MacBook Pro shuts off when plugging in a USB charger cable


macrumors member
Original poster
May 28, 2007
I bought an iPhone USB cable thru eBay for a cheap price. It used to work fine but the last few days whenever I plug it in to my Early 2011 13" MacBook Pro it shuts off immediately. (other USB charging cables from apple etc. work fine with no problems)

The strange thing is, it shuts off only in the USB port facing towards the trackpad but it works fine in the USB port towards the screen.

I tested this on several 13" MacBook Pro's and got the same above results on all of them.

Does anyone have any clue what the problem might be, and if the USB cable might be defective, and can this cheap eBay cables harm my computer?:rolleyes:

Thanks in advance for any help.

Dangerous Theory

macrumors 68000
Jul 28, 2011
Wow that's an interesting one. Does this happen when you plug the cable alone in or when it's plugged into the iPhone? The fact that you reproduced the same results on several systems suggests there are fundamental differences between the two USB ports, or just a glitch in the driver.

Wondering, if you have Bootcamp, does this happen in Windows too?


macrumors member
Original poster
May 28, 2007

Just plugging in the cable even without the phone will shut it off.

I don't have bootcamp so I don't know.


macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2012
So you take a USB cable you just purchased, that happens to be cheap, and plug it into several different computers, and on each computer you plug it into, the computer shuts off. And you're asking if it might be the cable?




macrumors member
Original poster
May 28, 2007
The funny thing is that it only happens in one port while in the second it works fine.

Also does this means I can't buy a USB cable from eBay? Does it have to be straight from apple?


macrumors G3
Aug 3, 2006
Are USB cables expensive now? I wouldn't say you need to buy them directly from Apple, but I also wouldn't buy the cheapest cables possible.

It sounds like the cable you have has developed a short or something similar. I wouldn't continue to plug it in, as it is POSSIBLE that you could damage something.


macrumors newbie
Mar 18, 2011
This is a very interesting problem. I have the exact same issue with my 15" Early 2011 MBP, except it is with a USB powered e-cig. It is also only in the USB port nearest the track pad.

Obviously I will not be plugging this thing into my laptop again, but I thought I would post to keep this issue known.

Some other things: This was never a problem before, the computer just started doing this. The e-cig works in the other USB port, or with a wall adapter, or with any other computer. Also, when this happens, the ONLY WAY to get the computer to turn on, charge, or even indicate the battery charge with the little button on the side, is to open it up and unplug the battery cable and plug it back in.

I'm concerned this might be an issue with the MagSafe board that will get worse. I had the MagSafe board stop charging the battery in my original early 2006 MBP.

Brian Y

macrumors 68040
Oct 21, 2012
Not all internal USB ports are equal.

If your machine has USB ports next to each other - one (generally the one closer to the screen - but I *think* it varies from model-to-model) has a dedicated hub. The other shares a hub with internal devices such as the Facetime camera, keyboard and trackpad, etc.

If your machine has usb ports on both sides (like the MBA), then the one next to the MagSafe board has a dedicated hub, and the other shares a hub with system devices.


macrumors newbie
Feb 21, 2013
Hey, Im having the same problem. But it happens with the USB cables that come with my iPhone, iPad and iPod.

What was your solution, yespi?

Did you take it to an Apple Store?