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Macbook Pro and Thunderbolt USB problem

58382 Views 169 Replies Latest reply: Mar 17, 2014 7:23 AM by String Bass RSS
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ejkitchen Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Apr 24, 2012 7:03 AM

I have read a few threads regarding problems with the Thunderbolt displays and Macbook Airs. None of the suggestions in there work for me including doing an SMC Reset.


Here is my problem. I have a brand new Macbook Pro 17", 2.5Ghz Core i7,  8gb ram, 750Gb HD etc., new Thunderbolt display. Running OS X Lion 10.7.3.


In the back of my display I have plugged in a USB mouse from Logitech, an Apple full size keyboard and my wired ethernet connection. The monitor and peripherals stay at work and I take the Macbook Pro home every night. If I do not follow a certain sequence every morning, my computer freezes. I put the power connector in first, open the lid, wait for the screen on the laptop to show the login prompt, login and then and only then can I plug in my Thunderbolt connector. Once I do this, my second screen lights up and my mouse, keyboard and ethernet connection works. But if I plug in the Thunderbolt first before power up or if I plug it in before logging in, then I have a high probabilty that the USB hub on the back of the monitor will stop working altogether. Then I have to move my mouse and keyboard over to the laptop and everything works great (my ethernet keeps working fine though). My mouse scroll for whatever reason goes into high gear and starts scrolling much faster and I have to slow it down.


Now, this works 90% of the time. But there are days, like today, where this process does not work. And when it doesn't, either I have to move the USB devices over or like today, the machine freezes and no longer responds to any input. It appears to still be working as the screen updates but I can never regain control of it via any keyboard or mouse.


My co-worker has the exact same setup and exact same problem. We also have 10 Thunderbolt displays here (all new) and same problem with ANY I choose. So this is not a hardware issue. Something is wrong with the driver code for some device. And my co-worker has an Apple mouse so that's not the issue either. If this can help Apple with debugging, here is another interesting tid bit. 3 weeks ago, I had a non Thunderbolt display. And for 6 months with an older laptop, I had issues with it's USB hub. Same kind of problem. Some days, the USB hub in the monitor would work and others it would go dead until a reboot was performed.


I think a driver needs some fixing somewhere.




  • barme Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 25, 2012 6:19 AM (in response to ejkitchen)

    I have been facing a similar problem that was solved by deactivating Airport and disconnecting and reconnecting the thunderbolt cable on the MacBook Pro.

  • yebewarned Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 26, 2012 12:21 PM (in response to ejkitchen)

    My issue is very similar as well. Sometimes on startup (with the thunderbolt display and macbook pro already connected via thunderbolt cable) my cursor will be frozen in the upper left hand corner of the screen. While frozen, no connected devices (trackpad, wired keyboard, etc.) are recognized.


    When I restart with the thunderbolt display disconnected my macbook pro will normally boot correctly and not freeze, then I plug my thunderbolt display in and it will work. This is an extremely annoying issue for expensive devices that are advertised to work seamlessly.


    Apple needs to address this issue with a driver/software update.

  • barme Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 26, 2012 1:09 PM (in response to barme)

    Unfortunately, the problem reappeared after the first shutdown. Now I have no Ethenert nor USB nor sound again


    Currently, Apple support is considering this issue as an hardware problem. This may explain why it arise randomly and in very different contexts.


    For me the next step is having both display's mother board and power board replaced...

  • JanvanZyl Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Apr 27, 2012 12:31 AM (in response to ejkitchen)

    Same problem here. New TB display and MBP. Display is dead half the time after Software update 10.7.3.

    Only solution that works for me is. Unplug power when you leave the office. Next morning it's fine - and stays on as long as you set Energy option to Never sleep on Power adapter, but you must power down overnight to let it re-set. Suspect software version / firmware compatibility issue. Hope updates will fix that.

  • btully Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 27, 2012 9:32 AM (in response to ejkitchen)

    I have had similar issues with my TB display where I have to shutdown my MBP and then restart.  At night I cannot just eject my TM drive and put my laptop to sleep, I have to fully shutdown and restart when I get home.  This is completely unacceptable from Apple selling premium products.  I think this is related to other USB issues Apple is having.  I had a backup drive failed and bought 2 new USB drives, both were USB 3 and would not be seen.  I had to switch to a FW drive.  This is the case for 10.7.2 or 10.7.3.  So like ejkitchen, I believe this is software or firmware.

  • barme Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    May 9, 2012 2:44 AM (in response to barme)

    As decided by Apple support, both mother board and power board where replaced on my Thunderbolt Display...

    and the problem is still not solved!


    Rebooting, resetting SVC and PRAM has no effect: I still have no Ethernet connexion nor sound nor USB port working on the Thunderbolt Display.


    Curiously, when my MacBook Pro connected to the Thunderbol Display is turned off, my iPad plugged to an USB port on the Thunderbolt Display will charge and stops charging as soon as the MacBook Pro is turned on!?


    I now hope that it is really a firmware issue and that a fix will be available soon.

  • JanvanZyl Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    May 9, 2012 2:55 AM (in response to barme)

    Well, power down over night worked for about a week for me. I gave the screen back to Apple this morning. They will replace as soon as they have stock. They seem to think it's faulty. Will keep posting.

  • cbgroves Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    May 11, 2012 6:13 AM (in response to ejkitchen)

    Add me to the list.  I tried everything posted here today, and no matter what I do the USB ports on my TB display do not work.  I even updated to 10.7.4 this morning, and nothing.  Display firewire and ethernet work fine, just no USB at all.

  • lonestarry Level 1 Level 1 (110 points)
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    May 14, 2012 2:01 PM (in response to ejkitchen)

    these displays seem buggy.


    i performed an SMC reset this morning and have been fine ever since, but it may not last......

  • lonestarry Level 1 Level 1 (110 points)
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    May 21, 2012 8:05 AM (in response to lonestarry)



    I had to perform an SMC reset to get the MBP to recognize the Thunderbolt. Recognizing the display USB ports is very inconsistent and I am not going to perform and SMC reset everyday.  I'm calling Apple today to either get this display swaped or repaired.

  • lonestarry Level 1 Level 1 (110 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 22, 2012 2:48 PM (in response to lonestarry)

    When I disconnect all peripherals the issues seems to go away.  So it seems to be related to having certain items connected to the display USB ports when booting.

  • hotuan87 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    May 23, 2012 11:30 AM (in response to ejkitchen)

    What USB peripherals were you using? I've had a Logitech unifying receiver attached to my thunderbolt display for a while and this problem has been really bad for me.

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