What to Do If Your Mac Doesn’t Recognize External Accessories

There are many accessories that can be found to a Mac on a day-to-day basis to improve productivity and have extra functions. But on certain occasions these are not recognized by the Mac operating system for different reasons. In this article we will tell you the most common reasons that may exist as well as the solutions that are proposed to connect external accessories both physically or wirelessly.

Is the USB port working fine?

When it comes to accessories that are connected through the physical ports of the Mac, it must be taken into account that this may be the fault. There can be many cases, one of the most common being the feeding problem. Keep in mind that accessories need power to function properly and this is supplied through the connection ports. Along with energy, the exchange of information necessary for its operation is also carried out. That is why this connection is crucial in all cases and if it ends up failing the accessories will not be recognized.

To do this, you must first check that the accessory is well connected by fitting the USB connector and checking that there is no type of dirt in the port so that it does not end up failing. Although, it may also be due to a failure of the hardware itself that cannot be related to the software. This causes absolutely nothing you connect to work and this can be quickly verified. You will have to connect any other accessory to know if it works or not. In the event that a second accessory that you have connected does not work, it is likely that the port is damaged and if it works, it is likely that the problem is in the accessory itself.

In the first case, you should weigh the idea of going to Apple‘s technical service in order to repair the USB port, or even have to reset the operating system or the SMC system that handles all these connections. In this way you will be able to do everything necessary to make it work correctly again.

Make sure you have the Bluetooth connection activated

Currently not all accessories that can be connected to the Mac require a physical connection. There are many who already opt for a Bluetooth connection, which is undoubtedly an extraordinary advantage when working on a Mac that does not have too many ports to make connections. While these accessories may also not be recognized by the computer. In these cases, first check that the Bluetooth connection is activated and the device is configured in a correct way to be detected. This is something that can be checked in the Mac system preferences in the ‘Bluetooth’ section.

In the event that Bluetooth is activated in a correct way and the device is connected, but it is still not recognized, you will have to choose to restart the connection. We refer to both Bluetooth, as well as the accessory in question that should also be deactivated and reactivated. In some cases, the accessory can even be fully reset to factory settings so that it can be routinely reconnected.

Disconnect all accessories from your Mac

In order to solve any of the recognition problems, it is best to first disconnect all the Mac accessories. By leaving the Mac totally clean of physical and wireless connections, the fault can be better located. In this way you can also restart your computer and start from scratch with the recognition. In this way, it is also possible to rule out incompatibility with other accessories that can create conflict by making it impossible to recognize the new one that has been connected.

Accessory or Mac problem?

Something that we have already commented previously and that we must always bear in mind is that the problem may not be with the Mac itself but with the accessory. Here they are already talking about totally different solutions, as well as different companies from which to claim the guarantee. But the truth is that checking what is failing correctly is something very simple to do. You just have to try connecting a different accessory and see if it works or not. In the case of any other device that you connect to the same port or through the Bluetooth connection it works well so it will not be the fault of the Mac but of the accessory itself.

In the event that some accessories work when connecting and others do not, the problem will be with the Mac itself. This is where you will have to carry out the different checks that we have previously commented on both the ports as well as the measures that we will comment on below. related to software.

Check that you have the necessary software installed.

Most accessories when they are connected to a device for the first time install specific software which is what are called drivers. In this way the optimal functioning of the accessories is achieved. Although in some occasions the Mac cannot recognize the accessory that has been connected and the software cannot be downloaded from the internet. That is why, if this is your case, or if you simply do not remember if it has been installed, you will have to do it manually.

In order to carry out the manual installation, you will have to go to the website of the manufacturer of the accessory in question. You can easily find the download section to have the driver installed on your computer, as long as it is compatible. Keep in mind that in some cases the accessories are only compatible with Windows, so the technical specifications should always be checked.

Reset the operating system and SMC

In a more aggressive way, in order to rule out any type of software failure that is affecting the USB ports, the operating system must be reset. It is important not to start through backup in order to avoid ending up exporting the failure that was previously present. In this way all problems can be solved and ruled out that it is the software.

YES, there is still a way to solve the problem before going to technical service. We are referring to the SMC that is in charge of managing the battery, the fans and also the USB ports. To be able to perform the reset, you simply have to follow the following steps:

  • Turn off the MacBook.
  • On the keyboard, hold down Control (left side) + Option (Alt) (left side) + Shift (right side of keyboard) at the same time.
  • You must hold down the three keys for at least 7 seconds.
  • After the time has elapsed and without having to release the keys, press and hold the power button at the same time.
  • Hold down the keys for a further 7 seconds and release them.
  • After waiting a few seconds, you can press the reset button again to start your Mac.

But if unfortunately none of this that we have mentioned works, and you have verified that the fault is in the Mac, you will have to go to the technical service. In this way, it will be possible to carry out the checks of the ports as well as of the basic board to proceed with a repair with the aim of solving all the problems.

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