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MacBook Pro with CD halfway out of internal optical drive

Quick Tip: Eight Ways to Force Eject a Disc From Your Mac’s Optical Drive


Originally posted on May 18, 2016

Though Apple slowly phased out optical drives from its Mac lineup over the years, you might still have a MacBook or desktop Mac with a disc drive. You might also have an external solution with a CD/DVD/Blu-ray drive.

At some point, there’s a chance that a CD, DVD, or Blu-ray disc is going to get stuck in your Mac or external optical drive. Fortunately, there are some simple steps that can be taken to force eject a disc that’s stuck.

First, try one of these methods:

  • Hold down the eject key
  • Drag the disc icon to your Mac’s trash bin
  • Right-click on the disc icon and select eject
  • Press Command > E

Next, try this method to force eject a disc:

  • Launch the terminal app and use the following command and then press enter:
    /usr/bin/drutil eject

If all else fails, you can try these methods:

  • Boot your Mac into single-user mode. At the prompt enter /usr/bin/drutil eject.
    To restart the computer, enter “reboot” at the prompt without the quotation marks.
  • Hold down your trackpad button (or your left mouse button) and restart your Mac. Hold the button down until the desktop appears. This will trigger the system to eject your disc before macOS begins loading.
  • Shut down the Mac and restart it, then let it sit for 15 minutes. After a short amount of time, the disc may eject itself.

OWC Slim External 6X Blu-ray & CD/DVD Burner
OWC Slim External 6X Blu-ray & CD/DVD Burner

If your disc is still stuck, feel free to contact OWC’s customer support team for further assistance. And if you’re looking to bring optical capabilities back to your workflow, check out OWC’s lineup of optical solutions.

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  • I used the terminal method but since then my Mac won’t accept CD’s, feels like something is stuck in there. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

  • Thanks for the useful article. Besides using a paperclip, pressing the Option key while rebooting or cold booting also does the trick and ejects the optical disk.

  • You forgot to mention another method… many drive models have a pinhole which you can use to eject the disc by using a paperclip to physically push an eject mechanism that will open the tray or simply push out the disc.

    • Not the external drives sold by Apple. One of the worst decisions ever made by Apple.

  • “First, try one of these three methods:

    Holding down the eject key
    Drag the disc icon to your Mac’s trash bin
    Right click on the disc icon and select eject
    Press Command > E”

    Can I trust someone that can’t count? By my observation, this is FOUR methods, not three.

  • Thank you much. I had a disc stuck for a while. The hold down trackpad and restart worked!

  • what if we insert a dvd that is damaged, I had to disassemble the wholw dvd unit to extract the dvd. These people who build these dvd players are the dumbest people EVER

  • I was cleaning up the thousands of CDs and DVDs that have accumulated over the decades and one got stuck in the external Mac Apple “Superdrive.” I tried all the tricks to eject it, including rebooting. Then the OS wouldn’t even show that the external drive existed. There were lots of suggestions online of how to eject the DVD and I tried most of them — saving the most extreme for last, which involved prying open the housing with a flathead screwdriver.

    My solution was to unplug the drive from the Mac and plug it in to a Windows 7 laptop. The laptop found the correct driver and automatically ejected the disc. I posted this solution to the Mac
    support forum, but they took it down, because “the post was not a technical question.”

    I think the irony of Windows 7 fixing a “Superdrive” was too much for them.

    • This worked for me. Thank you so much for your posting. I tried everything from my Mac but ultimately it was a PC loaded with Windows that ejected my DVD.

  • You’ll have to get Catalina to accept reading CD’s first. Of dozens of CDs Catalina will only accept half of them so far from my external optical drive. Catalina does not read all CD disks.

  • terminal mode worked but the second time I needed to forcibly eject a different disc took a few repeats before it came out. Thanks

  • Disc Icon was not showing up on desktop or anywhere for that matter so no dragging or eject or command eject would work!!! Tried the Restart method while holding down mouse and IT WORKED!! My mouse is a Bluetooth no buttons just held it down towards the left side of it the whole time after I hit restart and sure enough it popped right out!!! Thankkkkkk you!!!!

  • nothing is working for me I’ve used the terminal part before but nothing is working this time

  • This only opened the internal DVD tray. I have a blank Blu-ray disc stuck in a Mini Stack external drive.

  • the terminal app automatically ejected the DVD, after none of the other methods helping. i recommend skipping right to the terminal app part.

  • the disc icon didn’t even show up on my computer and I’ve tried pretty much everything so I don’t know what to do

  • Worked fine holding down the mouse button on restart. Also no OS installed and a Mac install DVD was stuck in drive. Thank you for the info.

  • Just go to “Force Quit” from the Finder menu and select “Relaunch Finder”. That solves the problem 95% of the time for me.