iMac not recognizing external optical drive

bassist42

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 17, 2018
8
3
USA
Hi

Looking for advice on why my iMac does not recognize an external optical DVD/CD-R drive.

The computer is a 2011 gen 27" iMac running High Sierra 10.13.6 (cannot be upgraded further).
The external optical drive is an Apple Optical drive. The internal SuperDrive gave up the ghost about a year ago and I picked up the external apple unit. Shortly thereafter the computer quit recognizing the drive and I found somewhere online some tidbit about some settings to change and it fixed it. Cant find those settings now / don't remember what they were. More recently it resurfaced and a system update corrected it.

A few months ago it suffered a hard drive failure, and after getting the computer back from service, alas the issue is back.

When I check Disk Utility, the drive is not shown at all. When attempting to insert a disc in the drive, it refuses to accept it.

Yes, I know I'm a dinosaur, in that I still use CD's. I find them to be much simpler to use in the car than navigating a multitude of menus to select a particular song / album using the phone interface or storing gigabytes of music on a thumb drive.

thank you much for any assistance and relevant replies.

best regards
 

bassist42

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 17, 2018
8
3
USA
Is the drive plugged directly into the machine USB port or via some sort of extension? I had a similar problem and changing it from the extension to the machine directly, worked for me.

(What I mean by USB extension thingy: https://d2211byn0pk9fi.cloudfront.net/spree/products/1640/product/A7516011_ND01.JPG?1461123152)
Thanks, have tried it both ways; plugged directly into the USB port on the back of the mac and through a powered USB hub. Neither way seemed to help. Another website I found suggested powereing down the mac and then disconnecting the drive and rebooting teh mack with teh drive unplugged, and then plugging it back in. Still no dice.

I saw somewhere else on this forum that the apple external optical drives are poor quality, but I have other way of testing this. IE - I don't have another mac to plug this drive into and I know it wont work on the windows PC's I have for work.

I could go to Best Buy and purchase a universal USB optical drive, but if it still doesn't work then its just a shot in the dark and a waste of money.
 

hfg

macrumors 68040
Dec 1, 2006
3,566
276
Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
From my dark, dark, memory from way back ....

The original external Apple Optical drive was a bit "non-standard" in that it used somewhat higher power from the USB port than the USB Port specs allowed. Older Apple computers designed to use this Optical drive had higher power USB ports built into them to accommodate this, but the Apple drive would usually cause a normal USB port to shut down, sensing current overdraw.

Newer CD/DVD external drives, such as those available at Best Buy, are cheap, use even less power, and generally work fine with all my Mac computers. I would go ahead and get one at Best Buy, try it, and return it if it doesn't work with your computer ... but I suspect it will work fine. I have several 3rd party CD/DVD and BluRay players which work fine with all of my iMacs, Mac Minis, and Mac Book Pros of various vintages.
 
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bassist42

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 17, 2018
8
3
USA
Thanks, seems the dishwasher took a dump last night as well, so I'm off to Lowes to buy a new one of those. Best Buy is across the street, might as well go there as well and make the trip to town worthwhile. :)
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,179
5,536
The Apple "SuperDrive" can be very particular about working with some Macs, and NOT WORKING with others. This seems to be by Apple's own design.

I don't own one, but I recall reading about tricks and hacks to get a SuperDrive that "isn't recognized" visible to the OS.

Actually, if you've tried them and they aren't working .... perhaps the easiest thing to do is... buy a cheap 3rd-party USB DVD/CD drive. It might actually work BETTER for you, with far less foolin' around.
 

bassist42

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 17, 2018
8
3
USA
Update: The $20 universal CD/DVD drive by LG seems to work just fine, so far. It needed to be plugged directly into the iMac and not through the USB hub but I can live with that.

thanks all
 
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bassist42

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 17, 2018
8
3
USA
I had originally bought the Apple brand USB optical drive thinking that it would lessen the incidence of issues like this.

Chalk this one up as a learning experience.
 

CoastalOR

macrumors 68020
Jan 19, 2015
2,455
899
Oregon, USA
Looking for advice on why my iMac does not recognize an external optical DVD/CD-R drive.

The computer is a 2011 gen 27" iMac running High Sierra 10.13.6 (cannot be upgraded further).
The external optical drive is an Apple Optical drive. The internal SuperDrive gave up the ghost about a year ago and I picked up the external apple unit. Shortly thereafter the computer quit recognizing the drive and I found somewhere online some tidbit about some settings to change and it fixed it. Cant find those settings now / don't remember what they were. More recently it resurfaced and a system update corrected it.

A few months ago it suffered a hard drive failure, and after getting the computer back from service, alas the issue is back.

When I check Disk Utility, the drive is not shown at all. When attempting to insert a disc in the drive, it refuses to accept it.

Yes, I know I'm a dinosaur, in that I still use CD's. I find them to be much simpler to use in the car than navigating a multitude of menus to select a particular song / album using the phone interface or storing gigabytes of music on a thumb drive.

thank you much for any assistance and relevant replies.
The Apple external Superdrive does not support older Macs. Unfortunately the 2011 iMac is not on the list.
Here are the the System Requirements for it;

Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 06.21.38.jpg
I bought one to support a 2014 Mac mini in 2015 and it worked fine. As an experiment, I attached it to a 2011 MBP to see if it would work and sure enough it would not work.

I thought the Apple external Superdrive was overpriced and too limited for Mac support.