I recently lost the USB cable for my digital camera and so tried to connect it to my Mac with another one that I thought was exactly the same. However, when I connected the camera, I received the following warning:

USB Over Current Notice

My immediate reaction was that there was something wrong with the USB port. However, I tried to connect the camera with the same cable, to a Windows laptop and received exactly the same warning. Most forums suggested that the problem was due to a short-circuit in the cable but I knew this wasn't the case because it worked fine with an older camera I have. One unlucky forum user spent 1 hour on the phone to Apple trying to solve the problem and even resorted to reinstalling OS X!

8 pin USB cablesHowever, I found the solution was much simpler than that. I bought a new cable and hey presto, it worked fine. So what was the problem with the original cable? When I compared them, I noticed that the "faulty" cable had a slightly bigger coil at the end of it (pictured here in grey) than the new one that worked. I presume that this somehow "supercharged" the power being drawn from the USB port when the camera was connected.

What I don't understand is why the USB cable needed to draw any power at all from the port at all. The camera is powered by its own lithium battery and so doesn't need any extra power from the cable in order to transfer photos to the Mac. The moral of the story is, if you do ever encounter the USB Over Current warning, don't panic. Change the cable first before you call Apple or presume your USB ports are fried!


  • Andrew |

    the cable does not draw any power, no such thing as supercharged usb cable, that is not a coil on the end of the cable, its a ferrite core all it does is reduce induction (noise) so it has less interferance from power devices, most likely the old cable had a dry termination

  • Nicholas Mead |
    Nicholas Mead

    Thanks for the tip Andrew although the strange thing is, the cable worked fine with an older camera I have. It only gave the power warning when I connected it to a newer camera.

  • Michael |

    I've had similar problems with a new iMac. Even when removing all SUB devices, the warning still appears. I'm pretty sure what's happening is it's just the heat getting to it. We're working in a very hot office, and we're having all sorts of issues with our switches and servers getting too hot. The iMac's overheating is manifesting itself as a USB port error. It may not always be a faulty cable, it could be overheating.

  • CJ |

    I now have this overcurrent notice. It occurs when the iMac starts up in the morning. It is not hot.

    Now only one USB port works.

    Does anyone know how to reset the USB system in the iMac?


  • Rick |

    My thanks to Nicholas for his suggestion of trying a new cable from my camera to the USB port on front of the computer. While the old one had worked fine for a long time, I was suddenly getting the "drawing too much power" warning. I don't know why the switch worked, but it did, and Nicholas had the only suggestion in numerous boards I checked that actually addressed my problem directly and worked for me.

  • Nicholas Mead |
    Nicholas Mead

    Glad it helped Rick. I think in retrospect, the reason for the problem is less to do with the coil and more to do with the fact that USB cables eventually go a bit faulty over time and the result is the rather strange "USB port drawing too much energy" problem.

  • San Tin |
    San Tin

    I've got some problem with my ipod.Everytime (today)i was trying to connect my ipod to mac( apple wall charger).What shoul i do?Do i need to buy another wall charger or is anyone who know how to fix that thing. Thank you in advance

  • Luis Vallecillo |
    Luis Vallecillo

    This is f@$#ng dumb... who's the idiot who wrote this, made me me loose my f%&%ng time...

  • Leon |

    I'm having the problem continuously now. It started just after I upgraded to Snow Leopard, but doubt it's the problem. I plug in the headset I've been using just fine for almost 3 years and now it's getting the 'drawing too much power warning'. I get it also when I plug in my mic from MacSpeech dictate (which also ran just fine before). So I'm doubting it's all about the cables--that doesn't explain how all my USBs which worked just fine for years are now having this problem.

    Is there a better solution out there? Is this a problem with my computer?

  • Ali |

    I have been having this problem with my flash drive. Unfortunately, I don't think this problem can be attributed to a hot environment or a smaller 'coil in the cable'. Even more unfortunately I think the only solution still is to get a new flash drive. I tried it on a Windows based desktop as well as my Macbook. Currently, it is not recognized neither on my PC nor on my Mac.

  • Daisy |

    I bought the new macbook (white) 2 weeks ago, and i am getting the same problem when i plug in my external hardrive - the hardrive itself is one or two years old. at first it showed this message when i moved my hardrive (and would then disconnect). However since today it's bee doing it as soon as i plug it in. would you advise i find a new cable then??

    My old laptop recently died which is why i have this new computer... i really don't want my hardrive to die as well!!!!

    your advice would be most welcome! :)

  • Stefany |

    I got this same error on one of the Mac's at school, and now my brand new flash drive that was working prior to this is dead, as well as the flash drive of the girl I sit next to. No computer even recognizes that a flash drive has been put in the USB slot anymore for either one. Anyone aware of a fix to this, or how to recover data from a flash drive?

  • Craig |

    I have this problem with a digital SLR. I've tried two different cables and still the same message re drawing too much power. Could it be the device itself? That seems the most likely scenario given I get the same message on my three macs and have used two different cables.

