Mac problem: DVD/CD won't eject? That's how it's done!

If you have a CD or DVD in your Apple Mac, iMac or MacBook that cannot be ejected, there are a few tricks you can use to gently remove the media. Modern Apple disc drives no longer offer a small hole into which you could insert a straightened paper clip to manually remove the disc.

If you don't see a CD icon on your macOS desktop that you can drag to the trash or right-click to eject, try the following methods. I would of course be happy to receive feedback in the comments as to whether these tips helped you!

the essentials in brief

  • If the CD icon is on the desktop, you can drag it to the trash to eject it
  • When restarting, hold down the left mouse button or eject button until the CD comes out
  • Connect the drive to a Windows PC and press eject there
  • Enter the command “drutil tray eject” or “drutil eject” in the terminal
  • For older SuperDrives, when ejecting the drive, hold the drive with the opening facing down to let gravity help
Eject CD doesn't work on Apple Mac? There are three tricks to getting the disc drive or SuperDrive to eject the CD or DVD.
Eject CD doesn't work on Apple Mac? There are three tricks to getting the disc drive or SuperDrive to eject the CD or DVD.

 

Eject CD does not work, but icon is still there

The simplest case is that the disc drive / SuperDrive on the Apple Mac does not open because you press the eject button but it does not work. If the CD or DVD could be recognized and read, the drive symbol on the desktop can still be used to eject. To do this, simply drag it to the trash with the mouse button held down. If nothing happens or the medium was not recognized in the first place (and therefore no symbol can be seen), then use the following tips.

Restart and hold the eject button / left mouse button

The next and still quite simple procedure if ejecting the CD doesn't work is to restart the Mac. However, as soon as the Apple computer boots up, you need to hold down the left mouse button or the eject button. Until the disc is released. If the keyboard key didn't do anything before, I would go straight to the mouse solution (of course it doesn't hurt to try both). If that doesn't work either, there is still a bit of hope.

Sometimes it can help if you connect the drive to a Windows PC and then press the eject button (Photo: Midjourney).
Sometimes it can help if you connect the drive to a Windows PC and then press the eject button (Photo: Midjourney).

Connect the CD/DVD drive to the Windows computer

A reader just wrote to me that what worked for him was plugging the drive into a PC and then pressing eject. Then the CD came out. The only way I can explain this is that the USB port on the Mac may not provide enough power to drive the eject mechanism. The Windows PC might then have a few more watts and it will work. But it could also be something related to software. But it's definitely worth a try.

Eject CD or DVD via terminal input

Also a Portcommand can help to force open the drive. To do this, call up the input console called Terminal (via the utilities or search with cmd+space) and enter the following command:

drutil tray eject

And then press Enter. If that doesn't work, try:

drutil eject

Then press Enter again and the Mac disc drive or Apple SuperDrive should open and release the CD or DVD. The command (the latter) also works with external drives from third-party manufacturers. I have just successfully tested this with an old BenQ burner model EW1621.

SuperDrive does not manage to eject completely

The problems mentioned above may not help if the CD gets stuck mechanically in the drive. This is sometimes the case when the SuperDrive is older and the mechanics no longer have enough power. This could be due to a lack of lubrication or something similar.

There is a simple trick to get the CD out anyway. Hold the drive with the opening facing down when ejecting it. This helps gravity a little when pushing the CD out.

FAQ

Which key is the eject key on Mac?

The eject button on a Mac is usually marked with a triangle symbol ⏏. You can find it in the upper right corner of your keyboard, directly above the Delete key.

How do I eject a CD or DVD through the operating system?

To eject a CD or DVD via the operating system, do the following:

  1. Press the key combination Command ⌘ + Eto open Finder.
  2. Click on your Mac in the sidebar (under “Places”).
  3. Right-click on the CD/DVD drive icon.
  4. Select “Eject” from the context menu.

What can I do if the CD won't eject?

If the CD cannot be ejected at all, try the following steps:

  • Restart the Mac and hold down the primary mouse button or trackpad button until the CD ejects.
  • On a Mac Pro with two optical drives, press the key combination when booting alt + ⏏to open the second drive.
  • Ensures that the Mac turns on and CDs can be played.
  • Resets the Mac to factory settings.
  • Turn the Mac over carefully, the CD may then come loose.
  • The last resort is to have your Mac serviced by a certified technician.

My Mac doesn't have a built-in CD/DVD drive. Can I connect an external drive?

Yes, you can connect an external CD/DVD drive to your Mac if it doesn't have a built-in drive. Apple does offer the USB SuperDrive, which was developed specifically for use with Mac computers, but there are also cheaper alternatives that can now describe more media than the SuperDrive.

My Apple SuperDrive has stopped responding. What can I do?

If your Apple SuperDrive stops responding, try the following troubleshooting steps:

  1. Disconnect the SuperDrive from the Mac and reconnect it.
  2. Used a different USB cable to make sure the problem was not with the cable.
  3. Connects the SuperDrive directly to the Mac, not via a USB hub.
  4. Restarts the Mac.
  5. If the problem persists, the SuperDrive may be defective and may need to be repaired or replaced.

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11 comments on “Mac problem: DVD/CD cannot be ejected? That's how it's done!"

  1. Werner Kantner

    many thanks for the last emergency rescue!
    dc not recognized = without symbol and tried everything. the terminal command saved me !!!

    grateful
    werner

  2. Hello Sir Apfelot,

    I've tried everything here. My problem is best described as "SuperDrive does not complete the ejection". However, drive is 1 year old and today z. 2nd time used. The audio CD (bought Dec.) makes desperate noises when trying to eject. Unfortunately, even tilting it slightly doesn't help. The part is tight. Is there any other way to get the CD?
    I am looking forward to an answer.
    Regards

    1. Hello Isabelle! And maybe strong tilting helps, so that gravity helps? Otherwise there is a hole in the SuperDrive that you can poke with a straightened paper clip to manually eject the CD. I hope some of this helps. LG!

  3. Hi,
    I've had this problem a lot in recent years with various external superdrives (A1379). After hours of trying, one of the tricks usually helped or it happened to work without any problems after 99 attempts. Yesterday I had the problem again and none of the tricks helped. I then plugged the drive into a Windows computer, clicked “Eject” and the CD came out immediately. So it doesn't seem to be a real problem, but rather some glitch or software bug that Apple has been ignoring for years. So: another tip is to use a Windows computer as an exception. We have several Superdrives here - they are all now ending up in e-waste and being replaced by external drives with manual eject buttons. I'm tired of the nerves...
    Kind regards, Heiko

    1. Hello Heiko! Thank you. I'll add that to the list right away. I wouldn't have thought of that. But it sounds like maybe the power supplied from the USB port isn't enough and the motor doesn't have the "power" to eject the CD. That would be my idea now. But of course it could also be due to software. LG, Jens

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