My iMac Won't Read CDs

Written by diana braun
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My iMac Won't Read CDs
Fix an iMac that refuses to read CDs with a credit card. (cd-r image by matteo NATALE from

All iMac optical disc drives are slot-loading drives, meaning that the disc is inserted into a slot that directly feeds into the computer, rather than being placed onto a disc tray that is pulled into the computer. There are several reasons why an iMac slot-loading drive may all of sudden stop reading CDs. Faulty hardware, an unleveled surface, scratches on a disc and a disc that is stuck in the optical drive all may cause a CD drive to stop responding. There are several different troubleshooting techniques that you can do to help you pinpoint the problem and get your iMac back to reading CDs again.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Credit card (or similar plastic object)

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  1. 1

    Test a DVD in the optical drive. Your drive may be faulty. The optical drive on an iMac has two lasers: one for reading CDs and the other for reading DVDs. If a DVD works but a CD does not, then you need to consider replacing the drive or getting an external drive for the non-working format.

  2. 2

    Place the iMac on a flat surface. If the iMac is not level, the lasers of the optical drive may not properly read the CD.

  3. 3

    Check your CD for scratches or dirt. CDs with such imperfections become difficult to read in optical drives.

Tips and warnings

  • For a CD that is stuck, place a credit card in the drive and slide it under the CD. Give it a light upward push to release the CD from the spindle. Pull the CD out.

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