How To Use A Superdrive on a Mac Laptop With An Internal DVD Drive
If you’ve ever tried to plug in an Apple Superdrive (external DVD drive) into a Macbook Pro or other Mac laptop with an internal DVD drive, you may have struggled to get the laptop to recognise the external drive and therefore be able to use it at all.
This week I had to get around this exact scenario, as it appears the internal drive is failing on my 17″ Macbook Pro (sigh), but the solution is actually very simple. I’ve not tested this on OS X Yosemite, but I know it works on Mountain Lion and it should work on Mavericks and in most other OS X versions I believe. External DVD drive functional happiness is all thanks to this blog for the fix.
If you follow these steps you’re obviously doing this all at your own risk.
How To Make a Mac Laptop Recognise an External DVD Drive
Step 1. Navigate to this file (click image for larger view) and back it up by making a copy of it to your Desktop in case anything goes wrong. The file path is:
You can get to the hidden Library folder by holding down ALT when clicking on the ‘Go’ menu in a Finder window.
Step 2. Open the file with Text Edit or any other text editor. I use Text Wrangler which is both excellent and free. On line 8, or between the <string></string> type in ‘mbasd=1’ so it looks like this…
Save the file.
Step 3. Restart and plug in your Superdrive and you should be good to go.
What is the file we just edited? Thanks to the Luz from the blog you can once again be illuminated…
Apparently, Apple engineers had the need to test the Superdrive with non-MacBook Air computers themselves, so the driver already has an option built-in to work on officially unsupported machines! All you need to do is enable that option, as follows:
The driver recognizes a boot parameter named “mbasd” (Mac Book Air Super Drive), which sets a flag in the driver which both overrides the check for the MBA and also tweaks something related to USB power management (the Superdrive probably needs more power than regular USB allows).
If you’re running Mac OS X El Capitan (10.11) or later you’ll need to check out this updated post from Luz, on how to successfully tackle the same issue.
It’s a little more complicated than the steps outlined above, so if you’ve only got one internet enabled device you might want to print out/copy down the instructions before you get started!
In fact Luz provides two options, one it seems is more reliable than the other. Jump through to the post to read the full answer, but here is the ‘quick fix’ that might work for you.
There is also a simpler method which consists of just typing in a terminal:
sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1?
While it seems to work fine in many cases, some users ended up with their Mac not booting any more afterwards.
Maybe it was due to other important settings already present in boot-args, so if you want to give it a try, it might be a good idea to do a check first, see last post on this page