So now I need to *trust* my Anker USB hub to charge?
November 14, 2021 7:55 PM   Subscribe

Why is a usb hub + lightning charge cord that I’ve used for months without incident suddenly prompting messages on my iPhone and iPad asking whether I “trust this computer”? I’ve said no, but this means that charging seems to be blocked. What on earth is going on?

Several months ago, I bought an Anker USB hub to rally a lightning charge cord (non-Apple), a micro-usb charge cord, and the mouse + keyboard I use with my computer. I’ve had absolutely zero issues with it so far.

Until today! This morning I did some cord organizing around my desk, which involved unplugging/replugging the Anker USB hub and the components that I use with it, with some re-arranging.

When I connected my iPhone to the lightning charge cord, I got the warning message: “Trust this computer? your settings and data will be accessible from this computer when connected.” Rude! Absolutely not. I unplugged and re-plugged the lightning cord - still getting the message. Tried a different usb lightning cable (official Apple) - same message. That second usb lightning cord does *not* give this message when using an Anker wall charger block. None of my other cord/charger blocks have ever given me this message. Neither cord will charge after I refuse to trust whatever computer my devices think is trying to gain access.

I’m not finding anything online for why this error message might come up now, when it hasn’t for the past 3+ months. Nothing comes up around usb hubs in particular, and Anker is a very reputable brand. I don’t do risky shit on my computer, and so have no idea even how something weird *could* be happening. Nonetheless, I am skeeved out.

Do you have any insight on this situation? This feature seems to have been in place on Apple devices since at least 2015, so a recent OS update shouldn’t be the culprit - and I’ve charged them in between the last update and now, anyhow. Do I need to “trust” whatever the hell is happening, or give up using this hub for charging? Should I be worried about the fact that my laptop is connected to it?
posted by rrrrrrrrrt to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you plug the cable into a computer, it’ll make a data connection. When it makes the data connection, it pops up the “Trust” dialog - usually before it does anything else.

A part of the “anything else” is negotiating for a bit of charge current (not a whole lot - it’s limited to 2.5W, which is half the standard iPhone wall adapter and less than a quarter the power you get out most AC-USB adapters), so the behavior you observe seems pretty ordinary.

A fair number of USB hubs have both charge-only ports and computer ports. If you happen to move the cable from a charge-only port to a computer port, you’ll get the behaviors you describe. (In that case, just move your iPhone back to the charge-only port and the whole problem goes away.)
posted by doomsey at 8:06 PM on November 14, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: If the computer can "see" the iPhone, you'll get this message. I suspect somehow in your rearranging you plugged something into a usb-data port instead of charge-only port, and now you see what you're seeing. Try going back to your original setup before you rearranged. Then if you really want to re-do the re-arranging, do it on step at a time to find out where in the new setup something changes and the message pops up.

But in general, this is pretty typical, and i'm fairly confident nothing nefarious is happening behind the scenes. Just cables plugged into a different configuration than they were before.
posted by cgg at 8:48 PM on November 14, 2021 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Waaaaaoooooo - how cool! I had no idea this was a thing. Thank you, MeFi! I will report back.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 10:56 PM on November 14, 2021

FWIW, that's why I have a charge-only hub on my desk... it doesn't connect to a PC, just AC power. My specific one was made by Aduro, but they are all over the place.

Most "normal" USB port only provide you with about half an amp of current, barely enough to charge a smart device. Charge ports can provide up to 2.4 amps, more if they are QuickCharge compatible.
posted by kschang at 1:41 AM on November 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have sometimes had this when plugging my iPhone directly into my MacBook Pro, fwiw. I always say “yes”.
posted by fabius at 6:10 AM on November 15, 2021

Response by poster: doomsey and cgg, thank you for helping me do thing in 21st century! You are totally right - there's a little white box drawn around a few of the slots down to one end, juuust for charging.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 12:14 PM on November 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

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