Leaving things plugged into the USB on your mac indefinitely is a bad idea and may break the port

When your USB stops working you’ll notice how much that sucks. Before that, you’ll plug in whatever, not thinking about it. And then it dies!

Actually it probably doesn’t matter if you leave your mouse USB plugged in forever. But it does matter if you overuse your USB slot with some high powered music gear like the ultra fancy Ableton Push 2, Or some other crazy music gear like the Korg, 16-Key Synthesizer or the Maschine. Although these devices have their own power source, you don’t have to plug them in, you can still use them on your Mac without it. This means all the power is being drawn from your USB. And over a long enough timeline this can make that USB port glitchy and unreliable.

Now, does your little USB mouse have as much of an impact? Obviously not. But if you absolutely need to know whether you’ve crossed into the danger zone, OSX can show you how much power is being drawn.

USB power consumption information is available in the System Information application available at Applications > Utilities > System Information.

Scroll down to USB and click on it to see this menu

What’s my mouse you ask? I’m using just a crappy USB mouse sold by amazonbasics. It’s using about 100 mA which is 1/5 of the max draw. That is so low it does not matter. According to Ableton’s specs on the Push it pulls quite a bit more power:


That .5 Amps when running on USB Power is no big deal for an afternoon but the moral of the story is don’t leave that stuff plugged in permanently OR buy yourself a powered USB hub to stave off the USB hunger games.

What proof do I have? Just trust me I’m right. Protect your ports kids, unplug when not in use. Just like your uhh, other ports.

Last updated: December 25, 2019


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