How to make the MacBook Air SuperDrive work with any Mac

(Edited/clarified Nov. 2012 by luz, updated for Mavericks Nov. 2013) 

The story is this – a while ago I replaced the built-in optical disk drive in my MacBook Pro 17″ by an OptiBay (in the meantime, there are also alternatives)  which allows to connect a second harddrive, or in my case, a SSD.

To be able to continue using the SuperDrive (Apple’s name for the CD/DVD read/write drive),  the Optibay came with an external USB case which worked fine, but was ugly. And I didn’t want to carry that around, so I left it at home and bought a shiny new MacBook Air SuperDrive (by 2012, Apple USB SuperDrive) for the office.

It just didn’t occur to me that this thing could possibly not just work with any Mac, so I didn’t even ask before buying. I knew that many third-party USB optical drives work fine, so I just assumed that would be the same for the Apple drive. But I had to learn otherwise. This drive only works for Macs which, in their original form, do not have an optical drive. Which are the MacBook Airs and the new Minis [Update 2013-11-10: the only model left with an optical drive is the non-retina MBP 13"].

At this point, I started to search the net, finding hints, disassembling Mac OS X USB drivers and finally patching code in a hex editor which was the first, but ugly, solution to make the superdrive work, and gave me the information to eventually find the second, much nicer solution presented below. For those interested in the nitfy details of disassembling and hex code patching, the first approach is still documented here.

For actually making the SuperDrive work in clean and easy way, just read on (but note: while it has proven to be  a quite safe method, still you’ll be doing this entirely on your own risk! Using sudo and editing system files incorrectly can damage things severely!).

Apparently, Apple engineers had the need to test the superdrive with non-MacBookAir 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). So just editing /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ and inserting the “mbasd=1″ into the “Kernel Flags” does the trick:

  1. open a terminal
  2. type (on a single line)

    sudo pico /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/

  3. Insert mbasd=1 in the <string></string> value below the <key>Kernel Flags</key> (If and only if there is already something written between <string> and </string>, then use a space to separate the mbasd=1 from what’s already there. Otherwise, avoid any extra spaces!). The file will then look like:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
    <plist version="1.0">
    <key>Kernel Flags</key>

    [Update: As CyborgSam pointed out in the comments, the file might not yet exist at all on some Macs. In that case, the pico editor window will initially be empty - if so, just copy and paste the entire XML block from above].

  4. Save (press Ctrl-X, answer yes to save by pressing Y, press enter to confirm the file name).
  5. Restart your machine. That’s it!

I tested this [Updated:2013-11-03] on Lion 10.7.2 up to 10.7.4, Mountain Lion up to 10.8.4 and Mavericks 10.9 so far, but I expect it to work for all Mac OS versions that came after the initial release of the Macbook Air Superdrive, which is probably 10.5.3, and is likely to work with future versions of OS X. Just let me know your experience in the comments!

BTW: the boot options plist and how it works is described in the Darwin man pages

[Update 1]: This trick has found it’s way into a Mac OS X Hints comment, unfortunately lacking credit… [Update: was just accidental omission by the comment's author]

[Update 2]: It seems that there’s an even simpler method than all what I described above: 1) Open a Terminal, 2) type sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″ - done. I haven’t tested so far, but Apple docs (from here to here to here) suggest this has exactly the same effect as the .plist editing below. [Update: apparently, does not always work, so I recommed to stick with the .plist editing which works well]

28. October 2011 by luz
Categories: English | Tags: , | 299 comments

Comments (299)

  1. Fantastic!!!

    Thanks a lot for this tip. Works absolutely perfect on both an IMac 2011 and a MacBook Pro 2010. Thx for saving my money :-)

    Cheers from Germany.

    • Solution theoretically is excellent but as u mentioned external USB super drive draws more power than internal. But a doubt is arise here is back end circuit is designed for that much power requirement. I think it is not a solution just a jugad.

      • The solution also works in practice because Apple’s USB ports deliver more power than the USB specs demand (500mA @ 5V = 2.5). Apple wants that you can charge your iPhone by connecting it to the computer, which needs around 1A @ 5V = 5W. So as long as you connect the Superdrive directly to an Apple USB port and not via a USB hub, it will have enough power supply.
        But of course it’s a jugaad in the sense of “workaround” – a way to work around Apple’s refusal to use this drive with certain Mac models :-)

        • It works on a late 2006 mac with Leopard upgrade. Thanks to everyone.

        • Luz, When I open the terminal window, I type sudo pico, then my password. after that, the screen is blank, so I copy and paste the

          Kernel Flags

          After that, I hit control x, and then Yes….
          the filename at the bottom is empty….. Should I put the /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ in that spot???? if not, do I just leave it blank? I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to put sudo pico enter,/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ and then enter, then copy and paste the long list above, and then save… Any advice would help. thnx.

          • Bottom line is that there was no filename at the bottom when i was done with the inputs you stated in the above article. If my screen was blank (white) with no words or scripts, did I have to input the /Library comma you mentioned above, or just copy and paste the long script you provided then save, and leave no filename since it was empty.

          • Hi Stevo,

            I think that you need to type the following if your screen is blank:

            Kernel Flags

            That’s what I understood. We were able to make it work 2010 Macbook Pro running Mavericks. Thanks!

  2. so its not working if its leopard?

    • The approach is the same for Leopard and Snow Leopard. However, the exact patch locations most probably differ if the driver was updated between Mac OS versions. And if the drivers are in fact different, the search for the correct patch locations needs to be done for the Leopard/Snow Leopard versions separately.

      Another idea worth trying (but on your own risk!) could be using the patched driver from Lion and copy it to Snow Leopard / Leopard. There’s no fundamental reason why this should not work, but of course there might be subtle details in the way. I’d be interested to hear if it actually works should anyone dare to try :-)

      • Any chance you could do this for Snow Leopard for us? I downloaded and tried IDA, but I couldn’t easily correlate its hex offsets to 0xED’s. I can follow the code OK, but I didn’t see any 0x75 bytes nearby. And it wasn’t 100% clear to me if I was replacing the jz or jnz or the test before it…

        • Yes, please re-read the post, I just updated it in the beginning – I found a much simpler method which requires no driver patching and which should work on SL as well. Apple engineers apparently had the need to test the drive with non-Macbook Air computers, so the driver has a command line flag for that.

