The owners of the latest MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs were probably feeling pretty smug about their new purchases. But a serious problem has been causing some big issues with these shiny new machines. Many are finding that their USB 2.0 accessories are frequently disconnecting or not responding, sometimes causing their MacBooks to crash.
The problem mostly seems to occur when USB 2.0 accessories are connected via a USB hub. USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 accessories don't seem to be affected. If you were thinking of getting a brand new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, it looks as if you might be better off with one of our best laptops for graphic designers instead.
There are multiple users reporting the problem on both Reddit and via Apple Support. People have had various degrees of success trying to solve the issue. Some find that the only workaround is to restart their machine.
Reddit user u/buro91 has a hypothesis for why the problem occurs: "...USB 2.0 devices behave normally until they become unresponsive, but then as soon as they are unresponsive they will forever remain in the System Information even if unplugged from the hubs or re-inserted."
This user found a workaround by ordering a hub, the CalDigit TS3+ that treats USB 2.0 devices as if they are USB 3.0. However, many who have just spent a not insignificant amount on their new MacBook will be unwilling to spend yet more money to get it to work.
On MacRumors' forum, several users are also reporting this issue with older MacBooks, including the 2019 MacBook Pro running Catalina 10.15.4.
For now, anyone experiencing this issue should contact Apple Support. Hopefully if enough people complain about it, Apple will release a fix. In the meantime, check out the best prices on a range of other laptops below.