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Ask Max: Optical Drive in iMac not Accepting CD/DVD

Asked on 02/21/2012:

Optical Drive - iMac Intel Core i3

I can not get the optical drive in my iMac to accept a CD or DVD. I ejected the CD I was just using and now the drive won't accept anything. I have an iMac Intel Core i3.

- Dennis


Reset Optical Drive

If you have a USB mouse connected to your computer, try to reset the optical drive's eject mechanism first. Shut down your iMac by choosing "Shut Down" from the Apple Menu in the upper left corner of your desktop. Once the machine is powered off, hold the left mouse button down and re-power your iMac.

Keep the mouse button held down until you reach the login window. You should hear the optical drive perform one full eject cycle. At that point, you can release the mouse button, log in, and insert a disk in the drive.

Reset SMC

If you don't have a USB mouse, or if the above doesn't work, reset the SMC. There are complete instructions on how to do that in a PowerMax article called "Two Great Go-To Fixes for a Temperamental Mac" that covers different model machines, but the process for an iMac is as follows:

  1. Shut down machine completely

  2. Unplug it from the power source

  3. Wait 15 seconds

  4. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds

  5. Plug it back in and turn it on

If you experience other problems with your optical drive, I've found success with this: get a can of air from an office store and blow out the optical drive. Believe it or not, sometimes it just gets dusty in there. 

If none of these work, Apple has a support article on CD/DVD drive troubleshooting that might help

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