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Context:

  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019, Two Thunderbolt 3 ports)
  • macOS Catalina 10.15.4
  • usb c adapter 1 (link): Hub USB C Ethernet.
    • Here I plug: ethernet, mouse (USB), keyboard (USB).
  • usb c adapter 2 (link): S-Hub-9838 with HDMI/USB 3.0/usbc and power supply.
    • Here I plug: HDMI for an external screen and the Mac charger

Problem

When I do not use the macbook, the power saving mode is activated. When I come back to the Mac, I press a key and it wakes up. Here is the problem:

  • adapter 1 works fine
  • adapter 2 does not work anymore! External screen does not receive any input and the mac charger seems unplugged.

In order to make the adapter work again, I have to unplug and replug the charger to the adapter 2.

Please note that this strange behavior does not happen with the official Apple adapter (link).

What I need

I need to avoid disconnections when the Mac enters the power saving mode. Changing power saving configuration (e.g., avoiding the sleep mode) is not an option.

Is there a way to fix?

  • I have the same problem on my new Macbook Air 2020 (MacOS Catalina 10.15.4) using the Apple Multiport Adapter and an Anker USB-C to USB-A. I didn't find it's cause yet. For me also reinstalling macOS didn't change that, and since I have just a USB mouse connected, it is not drawing too much power. Please clarify: What OS are you running? What is connected to your adapter? Is is drawing a lot of power? Is it a USB-2 device? – youngpilot May 22 at 11:52
  • Hey @youngpilot I've clarified the scenario in the main post. Thanks for your hints. – floatingpurr May 22 at 12:46
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In order to make the adapter work again, I have to unplug and replug the charger to the adapter 2.

Basically, you have to reset the adapter. The problem sounds like the USB controller on the adapter doesn’t handle sleep well (or at least waking from sleep). This isn’t something that you can fix in macOS (or even should) as it’s an issue with the USB adapter itself - not a software configuration thing.

However, looking at your configuration, I would recommend you getting a dock instead of having multiple adapters (see this answer to a similar situation). The dock will give you a much more stable connection and being Thunderbolt, it will be connected to the PCIe bus rather than the USB bus.

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  • For me this behavior happens with the original Apple Multiport Adapter, but only after I reinstalled macOS in order to fix another USB related error. Unfortunately the error was not fixed by reinstalling and this issue came on top. This makes me think it might be a OS related issue. Some further thoughts? – youngpilot May 23 at 22:04
  • @youngpilot - the idea of "reinstall macOS" is a fallacy perpetuated by the "geniuses" over at Apple. In my career, I've overseen many, many thousands of computers (PC and Mac) with countless issues. Reinstallation was always a last resort. When someone leads with it, it means they have no idea what they're doing and going for the Hail Mary. Why would it be OS related? When you reinstalled, what changed that going to an initial state fixes it? If it were truly an OS issue, it wouldn't be fixed with a reinstall of macOS as the problem would still be in the OS. – Allan May 23 at 22:41
  • So my thoughts are Apple actually sucks at building computers. They cut unnecessary corners and add complexity for the sake of adding complexity. They have a very known, finite number of permutations (unlike Windows) yet still they have these ridiculous issues like undersized capacitors on the GPU circuitry (I'm looking at you 2011 MBP!) or shortening the flex cable, or introducing "butterfly" keyboards that sucked from every aspect; usability and reliability. Sometimes, you just need to supplement where they failed with a better piece of hardware, thus my recommendation for a TB dock. – Allan May 23 at 22:46

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