The USB interface is one of the great standardizations that has been implemented in the computer and electronics industries. The interface and connectors are both easy to use and widely available on most modern computers and peripherals.
Most of us use them every day and while they are convenient and reliable for the most part, they can at times be a little flaky. There are also times when we use so many of them we don’t know what devices we actually have connected to our Mac. Luckily there are ways to find out.
I’m Eric and I have been a technology and computer enthusiast since I was a young kid. After working as a software engineer for over 20 years I have learned a lot, but I am still learning new things all the time and I am always happy to share the information with you.
If you want to find out how to determine what USB devices are connected to your Mac, keep reading and I will show you some simple ways to do this along with a more complicated method if you are interested in learning.
3 Ways to Display USB Connected Devices on Mac
One involves using Finder, the next one uses the system properties and the third can be done in Mac Terminal from the command line if you enjoy working in that type of environment. Below we will take a look at each of these methods.
Method 1: Using Finder
Finder is the best place to see your USB-connected devices. Just open the Finder window and look at the side panel to see what drives are connected.
This works great for external hard drives, flash drives, and even phones or other types of external storage that you can plug into a USB port, but it does not show other types of peripheral devices such as mice, keyboards, printers, headphones, etc.
So if you are only looking to see phones or external storage, Finder may be the quick solution you are looking for, but if you want to look at other device types, keep reading and I will show you a couple more methods.
Method 2: via System Report
Looking at the system report is a another fairly easy way to find out what USB devices you have connected and it will show all of them, not just storage drives. Follow the steps below and you can take a look at the complete list of things you have connected to your Mac.
Step 1: Click on the Apple symbol in the upper left corner to display the Apple drop-down menu.
Step 2: Select About This Mac.
Step 3: In the About This Mac pop-up window, select the Overview tab if it is not already selected and then click on the System Report button.
Step 4: In the System Report window, scroll down the menu on the left side of the window until you see the USB section and then click on it.
Step 5: On the right side of the window, you will see the USB information and at the top, it will list all the USB devices.
From my example above, you can see that it shows both of my USB ports, the ones that read USB 3.1 Bus. It then shows all the devices, including my USB hub that I have them connected to. Under the USB hub, it then shows each device that is connected to that hub.
Method 3: Using Mac Terminal
If you are comfortable using Mac Terminal, there are times when you may want to see or display information from the command line. A programmer or software developer may need it for some reason.
It can also be convenient if you are testing or debugging some type of problem and need to have the information available in your terminal window to copy and paste or just to see the detailed information that it provides.
If you are not comfortable using Mac Terminal, it may sound a little scary at first, but it really isn’t that bad. It’s just a simple one-line command that I will show you below. Just follow the steps I have given and you can see the information using this cool and more technical method.
Step 1: Click on the Mac Terminal icon to start it up. If you are unable to find it you can always start Launcher and then type Terminal in the search window. It will quickly bring it up in the Launcher window and you can then click on it.
Step 2: In the Mac Terminal window, type the command shown below and then hit the return key.
ioreg -p IOUSB
Step 3: After you hit the return key, you will see a text output similar to the one shown above.
As you can see in this example, it shows the same information as the System Report method. It shows each USB port, the USB hub I have connected, and the devices that I have connected to that.
The information may look like a bunch of letters and numbers to some, but they do provide some important information such as port or device numbers that can be used by a programmer, developer, tester, or software engineer.
If you would like more information on Mac Terminal and how to use it, take a look here at Apple Support.
Connecting USB Devices
One of the great features of USB devices is that they are what is known as plug and play. This means that you simply plug them into your computer and it will recognize the device, grab any software it needs and configure it. It does this all automatically.
Years ago, when we had a new device, we had to install software from a disk, then plug in the device, run software to configure it, and then hope that it worked. Installing new devices on your computer could take hours and be really frustrating. With USB this is no longer the case.
We simply plug the device in and it starts working within a few seconds. This works smoothly for most of our peripherals but every once in a while a USB connection will not get recognized, or have some kind of issue and won’t work.
Another thing that can happen to us, is that it is so easy to plug in new devices, we can often forget about everything that we currently have connected.
If you are having issues with connecting something or you just want to see a list of what you currently have connected, you may be looking for a way to show or list everything that is currently connected via USB on your Mac.
USB-connected devices are a wonderful piece of technology that allows us to easily connect peripheral devices to our computers. With that technology, we can often have problems or lose track of everything we have connected to our system.
Thankfully there are easy ways to display what we currently have and I hope that the information I have provided above can help you to do so.
Do you have any other good methods for showing what USB devices are connected to your Mac? Let me know if you do. I would love to learn about them.