Home > How to Tips

USB Port Slow Problems on Mac: Why and How to Fix?

Updated on Friday, June 14, 2024

iBoysoft author Vain Rowe

Written by

Vain Rowe
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee


Summary: The USB port slow problem is common when you transfer a big amount of data and files. This article is going to analyze the reasons that lead to the USB port slow problem and provides you with ways to fix it. Importantly, you can learn how to use iBoysoft DiskGeeker to clone your disk, in case all data on the drive is corrupted by tiny errors.

how to fix USB port slow problems on Mac

If you want to transfer the files stored on your external drives, such as the USB drive, memory card, SD card, pen drive, or flash drive, to Mac, the question that the USB drive runs slow happens frequently.

Just try not to worry, for this article is going to tell you the reasons, meanwhile, specific ways to fix USB port slow connection are also covered.


Why is my USB port slow when transferring files?

The USB port slow problem is not an odd thing, which often happens when you want to transfer plenty of files. However, the whole process spends you from several hours to a day, and that's extremely annoying!

Now, this article is going to answer: why is my USB port slow? The reasons that cause the USB port transfer slow are multiple:

  1. A slow USB port definitely lowers the speed, including both reading and transferring data speed. 
  2. Spotlight Search leads to the USB port slow problems, for it scans all the data on your external drive to enable you to search everything with ease.
  3. The incompatible file system slows down Mac's speed in reading and transferring, which misguides you to attribute it to the USB port running slow.
  4. The USB ports not working also have an impact on the transferring files speed, which causes the USB port slow problems on your Mac. 
  5. Some tiny errors in the USB drive set barriers for the USB port to read the data stored on it, leading to the problem that the USB port works slowly.

After answering the 'why is my USB port slow' question, this article is going to teach you how to fix my USB port running slow problems.

Share this article to help more people fix the USB port running slow issue!


How to fix my USB port are slow problems on Mac?

According to the reasons mentioned above, this article will present different fixes respectively to deal with the USB port slow problems on Mac.

Change the slow USB port to fit the fast USB drive

The transferring and reading speeds are determined by the USB port. When you insert a fast USB drive into the slow port, the speed is going to down apparently.

For example, if you plug a USB 3.0 drive into a USB 2.0 port, the maximum transferring speed is limited to 480Mbps, which is 10 times slower than inserting it into a USB 3.0 port.

Therefore, dealing with the USB port works slowly when transferring files, trying a fast USB port is indispensable.

Disable the Spotlight Search for the USB drive

The Spotlight Search is a wonderful helper, which can figure out where every files or data are. Hence, you're able to find the files and data without effort.

However,  this feature may lead to the USB port's slow connection. In this scenario, you can stop the Spotlight Search function on the external drive.

Here is how to stop the Spotlight Search function to improve the USB port read speed:

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Preferences in the dropdown menu.
  2. Locate Spotlight and launch it in the home window.
  3. Choose the Privacy tab and hit + button.       
    disable Spotlight Search for the USB drive
  4. Add the external drive that need not search.

Since the Spotlight stops the feature on the external drive, you can check if the USB works slow still. If it does, try the following additional approaches.

Convert the external drive's file system to APFS

The non-APFS file system drive obviously takes macOS more time to read, which misleads you to ascribe it to the USB port running slow. Under this circumstance, converting the drive's file system to APFS is worth a try. 

Designed for Mac, APFS enables the Mac to read and transfer with fast and quick speed. So, if you want to apply your drive on Mac, the APFS file system is an excellent choice.

Significantly, before converting the drive's file system, backing up all the data and files securely on the drive is a priority, because the converting operation is going to erase all data on the drive.

After completing the backup, you can convert the file system of the external drive then.

  1. Connect your external drive to the Mac and launch Disk Utility then.
  2. Click the View tab in the main window and select the Show All Devices option.
  3. Select your external drive from the left bar of the Disk Utility window.
  4. Click Erase button in the home window.
  5. Fill in your drive's name and select APFS in the Format box.       
    select APFS in the Format box
  6. Choose GUID Partition Map in the Scheme box, then hit Erase button to confirm your actions.
  7. When the erasing operation ends, hit Done, and you will have an APFS-formatted drive.       
    convert external drive to APFS on Mac

With the compatible APFS file system, Mac can recognize this external drive with fabulous speed, let alone transfer files and data. The USB port slow problems are readily solved then.

During the converting process, you may encounter the convert to APFS option is not available or greyed out problems. Don't worry, this problem can be fixed easily.

Check the USB port and cable on the Mac

Frankly speaking, the USB port not working is more like a software or cable issue, instead of the actual hardware failure. 

Firstly, you can check if the port is bad by inserting your external drive into other ports on your Mac, then test the transfer speed and whether the USB port's slow problem is solved.

Or, check the cable condition. The easiest way is to switch to another cable, and then try the cable with the same drive to see if the cable works well. If it does, then there is a problem with your cable. If it doesn't, it's possible that your external drive has faulty.

Clone the drive to avoid data loss by driving corruption

If the external drive has some tiny errors, it may cause the USB port reads and transfers data at a slow speed. In this scenario, to avoid data loss due to further drive corruption in the future, the priority is to clone the whole disk to another one.

You can clone the disk by launching the Disk Utility > Choose your destination drive > Click Restore > Choose your corrupted drive > Click Restore to clone.

Clone the disk with iBoysoft DiskGeeker

You may store piles of files and stacks of data on your disk, moving files by copying and pasting will take a long time. iBoysoft DiskGeeker is featured with a Disk Clone function, which enables you to clone the disk sector by sector.

Before cloning, please prepare an empty drive, which should have a larger capacity than your corrupted drive, or at least the same.

Running the clone function of iBoysoft DiskGeeker is easy, you can have an eye over it:

  1. Download iBoysoft DiskGeeker and install it on Mac.
  2. Insert your corrupted drive into your Mac device.
  3. Apply iBoysoft DiskGeeker to clone the disk.

The cloning process can't be terminated once it begins. If the process is terminated accidentally, the disk cloning will resume automatically when the two disks are connected to your Mac again.


The USB port transferring slowly is usual when you perform some data transfer task, for example, moving Home Folder to an external hard drive. You can figure out the reasons that cause the USB port to run slow in this article, meanwhile, you can try the approaches provided to fix the tough problem. 

Moreover, a versatile software iBoysoft DiskGeeker can help you achieve the clone disk goal without effort. If you're interested in it, try it now!

Share this article to help more people who encounter this problem!