          • Thanks! The “trick” worked OK in Snow Leopard 10.6.8.

            Let’s hope Apple doesn’t disable this………

            I saw that method on the web but since Snow Leopard doesn’t have a by default, I had erroneously assumed it wouldn’t work.

          • Thanks for the feedback. I updated the post to mention the plist might not yet exist initially.

  3. Can’t get this to work with mine, kext patching went fine but console reports:

    AppleUSBCDC: start – initDevice failed

    I saw on tnkgrl’s site mention that there are “new” and “old” superdrives, perhaps I have an “old” one for which this method won’t work.

    Can anyone confirm?

    USB Prober provides the following details for my superdrive (some ommitted).

    bcdDevice 512 (0x200)
    bDeviceClass 0 (0x0)
    idProduct 5376 (0x1500)
    idVendor 1452 (0x5ac)
    iProduct 2 (0x2)
    iSerialNumber 3 (0x3)
    USB Product Name MacBook Air SuperDrive
    USB Serial Number KEMB8IA5534
    USB Vendor Name Apple Inc.

    • Have you tried the new, simpler method (see update at the beginning of the original post)? It could be related to power consumption of the old vs. the new MBASD. The new method apparently also influences power management, so it might work with the old drive.

  4. when i type in “sudo cp -R AppleUSBODD.kext ~/Desktop” on “PlugIns mymac$”
    it says
    “WARNING: Improper use of the sudo command could lead to data loss
    or the deletion of important system files. Please double-check your
    typing when using sudo. Type “man sudo” for more information.

    To proceed, enter your password, or type Ctrl-C to abort.


    How should i find my password? I did not set any to it…
    can anyone help? thx

    • If you really have no admin passwort you can just press enter at the prompt. However I doubt it is possible to set-up a Mac without an admin password without tricks, so most probably you did set a password when you initially installed Mac OS.

      BTW: I recommend you to use the new method (see update at the beginning of the original post) which is better and simpler. You still need sudo, though, so if you need to get past that passwort prompt in either case.

      • Thanks for the update (and the tweet which I missed!).

        I gave the kernel flags a go but it still doesn’t seem to work for me.

        I may just buy a newer model drive from Apple or sacrifice an old external for the usb->ide bridge instead of stuffing around too much.

        Thanks for all the great info!

        • Did you check the console log for the “The MacBook Air SuperDrive is not supported on this Mac” message when you plug in the drive? If it still appears, the kernel flag is not active (for whatever reason, e.g. typo in the .plist). Because if the flag is set, I see absolutely zero possibility in the code for the message to appear, even if some other problem should prevent the older MBASD from working. What I mean is: as long as you still see the message, the problem is not the drive, but the flag not being active.

          • no “not supported on…” message, just failed to read dvd (movies), I didn’t think to try a regular dvd or cd.

            I got a new drive instead and all is well!

            great work thx!

  5. hi luz,

    i tried the new method it is success in osx leopard. the drive is recognize now.

    but the dvdplayer app didn’t recognize the drive it said

    “There was an initialization error
    A valid DVD drive could not be found . [-70012]”

    by the way thank you very much for your effort making this superdrive usable….


  6. Hey,

    So thank you for your work on this problem. I am trying to use my macbook air superdrive with my original mac mini running leopard, but it doesn’t recognize the kernel flag (in verbose mode it still shows the message “this mac does not support the macbook air superdrive”). I tried using terminal to add the file as suggested (as stated the file was not there to begin with), have you any suggestions as to how to solve this?

    • I would guess that for some reason the kernel cannot read the file. Maybe the XML is not valid – if you created the file by cut & paste from the blog, maybe something more than the plain XML was copied.

  7. Hi.

    I’ve never done anything like this before, so just one clarification if you wouldn’t mind. Where you’re written: “(If the string is not empty to begin with (it normally is), then use a space to separate the mbasd=1 from what’s already there).” Do you mean that mbsad=1 will be *after* whatever’s written there already, separated by a space on the same line? Like:

    Kernel Flags
    xyz mbasd=1


    • What I meant to say was:
      if at the beginning it e.g. looks like:

      <key>Kernel Flags</key>

      …then you need to add a space after “something”, and then write “mbasd=1″ after that (double check spelling, you wrote “mbsad” in your comment, that would not work!), so the result would look like:

      <key>Kernel Flags</key>
      <string>something mbasd=1</string>

      But usually, there’s no “something” at the beginning, so the result would be just

      <key>Kernel Flags</key>

  8. Hmmm, the post removed the < and >. Sorry.

    • The < and > disappear because the comment is treated as HTML which uses < and > for formatting tags. Use &lt; and &gt; for < and > (less than, greater than).

  9. Thank you for this super tip. I am glad my research finally paid off. My superdrive just died. I figured if I was going to pay for a used internal, I may as well pay a little bit extra and get something in warranty.

  10. I went through the new terminal instructions on my mid 09 MCP. The file was there, with no other data in the string, so i added in mbasd=1, saved, etc, rebooted, and still cannot access the drive. Ideas?

  11. Brilliant, got it to work on my MacBook Pro 17-inch, Mid 2010! :) thanks a lot!

    • Can you please explain exactly what you typed starting with the sudo pico line. Did you enter and then type in the /Library stuff and hit enter again? As well, was your screen blank or did it have the stringer with stuff in it???? Mine was blank, but I don’t know if I was still supposed to add the /Library stuff at the beginning or just copy paste the long stuff in his paragraph, then save…. There was no filename that was listed, so i bailed out and didn’t do thru with it. Any help would be appreciated.

  12. Hi Luz, this worked perfectly on my Macbook pro early ’11 (10.7.3) w optiBay installed , thank you for such simple instructions. Soon after restart I was instantly burning CD’s into itunes. However I noticed a comment above from Ali about using it with DVD player, by default does your method above effect many other applications which try to access a dvd drive? Or should this method instantly work with anything trying to access the new superdrive? im just curious to know before I go on and play ‘just google it’


  13. any news on getting this to work with 10.7.3?

  14. “Open a terminal”. How do I do that, please?

