The latest Apple computers come equipped with a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports. Thunderbolt 3 is a great connection, because it caters for a wide range of connections, covering USB, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt as well as being the power connection, all in that USB Type-C design.
It's designed to be a universal port that will allow flexibility in a nice tidy package - well that's the theory anyway. There's been a wide number of reports that these connections haven't been working as intended, frequently and randomly dropping the connection to some of the devices that are attached to it.
Because you no longer have the glut of connections you once did on a MacBook, these Thunderbolt 3 connections are frequently used with hubs or dongles, allowing connection of different devices - like accessories with the USB A plug, HDMI for monitors, ethernet connections and more.
And this is where things are starting to go wrong. Reported by MacRumors, the website highlights forum pages, long Reddit threads and Apple support pages where owners are reporting problems.
We've also experienced these problems with our own 2020 MacBook Pro in the office.
Lockdown has been good for one thing and that's refining the home working setup, but we've found these random connection problems to be frequent and irritating. Often its most noticeable for us with external monitors of which we have two: one connected to a USB-C hub via HDMI, the other through a USB-C/VGA adapter we plug in directly (it's old, don't judge).
Sometimes we've found the USB-C/VGA won't be recognised at all, other times we've find that the accessories connected to the hub aren't recognised, although power is still getting through.
There's no rhyme or reason, sometimes disconnecting and reconnecting makes it work. Sometimes disconnecting everything from the hub and reconnecting works, sometimes it takes a restart. Sometimes we can get the hub to work by moving it to the other Thunderbolt port. Sometimes it takes all of the above - and sometimes we just give up on the second monitor - or the hub - for half the day and reconnect it after lunch to find it's all working again.
That seems to be the theme running through these owner reports is that it's rather random, can affect a wide range of connected devices and doesn't seem to be limited to cheaper hubs, as it's happening on some more expensive ones too. It's most widely reported on USB keyboards and mice and we're guessing that's because you notice those problems straight away (whereas with a webcams or mics you might not know until you come to use them).
Apple, so far, hasn't commented on the issue, but if you're experiencing connection problems on your new MacBook, then you're not alone.