How Do I Eject a CD From My Apple?

By Christopher Capelle

Although it wasn’t always the case, virtually every Apple Macintosh computer sold today has a built-in CD or CD/DVD drive, the only exception being the MacBook Air. Although the Mac’s hardware ranks high in dependability among users and tech experts alike, there are occasional situations when a CD or DVD is unable to be ejected from the computer using traditional methods. There are several other ways to eject a stuck disc.

Things You'll Need

  • Large paperclip

Step 1

Quit all open applications. A common reason why a CD won’t eject is because it is “In Use”–meaning that files on the CD are currently being accessed. For example, if a PowerPoint deck that is on the CD is open, the finder will not allow you to eject the CD until that document is closed. If you’re copying files from a CD to your hard drive, you will have to wait until the process completes before ejecting the CD. Another common cause is when an audio CD is being imported into iTunes.

Step 2

Press the “Eject” key on the upper-right of the keyboard (indicated by an upward-pointing triangle icon). If you are using a third-party keyboard that doesn’t have an eject key or if that key is damaged on your Apple keyboard, this method won’t work.

Step 3

Grab the CD icon on the desktop and drag it into the trash, holding down the mouse or track pad button until the trash is highlighted. An alternate way to accomplish this is to right-click (or Command-Click) on the CD icon on the desktop and select “Eject” from the pop-up list. If there is a CD in the drive, but it doesn’t appear on the desktop, then open “Preferences” from under the “Finder” menu and confirm that “CDs, DVDs and iPods” is enabled. Once you close this window, the CD icon should appear on the desktop. If your desktop is extremely cluttered, you may not see the mounted CD; so open a new finder window (Apple-N) to see if the disc appears in the left-hand column.

Step 4

Reboot your Mac while holding down the mouse button or track pad button to force the computer to eject the CD. This method works virtually all the time with tray-loading Macs, but not always with slot-loading models. If there’s a damaged disc or disc drive, you may hear the computer attempt to spit out the CD, and then you will have to resort to hardware methods as described in Step 5.

Step 5

Straighten out a large paperclip and use needle-nose pliers to make a small 90-degree angle “hook” at the end. Unplug the Mac, remove the battery if you’re working on a laptop and use the paperclip to grab the CD by the middle hole. Once you’ve hooked it, give it a sharp, quick pull to remove it. This may damage the media; so only use this method if all others fail.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don’t force any objects thicker than a paperclip into slot-loading CD drives.