    • Type “terminal” into the Spotlight search box and choose the top hit.
      However, if you’ve never used a command line before, I’m not sure if you’ll be comfortable with the rest of the procedure. After all, it’s still a hack.

  15. It is all too complicated for an “oldie” like myself. Besides I have the Snow Leopard iMac. So, that wouldn’t work I understand, even if I would be able to do this. Is that correct?

  16. I’m trying to get the superdrive to work with my 2011 15 inch MBP, however when I navigate to the /Library/Preferences there is no SystemConfiguration folder (and hence no to edit). When looking around my computer I can’t find that plist anywhere! Any suggestions on how to get it to work for me?

    • Nevermind, I found the folder and file, but now it seems like the superdrive isn’t working properly. I put a Windows 7 DVD into it, and the first time it said it was a blank DVD (which it isn’t). I put it into my other macs internal drive and it worked fine. I switched it into the external superdrive and now it won’t even read it at all, just spits it right out.

      • That’s most likely not a problem caused by the hack. Is that DVD a burned one? Just because burnt DVDs are often not very reliable. I have dozens of data DVDs that failed to mount in some drives, still worked in others.

        • I tested it with non-burned CDs as well, even tested on a macbook air and it still wasn’t working (so it must be the drive itself). I ordered a bare 12.7 IDE slot drive off eBay and will try replacing the one in there.

  17. Works absolutely fine on my MBPro (mid 2010) with 10.7.3, including the little tweak to the DVDPlayer framework highlighted by Ali.

    This has been annoying me for some time, so thanks for taking the time to investigate this and publish the solution…

  18. Genius. Worked. Thanks, you’re a star!

  19. Ok, I’m still not able to get this to work and I can’t figure out why. I did everything listed, and the superdrive is now recognized by the mac (shows up in system profile) and it even spins up disks, however the disk never gets mounted (I never see it show up on the desktop). I’ve tried this with multiple disks and still no go. I even bought another 12.7mm IDE DVD-burner and replaced the one in the superdrive with a new one (thinking maybe the drive was dead), and the same thing is happening. Any idea why this would be the case?

    • I looked at the plist file, and mine looks slightly different than the one listed.

      <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "$

      Kernel Flags

      Could this be the issue?

    • I looked at the plist file, and mine looks slightly different than the one listed.

      <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "$

      Kernel Flags

      Could this be the issue?

      • I have the same problem as you. My code comes up as this: Kernel
        Kernel Flags

        I inserted mbasd=1 after Kernel Flags, but does the mach_kernel mess anything up? I have a mac running on leopard, 10.5.8. thanks!

        • Unfortunately, it’s hard to quote XML here in the comments as wordpress usually eats all > and < characters, so I’m not sure how your file really looks now (the ways as it appears to be in your comment would certainly not work, but that’s most probably not what’s really in your file).

          Anyway – it’s really important that you leave everything untouched in that file except the insert of “mbasd=1″ as derscribed in the main post. A single missing > or < or extra space in the wrong place will likely make the entire file become an invalid plist and thus ignored by OS X. I also recommend (see my comment from July 4th) to use the command line method to edit the file, because not only the contents, but also the permissions of that file are important.

  20. Will any of the two methods work on an iBook G4 running 10.4.11?

    • Most probably not, as 10.4.11 predates the MacBook Air Super drive.

      • What about 10.5.8 I have tried inputing the script to no avail. the super drive is still not recognized.

        • Have a look at the output of – do you see the “The MacBook Air SuperDrive is not supported on this Mac.” message when you connect the drive?

          • 1/1/01 7:59:17 AM quicklookd[119] [QL ERROR] ‘Creating thumbnail’ timed out for ”

            is all it says when I plug in the superdrive. I assume that may mean I am screwed?

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  24. This _was_ working just fine with my MacBook Pro, but it suddenly stopped. I can hear the drive starting to spin up, but it never succeeds, and the console has errors like this:

    “Apr 3 17:16:57 Pro kernel[0]: USBF: 210. 77 AppleUSBEHCI[0x55bd000]::Found a transaction past the completion deadline on bus 0xfd, timing out! (Addr: 2, EP: 6)”

    Any ideas would be welcome.

    Note: this happens on Snow Leopard and Lion. (I can boot the machine into either but the problem exists on both.)

    • USBEHCI sounds like a low level USB 2.0 issue to me. As it happens on both SL and Lion, I’d assume some sort of hardware problem on the port itself. Have you already tried connecting the drive to another USB port? Because one thing that could make the drive not work correctly would be insufficient power supply.
      The MBASD requires more power than a regular USB port officially delivers (which is 500mA @ 5V = 2.5Watts). Mac USB ports can deliver extra power up to 1100mA, like when charging an iPhone. I just found a very interesting Apple Technote detailing the conditions for extra USB power. Foremost, it seems that a Mac can enable high power only on one of its USB ports, and does so for the first Apple device connected. So if you also connect an iPhone, it might be that the iPhone gets the extra power instead of the MBASD.

      In my own daily use of the MBASD on my MBP 17″ (early 2010), the drive is usually connected via the cinema display’s USB hub, which is explicitly mentioned in that technote to be capable of delivering extra power. I also used it a few times connected directly to the MBP (but then, certainly without anything else connected at the same time)

  25. Okay I was able to make this work for my mid 2010 MBP. However when I tried to do this on my 2006 MBP (Original Core Duo model) running on 10.5.8 I was not able to get it working And I tried the boot.plist editing as well as hex editing the driver itself. However when I booted that machine to 10.6.8 off of an external Drive and tried it there it worked (same hardware but different versions of the OS). Just for reference I also tried it on a 10.5.8 Mac mini G4 1.5 ghz and same results as the MBP running 10.5.8 (though for the G4 Mini it could also be a difference of CPU architectures as well and if so I can accept that) So for me this is only working in 10.6.8. Any more ideas that I can try to get this working on Leopard Machines. Thanks

    • On a early Core 2 Duo MBP (refurb purchased new in 2007), applied the boot argument mbasd=1 to the Kernel Flags in

      I see this in my logs:
      4/15/12 3:02:11 PM kernel USBMSC Identifier (non-unique): K15C2AN3857 0x5ac 0x1500 0x200

      I did not think it was working because Disk Utility would not see the drive. However, I am able to insert a disc and it is mounted as a Volume.

