Plugable’s USB 3 Hubs and OS X

USB 3 support is still evolving on OS X. Below is a listing of the known issues affecting our hubs on OS X:

1. Updates specific to certain models of Apple computer are available that affect “USB 3 reliability.” Applying all updates from the App store on your USB3 Mac is recommended for best results, and seems particularly important on the following new models:

  • 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pro.
  • Mac Mini with USB 3.0
  • iMac with USB 3.0

Since many OS X updates are model-specific, we are unable to provide a listing of all relevant updates for your system. Apple’s built in Software Update via the App store is the recommended method to check for updates for your system. Sample updates relevant to particularly affected models are below:

This update is recommended for all 13” MacBook Pro with Retina Display, 21.5″ iMac (Late 2012) and Mac mini (Late 2012) systems.
It includes all features and updates from OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.2 plus system-specific enhancements and fixes for Late 2012 systems.

This update includes graphics performance and reliability enhancements and improves compatibility with some USB devices.
This update is recommended for all Mac notebooks introduced in June 2012.

This update is recommended for MacBook Pro (mid 2012) models.
The update includes fixes that improve graphics stability, external display support, and USB 3 device support.

2. VL812 based USB3-HUB7-81X 7 port units with firmware version 8571 are recommended for OS X users.

Units with v8564 are still shipping, which will have the following issues on OS X:

  • May not detect some USB Mass Storage devices connected to the hub.
  • USB Mass Storage devices connected to the hub before the hub is connected to the Mac are not detected. This issue also appears when you reboot your Mac and have to unplug/replug your USB 3 storage devices for them to be detected.
  • Ports 1-4 do not work if the AC power supply isn’t connected. If ports 1-4 do not work, please check your power supply and make sure the green light is lit.

Please see our Plugable USB 3.0 Hub Firmware Upgrades blog post for details on how to perform this upgrade on a USB 3.0 capable Windows XP or later PC (or from a BootCamp partition on your Mac). Please contact if you do not have access to a Windows XP or later PC with USB 3.0 (USB 2.0 does not work), or a BootCamp partition on your Mac (Parallels and other virtual machines do not work, only BootCamp).

3. VL811 based USB3-HUB81X4 4 port units with firmware versions prior to firmware v983/rev3198 may have an issue where USB storage devices connected to the hub do not resume from sleep properly. Please see our Plugable USB 3.0 Hub Firmware Upgrades blog post for details.

4. Apple’s super drive does not work when connected to a hub.

The SuperDrive is designed exclusively for use with MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini’s that do not have a built-in optical drive. The SuperDrive must be directly plugged into the computer’s USB port, and cannot be used if connected to a USB hub.”

This is because the SuperDrive requires 1100 milliamps of power, substantially more than allowed by the USB specifications that hubs are designed to meet. As a result, the Apple SuperDrive will only work when connected directly to your Mac.

5. USB Audio devices (especially 5.1 and 7.1 USB sound cards and recording input devices) have been reported to have a variety of issues when connected via the hub. Details on this issue are in this thread on our support forum.

6. Other troubleshooting and information regarding OS X USB 3.0 Support are discussed on Apple’s support page here.

Please be aware that troubleshooting may be time consuming and we may not be able to resolve issues other than #2 and #3 above.

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