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The ultimate guide to ejecting a stuck disc from Mac SuperDrive

The ultimate guide to ejecting a stuck disc from Mac SuperDrive

The slot-loading optical disc drives in MacBooks, iMacs, and Mac Minis are definitely more elegant than those flimsy trays on most computers. The part that’s not so elegant is when a stubborn CD or DVD gets stuck!

Over the years, a ton of different methods for ejecting stuck discs have been passed around the Apple community. While some approaches appear to work more reliably than others, there is no single troubleshooting technique that has been proven to work for everyone. In an effort to be as comprehensive and help as many people as possible, I’m throwing in all of the strategies I’ve come across related to this topic. If you’re battling a CD or DVD that refuses to pop out, hopefully you find at least one does the trick!

The standard stuff

For the sake of being complete, let’s start out simple. When a disc won’t eject from your Mac, try the following: 1.) Press and hold the Eject key, 2.) Right-click on the disc icon on the Desktop and select “Eject” from the menu, 3.) Drag the disc icon to the Trash. No luck? Read on for more tips!

Disk Utility

Launch Disk Utility (Applications > Utilities) and select the troublesome CD or DVD in the sidebar. Click the Eject button at the top of the window.

Terminal command

Launch Terminal (Applications > Utilities) and copy the following command: drutil eject

Mouse/Trackpad button

Restart your Mac and hold down the left mouse button (or trackpad if you have a laptop) as it boots up. Keep pressing it until the login screen or desktop displays.

Tilt and shake

Pick up your Mac laptop and tilt it so the CD/DVD drive is pointing downwards. Restart and hold the Eject key down while gently shaking the computer up and down.

The self-fixing Mac

Shut down your Mac, turn it back on, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Make sure the power cord is plugged in as you do this and the disc just might pop out on its own.

Disrupt the spin

If you listen carefully, you can probably hear your optical drive powering up & down over and over again. As long as the disc spins, it’s not coming out. The first step is to get your hands on a very thin piece of cardboard or even a folded business card (so it’s twice as thick). Now restart your Mac and hold down the mouse/trackpad button as you poke the cardboard inside the SuperDrive slot. The goal is to slip it above the CD or DVD — towards the left side of the drive — and gently jiggle it around to put pressure on the disc. You might have to continue this for up to a minute or so, but it often works when all other methods fail.

209 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

Tried doubleface tape on a business card to help pull the disk out and it worked like a charm. Turns out someone jammed a disk into the drive with another one already in there…

Thanks for your help in ejecting cd from a stuck imac – Launch Disk Utility (Applications > Utilities) and select the troublesome CD or DVD in the sidebar. Click the Eject button at the top of the window.
Thanks a mill

I had a disc stuck in my iMac and as far as OS X was concerned there was no disc! It was “faded out” in the disc utility like there was nothing there. Luckily the terminal command let me get BASH that shit out of there! Thanks d00ds! ;D

None of the tips in the article worked on my OS X 10.6 27″ iMac. It was a PC written disk that had worked previously. No icon on desktop or in Disk Utility. No sound of spinning in the drive.
So I powered off, unplugged external drives, held down the ‘c’ key and restarted. The iMac tried to boot off the disk, failed (obviously) and went for the internal disk. The cd was now spinning, and with the ‘c’ key still held down and the iMac still booting I hit the eject button a couple of times. Job done.

none of these worked for me. i opened it and found that there is a little metal tab that moves to one side when ejecting a disk. it was not opening far enough. i decided to hit eject and slip a playing card in there when it opened. it took a few tries to get it, since it happens fast, but once i got it in there, i just waited a few seconds, hit eject again, and out popped the disk. i always knew playing cards were good for something, and they’re way cheaper than an external anything.

Thanks for the tilt and shake advice. Need a new computer now…

I had a DVD stuck in my iMac ALL DAY. Tried everything I knew and several things suggested online and then decided to hitch up the crevice tool to my vacuum cleaner and press the narrow end of the nozzle right up against the slot as I pressed EJECT. Out she came!!!!!!

Tilt and shake worked for me, ridiculous as it sounds; hope nobody saw me do it. Ha, ha.

None of these worked for me so I had to use the disassemble in the above you tube video

thanks so much! I have spent hours trying to get the disc out and tried nearly everything. Stickly label worked a treat! Thanks David!

Thanks a lot. The terminal command line worked

Was VERY nervous about tilting and shaking my MBP which is only about 2 months old! But I tried everything else and it didn’t work and shaking it was the last resort and sure enough, as I’m trying to figure out how I was going to get the money to replace the superdrive, it popped out! THANK YOU!

The last tip works perfectly. Just make sure you do not force shut down your mac while booting up. I did that and my computer got corrupt and I had to forget the CD and restore from a backup. You need to really stop the disk from spinning and your will hear a sliding, screeching sound when you push the cardboard in. I assure you that this tip does no harm AT ALL to your mac.

Thank you. Restarting whilst holding down the left click on my trackpad worked. Superb article…

Match Attax Card + Sticky Tape worked! Thanks a lot mate!

I’ve had a disk stuck for a month. Tried all the standard stuff but the disk would get so far then go back in. First attempt at tilt and shake and hey presto out it came. Fantastic.

Fantastic! Thank you. We tried the double sided and credit card trick. And managed to retrieve, not 1, not 2, but 3 discs out of the disc drive! (Thanks to the 2 year old!)