      What else to do, to make Disk Utility see the USB drive?

      Thanks for this blog!

      • I have no idea, because in my case the SuperDrive shows up in DiskUtility (however, that’s on Lion).

        About that USBMSC console log line – I get that too, and it’s not an error, just an information (see answer post from a member of the Apple USB team). So nothing wrong here.
        0x1500 is the product ID, 0x05AC is the vendor ID (=Apple). 0x200 is the version. That’s all identical with my drive. The K15… string is the serial number which is of course different for every drive.

        Maybe the 10.6.8 disk utility has some extra checks (or rather, bug, as it seems to work in later OS versions) that prevents the external drive to show up. Is the drive shown in the system profiler (under “Disk Burning” and under “USB”)?

    • sorry for forgetting: 10.6.8

  26. I’ve also just tried it on a fresh Leopard install on the original MacBook Pro freshly updated to 10.5.8 booting from an external firewire drive and still no go.

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  29. Sorry, doesn’t work.

    I have a MacBookPro2,2, running 10.5.8 (Leopard)

    I did modify the file, I rebooted, then plugged the SuperDrive. The message “The MacBook Air SuperDrive is not supported on this Mac” popped up in the console log. Of course the drive did not accept the DVD.

    The pList file was originally as follows :
    <?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC “-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN” “”>
    <plist version=”1.0″>
    <key> Kernel </key>
    <string> mach_kernel </string>
    <key> Kernel Flags </key>
    <string> </string>

    and was subsequently modified to :
    <?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC “-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN” “”>
    <plist version=”1.0″>
    <key> Kernel Flags </key>
    <string> mbasd=1 </string>

    I heard about 2 SuperDrive models, the latest being the MC684ZM/A (i.e. the one I’m trying to operate). Is it possible that this model needs another flag than “mbasd” ?

    • There are two things that look strange to me (if they really are in your plist and not just artifacts of posting the XML here):
      1) You seem to have removed the kernel/mach_kernel key/string pair – that should definitely remain in place!
      2) There seem to be extra spaces within the <key> and <string> These should not be there.

      As long as you get that “is not supported” message, you can be certain the problem is that the plist modification was not accepted by the system (maybe due to extra spaces).

      • The simple, .plist method did not work for me (so far).

        The SuperDrive (MD564ZM/A ? that’s what the box label says) won’t grab a CD I try to insert – presumably because it doesn’t have enough power via the USB cable.

        original File: …ferences/SystemConfiguration/ ORIGINAL-BACKUP.plist:

        <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "$

        Kernel Flags

        Modified version:

        <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "$

        Kernel Flags

        (looks like spaces etc are intact/correct)

        Drive behaves exactly the same (no power), no popups upon reboot or anything. System Profiler DOES show the following under “USB High-speed Bus”:
        MacBook Air SuperDrive:

        Product ID: 0x1500
        Vendor ID: 0x05ac (Apple Inc.)
        Version: 2.00
        Serial Number: KTDC4L02518
        Speed: Up to 480 Mb/sec
        Manufacturer: Apple Inc.
        Location ID: 0xfd100000
        Current Available (mA): 500
        Current Required (mA): 500

        Perhaps I need to upgrade to Snow Leopard? My computer is only a late-2006 Mac Mini Intel Core Duo, with Mac OS X 10.5.8.

        (beware – annoyed rant coming up – stop reading now to avoid:)
        Either way I am sorely disappointed by how incredibly annoying Apple’s products have become! Their entire selling point (to me) used to be “It just works” – well that seems to have gone down the drain over the last few years, with each computer needing a different monitor or firewire adapter, space/expose/dashboard/mission control/launch pad a big confusing mess that changes randomly each year. This is not the same Apple I enjoyed back in college.
        I can’t believe they made a USB CD drive that works on exactly TWO computers – that is ASININE and it should SAY SO on the BOX!!!!!

        • ok I don’t know how to edit my previous post, or post code, so here are two pics of the original & modified .plist files (from Plist



        • Have you checked in for the “The MacBook Air SuperDrive is not supported on this Mac.” message?

          If you still have that message appear when you connect the drive, the problem is that the .plist modification hasn’t been recognized.

          BTW: There is a reason why I described doing the change from the command line with “sudo pico” as root user – with other editors and not as root the saved file might get modified permissions and/or ownership which might prevent the change from becoming active, even if the contents of the file are perfectly ok (which seems to be the case judging from your plist editor screenshots). I don’t know how the Plist edit handles this.

          The original permissions are owned by root:admin and with readwrite permission only for the owner, but readonly for all others. You can check with the following command (on a single line):

          ls -la /Library/Preferences/

          output should look exactly like this (except for the date):

          -rw-r--r-- 1 root admin 232 13 Okt 2011 /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/

          If your permissions look any different, correct them with:

          sudo chown root:admin /Library/Preferences

          sudo chmod 644 /Library/Preferences/

          I’m not sure if that’s important in the case of this plist, but it’s a common pattern in all un*x system that some important system files are ignored when they have too loose permissions set (mainly for security reasons, e.g. a file that everyone can edit cannot be trusted).

          • I did the editing via the terminal command
            “sudo pico /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/”

            the command “ls -Fal /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/” displays:
            -rw-r–r– 1 root admin 297 Jul 4 10:52

            so i think the permissions are fine.

            in, a string search for “usb” doesn’t show any interesting messages or errors since the last reboot (in All Messages or in Console Messages). Interesting that the drive shows up in System whether or not the .plist patch is applied. As far as I can tell, the plist hack has no effect on this system – possibly too old.

            I’m really disappointed that I had no prior warning that this drive works on exactly two types of computers only! That’s crazy, no other USB or Firewire drive requires one to do a compatibility check before purchasing! Hopefully I can get some money back thru Amazon – never had to return something before.

            The “USB Superdrive” box really needs to say “Requires a MacBook Air” or something to indicate this will not act the same as another manufacturer’s USB drive – ie. all you need is a USB port to know it’ll work.

  30. Do not work at Lion 10,7,4

    • I have 10.7.4 myself and it still works fine here! So if it doesn’t in your case, it’s not a matter of 10.7.4 as such, but some other problem (like insufficient USB power, see other comments)

  31. Does not work in 10.8 12A239 :-(

    Any ideas anybody?

