plug usb A to thunderbolt?

fisherking

macrumors 604
Original poster
Jul 16, 2010
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am having a good experience with my 2019 21" imac, but... need more usb ports! can i plug 2 usb 3 (A) drives into the thunderbolt ports? (with an adapter)? and will they get power, and... work?

seems simple, but wanted to ask here...
 

mikey8811

macrumors member
Mar 23, 2019
79
12
am having a good experience with my 2019 21" imac, but... need more usb ports! can i plug 2 usb 3 (A) drives into the thunderbolt ports? (with an adapter)? and will they get power, and... work?

seems simple, but wanted to ask here...
I used a powered Belkin hub with powered desktop drives before I returned my 2019 27 in base iMac.

It works but the Mac USB implementation seems flaky - the drives will just unmount themselves from Finder but still appear in Disk Utility and I wasn't able to eject them using Disk Utility or the diskutil command in Terminal. These were USB 2.0 drives though.

The USB 3.0 drives I plugged straight into the iMac would also do the same.

It would be interesting to see if they work better into the USB-C / Thunderbolt ports
 

fisherking

macrumors 604
Original poster
Jul 16, 2010
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ny somewhere
I used a powered Belkin hub with powered desktop drives before I returned my 2019 27 in base iMac.

It works but the Mac USB implementation seems flaky - the drives will just unmount themselves from Finder but still appear in Disk Utility and I wasn't able to eject them using Disk Utility or the diskutil command in Terminal. These were USB 2.0 drives though.

The USB 3.0 drives I plugged straight into the iMac would also do the same.

It would be interesting to see if they work better into the USB-C / Thunderbolt ports
i actually had a small usb A to C adapter (to use with my macbook); i plugged one of my usb A drive into it, into the thunderbolt port... and worked perfectly. just ordered 2 more adapters, and am pretty sure i'm in business!
 

fisherking

macrumors 604
Original poster
Jul 16, 2010
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Why didn't you just get a USB hub?
i've got 2 hubs; am running about 7 usb peripherals (plus an occasional flashdrive or additional external). it's all hubs! i wanted to... simplify, and seemed logical to want to use those 2 thunderbolt ports.
 

mikey8811

macrumors member
Mar 23, 2019
79
12
i actually had a small usb A to C adapter (to use with my macbook); i plugged one of my usb A drive into it, into the thunderbolt port... and worked perfectly. just ordered 2 more adapters, and am pretty sure i'm in business!
Can you include a link to the ones you ordered which work fine? Is the fit usually pretty easy and smooth?

I ordered the really cheap ones from Aliexpress and they can't fit into my MacBook's USB C port. I have to push really hard and the connection isn't flush. I am afraid if I push any harder I may damage the connector on the MacBook's port end which isn't worth it for a cheap adapter. The external drives don't show up so I presume the connection wasn't made.

Thanks
 

Zandros

macrumors regular
Sep 1, 2010
109
58
I used a powered Belkin hub with powered desktop drives before I returned my 2019 27 in base iMac.

It works but the Mac USB implementation seems flaky - the drives will just unmount themselves from Finder but still appear in Disk Utility and I wasn't able to eject them using Disk Utility or the diskutil command in Terminal. These were USB 2.0 drives though.

The USB 3.0 drives I plugged straight into the iMac would also do the same.

It would be interesting to see if they work better into the USB-C / Thunderbolt ports

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but all disks—mounted and unmounted—are supposed to appear in Disk Utility. How else are you supposed to mount them again without replugging them?
 

mikey8811

macrumors member
Mar 23, 2019
79
12
Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but all disks—mounted and unmounted—are supposed to appear in Disk Utility. How else are you supposed to mount them again without replugging them?
Exactly what I said: the drives will just unmount themselves from Finder but still appear in Disk Utility and I wasn't able to eject them using Disk Utility or the diskutil command in Terminal. These were USB 2.0 drives though.
 

priitv8

macrumors 68040
Jan 13, 2011
3,517
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Estonia
How else are you supposed to mount them again without replugging them?
Mountain is a tool that allows you remount USB drives via menu: https://appgineers.de/mountain/
i've got 2 hubs; am running about 7 usb peripherals (plus an occasional flashdrive or additional external). it's all hubs! i wanted to... simplify, and seemed logical to want to use those 2 thunderbolt ports.
I went for Caldigit TS3 Plus, has plenty of ports, TB3 downstream port and even UHCII SD card slot.
 

mikey8811

macrumors member
Mar 23, 2019
79
12
It's really strange - I brought the cheap Aliexpress adaptor to the Apple shop.

It works on the current MacBook Air but NOT on my older MacBook Pro or the current iMac, where in both cases it doesn't fit. On the MacBook Air it slides easily in and then clicks.

I thought all USB C connections were pretty standard
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,179
5,535
OP wrote:
"can i plug 2 usb 3 (A) drives into the thunderbolt ports?"

Those ARE NOT "thunderbolt" ports.
They ARE "USBc" ports (that can use thunderbolt devices with the proper connecting cable).

If you have a device with a USBa type connector, get one (or two) of these adapter/dongles:
https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-Adapter-USB-C-Inches/dp/B00UUBQ0U8/ref=sr_1_21?crid=2RPNO849D6PB4&keywords=usbc+to+usba+female&qid=1554512146&s=gateway&sprefix=usbc+to+usba,aps,137&sr=8-21
Work great on my 2018 Mini.

Or, get a USB3 hub with a USBc-to-USBa cable.
Or, you could even get a thunderbolt dock that has USB3 ports, but they would be expensive overkill.