Hubs, docks and HDs

My current set up is a MacBook Pro connected via one cable to an LG 27UL850 monitor. I love this set up, one cable into the monitor and it charges the MBP too.

The problem is that I have a couple of external drives that I want to keep connected all the time so they also back up to Backblaze. I was hoping I could use the hub on the back of the LG display but disks don’t eject properly when I unplug the MBP.

I’ve been looking at the CalDigit TS3 Plus. Daft question, does anyone know if I can keep drives connected to this dock without ejecting them when I unplug my MBP?


macOS is always going to want you to eject an external drive before unplugging, regardless of whether the drive is connected directly or through a hub.


What @ChrisUpchurch said. External drives need to be unmounted before disconnecting any Mac to ensure safety of the file structure.

Not sure why your hub wouldn’t properly unmount external drives when given the command. How are you unmounting them, and what result tells you they don’t unmount properly?

FYI for convenience I use a $5.99 menubar app called Mountain to mount/unmount my attached storage. It hasn’t been updated in a couple of years but it works fine on Mojave (fingers crossed for Catalina).

Ideally I’m looking for a solution whereby I can keep the drives plugged in either via an additional hub or the built in LG monitor hub and still only have one cable to unplug when disconnecting the MBP to leave my desk. At the moment I have two drives hanging off the MBP and it’s driving me nuts!

Even if I have the drives plugged into the hub on the monitor and the laptop goes to sleep (still connected via thunderbolt) I come back to a bunch of drive not ejected properly messages.

Again, are you unmounting the drives first?

If so, how are you unmounting them, and what results tells you they don’t unmount properly?

I’m wondering if this is where my confusion is coming from. I’ve had desktop Mac’s all my life, most recently an iMac which had these very same drives connected all the time, the iMac would go to sleep and wake up without any issues with the drives. From what you guys are saying, I realise that unless the drive is directly connected to the MBP I’m going to have to remember to unmount drives every time the MBP goes to sleep if these drives are connected via the LG hub.

I guess I was kind of hoping there would be some sort of clever dock or hub that I could leave the drives plugged into without having to think about manually ejecting the drives.

The biggest bind is leaving the room for 10 mins, MBP goes to sleep and I return to disks not ejected properly messages. I get it if the drives had been unplugged, but surely if the Mac has just gone to sleep and the drives are still connected via a hub they should be fine, but I guess not.

I think we may be talking about two different things here. In your initial post you mentioned “unplugging” your MBP, which is what @bowline and I have been responding to. There’s really no way to get around the need to eject the drives before unplugging them from a Mac. In the more recent posts you’ve mentioned the drives being forcibly unmounted when the machine sleeps which is a different issue (one that there might be some way around).

Does this happen when the MBP sleeps or when the external display sleeps? (Maybe tweak the sleep timers in macOS to get one or the other to happen first and experiment?) It sounds like the LG monitor may be powering down the built-in USB hub when the monitor goes to sleep and it’s not coming back up when the MBP restarts. You might look into the monitor’s sleep settings to see if there’s any way to change this behavior.

Another alternative might be to get a USB-C or Thunderbolt dock and connect both the drives and the monitor to the dock. Still one cable to the MBP, but the dock won’t sleep when the monitor does (if that is indeed the problem).

+1 to what @ChrisUpchurch is saying. The monitor on my work MacBook Pro is a Dell model and if I turn it off, it will power down the drives attached to it. As far as your question about the CalDigit TS3 Plus, I keep two external USB drives plugged into it and plug it into my personal MacBook Pro via Thunderbolt 3. The dock does keep the drives powered on – even when the laptop is unplugged.

The CalDigit TS3 Plus also comes with a utility that will allow you to unmount all of the drives attached to the dock.

I doubt there’s anything you can do to avoid having to unmount the drives before physically unplugging.

Something that might help when you’ve got the MPB & HDD’s all plugged into the monitor: in settings, under Energy Saver, on the “power adapter” tab, check “Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off” and uncheck “Put disks to sleep when possible”. At least when docked, hopefully that’ll reduce the problems.

I’ve had the issue with my MBP going to sleep and my drives not getting ejected. I use Jettison to solve that issue. It has a setting that will watch your MBP and eject your external drives automatically before it goes to sleep.