    • Haven’t tried that so far here. But it’s no far-fetched guess that probably some things have changed in the driver to support the new retina MBP.

      That’s the 10.8 beta release from yesterday you’re referring to – did it work with earlier 10.8 betas before?

  32. It works ! Unfortunately, I inserted a Snow Leopard Install DVD into the Air Superdrive and tried to boot from it, then after it’s reading a while the screen shows this icon “∅” . Afterwards, I’ve to hard shut down the macbook pro. (early 2008)
    As I intend to add a 2nd hdd to the laptop and would like to do a clean install from the external Air Superdrive. Does anyone have an idea of how to do it?

  33. GREAT ! it works in my Snow Leopard, Toast recognize it !
    Thank you so much LUZ , for this great tip

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  37. It works with Mountain Lion GM.

  38. It does not work in the ML 10.8 release. The drive constantly cycles from connected to disconnected.

  39. I have tried our method now after adding the mbasd=1, my mac pro isn’t booting!
    I’m running 10.5.8 and wanted to upgrade to snow leopard, my internal cd-rom wasnot working, wanted to do the upgrade using the external superdrive. Now can’t boot, I guess my only solution would be to replace the cdrom and restore from Time Machine ….. unless there is another way to fix!

    • I’d try to boot the machine into single user mode (if I correctly recall, hold S during startup) so you can edit the file from the command line.

      How did you edit the file in the first place? Using pico or some other editor?

      I’d say something must have gone severely wrong when editing the file, maybe it was left in an invalid XML format, which might make startup fail.

  40. Great reading although not understanding all of it.
    Would this edit work with a Powerbook G4 7″ 1.67 (Non Intel) running Leopard 10.5.8.
    (Failed Superdrive in laptop and replaced with 2nd HDD instead)

    • Hard to predict without trying. But at least, it’s not impossible, as 10.5.8 is newer than the original Macbook Air. On the other hand, the extra power the SuperDrive needs is probably not available on PowerBook USB ports. Additionally, if I correctly recall the ports on the PB G4 (11″ I assume, not 7″) were USB 1.1 and thus very slow.

      • Hey Lulz , I’m also trying to get the Superdrive to work with My Pro. But the duplicate file i’m trying to edit comes up like this: m
        This is where you’ve instructed to enter the mbasd=1, but the ‘m’ in between the -string-string- is confusing! Do I remove it or… Any help greatly appreciated Lulz!

        • I guess the comment editor has eaten most of your example, but I’d say just a single “m” like <string>m</string> does not make any sense, so just replace it such that you have only mbasd=1 (and no extra spaces) in between.

          BTW, it’s just luz, not luLz :-)

  41. Worked for me, 10.8 Retail. MacBookPro8,2

  42. Thanks and apology for my misprint, should read 17″.
    I guess extra power could come from a externally powered USB hub.

    Cheers, will give it a go.

  43. I got below (original) in that file, do I just add the mbasd=1 in between the ><

    Kernel Flags


  44. Sorry,something got lost above, not sure what happened.

    Kernel Flags

  45. So I got me a USB SuperDrive but PPC does not want to accept any of the changes via Terminal (Powerbook 17″ G4 1.67 is the computer running on Leopard 10.5.8.), still shows the message of no compliance.

    Only thing I can think of is power supply USB limited to 500mA only.
    Will check with powered USB hub with extra power dedicated to one connection beyond 500mA.

  46. excellent

  47. The simpler method (mbasd-1) works on my 10.8.1.

    I modified the DVDPlayback framework to work with the external based on:
    This also works in 10.8.1.

    MacBook Pro Early 2011 with OWC DataDoubler (no internal SuperDrive).

  48. I LOVE YOU!!!! Worked on my MacBookPro Mid-2009. Thanks! I’m so happy!

  49. I am needing help with getting my MacBook 10.6.8 to use the MacBook air SuperDrive. Advise please

  50. Hey Lulz, i try it on my imac …. after i type
    sudo pico /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/

    WARNING: Improper use of the sudo command could lead to data loss
    or the deletion of important system files. Please double-check your
    typing when using sudo. Type “man sudo” for more information.

    To proceed, enter your password, or type Ctrl-C to abort.


    thing that make me confuse is .. i dont use any password on the imac .. and kindly frustrated.. cause it keep shown “password:”…. can you help me what should i do ?.. btw after i type sudo pico.. should i press space or not ? thx for ur help


    • just luz :-)

      The sudo password is the password defined for the admin account when Mac OS X was installed. So if you really have NO password ever set on that machine, it might be that you can just press enter when sudo asks for the password. However, that’s quite unlikely – I’d assume that whoever set up that Mac did set a password initially. There are also ways to reset that password (I’d ask google).
      BTW, there is a space after “sudo” and another one after “pico”, the rest of the command has NO more spaces

  51. Halo Luz’
    Thanks for the work, But on my 10.7.5 Lion, 2011 MBP 17in. It doesn’t work ! Double verified the .plist is exactly as you stated. mbasd=1 etc.

    Is it possible it’s only a 500mA USB on the Pro’s ? That seems low.

    Thanks in advance if you reply.

    • Hi Sef,

      I think it’s very unlikely the USB ports on the 2011 MBP 17″ are only 500mA. I have a early 2010 MBP 17″ myself, and it works with the superdrive.

      Did you check in if you see the “The MacBook Air SuperDrive is not supported on this Mac.” message when you plug in the drive? If so, then the kernel hasn’t recognized the .plist change for some reason (could be permissions, see older comments).

      BTW: Have a look at the “Update 2″ at the beginning of the post – I think I found a method which is simpler to apply than the .plist editing.


  52. urgent please help,
    Im using mac and ive done everything that was above and after I restarted my mac its now stuck in recovery mode. please do you know any way to fix it or a thing to type in my recovery mode terminal and fix it with.BTW I know its my fault not yours.

    • Sounds bad. What exactly did you do? Did you do the “sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″” or the .plist editing?

      Generally I don’t think that either method could really be the cause for the mac to get stuck in recovery mode (but just a coincidence).

      Anyway, I’d recommend to start the system in verbose mode (hold Cmd and V during boot), and try to find the reason why the boot does not continue normally in the (many!) messages that scroll by.

