Have an external USB SuperDrive from 2012, most expensive version with DVD writer (says Model: GX40N on the inside).

It stopped accepting discs and stopped reading them. I have searched for info and tried absolutely everything.

The thing is, it's barely been used, only a handful of times. There is zero dust in it. It used to work just fine. Then it stopped accepting discs, but would still read them. Then all of a sudden it stopped reading them too.

When it stopped accepting discs, I have been using a trick to hold the disc in, and perform the eject command, and it will try to push it out, and then suck it in.

No idea why this started happening... But at least it would read the discs.

Then one day it just decided to refuse to read the discs. Now, when I try to read them, it just spits it out immediately, doesn't even attempt to start spinning.

I have tried pushing all kinds of thick and thin, mint condition, CD's and DVD's in it.

I have opened it and blown out any speck of dust.

I have cleaned the lens with Isopropyl alcohol.

It makes all the right noises, everything seems to move/glide perfectly; arms, rotating thing, lens rail.

I have tried it on multiple machines, Macbooks, Mac Mini, Thinkpad+Windows 10, so it's not like it's a driver problem.

Meanwhile, my 20 year old, $20, who-knows-what-brand, DVD writer, in my home PC is chugging along every so happily, not a care in the world. That portable CD player from the 90's works fine too, because why wouldn't it?

When googling I find endless amounts of people having these kind of issues with SuperDrives from various production years, but no real solutions, just "replace it".

Are there any actual solutions that I have missed? Or is the only conclusion that these devices are just absolute trash quality at luxury prices, because Apple?

  • You don’t need a SuperDrive to work with your Mac. I have an old USB 2.0 Plextor that works fine.
    – Allan
    Feb 18, 2020 at 0:31
  • Amazon has high-quality external USB2 DVD read/write drives for under $US50. This DVD drive from LG reads/writes DL (dual-layer) discs, and I recently recommended to a friend. She says it works great!
    – IconDaemon
    Feb 18, 2020 at 1:36

1 Answer 1


Everything you described is a physical issue.

  • the load/eject mechanism failed somehow to not accept disks. Your work around was to manually hold them in.
  • The disks no longer being read could be the laser, the optical sensor or any of the electronic components that support these functions. It could be a blown capacitor, resistor or fuse. Maybe a bad IC chip or a broken trace. Without putting hands on, it’s only a guess at this point.

There is no fix for it other than dissembling it and repairing it. If this is not feasible the solution you stumbled upon is the correct one: replace it.

You don’t need a SuperDrive to work with your a Mac. (IMO) They are over complicated with their loading mechanisms and I dreaded getting disks stuck in the drives. I personally use a plain USB Plextor DVD/CD writer; it’s slow being USB 2, but it’s reliable and gets the job done.

  • Agreed, looking at the design inside, it looks to be insanely over engineered with all the moving parts.
    – thnee
    Feb 18, 2020 at 8:30

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