Thanks! I was just experiencing a blank dvd that I had accidentally put into my drive and it wouldn’t eject. Going through the list starting at the top the one that worked was “drutil eject”. Once again, thank you so much. Very helpful.

Thankyou. The credit card thing worked for me.

Iv had this disc stuck in my macbook pro2,2 and i tired every step besides the shake the laptop. So i shaked it a bit while holding the eject button and boom! Is slid out enought for me to take it out fully!! Woooo

The last method (Disrupt the spin) worked for me. Thank you!

Thanks for the advice! Tilt and shake worked perfectly.

FINALLY! The double sided tape1/4 way down on a CD was the only thing that worked! Thank you!

Yes!!, I gave it a shake whilst ejecting and it worked! Phew.. Thanks.

I kid you not, you are my HERO! I tried everything, the disk finally tried to eject, but it was stuck. The duct tape on a medical card worked! It wasn’t even my movie. :0) thank you a million times over!

OMG you totally saved me, I tried for months to get this crappy cd out! The very last resort suggestion worked and I am so grateful. Thank you !!

The tilt and shake worked for me. I have an external drive and nothing else worked until I turned it sideways and tapped the back of it. Thanks for your help.

The tilt and shake during reboot worked! Thank you!!!!

I used a combination of the “the self fixing MAC” and the “Mouse/Track pad button” and the disc popped out immediately. Thanks for all the suggestions…

thank you. Thank you. It worked with a credit card. You made my day. Gilbert, Switzerland

thank you so much for the information, really appreciate it! ;D

Thanks a million! I poked in and out 2 credit cards and voila 2 discs just popped out. It is 1:50 in the morning. No more disk spinning noise! No more kids touching my iMac!

OFMG- how ANNOYING!!! Got a disc stuck that came with a “how to” book tutorial for playing the Uke which wasn’t all it’s rave reviews made it out to be, so the disc getting stuck only served to further piss me off about the product (grrrr).

Massive THANK YOU’S to Ant for posting these solutions. The last one, “Disrupt the spin…” worked with a bit of patient side to side sliding of a folded glossy postcard :) Yay!

Terminal Command worked! Thanks!

My way is different (maybe) because I used both terminal command and ’tilt and shake’ way. After I enter the terminal command, I quickly tilt and shake my laptop, the disk came out! MIRACLE!

David! (Sept 17th, 2009) Genius. Pure genius. None of the rest was working, and I was worried the “Disrupt the spin: solution was leaving dust from the biz card in the drive.
Your solution worked like a charm. Thanks!

My children had inserted 2 disks in the drive. Completely stuck. Even drutil eject command, shake, etc couldn’t work. I finally succeeded with tape and credit card. Marvelous idea. Thanks.

Had a disc stuck in the drive for almost a year now. it started to make more noise last 2 days- made a tool with an pair of scissors to grab the CD. turned out there was 2 in there… o the joys of having a 2 yr old.
but I do think I may have damaged the drive – o well at least its out!!

YEA!! The stuck CD finally came out with the last tip….folded business card!


Disk utility worked for me. Not sure what caused the issue. Just a regular CD like I always burn to. Thank you for the advice.

I have tried some of the techniques above. No luck yet but I will keep trying. I have a 24 inch iMac with the CD/DVD drive on the right side of the computer. I put in a blank DVD to do some burning and now I can’t get it out. I tried the business card/credit card but I’m a bit confused about one approach that says: “The goal is to slip it above the CD or DVD — towards the left side of the drive — and gently jiggle it around to put pressure on the disc.”
I’m not sure where the ‘left side of the drive’ is located. For a drive that is vertical on an iMac, where is the left side? And, is ‘above the CD or DVD’ the side that is towards the front of the computer?

After some poking with a paint scraper, it came out! The drive was making noises, trying to eject the disc but couldn’t do it. While it was doing that, I was poking inside with the paint scraper. I decided to hit the eject button on the keyboard again, scraper out, than the disk popped out. Don’t know what exactly I did but it worked. I’m afraid to put another disc in but I think this kind of blank DVD was the problem. May be a good time to invest in a new Blu-ray external burner/driver.

THANKU… over an hour and about 30 websites.. last option – disrupt the spin, followed by the Terminal drutil eject. with a little more excitement than necessary – the disk ejected! THANKS

THANK YOU. mailing label worked perfect!

Spin disrupted – thank you thank you thank you

I think my kids put something in the disc slot. My mac won’t take a cd I’m trying to put in it. Any suggestions?

I had a CD stuck in my drive and tried everything! Well almost everything, up until I found this site. The duct tape smoothed onto another CD worked for me finally. Rolled up a piece of duct tape, smoothed it out, taped the sides of the tape to the CD, to prevent the tape from coming off inside the drive. After I got it in their, I held down the track pad while rebooting and it finally came out! Thank you so much for suggesting this, I was getting ready to take it to the Apple Genius Bar. Saved me a trip!

tried the disrupt the spin method. Worked perfectly after insisting for 5 minutes trying. The mechanism must have some problem yet it ejected. THANK YOU!!!!

Thank you soooooooo much! The business card trick worked! I was not even getting a blue screen, just blank white! Once the cd came out a little with the card I grabbed it and it started!

OMG, I tried for an hour to get stupid disc out. sticking the folded up paper in there worked and I am so grateful to you for posting this solution! Saved my project and my butt in a big way!!!!

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