Always eject external discs before unplugging them from your Mac
Quick Mac Tip, 14 November 2010
You may sometimes plug in some kind of disc to your Mac. It could be a thumb drive, an external hard drive, or perhaps a reader for your digital camera’s memory card.
Seeing a friend recently just unplug a drive sparked this quick tip.
Always eject an external drive
There’s a simple rule about such devices: always eject them before you unplug.
The computer needs to do some filing and housekeeping on every drive. If you unplug without warning that housekeeping can be missed or go wrong and your files may be corrupted or damaged.
How to eject a drive
When you do one of the following actions the computer carries out its housekeeping, but it doesn’t ‘spit out’ a hard drive in the way it does a CD or DVD. Wait a few moments before unplugging the drive from the computer.
If the device has a display light it will flash a few times and then shine steadily. Wait until the light is steady before unplugging.
- Select the drive in the Sidebar of a Finder window and choose
Ejectfrom the File menu.
- Select the drive in the Sidebar of a Finder window and click the
Ejectsymbol (⏏) beside the name of the drive.
- Select the drive on the Desktop and drag it to the Trash. As you start to drag the Trash can icon will change to an
- Select the drive on the Desktop. Right click or Control (⌃) click on it and choose
Ejectfrom the pop-up menu.
Advanced users: use an Applescript like the following, replacing
Elements with the name of your drive.
tell application "Finder" activate eject "Elements" end tell
Do you have any stories about ejecting drives (or failing to)? Tell us in the Comments.