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The Eject key on the Magic Keyboard

Original Photo by Apple

9 comments

Ejector Gives the Vestigial Eject Key a Reason to Exist

It has been years since Apple last shipped a Mac with an internal optical drive, yet both the Magic Keyboard and Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad still include an Eject key. And many people still have older MacBooks and keyboards with Eject keys. But if you don’t have an Apple USB SuperDrive, that Eject key sits quietly—sad, lonely, and seldom touched (unless you like pressing Control-Eject to bring up a dialog with buttons for Restart, Sleep, and Shut Down, or Control-Shift-Eject to sleep the screen). For the rest of us, this is where Dave DeLong’s clever Ejector app comes in.

Ejector is incredibly simple. It runs in the background, and when you press the Eject key, a window opens showing all ejectable volumes. Choose one and click Eject, or you can use the arrow keys to select a volume and press Return to eject it. No need to lift your hands from the keyboard!

Ejector

No Eject key on your MacBook Pro? No problem, because Ejector also supports the Touch Bar, displaying an eject button in the Control Strip. Alas, if you have a Mac that lacks either an Eject key or a Touch Bar, you’re out of luck—there’s currently no way to connect the eject action to a key of your choosing. However, if you have a macro utility like Keyboard Maestro, you could assign the Ejector app to any key combination.

Ejector's eject button on the Touch Bar

What can you eject? DeLong lists “partitions, disk images, network drives, or external drives.” In short, you can eject any mounted volume other than your boot drive. As always, if there are files (even invisible ones) open on a volume that you want to eject, macOS won’t let you eject it. If that’s the case, press the Option key to perform a force-eject.

Force ejecting a volume with Ejector

There isn’t anything else to the app, which might make you balk at its $9.99 price, though there is a 7-day free trial. But no one can accuse DeLong of greed since he’s openly asking Apple to “Sherlock” his app at the bottom of Ejector’s Web page, even including a Radar link that Apple developers can follow to formally request the feature from Apple.

Here’s a quick tip that might save you from some confusion. When I first downloaded and opened Ejector, nothing happened on either my High Sierra or Mojave machines. After checking DeLong’s Twitter feed, I discovered the problem: Ejector doesn’t launch correctly if you leave it in the Downloads folder. After I force-quit Ejector in Activity Monitor and moved it to the Applications folder, it worked fine. DeLong has acknowledged the issue and said he’ll fix it in an update.

As a bonus tip, what if you have an Apple USB SuperDrive but lack an Eject key? You can usually drag a mounted CD or DVD to the Trash to eject it, and Apple also provides a menu extra that puts an Eject menu in the menu bar, from which you can select a SuperDrive to eject its disc (with tray-based drives, it can also open the tray). Alas, unlike Ejector, it can’t eject other types of mounted volumes. To install the Eject menu extra, navigate to /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras and double-click Eject.menu.

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Comments About Ejector Gives the Vestigial Eject Key a Reason to Exist

Notable Replies

  1. Ten bucks? Mountain.app is only $6 and I thought that was kind of pricey. I think you can link it to the Eject key, if you really need a hotkey, but the menu bar widget is good enough.

  2. Semulov is free, and does the same thing (and a bit more, I believe). This is the app I use to map the Eject key.

  3. I use the Eject key for only one thing: Putting my Mac mini to sleep (via Command-Option-Eject).

    I can’t think of anything else that I’d use it for. I don’t even use it to open/close the tray of the external DVD burner attached to the mini; I use the Eject menu bar item for that.

    To unmount volumes, I usually right-click them and choose "Eject ".

    Hmm, I guess I’ll just save the $13.28 ($CDN converted at today’s rate) for something else (beer?).

  4. Semulov looks like a neat little utility, but it doesn’t remap the Eject key as far as I can see (and in my testing on an old aluminum MacBook). What Semulov does is provide a way of ejecting a disk from the menu bar, like Apple’s Eject menu extra. It’s a bit fancier than Apple’s, so if you like the Eject menu extra, give Semulov a try.

  5. I’ve been using unDock for a few years. It’s worth a look!

    https://flyingpapersoftware.com/

    Pro: It’s only $2 on the Mac app store, and it still works on my MacBook Air running High Sierra.
    Con: It treats my microSD card not as an SD card but as an external drive and so ejects it along with the other drives that are attached no matter how I set its preferences.

    Still, it’s pretty handy for a lazy guy whose Mac regularly has several volumes attached while at work.

  6. I kept wondering why the key was considered vestigial even though I rarely use it. Then I remembered, I still use DVDs and CDs. I have back-up disks from the Lombard era that still work. Nothing else seems to have lasted that long.

  7. Interesting! What discs do you still use? I have stacks of them in the closet, but can’t remember the last time (like 5+ years) I needed to use one, apart from a mix-tape music CD that a friend sent me recently (and that didn’t work in anything but an old boombox anyway).

  8. Now I use Verbatim DVD-R silver 50 on a spindle 94852. The oldest of those is 15 years. I don’t use CDs any more but the old ones were Memorex, TDK, IBM - always stored in a jewel box or plastic sleeve in a box. None ever just lie around to get physically damaged. We just had more commercial disks I bought of Babylon 5 fail and I had to buy a new set. I think they fail because of the dual layer and inexpensive disk source. Washing disks often solves problems since even fingerprints can cause a failed read.

  9. I forgot, don’t fill the disks all the way full. I shoot for about 90%.

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