Need suggestions for more USB ports on MacMini Pro

This is the set-up on my desk right now, Mac Mini back facing me so I can take cables off and on as I need to add and change devices. I really need about 3 more USB ports over and above my current 4 port hub.

Devices currently connected on the various available ports include 3 external hard drives (Time Machine, Daily BU of main data drive, daily backup of 2 partitions on our NAS server) ScanSnap scanner, external monitor, wireless mouse, main monitor on the HDMI port, cable for one of the Android systems I use for development, and the one that is empty right now is usually my iPad because I’m running a webcam on it to monitor the sheep But I need the port now to run another Android tablet. I also have my wired Sony headphones and the ethernet cable plugged in.

Any suggestions? I am considering a stand to put the mac mini up on one edge. If I can get the cabling solved so my USB hub is accessible I can switch the mini around so the cables go out the back not in front like I have them now.

and I am seriously considering using gaffer tape for the hard drives to get them attached to the back of the monitor.

ScanSnap, Wireless(!) Mouse, Headphones could (normally) be connected without an USB-Cable.
I would connect the Backup-Drive for the NAS, with the NAS.
Ethernet (if you have no dedicated port for that) could be replaced by WLAN, depending on the speeds of your internet, or otherwise connected computer in your internal Network.
The Backups also could be shifted onto one larger Drive.

I’ve been happy with my CalDigit Element Hub (4 USB-A, 3 USB-C)

Thunderbolt 4 | USB4 | Element Hub | CalDigit – CalDigit

This feels like a use case for a Thunderbolt dock.


Not mine. It is a Scan Snap S510M and must be wired.
Mouse has the little USB thing that must be plugged in to the machine to work to keep them paired properly. Given that I have 4 machines on my desk and my husband has 7 or so we need the stability of a mouse paired with each machine. Headphones are in the headphone jack. But it’s just another of the cables back there. I have total them in and out depending on what I am doing.


Ethernet is on the dedicated port but again, just another wire. We currently have 8 WLAN access points, I do use them as well but we have some for debugging and specific hardware needs. Everything goes to the router which is fiber optic cable out to the ISP and is also hardwired into our ethernet backbone.

Our NAS doesn’t really have a way to do that. It’s old, so we each backup our partitions separately. Because I have the larger external drives I also do our shared partition.

That is a singularly bad idea. Time Machine for sure needs to be on a totally separate backup device from the nightly backup of my machine. I’m using 2 5TB drives for those 2 backups. My internal drive is 4TB

Yeah, I tend to call all the ones with the same style hardware connection USB but you are correct, thunderbolt is really what I need.

You don’t say what type of USB. A or C

I have a 10 port USB A hub from Anker. 3 of the ports are power only. It’s been rock solid.

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The MacMini has 3 USB C ports, My connectors are mostly USB A. The aukey devices are to get the USB A hardware to mate with the Thunderbolt/USB C connections.

Is it like this one?

I used to use one of those. It was a solid performer.

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Never enough USB ports here! I use two Sabrent 4-port hubs on my iMac. Like the one you show but powered. Had I known I would need so many they do make a 10 port hub Their hubs have power switches for each socket which I find invaluable for my use (communicating with and powering multiple Arduino boards at the same time).

My new Mac mini M1 I bought as a server I expected trouble as I would be starting out with every USB-C and USB-A port filled so I bought for my external storage drive one that has a built-in hub to handle future expansion (OWC Gemini). And, finally, my MacBookPro has a USB-C hub Inexpensive, over 3 years old, and works fine.

If it gives you enough ports I’d vote for two 4-port USB-A hubs running from the USB-A ports on the Mac mini. A single 10-port hub is just asking for issues when you disconnect a device (like temporarily interrupting the connection on all the others), or slowdowns due to limited bandwidth. I assume the USB-A ports are not running off a hub internally inside the Mac (but I could be wrong).

Thunderbolt is pricy (too pricy for me), but really is the optimal solution here.

Another possible option is upgrading one monitor to a USB-C monitor that has a built in 3.0 hub.


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I replaced my previous Belkin hub because it had become flakey, I’ve not had a problem with the Anker in more than 6 years (wow, that’s a lot longer than I thought).