  • Fiers |

    oh god, yeah, I bought a $100 modem usb. And fuck, after a month it started showing this message. From what I read, it's supposed to be the product? But i have a hard time believing this...seeing that all different kinds of product face the same problem. what the fuck is going on? My modem usb is priceless... I can't go a day without it. :( noooo. no internet= no life. i know how bad that sounds, but yeah, you get me. anyone help?

    e-mail me at fier_factor17@hotmail.com

  • Linda |

    Thanks for your suggestion. I have a set of audio speakers that worked fine until this week and all of a sudden I was getting this error message. I tried unplugging everything and was still getting this message. I changed the usb cable and voila, everything is fine now. Appreciate your post!

  • Connor |

    My cord is for skull candy double agents they say the same thing what should i do they akso make a weird noise

  • Jesse |

    i don't have anything plugged in and get this message. any suggestions?

  • Ricky |

    I went to use myAxiom 49 as I do regularly with my Mac. All of a sudden I am getting the message that one or more usb devices is taking too much power up and it would not let the axiom turn on. The printer works just fine. I tried exchanging the usb cords, with no luck. The computer was not that hot or any thing. I did install an updated version of I tunes today but that is it. Why or how would this happen? How do I fix it. I thought that i could just get a power cord and plug it into the Axiom and would it get power that way and just communicate with the mac then? Please help.

  • Martin From |
    Martin From

    This is the major problem with Mac's as they have numerous glitches which Apple do nothing to help with. Like most things in life Mac's are great when they work. However when things go wrong the chances of finding out how to rectify involve spending hours and hours if not days and weeks trying to find an answer. Apple are simply useless at resolving anything unless its new or you are prepared to pay a fortune for their advice on how to fix their problems.

  • BriaN PAULSEN |

    Yea i tottaly agree,Im about to go back to windows,sick of the bs macs give you.I have 2 macs and both of them have thise issue.Apple get your heads out of you,r asses.

  • BriaN PAULSEN |

    Yea i tottaly agree,Im about to go back to windows,sick of the bs macs give you.I have 2 macs and both of them have thise issue.Apple get your heads out of you,r asses.

  • Mollie H. |
    Mollie H.

    I've been getting this "One of your USB devices is drawing too much power so it has been disabled" ever since trying to install the HP all-in-one printer I'd used with my iMac on a Samsung laptop with Windows 7, without success! Just got a fancy new USB cable to try on a newer iMac, and the same error message appears, so the problem wasn't the USB cable.

    Am I just supposed to toss out an HP printer that's barely three years old that I paid a lot of money for?

  • Nick Mead |
    Nick Mead

    @Mollie H.: It is almost certainly a cable issue. Even though you've already tried a new one, I'd suggest trying a few more as it's a very random problem. And make sure you are plugging it directly into the computer and not a USB hub too. The printer is definitely fine.

  • Pablo (Argentina) |
    Pablo (Argentina)


  • chongo |

    NEED HELP! Get this error with nothing plugged in. Tried rebooting in safe mode--nothing. I get an error every 10 seconds for a max of 5 on the screen at a time...any ideas please?

  • lolcat |

    I'm having this same problem with an iphone (4s). I bought it just over a month ago, reconfigured, which means that according to Sprint, it is out of warranty.

    It can charge directly from the wall but can't charge from or sync to my macbook. It worked just fine until one day it didn't at all, for no discernible reason.

    Bizarrely enough, when I took it into the Apple store, which I did twice, no one could get the cel to charge from the outlets in the store or register as a device with any of the in-store computers. They told me that the port is probably faulty, but they don't fix ports, just replace the entire iphone. . . for the cost of a new iphone.

    However, I can still charge the iphone from my wall sockets at home and now that I've removed some of the applications, instead of seeing nothing when I port to my lappy, I see the "too much power" message. I sure don't have $150 to drop on a new cel after the $150 I already spent, which is why I bought the used one in the first place, so it looks like I'll just soldier along with this one without the ability to sync for ringtones and music and things. Beginning to see why people now avoid Apple.

  • Logan Bear |
    Logan Bear

    I bought a 50 dollar mouse and it works great. Then this error pop up after two weeks. What do I do? Throw away a new mouse? And what is the cause of this?

  • Greg |

    This problem can't necessarily be the usb cable. Every time I start up my mac, I get this message. At the most, there is a mouse plugged in (which really shouldn't draw that much power). Nevertheless, the mouse still works, but all other ports are rendered useless. This is kind of irritating, and this post didn't really solve my problem.

    Anybody else have a suggestion?

  • Tom |

    ive had this problem today with an Native instruments audio 10 interface - i tried 3 cables, all didn't work - then i went back to my original cable and it works again.

    I also tried 2 more cables i found in the loft and 1 of them worked and 1 didnt.

    un explainable!

  • Victoria |

    @Michael as a reply to his message on 30/06/09.. What did you do? I'm experiencing the same overheating problem and though there is nothing connected to the USB ports, the warnings still appear.. What should I do?

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