USB ports too close to each other (MBP mid-2012)

macstatic

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 21, 2005
1,063
29
Norway
I think my 13" Macbook Pro 15 (mid-2012) is a great laptop for traveling as it has everything (yes, I love that it has a built-in DVD player, although I'm one of the few judging by other postings here).

But more to the point: this MBP has two USB ports, but if I plug in for instance an external USB drive and also want to use a USB flash drive that won't work because there's a flaw in the design (IMHO) as they're too close together. Is there a good solution to this?
A USB extension cable? Are there narrow USB flash drives to be found (I've tried several types but they all seem equally wide)?
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,150
Most USB flash drives are sized in a way that will block other ports on laptops. I blame the Makers for this more than I do Apple and if there was no standardized spec from the start I would also partly blame the USB IF. I think this may be partly why Apple decided on the Retina model to put one USB drive on each side, even though extremely large flash drives still block (less frequently used) ports. It may also partly explain the wide spacing on the 2016- generation USB-C MBPs, in the event that extremely huge USB flash drives like the Corsair Voyager GTX (with an actual SSD controller) are released for USB-C laptops, and to accommodate wider SD adapters.

My Kingston Digital DataTraveler SE9's do not protrude in any way, and can be used with your model side-by-side with either a cable in the other USB port, or another SE9 flash drive. These are older USB2 models, but I imagine they have updated USB 3 versions. A USB extension cable could also work, if you don't mind living with the adapter. A $10 USB bus-powered hub would too, and would provide you with 2-4 extra ports. IIRC Silicon Power also made (and still makes?) several compact profile USB flash drives as well that maintain the width of the inner port.
 

macstatic

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 21, 2005
1,063
29
Norway
Those Kingston flash drives seem to be the solution as I prefer not to keep too many "add-ons" in mind when bringing along the laptop. Thanks for letting me know!
 

leman

macrumors G3
Oct 14, 2008
9,962
4,550
The solution is called USB-C ;) In the meanwhile, you can use a USB hub, those are very compact and cheap.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,831
30,348
Boston
I've never had a problem with my 2012 MBP, but then I only connect a few things. As mentioned, get a hub, problem solved. :)
 

TonyK

macrumors 65816
May 24, 2009
1,023
141
Wonder if that is why the 2015 has its USB ports on opposite sides of the computer. :D
 
  • Like
Reactions: jerryk

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,160
5,521
A short USB "extension" cable (male on one end, female on the other) will solve this problem.

May look a little bit "clunky", but… it works!
 

windows4ever

macrumors member
Aug 14, 2011
60
16
I agree this is an annoyance with the older Macbooks. A small USB hub is a good solution.