      If you suspect that you somehow damaged the .plist way beyond insertig the “mbasd=1″, you might try to start the system in single user mode (hold Cmd-S during boot), which boots into a text console. From there you should be able to edit the .plist again by typing “pico /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/” and review/correct it. Note that the single user console has super powers – you can do everything here, including damaging everything, so please be careful!

    • Faisal. I’m contemplating trying this. Did you ever solve your problem and if so how? In case it happens to me. I’ve got an imac 17″ from 2006.

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  55. hi everybody,
    if anyone answers this i would be thrilled.
    i have a macbook (2008–black Intel Core-duo 1,1)
    and it’s running Snow Leopard 10.6.8
    I didn’t really understand the original post. There is a second update before the first update. I understood that to mean Update2 is all you need. So I found terminal and typed in

    sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″

    It asked me if I was sure, and then it asked me for my password. I typed that in and hit enter.

    Then, NOTHING happened!

    I rebooted my computer and nothing happened.

    So what does this mean? Do I follow the “first” update?

    Any help? I am not a programmer. And this is the first time I’m using “Terminal”.
    Also, If i entered the “sudo nvram” line 3 times… should I erase 2 of them? How do I do that (if i need to)?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I’m sure it’s simpler than I think, just don’t want to mess up my computer.

    • okay, so I did the update that comes after “Update2″ by typing in the the “mbad” code. And presto! It worked!!!
      That’s fantastic!!! Gracias people and LUZ!
      Just, do you recommend erasing the “Update2″ part? or is it even possible?
      Thanks for saving me bucks! (the original optical drive replacement (for refurbished (!) was $238) But that broke down only after the second try. And the authorized 3rd party repair place wouldn’t help out after the 1 month warranty wore off (don’t go to ClickAway in Campbell, CA) So this time it saved me 152.38 (cost of NEW SuperDrive in CA $85.62)
      Thanks again! And let me know if I need to erase the original input in Terminal.

      • Apparently the “Update 2″ method does not work in many cases (I edited the post to make it clear now).

        Just, do you recommend erasing the “Update2″ part? or is it even possible?

        You don’t need to, but yes, you can undo it by typing “sudo nvram -d boot-args”.

        Before that, you could also check (for curiosity) if the original setting has stuck in the NVRAM at all: if you type “sudo nvram boot-args” it should output “boot-args mbasd=1″. Now that you have the modification in the .plist, it does not matter any more, but if it didn’t stick in the NVRAM (for whatever reason), that would explain why it hasn’t worked in the first place.

  56. Thanks a lot – you saved my day!

  57. Hi!
    None of this solutions work for me.

    I have a Macbook 5.1 unibody late 2008 core 2 duo with Mountain Lion 10.8.2

    I’ve replaced the superdrive with an OWC Data Doubler + Crucial 128GB SSD Drive. Also i’ve changed the original 250GB HDD for a 1TB HDD and i’ve configured both drives as an unique Fusion Drive using this new functionality included in ML 10.8.2
    Now the superdrive is in a SuperSlim USB external case but ML doesn’t recognize it.
    When I plug the USB connector to the macbook the superdrive powers on and starts to rotate (i know that because the first thing i did when i connect it was to insert and audio CD cause i didn’t expect problems).

    I’ve tried the first method, the second one and the one explained here
    but none of them works for me.
    Any idea?


    • In fact, the superdrive isn’t a macbook air superdrive. It is the superdrive that was inside the macbook, so i don’t know if typping mbasd=1 is correct… i’ve also tried mbsd=1 (mac book super drive = 1) but it also didn’t work….

      • You’re right, a internal superdrive, mounted in an external USB case is not the same as the MacBook Air Superdrive, so the trick described here does not apply at all.

        What Mac OS X detects (and refuses to use) is not the drive itself, but Apple’s special USB to SATA converter in the MBASD. That’s why one of the first successful hardware hacks with the MBASD was replacing that converter.

        So any drive in an external case should work with Mac OS X (except for DVD playback with the Apple player, which generally does not work with external drives unless patched).

        If your original internal superdrive does not work in the external case, the problem is more likely with that case. I have a internal superdrive in an external case as well, and it always worked without any patches. Maybe the USB/SATA converter in your “superslim case” might be one not supported by Mac OS X out of the box – you might need a special driver for the chip used in that converter.

  58. Holy now!! There are 4 months I’m struggling with this drive that gave me (I have a Hakintosh Lion 10.7.4) and it works even when I tell you that in both 7 and Windows 8 will work as well ….. Thanks many thanks

  59. Just wanted to say thank you!
    It’s working for me too, moved my optical to external USB box. I can play the movies with DVD player no problem! InsaneyMac forum brought me here…

  60. You list the simple fix as: [Update 2]: It seems that there’s an even simpler method than all what I described below: 1) Open a Terminal, 2) type sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″ – done. There is a dash (-) between the words boot and args . Is this intentional or due to the line break in the posting. The line above ends with boot then there’s a dash followed by the line below.

    Thank you,

    • The dash is intentional (boot-args is one word), but the linebreak is not – the command should be all on a single line.

  61. Pingback: So you bought a Superdrive for you Mac… «

  62. Hi,

    could anyone tell me, if this would work on an iMac Late 2009?
    I want to add an external drive to use it to watch DVDs. I do not like
    to insert my original DVDs in the built-in drive.


    • I can’t try myself (I don’t have an iMac), but I see no reason why it should not work. However to watch DVDs with external drives (no matter if Apple’s or not) you either need to use a different app (VLC for instance) or patch the Apple DVD player in addition to the trick described here.

      What I’m wondering though is what you’ll gain with an external SuperDrive (which is really much the same hardware as is built into the iMac, just in an external case). So I don’t see why the external drive should be more trustworthy for playing your original DVDs.

      • Hi,
        i used an external dvd recorder from LG for playing DVDs, because i find it more easier to insert DVDs into an external drive than into the internal on the right side of the display, where you cannot see the slot without leaving your seat.
        But now the Mac OS X DVD Player software crashes when playing DVDs in the external drive. No crashes with the internal drive. That´s why i was thinking about an Apple drive.

        In the meantime the drive arrived and i tried your tip. And it works fine. And much more important. DVD Player does not crash with that drive.

