I have a late 2009 iMac 24 (9,1)

Basically, my superdrive is either dead, or dieing. I put a disc in it recently, and it failed to do anything other than make odd noises then eject it. Then on certain discs it would make an awful grinding noise repeatedly like a circular saw, then eject the disc (no apparent damage to it). Then it took a disc in, buzzed a bit, and the drive just dissappeared, even system report couldn't see the hardware, never mind the disc inside.

I reboot holding option down allowed me to software eject, and since then I can repeat the above behaviour until the system seemingly abandons it.

Frankly, I always thought it was a bit dodgy (I bought it 2nd hand), as it was really SLOW to install the OS from and rip CDs etc compared to a cheap USB one I have.

So, the question is, how do I replace it, and what should I replace it with? I'm happy to use a non apple part, so long as I can still use it in the same way without it complaining about being incompatible in iMovie/iDVD etc.

I know I can go external, and indeed have 2 external drives, but I don't like the clutter, and it seems that DVD player won't touch them anyway:

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2 Answers 2


Getting the glass and LCD panel off without snapping cables is tougher than you may think, my recommendation would be to have it repaired by a professional. I'm not sure how much prices vary around the world but we would charge around £90 for the part and £40 for labour (if it's an optical drive) plus taxes. As things go, it's not an expensive repair.

If you're hell-bent on DIY then I'm sure there are places out there you can get parts and manuals/take apart guides. It may end up more expensive if you damage anything yourself, and of course there's no warranty on the repair!

The other option would be to use an external drive. There are loads of options out there at varying price points.

  • Seems quite expensive, given an internal sata dvd writer can be picked up for approx 10% of that price if you can fo it yourself. However, I'm game for some DIY. I'm more worried about getting an incompatible drive, slot loaders are less common and run to approx £35 here. I would check the local Apple store, but they would need me to take it and book a genius slot just to quote - bit beaurocratic like that sadly.
    – stuffe
    Commented Jan 27, 2012 at 14:48
  • 2
    I'd go with Robin's recommendation of an external DVD drive. You can get them for £18-25 on Dixons or about the same from Amazon.
    – Matt Love
    Commented Jan 27, 2012 at 15:49
  • Go for external. That gen of iMacs was even more painful than the current ones to open. I know because I had to help a friend replace an internal HDD. It's a P-I-T-A. :) An external drive, although annoying to have "around", is cheap and easy replaceable should it fail, plus you can use it anywhere else should you require. Commented Jan 27, 2012 at 21:53

IMHO best (well cheapest if you already have another networked PC with an optical drive) Superdrive replacement is remote disk hack. In Terminal

defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser EnableODiskBrowsing -bool true
defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser ODSSupported -bool true

And then read this instruction from apple.

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