Grant Bennet-Alder wrote:
Those ports will work fine with USB-3 drives, provided the USB-3 devices are FIRST on the chain (in case of multiple devices on one port), and use the appropriate USB-3 cables, which have another set of conductors deep inside the cable-end. Some (not all) have a Blue insert.
In my experience they have the USB SS (SuperSpeed) logo on the USB-A and micro-B connectors.
Whether or not it has to be "first on the chain" depends on the drive's power demands though. Some all-in-one external hard drive "solutions" need considerably less current than other drives, while USB enclosures might need to account for a worst case. My (bought in 2015) 1 TB Seagate Backup Plus Slim only requests 144 mA when connected directly to a USB 3.0 port. When I connect it to my bus-powered USB 2.0 hub it only requests 100 mA and it works just fine. I don't have a USB 3.0 hub to try it on, although if it's 144 mA it should easily be powered through a bus-powered hub. My USB 3.0 SATA enclosure wants 896 mA and won't work through a bus-powered hub; it won't even show up in System Report. I've also got a Toshiba Canvio USB 3 drive, and that wants 744 mA on a USB 3.0 port. It only requests 400 mA on a USB 2.0 port though.
Of course a "desktop" external drive with its own power supply doesn't care about what power the bus can supply. Maybe a powered hub could help too.