        Thank you very much for this tip! :)



  63. Hi, i own a imac with a built in DVD player that gave up the ghost.
    I purchased an extenal super drive, but as we know it wont work with a mac with a built in DVD drive. After using the shorter of the 2 patches the drive now works great.

  64. Hi luz,
    I have iMAC 10.6.8.
    I just bought the superdrive and tried your update 2, did not work, then I went to the 1st option.
    Did not get any errors how ever it does not work.
    Here is what it looks like after the update:

    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "$

    Kernel Flags

    do you see anything unusual?

    Thanks a bunch.

    • XML is very hard to paste in comments, so it’s difficult to say if your plist edits are ok. If you didn’t do anything else except typing “mbasd=1″ (without quotes) immediately after <string> without any extra spaces, and if you did it with pico (and not some other editor, as some modify permissions on save), it should be ok.

  65. Sorry some how my previous note did not copy everything. Here it is again:

    Kernel Flags

  66. Great! It works fine, I can now work with both internal and external drivers. Thank you.

  67. Lutz, thanks for your help.
    The only thing that I see is different from your notes, are two additional lines KEY and STRING.

    1st line: Kernel
    2nd Line: mach_kernel
    as shown bellow:

    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "$

    Kernel Flags

    I don’t know if those have any effects. Do I need to ad
    “mbasd=1″ n the 1st STRING?

  68. Weel, Luz, hope you can help here.
    This is what is happening when I try to login to my terminal for this hack:

    Last login: Fri Dec 28 13:20:32 on ttys000
    Brens:~ Brens$ sudo pico /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/
    sudo: can’t open /private/etc/sudoers: Permission denied
    sudo: no valid sudoers sources found, quitting
    Brens:~ Brens$

    I am on a MacBook Pro, running 10.7.5

    Any idea why I am being denied?


  69. My built-in optical drive is broken so I desperately need this to work when upgrading my OS to Snow Leopard.

    Macbook pro 2008
    OS 10.5.8

    it would surely work right?

    • According to the comments, in most cases it works, and in some it didn’t. I can’t guarantee anything.
      One caveat however: You’ll most probably not be able to boot from the external superdrive, even if it works for normal operation. So for upgrading OS-es, it’s not a solution, and I’d recommend to use a USB key drive to install.

  70. Hi Luz.
    Like Hadi above, mine is showing two sets of keys and strings
    Kernel Flags

    do I ignore the first two lines and just type
    “mbasd=1″ in the last one?

    • Yes, the “mbasd=1″ is a kernel flag so it must be added between the <string> and </string> that follow the <key>Kernel Flags</key>.
      Just leave everything else untouched.

  71. I had trouble getting my superdrive to work after upgrading to Lion. I tried so many different “solutions” on forums without much success but this just worked!!!

    Thanks again!!

  72. Nice. This hack/patch worked flawlessly for me on my 17″ MacBook Pro (late 2011). I had removed its optical drive to make way for a second 750 GB HD using the OWC Data Doubler. I was hoping to use my MacBook Air’s Superdrive with my MacBook Pro and this method allowed this without issues. THANKS… saved $79 as well… niceeeee.

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  74. Thanks so much for this! Worked perfectly on my 2007 15″ Macbook Pro. Now I can backup my entire media library and not worry about burning out my built-in drive. I am grateful for your help.

    Thank you.

  75. I need help! I am a novice apple user and I am trying to get my superdrive to work, but after I go to terminal and put in sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″ it asks for my password and then doesn’t let me type anything in. What do I do? Thanks

    • First, please note that the “nvram” method apparently seldom works. I’d recommend to stick with the first method which reportedly works for most users.

      Second – it’s normal that you don’t see anything when typing a password in terminal. Just type your password and press return.

  76. I have an iMac 7,1 running on 10.6.8 & I bought an as-new mb397g/a SuperDrive for £25 on ebay (I didn’t know about the restrictions). I tried the nvram method, but it didn’t work. The .plist method worked first time. Really cool.

    Many thanks!

  77. Thanks, this works great!
    I was about to take the Superdrive back to the store, it didn’t occur to me this thing might not work with other Apple devices. And why shouldn’t it work??

  78. Can’t thank you enough!! Threw a SSD in, moved my Mac HD over to the optical location and picked up a Superdrive for the once-in-a-whiles. Got to the event(in production) and an hour before the show they hand me a disc of music – no prob.. oh, sh.. found this, followed it and skipping down the yellow brick road as I type. Thanks!!

  79. It worked on an iMac with Lion. It didn’t work on an iMac with Mountain Lion and Kernel Flags “arch=x86_64 mbasd=1″

    • It’s definitely working on mountain lion as well, and I cant imagine that the “arch=x86_64″ part is causing problems (the space separated list of kernel flags is really a generic mechanism used for various things, nothing specific to the superdrive). Still, my MBP 17″ early 2010 never had the “arch” part in the flags. AFAIK Lion and newer always run in 64bit mode, so it’s probably irrelevant for ML anyway.

      But first I’d check the console for the “The MacBook Air SuperDrive is not supported on this Mac” kernel message at boot. If it is NOT there, the kernel flag was recognized and there’s another reason (insufficient USB power, maybe? Try different ports…) why the drive does not work.

  80. I tried it and it worked on my 27″ iMac as well. Simple workaround once I found your instructions.

  81. Very helpful, thank you. Worked perfectly on my 2009 iMac running 10.8.2.

  82. I tried the latest update: sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″ but, unfortunately the terminal does not let me type in my password.

    I can’t type nothing after I type in: sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″…… what’s wrong?

    • First, please be aware that the nvram method seems to work only for very few users. As stated in the text, the .plist method is the way to go.
      Second, that’s how password input on the console works in general – no “echo” while typing (but the computer still recognizes the keys). You need to type the password blindly and press return.

      • When I enter this

        sudo pico /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/

        in terminal, this is what I get, which, as you can see, is different from the code listed in the article above because it contains this– “mach_kernel”

        ?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
        <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "$

        Kernel Flags

        It is also impossible to change the code, or insert any text into it. It appears to be locked.

        The second method, entering

        “sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″”

        into terminal doesn’t appear to have any effect.

