9 Replies Latest reply: Jul 6, 2014 3:00 AM by William Donelson
MickSF Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Are others having this issue with bluetooth and USB 3 devices on new macs? I purchased a new mini and some external USB3 drives & devices. Anytime I turn one of the drives on, or power up the USB3 hub, bluetooth devices stop working. I went to the local Genuis bar, and they have not even heard of the problem, and the best suggestion was that I do a software update (not really helpful in solving the problem). I've tried moving devices around according to Apple's support doc but still have the issue.

 

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5172#15 (last paragraph)

 

I see OWC offers a solution with some shielding strips to be installed inside the mini, but I was hoping that there would be an Apple sactioned resolution.

 

http://blog.macsales.com/15990-shielding-resolves-usb-3-0-conflict-with-bluetoot h

 

Anyone have some good insight?


Mac mini (Late 2012), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • 1. Re: 2012 Mini Bluetooth/USB3 Interference
    ausonau Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

    Hi there mickSF.

     

    Since I do not own the new macs with the usb 3 and stuff.

     

    You can reenable the bluetooth device in the system preferences.

    I do not believe that the USB 3 hardware affects any other hardware near bluetooth.

    There are other factors where your bluetooth devices is in low in battery, or it is interfered by another radiowaves devices such as microwaves, tvs, anything that sends any radio signals.

    Im pretty sure you can edit the bluetooth devices in the system preferences and make it remember those devices.

  • 2. Re: 2012 Mini Bluetooth/USB3 Interference
    Richard Briscoe Level 4 Level 4 (1,605 points)

    Hi Mick,

     

    I have a (late) 2012 Mac Mini which experiences the interference problem with some, but not all, USB 3 devices. The blog article you reference is an attempt to solve the problem immediately, but the problem to be more widespread. If you do a web search for USB 3 Interference, you will run across any number of references to it in the PC world as well. There are also references to interference with Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz networks in addition to interference with Bluetooth devices.

     

    Although I am told that many of the devices exhibiting the problem meet existing standards, IMO this is something the entire industry should be investigating and acting to resolve.

     

    In any event, the answer to your question is that you are not alone in having this problem. Should you decide to go the route in the OWC blog entry, there are some useful disassembly videos that are a bit more detailed than the one on the blog entry.

     

    Am I correct in reading your post that your USB 3 hub, even with the attached devices turned off, is causing an interference problem? May I ask which USB 3 hub you are using?

     

    If you find out anything more, please post back with the details.

     

    I think this is a "stay tuned for more information" item as it does not appear to be a single product combination that is affected. Indeed it looks like there are quite a few affected products.

  • 3. Re: 2012 Mini Bluetooth/USB3 Interference
    MickSF Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your response Richard. Good to know others are in the same boat and that will hopefully mean things will get better.

     

    As for the hub in place now, it's a C2G TrulinkUSB3. I've contacted support and they are looking into it. I don't want to say that it's only their hub in particular that is bad, because I think they typically make good products.

  • 4. Re: 2012 Mini Bluetooth/USB3 Interference
    den.thed Level 7 Level 7 (23,955 points)

    Hey Mick and Rich

     

    It may not help much,

     

    but have a look at # 15 @ > Using USB 3 devices on Mac computers FAQ

     

    and then perhaps the > www.usb.org/developers/whitepapers/327216.pdf

     

    Dennis

     

    Message was edited by: den.thed

     

    Sorry, I now see that you have seen the first article

  • 5. Re: 2012 Mini Bluetooth/USB3 Interference
    Richard Briscoe Level 4 Level 4 (1,605 points)

    den.thed,

     

    Having just stumbled into the problem, I must say that it has come as a surprise to me as I have read more about the issue online. It appears that the entire industry has failed to adequately develop and test USB 3 as as standard or the devices they manufacture. It appears that there are (now) "known issues" with everything from inadequately shielded cabling, ports (connectors) which are either not grounded or are incorrectly/inadequately grounded, connectors which may not be adequate to the task (perhaps even just a bad concept) and a whole slew of unanswered questions about the technology itself. Even the government (FCC?) standard with which manufacturers must comply is obvious inadequate as "compliant" devices from many, if not most (all?) manufacturers seem to be causing/experiencing these problems to varying degrees.

     

    At this point, it appears that USB 3 devices should be considered "not recommended" unless proven to not cause problems with your specific combination of equipment (unlikely to happen IMO).

     

    What we are potentially seeing is the exposure of a failed technology could potentially result in its removal from the market until or unless a redesign (USB 3 v2.x ?) emerges to replace it.

     

    I not only have no plans to purchase any more USB 3 devices, but am planning to not buy any more.

     

    What is interesting is that Thunderbolt version 2 is due out this coming spring which is supposed to be less expensive than the current version as well as faster. USB 3's only real advantage over Thunderbolt was cost. If the costs become similar USB 3 just could get bypassed altogether.

     

    I don't see a happy ending for USB 3 in this.

     

    Cheers

  • 6. Re: 2012 Mini Bluetooth/USB3 Interference
    The I Man Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the post, Richard.  I wish I had read that prior to purchasing my USB 3 Hub.  So, yesterday, I purchased (for my Mini-Late 2012) an Apple Trackpad (which I had wanted), a new Apple Bluetooth Keyboard (I already had one that wasn't working right...found out I just needed to put a little piece of tin foil between the battery and cap.  Waste of money for me), and an IOGear USB 3.0 Hub.  I set up the keyboard and trackpad.  All worked great and I was enjoying my new toys.

     

    At this point, I opened iTunes and started rocking out as I opend my USB 3 Hub.  Plugged in the power adapter and then, connected it to my mini.  All is still well.  I then placed the hub on top of my mini...BAD IDEA!!!  It was OK for a little bit.  All of the sudden my keyboard and trackpad were unresponsive.  My Magic Mouse wouldn't work either.  I read this article, promptly moved the hub off my mini, and all is right with the world.

     

    The moral of the story; if you must have a USB 3 Hub, place it as far away from you computer as possible.  Thanks, again, for your post, Richard.  I know you posted this 18 months ago.  Isn't it nice to see the issue still isn't resolved?

  • 7. Re: 2012 Mini Bluetooth/USB3 Interference
    tbirdvet Level 4 Level 4 (1,230 points)

    I have a late 2012 Mini and next to it is a USB3 hub.  I have never had any interference issues but I see others have.  My BT mouse and keyboard are about 3' from the Mini which may have some impact.

  • 8. Re: 2012 Mini Bluetooth/USB3 Interference
    The I Man Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    tbirdvet,

     

    Moving the hub off the top of my Mac Mini fixed the issue.  Now I can have my BT keyboard, mouse, and trackpad right next to my computer or across the room without any issues.

  • 9. Re: 2012 Mini Bluetooth/USB3 Interference
    William Donelson Level 4 Level 4 (2,495 points)

    Goodbye WiFi and wireless devices if you try to use USB3 --

     

    Intel's OWN report here -- http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/io/universal-serial-bus/usb3-frequency-in terference-paper.html