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My MacBook Pro includes 2 USB2 ports and 1 Thunderbolt port. The USB ports are becoming a bit unstable (according to a music software I'm using). I've never used the Thunderbolt port, so assume it would be stable.

  1. Is there a Thunderbolt dock I could connect to the Thunderbolt port which would accept my USB2 devices? I understand that the Thunderbolt port I have is not the fastest or latest. What is important to me is that I can still use my devices ie: keyboard, audio/MIDI interface and external storage HDs, all with USB2 connectors and independent power.

  2. Would the Thunderbolt dock also be able to connect to a newer Thunderbolt port should I decide to upgrade. (semi retired musician, so have to be very careful).

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    Never assume, test! Just because you are having problems with USB doesn't automatically mean that Thunderbolt is fine. It might be, it might not. If you can even find a Thunderbolt dock that is compatible, make sure you can return it. – Steve Chambers May 18 '20 at 13:58
  • What does unstable mean here? – mmmmmm May 18 '20 at 15:40
  • Unstable means unstable – Terri716 May 18 '20 at 19:13
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Starting off, it’s important to know that any Thunderbolt dock that you get will be obsolete by about five years (at the time of this writing).

You need a Thunderbolt 1 or Thunderbolt 2 dock. They will support your requirements of plugging in your peripheral devices; hard drives, keyboards, mice, etc. You may need an adapter for your MIDI interface, but it will be no different than needing the same adapter to connect directly to your Mac.

Thunderbolt is backward compatible meaning that it will connect to older Thunderbolt devices. However, going from a new Thunderbolt 3 port to older Thunderbolt 1 or 2 port, will require an adapter due to the differences in needing an active (powered) cable versus a passive cable.

Do I recommend you going this route? No!

This is a nearly decade old Mac with all obsolete tech and by your own admission, the ports are becoming “unstable”, likely from being worn and the connections getting loose. You’re throwing good money at something that will simply only get worse - you’d be buying already discontinued and obsolete tech (if you can actually source it). Your better bet is to get a more modern Mac with reliable ports and support for new(er) operating systems.

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  • Your second paragraph was helpful. Thanks. – Terri716 May 18 '20 at 19:06

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