Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How to forcibly eject a CD/DVD from a MacBook Air USB SuperDrive

So you've got a DVD stuck in the external USB SuperDrive that connects to the MacBook Air? And you've tried hitting the magic Eject button on the keyboard to no avail?

And you've tried drutil tray eject at the command-line? And you've tried booting with Option held down and clicking eject? And you've tried plugging the drive into other machines (Macs, Windows PCs, Linux machines) to no avail?

What do you do?

Clearly you hit the physical eject button, right? Every DVD drive has one of those. On the SuperDrive you first look for it on the front:

Hmm. Nothing there. Perhaps it's one of those pinhole things on the back.

Or on one side:

Or, heart in hand, the other side:

I know, I know. Jonny Ive hid it on the bottom out of sight, right? It's so obvious now. Put a pinhole on the bottom where it will only be seen when needed. Form and functionality in one. Sleek lines when in use. An accessible emergency button when needed. Genius.

Nope. But, phew, at least there's an Apple logo there. I was beginning to worry.

So, the easy procedure for removing the disk is as follows. First you pry open the case with some thin available tool:

Then you remove the six screws holding the drive into the case:

Then you turn the drive over in anticipation of seeing your DVD only to be thwarted by another cover and a set of screws:

And then, finally, you peel back the cover to see your DVD and remove it.

Once reassembled the drive complains about the missing disk and promptly goes back to working normally.

And then you wonder to yourself. The drive inside the case is a Sony NEC Optiarc AD-5630A. And every other drive that Sony sells has a physical eject button, even the slot loading ones. Did Apple hide it? Did they ask Sony to not provide a button? I'm guessing that the Cypress Semiconductor microcontroller inside there knows all about doing an emergency eject.

Of course, you stop worrying about that and wonder how the cable has managed to fray on this barely used drive:


PS Some people have pointed out that there may be a secret lever inside the drive accessible from the front by sticking a thin screwdriver inside. I can't find any reliable mechanism (although jamming the DVD in place using a wad of paper and rebooting does work).

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17 Comments:

Blogger Morgan said...

I'm assuming the first thing you did was hold down the mouse button on launch, right?

5:43 AM  
Blogger John Graham-Cumming said...

Yes, I had tried that also.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Mijonles said...

I didn't find the guide instructions until this morning, but I did read the comment regarding the frayed cable, which is exactly like mine. I figured the frayed cable might have something to do with the inability to eject, so I pinched the cable at the fraying spot and shoved it closer into the drive. Guess what? That was enough to get the stuck disc to eject. Glad I didn't have to go through the dismantle process!

5:29 PM  
Blogger Mijonles said...

Didn't notice the instructions until this morning, but I did read the comment on the frayed cable, which looks just like mine. I thought that might have had something to do with the eject problem so I pinched the cable at the frayed spot and pushed it closer to the drive. Voila! The disc popped out as soon as I hit the eject key once more. You have to pinch with one hand and grab with the other or the disc might wind up going back inside the drive.

5:32 PM  
Blogger ManlyDel said...

Thankyou!!!! Plugged the drive into my Dell laptop, it loaded software and then popped out straight away without prompting.

Love my Mac but little bit strange when the USB Superdrive behaves better on my windows than the Mac is was designed for.

4:35 AM  
Blogger Zuhaib said...

If it's a DVD video, you can just go to the DVD player on your mac and click "controls" in the top menu bar then "Eject DVD" or command+E.

If it's not, look for it in the finder under "devices". there should be an eject button next to it's name.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Steven Schmidt said...

Zuhaib you're a genius! thanks for the help

9:59 PM  
Blogger Steven Schmidt said...

Thanks Zuhaib! much easier solution than taking the whole thing apart!

10:00 PM  
Blogger Jorge Rawlings said...

My problem is that Finder doesn't even recognise that it's plugged in. I'm not bothered about the disc; it was Green Day's "UNO" which was frankly disappointing. I'm more worried about the ridiculously Apple-like amount of money I spent on something which should already be built in to a laptop.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Jorge Rawlings said...

My problem is that Finder doesn't even recognise that it's plugged in. I'm not bothered about the disc; it was Green Day's "UNO" which was frankly disappointing. I'm more worried about the ridiculously Apple-like amount of money I spent on something which should already be built in to a laptop.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Daniel Pohlod said...

Nice poste. "Genius mac..." not that much.. rsrs

8:25 PM  
Blogger Daniel Pohlod said...

Nice blog, "the genius helpers from apple.. not that genius. rsrs
thanks

8:27 PM  
Blogger Daniel Pohlod said...

Nice poste. "Genius mac..." not that much.. rsrs

8:28 PM  
Blogger Michael Peck said...

ManlyDel mentioned the Dell laptop ...
I started my XP virtual machine on the MacBook Pro
Plugged in the drive
Parallels sees the USB device and asks if I want it on Mac or XP ... select XP
The Drive shows up ... I select eject ... out it pops!

All of this on the same machine - OS X has some software problem!!

7:33 PM  
Blogger Rod Estanis Lloyd said...

i cannot believe it... i hooked it up to my old pc that i keep for testing. right click and eject and that did. just popped out like the old days.

a very sad day for apple. how could they? i mean a frigging pinhole to eject - and put that paperclip to use. i am beginning to wonder why i have changed over all 12 computers!

oh, yeah - no blue screens and everything syncs without thinking

8:05 PM  
Blogger eipi said...

Thanks for these instructions. They worked perfectly. I found it easier at the last step to remove only three screws and remove the stuck disc with a pair of fine tweezers.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Ed Wood said...

I used some very thin long-nosed needle-nosed pliers, pulling on the disc whilst hitting the eject key combination. Gentle persuasion......

4:37 AM  

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