You can connect a USB drive to your Mac to copy and move large files. But if you’re in a place where good internet speed isn’t available for cloud storage, USB drives can save the day. However, slow USB transfer speeds can test your patience.
There can be several reasons for the slow transfer speed and you will have to throw up your hands to solve several problems. Here are the best ways to fix slow USB transfer speed on your Mac to avoid getting stuck in such a situation.
1. Clean the USB port
Consider cleaning your Mac’s USB port, which tends to collect dirt and debris after prolonged use. You can use a microfiber cloth raised with a toothpick to clean the port. Avoid using cotton buds or just toothpicks as they can leave the cotton behind. Such cleaning can be part of your maintenance routine to extend the life of your Mac.
2. Switch to USB 3.0 Dongle
If you’re using a USB 3.0 Flash Drive, but your Mac lacks a USB 3.0 port, you can use a USB Hub with USB 3.0 ports to speed up the file transfer process. You can get transfer speeds up to 30 Gb/s with USB 3.0. This is much higher than USB 2.0, which is limited to a transfer speed of 480 Mbps. Transferring large files, such as videos or clips shot in Ultra HD resolution to upload to social media, can benefit from such speeds.
3. Restart your Mac
A simple reset can solve many problems related to your Mac’s operating system. It’s worth a try if you’re still experiencing slow USB transfer speeds.
Step 1: Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner.
Step 2: Select Restart from the list of options.
After restarting your Mac, try connecting the USB drive to see if the problem is resolved.
4. Disable Spotlight indexing for your USB drive
When you connect your USB drive to your Mac, Spotlight on your Mac will read the storage device to show all its information in an organized way. Sometimes this process can be interrupted on your Mac, resulting in slow transfer speeds. Here’s how you can try disabling Spotlight for your USB drive. Make sure your USB drive is connected to your Mac.
Step 1: Press Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight Search, type system settings, and press return.
Step 2: From the left menu, click on Siri And Spotlight.
Step 3: Scroll down and click on Spotlight Privacy.
Step 4: Click on the Plus icon that appears on your screen.
Step 5: Click the name of your USB drive in the Finder window from the left menu.
Step 6: Click Select in the lower right corner to confirm.
Step 7: Click Done in the lower right corner to add the drive.
Step 8: Close the window and plug in your USB drive to check if the issue is resolved.
5. Format the USB drive on AFPS
If you still have slow USB transfer speed, you should check and format its file system. If your USB drive runs on the FAT32 file format, we recommend formatting it to AFPS or the Apple File System format, as it works best on Macs and iMacs. But note that you should have a backup of your data before starting the format process. After that, check out our post to format your USB drive on Mac. Use this method only if you’re transferring files between Mac devices.
6. Delete Finder Preference Files
The Finder app gives you access to all the data on your USB drive on your Mac. But the Preference files associated with Finder may be damaged or broken. Here’s how you can try to remove them.
Step 1: Click the Go option in the top menu bar.
Step 2: Select Go to Folder from the Options list.
Step 3: type /library/preferences in the search window.
Step 4: When the Preferences folder opens on your screen, click the search icon in the upper right corner.
Step 5: type apple.finder.plist in the search bar and press return.
Step 6: Right-click the result and click Move To Bin.
Step 7: Click Delete to confirm.
Step 8: Close the window and restart your Mac.
Step 9: Plug in your USB drive and check if the problem is solved.
7. Check the system report
Some hardware failure with the USB port may be the problem on your Mac. Here’s how you can check the system report for confirmation.
Step 1: Press Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight Search, type System parametersand press return.
Step 2: Click General from the left menu.
Step 3: Click on About on the right side.
Step 4: Scroll down and click System Report.
Step 5: Click USB from the left menu in the System Account window.
Step 6: Check if the USB port information is visible.
If not, visit your nearest Apple Store to have the USB port repaired by experts.
Fast and steady wins the race
These solutions can help you quickly transfer large files from a USB drive to your Mac. You can also read our post if your Mac’s USB Type-C port is not working.