Effortless USB Ejection on Your Mac: Troubleshooting Common Issues


Understanding the Basics

Apple’s Mac computers are renowned for their premium build quality and performance, especially with the new M-series chips enhancing efficiency. Despite these advancements, Mac users often face storage limitations, making external drives indispensable. These can include hard drives, SSDs, and various other storage media.

Ejecting an external drive on a Mac is usually straightforward: locate the drive in Finder, click the eject button, or drag the drive to the trash bin. But macOS can sometimes be finicky, leading to issues when ejecting drives. Force ejecting can result in data loss or drive corruption. Here’s how to safely eject your drives.

Quick Fixes for Ejecting Drives

Start by ensuring all files on the drive are closed. If you have any applications running from the drive, such as a Photoshop document, close them using Command + Q. Check if any files from the drive are in the trash, and empty it if necessary.

If the drive still won’t eject, try relaunching Finder. Click the Apple icon, select “Force Quit…”, choose Finder, and click “Relaunch.” Alternatively, use Command + Option + Escape to access the Force Quit menu.

Managing User Accounts

Sometimes, another user account on the same Mac might be using the drive. Switch to the other account by clicking the Apple icon and selecting “Lock Screen.” From the login screen, switch to the other user and close any applications or files accessing the drive. Then try ejecting the drive again.

Using Disk Utility

Disk Utility is a built-in tool on Macs that can help manage internal and external drives. To use it, go to the desktop, click Go > Utilities, and open Disk Utility. Select your external drive from the list, choose “First Aid” from the top-right corner, and click “Run.” This tool will scan for issues and attempt to repair the drive. Once done, try ejecting the drive again.

Ejecting via Terminal

If Finder isn’t working, try using Terminal. Open Terminal from Go > Utilities. Enter the command diskutil list external to list all external drives. Note the identifier of the drive you want to eject. Then enter diskutil eject {identifier}, replacing {identifier} with the correct one. Check Finder to see if the drive has been successfully ejected.

If all else fails, shut down your Mac and then physically disconnect the drive. This method is safe because macOS ensures all files and applications are properly closed before shutting down.

By following these steps, you can safely and effectively manage the ejection of external drives on your Mac. Have you encountered persistent issues despite trying these methods?