USB C Port Fragility?

IMG_1224 Started having issues with external WD Passport drive that implied a bad cable. The connection between the drive and my 2017 MacBook Pro is USB C to USB C. After replacing the cable twice it became apparent the issue was not with the cable but rather with the USB C port on the drive. I have been able to keep the drive working by propping up the cable so that the weight of the drive gravimetrically applies pressure to the top of the connection which I assume creates a proper connection (see attached photo).

My question is are USB C ports typically this fragile? I’ve ordered a new drive that will be here Saturday at which point the WD will get cloned and then retired in spite of the fact that the drive is far less than a year old. Thoughts?



OWC makes these strain reliefs for usb-c connectors, they might help with your next drive’s longevity.

Thanks! Might just order a few since this drive contains all my media files. They are backed up in multiple places, but so much easier to just have the drive work.

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The permanently attached cable on my original Sabrent drive flaked out, and they replaced it under warranty with their newer model that has a detachable cable.
Sounds like this could be a weakness of the usb-c/Thunderbolt 3 system.



FYI B&H carries these OWC dongles too, for the same price. If shipping charges are lower (or if you live near B&H for pick-up) you might want to get it from them.

It all depends on how the connectors are attached to the boards and can happen no mater which type of connector you use. Kindle Fire devices are notorious for having flakey connectors and ours have died. Hubby was able to fix one but after that had to hardwire the cable in and it’s now a desktop only development machine.The issue is the wiggling of the connection that happens when you plug and unplug them. Strain relief cables should help but may not fix the problem.

If this drive is the same kind of design as the passports it might well be that the connection to the drive is damaged.

WD makes the 2 ½ “ drives with the USB port directly on the drive. Lateral strain on the port for example caused by leaving the cable plugged in in a bag or wrapping the cable around the drive for storage will break that connection.

Unlike all other portable drives you can’t extract the drive and use an other enclosure.

Tape geek here: the ClingOn port protectors are secured with 3M’s VHB tape.

Speaking as a now retired electrical engineer, mechanical connections are usually the first things to fail (plugs, sockets, switches) and vibration and movement are frequently the enemy. (Also lead-free solder seems to cause early failure of connections.) So it isn’t just USB C ports, but any port. If you can plug all your equipment together and then never move it you will be in great shape!

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In the last couple of years one of the ‘advances’ in expensive DSLRs and mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras has been in-camera USB charging; some cameras even no longer come with included external battery chargers. A lot of people I know find this a convenient advantage, but I still always remove camera batteries and charge them in a charger for the very reason you note.

Thanks for all the input. Since my MacBook Pro has a relatively small, non-upgradable SSD this external drive is where all my media lives. MacExpert is spot on about not being able to remove the drive as that was my first thought. Anyway, bought a new LaCie external drive that seems sturdier (we’ll see) and am copying the files over (albeit slowly) as I type so hopefully all will be good tomorrow.


My son’s 2017 MBP 13” was just diagnosed with a USB-C port failure. He was just starting to notice inconsistency in ability to charge…also thought it was cable…it wasn’t. With Apple Stores closed, took took a local authorized Apple repair shop and they just came back and said there is an issue with USB-C port. Fortunately, have Apple Care + which hopefully covers it.