How to Reset USB Ports on Mac Laptops

By Nicholas Markman

If the USB ports on a Mac stop working or become unresponsive, there are a few troubleshooting techniques that can potentially fix them.

You go to plug in your flash drive to a USB port on your Mac and nothing happens. Just as applications can act unresponsive or buggy, hardware ports are susceptible to similar problems. You can reboot or reset the USB ports on your Mac to make them operational again.

Step 1

Rebooting is an easy solution to a lot of computer problems. Rebooting the Mac resets certain hardware conditions, which may solve the USB port issues.

Step 2

NVRAM, or non-volatile random-access memory, is a part of the Mac that stores certain settings that can impact hardware performance.

  1. Turn off the Mac.
  2. Locate the Command, Option, P and R keys on the keyboard.
  3. Turn on the Mac while holding down the Command-Option-P-R keys until you hear the second start-up sound.
  4. Release the Command-Option-P-R keys.

Step 3

SMC, or the System Management Controller, is a system within Intel-based Macs that plays a role in controlling several hardware-related operations of Mac computers. Resetting the SMC should only be attempted after Steps 1 and 2.

  1. Shut down the Mac and unplug any power cords and chargers.
  2. Press and hold the power button for five seconds
  3. Reconnect the charger and power the Mac back on.