USB port types and names
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USB (Universal Serial Bus) is an industry standard for connecting computers and other devices. It's available with many types of ports, and each type has a unique shape. On Mac computers, USB is available with these ports, depending on your Mac model:
Type USB-A ports are commonly called USB, USB 2, or USB 3 ports, depending on the USB specification they support. They aren't reversible, so a USB-A connector plugs into the port only when oriented correctly.
Type USB-C ports are available as either standard USB-C ports or Thunderbolt 3 ports that also support USB-C connections. They both look the same, and the connector plugs into the port in either orientation.
Learn more about identifying the ports on your Mac, as well as the adapters and cables you can use to connect older devices to type USB-C ports.
USB specifications are important primarily when you want the most speed and power for your USB device, or your device needs more power or is using too much power. Every USB port supports a particular USB specification, which determines the port's maximum>USB specifications on MacData transferPowerUSB 3.1 Gen 2
Also known as USB 3.2 Gen 2
Up to 10 GbpsUp to 15W at 5VUSB 3.1 Gen 1
Also known as USB 3.2 Gen 1 or USB 3
Up to 5 GbpsUp to 900 mA at 5VUSB 2.0
Up to 480 MbpsUp to 500 mA at 5VUSB 1.1
Up to 12 MbpsUp to 500 mA at 5V
To learn which specification is supported by a type USB-A or type USB-C port on your Mac model:
- Choose Apple menu > About This Mac, click Support, then click Specifications.
- Check the System Information app for more details, including about USB devices connected to USB ports on your Mac. Select USB in the sidebar, then select a USB bus on the right.
Get the best performance from your USB devices
USB specifications all work with each other, but speed and power are limited by the cable or device that uses the earliest specification. For example, if you connect a USB 3 device to USB 2 port, your device is limited to USB 2 speeds, and it can't draw more power from the port than can be delivered over USB 2. In other words, to get the best performance, make sure that the USB port on your Mac and the USB cable to your device meet or exceed the USB specification of the device itself.
If your Mac doesn't recognize a USB device after you plug it into your Mac:
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- Check all connections: Unplug the device from your Mac, then plug it back in, and make sure that all cables and adapters are securely connected at both ends. Test with another cable or adapter, if available.
- Plug the device directly into your Mac instead of a USB hub or other device, and if necessary test with a different USB port on your Mac or device.
- Some devices need their own software, such as drivers or firmware. Others work without additional software. Check with the maker of your device, and install all available Apple software updates as well.
- If your device came with an AC power adapter, use it. Some devices can be powered by the USB port on your Mac. Others need more power than your Mac can provide.
- Restart your Mac.
- USB 3 devices can create wireless interference that affects Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices. Learn how to resolve Wi-Fi and Bluetooth issues caused by wireless interference.
- Mac notebook computers with USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 can charge over that port using a compatible USB-C power adapter and cable.
Mac computers that have any of the following ports can connect to HDMI devices. Learn how to identify the ports on your Mac.
- HDMI port: Connects directly to HDMI using an HDMI cable.
- USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port: Connects to HDMI using an adapter, such as the Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter.
- Mini DisplayPort: Connects to HDMI using a third-party Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter or cable.
Mac computers that have an HDMI port comply with HDMI 1.4b and support:
- At least 1080p video over HDMI, and some Mac models support higher resolutions when connecting to 4K displays, 5K displays, and Ultra HD TVs
- 8-channel/24-bit audio at 192kHz, Dolby Surround 5.1, and traditional stereo
- HDCP-encrypted playback from iTunes and QuickTime Player (version 10). Safari in macOS Sierra or later also supports HDCP-encrypted playback, if the web page is HTML5-enabled and the content is FairPlay Streaming-enabled and delivered using Media Source Extensions or HTTP Live Streaming.
If using an adapter, check the specifications of the adapter to learn about supported resolutions and other details.
After making the connection
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If your Mac doesn't recognize your HDTV, display, or other HDMI device after making the connection:
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- Turn off the HDMI device while your Mac is turned on.
- Unplug the HDMI cable from your Mac, then plug it in again.
- Turn on the HDMI device.
If the video on your HDTV or display extends beyond the borders of the screen, open Displays preferences and adjust the Underscan slider for a better fit. Use any of these methods to open Displays preferences:
- Choose Apple () menu > System Preferences, then click Displays.
- Press Shift-Command-A to open the Applications folder. Then double-click System Preferences, then click Displays.
- If your keyboard has brightness controls, press Option–Brightness Up or Option–Brightness Down.
If your HDMI device isn't receiving audio from your Mac:
- Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Sound. In the Output pane, make sure that your HDMI device is selected.
- If you're connecting using a Mini DisplayPort adapter, make sure that your Mac can send audio over Mini DisplayPort.
- If you're connecting from a Mac mini, unplug any audio device that is plugged into your computer's Audio-Out port.
If your Mac goes to sleep while a video is playing or paused, you might see an HDCP error. Quit the app that is playing the video, then open the app again. If the issue continues, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Energy Saver and adjust the settings so that your display doesn't turn off.
- If your Mac has an HDMI port, you can use the Apple HDMI to DVI Adapter to connect to a DVI display.
- Mac computers don't support using CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) to control HDMI devices.