.
Step 1. Restart your Mac and hold down Command-R until the Apple logo appears
From here, you'll see the macOS Utilities menu. Opt for Disk Utility in order to erase the startup disk.
Step 2. From Utilities, select Disk Utility to erase the startup disk
Afterwards, select Reinstall macOS and follow the on-screen prompts for a fresh installation in the hopes that this resolves any USB accessory disabled issues.
Step 3. Choose Reinstall macOS and follow the on-screen instructions

Mastering USB accessory issues on Mac

We've now explored numerous strategies to resolve vexing issues relating to USB accessories disabled on Mac—from re-establishing connections to resetting system configurations. If your issues prove more intricate than expected, don't hesitate to consult a professional technician or a Mac specialist within MacKeeper’s Premium Services. Our support representative will help you diagnose and resolve complex hardware or software problems, ensuring your USB accessories work seamlessly again.


Furthermore, to enhance your Mac experience, we'd like to remind you of a trusted tool—MacKeeper's Antivirus. This powerful add-on goes beyond traditional antivirus capabilities with real-time protection to safeguard your Mac from malware and viruses—the common culprits behind USB accessory disruptions.

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