Fix USB Accessories Disabled on Mac

Many users have reported having an error message appear when trying to connect a USB device to their Mac computers. It will say: “USB Accessories disabled. Unplug the accessory (or device) that is using too much power to re-enable USB devices.” 

Whether you are trying to connect a mouse, a flash drive, or another USB device, don’t panic. It is not an issue with your device, and fortunately, it is fairly straightforward to fix.

Why am I Getting The USB Accessories Disabled Error Message?

There are several reasons you may be getting the USB Accessories Disabled message. To begin to fix the problem, let’s take a look at them and see if you can find the reason for yours.

  • The USB device needs more power to properly function.
  • Compared with reading data on the USB device, it requires more power to write to the drive.
  • The USB port is damaged or faulty.
  • The USB cable is damaged or broken.
  • The device driver is outdated.
  • The Mac firmware is outdated.
  • The USB device is not turned on.
  • The USB device is not recognized by your Mac.

There are many more possible reasons for this error message, but these are the most common. With this in mind, below are some of the most common fixes. We will take you through some of them later on.

  • Use your device as a self-powered device
  • Use a powered USB or thunderbolt 3 hub
  • Disconnect any unnecessary USB devices
  • Plug the USB device directly into Mac
  • Make sure you are using the right port and cable (or try using a different cable or port)
  • Reset SMC
  • Reset PRAM/NVRAM
  • Update the device driver or firmware

Fix 1: Use a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) or Powered USB Hub

You may find this works straight off the bat. If you currently have your USB device connected directly to your Mac, try connecting it through a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) or a Powered USB Hub. These devices are capable of powering both to and from computing devices and more often than not will completely resolve the issue.

Fix 2: Make Sure You Are Using the Right Port and Cable

This fix may seem silly but you would be surprised how often it turns out to be the cause of the issue. Because there are different USB specifications, it can be easy to mix up your cables and devices and end up using the wrong thing altogether. For instance, if your device requires a USB-3 cable, but you’re using a USB-2 cable, chances are you’re going to be getting the error message.

Fix 3: Update the Device Driver and/or Firmware

Another reason you may be getting the error message is that your device may need updating. In order to update or check you have the latest driver for your device, simply check the manufacturer’s website. To update the firmware for your apple accessories and devices, click the Apple Logo, then System Preferences, Software Update. From here you should be able to update if required

Fix 4: Reset SMC

SMC, or System Management Controller, is responsible for the physical components of your Mac device. This includes (but is not limited to) your battery management and all of the USB port connections. Resetting the SMC has been known to fix all manner of issues relating to power. However, if you are considering resetting your SMC, you should check a few things first.

Fix USB Accessories Disabled on Mac

Notebook computers with the T2 chip

Before resetting the SMC, try these steps:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds, then release the button.
  3. Wait a few seconds, then press the power button to turn on your Mac.

If the issue persists, follow these steps to reset the SMC:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. On your built-in keyboard, press and hold all of the following keys. Your Mac might turn on.
  • Control on the left side of your keyboard
  • Option (Alt) on the left side of your keyboard
  • Shift on the right side of your keyboard

3. Keep holding all three keys for 7 seconds, then press and hold the power button as well. If your Mac is on, it will turn off as you hold the keys.

4. Keep holding all four keys for another 7 seconds, then release them.

5. Wait a few seconds, then press the power button to turn on your Mac.

Desktop computers with the T2 chip

  1. Shut down your Mac, then unplug the power cord.
  2. Wait 15 seconds, then plug the power cord back in.
  3. Wait 5 seconds, then press the power button to turn on your Mac.

Reset the SMC on other computers

If your Mac doesn’t have the Apple T2 Security Chip, follow these steps

Notebook computers with a non-removable battery

This applies to MacBook Pro models introduced in mid-2009 through 2017, MacBook Air models introduced in 2017 or earlier, and all MacBook models except the MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2009).

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. On your built-in keyboard, press and hold all of these keys:

Shift on the left side of your keyboard

Control on the left side of your keyboard

Option (Alt) on the left side of your keyboard

3. While holding all three keys, press and hold the power button as well

4. Keep holding all four keys for 10 seconds

5. Release all keys, then press the power button to turn on your Mac.

Notebook computers with a battery that can be removed

This applies to all MacBook Pro and MacBook models introduced in early 2009 or earlier and the MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2009).

Step 1: Shut down your Mac.

Step 2: Remove the battery. (If you need help removing it, contact an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.)

Step 3: Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.

Step 4: Reinstall the battery.

Step 5: Press the power button to turn on your Mac.

Fix 5: Use Your Device as a Self Powered Device

A quick and simple solution would be to use your device as a self-powered device. In doing so, your device will be drawing power from a power outlet or its own battery rather than having to run through your Mac.

Also read: How to fix the USB-C port not working on your MacBook

Hopefully, this article has been both helpful and informative. If you’re still having trouble with error messages, you can contact Apple Support for additional help.

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