I have a 20" iMac (white, Core Duo 2.0 Ghz, one of the first Intel iMacs).

Lately I've had a problem where the iMac won't eject a CD. It attempts to eject it, makes all the eject-related noises, but the disc seems to hit a piece of metal and then falls back into the drive.

I can see the little metal piece when I look in the slot (pushing the rubber stuff aside with a paper clip).

It's like the little metal piece is supposed to retract but it's staying put.

Eventually it just starts working again -- maybe if I unplug the iMac? Not sure.

Anyone know what's wrong or how to fix it? Do I need a new disc drive or something?

Thanks, Rob


More info:

The metal piece keeping the disc in appears to be some kind of lever that's part of the drive. I turned off the machine, unplugged the power, laid the machine on its back for a while, then stood it up, plunked it down a little hard, and the little lever thingy must have fallen back into place correctly because now the disc ejects again.

The thing is, this is going to happen again because it's a recurring problem.

Is this a problem with the hardware? Any idea how to fix it?

3 Answers 3


It looks like the optical drive is dying.

iFixit has instructions to change it.


Seems Apple has problems with their slot drives across models. I've got the an 27" i7 iMac and had the same problem. It was under warranty when mine happened, but Apple's solution was to replace the Superdrive.


Use any thin piece of plastic - US driver's licenses seem to work well - or a knife blade (carefully), hold in the slot when you try ejecting and use the edge to help "steer" the disc away from the blocking piece.

  • Thanks da4, assuming I can get the disk out this way, is there a fix to prevent it from happening again? Do I need a new superdrive or something? Nov 29, 2011 at 14:11
  • If there is an object in the drive slot, or if some part of the frame holding it has been bent or dislodged, you'll likely need to replace the entire drive. That model iMac is a pain to disassemble but the parts are readily available, check mouvicel's link below.
    – da4
    Nov 29, 2011 at 16:16

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