Mac mini USB help for newbie

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by swanseaboy, May 10, 2013.

  1. swanseaboy macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2012
    Swansea, Wales
    Hi, have bought my first mac, a Mac mini late 2012 i7. And I'm loving it!

    I've installed an SSD to boot, and left the 1tb as storage for iTunes and iphoto and it all works great.

    The only issue I'm having with at present is USB charging when it sleeps ie. it doesn't! My wife and I both have iPhone 5s and our normal MO is to plug the phones in at various times of the day to charge and/or sync.

    However if this is done when the mini is sleeping, it doesn't charge. If an iPhone is plugged in and then the mini sleeps, I hear the disconnect beep and it stops charging. This could be a problem as some nights my wife comes home from a late shift, and will just plug the phone in to charge, and it won't do this if it's already in sleep.

    I have to confess I'm baffled, I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong? I'm having to leave it on (albeit idle) and if no-ones using it its on the login screen. Is that stopping it charging when in sleep?

    I've tried googling for an answer but haven't had much luck, I'd gratefully appreciate any pointers at this stage!

    Thanks in advance
  2. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    I am guessing the mini puts the USB ports asleep because by definition it is supposed to go to sleep. So if the USB ports go to sleep so do the peripherals. Any devices plugged into my USB.3.0 ports on my 2012 Mac also go to sleep (unless theya re explicitly on/off switch powered of course). This is usually what people want in my situation, the HDDs go to sleep too. I wonder if it is a 2012 USB 3.0 thing because my 2011 Mac mini i5 doesn't put the USB port power to sleep when it slept because I remember I used to have a USB powered mini desk fan plugged into it and when it sleeped the desk fan kept running (i.e. it would have continued to charge and iphone).

    If you want active USBs (at least the pos/neg 5v part of it) to run while your mini sleeps you could try a USB 3.0 powered hub. The Kanex 4 port USB3.0 hub has a port dedicated to charging even when the mini is off. It is designed specifically for ipads etc. It will free up the ports on your mini too.

    Sorry my suggestions are not a fix. Perhaps some of the tech gurus have a formal explanation.
  3. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    I'm pretty sure the peripherals are designed to sleep also when the computer is sleeping. Only way to avoid it would be to change the energy saver preferences to have the computer never sleep and have the display sleep after a certain time inactive. Or plug in the iphone into a wall outlet. It will probably charge faster that way anyways, and save a little bit of power not having the computer on so much.
  4. fricotin macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2011
    Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico
    Mine keeps on charging even when sleeping, you may want to check your preferences.
  5. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    Just a thought to add to my comments above...

    You could try "unticking" put hard drives to sleep when possible" in the energy saver section of system preferences.

    Just a stab in the dark.
  6. minifridge1138 macrumors 65816

    Jun 26, 2010
    I have 7 macs and none of them will charge USB device if they are asleep.

    I was under the impression that was how sleep mode worked: no power to usb ports or other peripherals.

    To the user that said his sleeping devices would charge, I'd love to know how you did that. And do you mean they charge when the Mac is asleep :)apple: -> Sleep) or just when the display has shut down?

    If just the display is off, then it should still charge.
  7. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    I agree with everything your saying. But with my 2011 i5 base model mini I used to have one of those elcheapo ebay usb desk fans that ran off usb power. I set my mini to sleep and also set the power botton to make the mini sleep when pressed because I rarely used the Mac, but didn't want to shut it completely down. So when it sleept, either by hitting the time period, or by pressing the power button, it went to sleep, but the usb fan kept running. It was irritating. I basically had to unplug the fan or shut it down manually. I eventually threw the fan because it was irritating me as I kept forgetting to shut the fan down manually. I.e. the usb fan had been running for days after I had left the mini sleeping.

    I have three minis and two MBAs, They are all set to sleep except for my main 2012 mini that runs permenantly. All the Macs when going to sleep also shut off the USB ports (mostly HDDs), EXCEPT my 2011 mini I refer to.

    I should note, I did tinker with it a LOT over the years (well two) to try different modifications (HDDs, external sata etc). It is my version of the "animals that are tested in labs" Mac mini so maybe I have done something to it.
  8. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Why do you use sleep?
    Either turn it off or let it run idle with the screen shut off, it is only 11 watt or so.
    Never understood the hybernate function (what you call sleep). The only purpose is to let the power-on light do its magic trick. With SSD booting times almost match hibernate.
  9. swanseaboy thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2012
    Swansea, Wales
    Thanks everyone for your replies.

    Opinio, I tried unticking 'put hard drives to sleep when ever possible' and... it worked! The phones would remain charging when sleep began, and would charge if I plugged in while asleep BUT this only seems to happen if I was logged in, it won't work for me if the mini is at the login screen.

    Probably explains why some say the ports remain powered and others say they don't?

    Since the whole family uses the mini and I'm always making them log out when they're finished, it doesn't help I guess but hopefully I'm getting closer!

    Perhaps as Opinio has suggested, a powered hub or as COrocket says a dual wall charger (with both phones syncing over wifi) may be the way to go...not what I wanted to do but...

    Thanks again everyone
  10. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    Why? because it has a 5400 HDD; it my backup third Mac mini; and I like it to sleep automatically and start up quick cause I only use it to watch iTunes vids. So sleep is the best option for that particular Mac. I see your point and with my other two Mac minis that have SSD's I take the same view as you as well.


    That was probably the most ridiculous suggestion I ever made... and it worked?? :confused: I never expected that... I'm going to go buy a lotto ticket.
  11. xlii macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2006
    Millis, Massachusetts
    You can get a usb wall charger for iphones for 2.10 cents on amazon. This will charge your phone a lot faster than plugging it into your mini.
  12. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

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