        Has Apple changed this to prevent hacks that make the USB superdrive functional? Any suggestions? Thanks in advance for any that anyone may have.

        BTW, it’s a latest model superdrive, on an early 2009 iMac, 10.8.2.

        • For whatever reason, the code doesn’t appear as typed.

          But this is the string that’s on my computer that is different from above.


          Hopefully, it will display properly

          • There should be a string on either side plus arrows, etc in the above.

            Is HTML interpreting this as HTML code?

          • Yes, wordpress ist interpreting > and < as HTML, to have these actually appear in comments you need to write &gt; and &lt;

            Indeed, some machines have the “mach_kernel” entry, some don’t. But this is irrelevant to the Superdrive.

            Only the “Kernel Flags” need to be changed.

            It’s however strange that you cannot edit the file however, as when you really enter “sudo pico” (and not just “pico”) you should have superuser power and be able to edit anything.

          • I’m a novice at using terminal for all but the most basic tasks, so that’s probably a good part of the problem.

            It appears that it’s putting this into nano editor, but I have no idea how to edit it once inside that editor, and can’t find any info on it.

          • Figured out how to use the editor (good enough for now anyway) and got the right code inserted, but so far, superdrive will no operate.

  83. Pingback: Hey Apple, Thanks for making using an accessory such a damn hassle…

  84. Copy/Paste
    The original permissions are owned by root:admin and with readwrite permission only for the owner, but readonly for all others. You can check with the following command (on a single line):
    ls -la /Library/Preferences/
    output should look exactly like this (except for the date):
    -rw-r–r– 1 root admin 232 13 Okt 2011 /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/

    If your permissions look any different, correct them with:
    sudo chown root:admin /Library/Preferences
    sudo chmod 644 /Library/Preferences/
    End Copy/Paste

    PowerBook G4 17″ 1.67
    Well I have tried again (all mentioned possibilities) and still no luck, console still shows that the MBASD is not supported!
    I have a root account with password as well as an admin account (my account) with password.
    Have tried the above as to resetting the permissions, only achieve a change when I actually type into terminal (not copy/paste) but all that happens is that auto log changes to manual and I do not have access no longer to the Preference Folder in the Library. Also system gets unstable somewhat, Icons in Menu Bar (right side) toggle in and out, don’t set at all.
    Changing permission for the Preference Folder back from the now “Custom” to what was before the change via Terminal does reset all the confusion back to normal!

    So how do I change permission for the .plist from what is now
    -rw-r-r–@ 1 “my name” staff xxx xxx xxx to
    -rw-r-r– 1 root admin xxx xxx xxx.

    The above don’t seem to work for me.
    Cheers and thanks in advance.

  85. Hello,

    I’m on a macbook pro 2.4 core 2 duo, OSX10.5.8
    Internal superdrive is dead so i get the usb one. I added the mbasd=1 into the string node but i still have the “The MacBook Air SuperDrive is not supported on this Mac.” into console.
    There’s a difference between your plist file and mine. i got two nodes key and two nodes string.
    So my xml file is going like this
    key node value = Kernel
    string value = mach_kernel
    key = Kernel Flags
    string = mbasd=1

    I written it like that as i red the xml is badly recognized by the comment thing but everything is well written in my xml file as in your example.

    Thank you in advance if you have any idea… this began to be a nightmare. Iphone 3G too old, so i buy Iphone 5, Itunes too old, so i buy snowleopard online to update, usb superdrive not working…. i’d like to put an end to that :)

    • This looks perfectly ok to me – no idea why it does not work (I assume you did reboot the machine). Did you edit the file with pico as suggested or with another editor? Just because some editors modify permissions, which might cause the kernel not to read the file.

  86. With pico :/

  87. Hum i just checked my xml file and i see that i have apple$.com instead of written in the doctype node. i’m afraid to change it as i’m pretty sure it’s not coming from me, could it be the problem? I don’t think so but i don’t know where to look

  88. I restored everything back to its original state, and then used the “sudo pico, etc” method, which seems to have edited the file correctly, but still no joy with the superdrive.

    I got this when permissions were repaired– Is there anything significant in this?

    Permissions differ on “Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/”; should be -rw-r–r– ; they are -rw-rw-r– .
    ACL found but not expected on “Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/”
    Repaired “Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/”

    • Yes, I guess that could be significant. Apparently, your .plist had write access for all admin users, which might prevent the system from reading it at all (for security reasons – being writable for non-root users carries the possibility that malign software could have modified it).

      Here’s the command I used to check the permissions (rw only in the first position, only owner may write) and ownership (“root”, group “admin”) of the file on my system:

      ls -la /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/*
      -rw-r--r-- 1 root admin 239 6 Nov 2011 /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/

      I’d recommend to check this, and if your permissions are different, run the repair again.

      • I changed that so only I (Me) have rw permissions, at the top, followed by system, admin and everyone with r only permissions. When permissions are repaired, it then changes it so that system also has rw permissions.

        After that, no matter how may times I restart and then repair permissions, I get this–

        ACL found but not expected on “Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/”
        Repaired “Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/”

        The code reads correctly, meaning that ”mbasd=1″ is inserted in the correct position, but the superdrive kicks out any disk within a few seconds of attempting to read it.

        The sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″ method has no effect on my system.

  89. I gota an original USB SuperDrive from Apple and I have 10.8.2 on my computer. I opened the terminal and I just wrote: sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″ after that I restarted my computer, the surprise was my USD SuperDrive it´s working very well. Thank´s for the tipp

  90. Thanks very much for this. My nearly 5 year old MacBook’s internal Superdrive recently died and I was quite frustrated to find that an Apple USB Superdrive wouldn’t work. Okay, more than frustrated. Really pissed off. I’m at a loss to understand why they intentionally cripple their own products in this manner. Your fix has enabled me to use my USB drive and I admit to feeling more than a little joy at being able to laugh in the face of whoever decided it was a good idea to impose arbitrary restrictions on hardware compatibility.

  91. Update–

    I got a replacement superdrive from Apple, and the new one works just as it’s supposed to. So it was bad hardware, not a software problem. There appears to be a large percentage of defective superdrives.

    Thanks, for you help, luz.

  92. You are a fanatastic person. You just solved a huge problem i was having <3

  93. There was a dude on another post about this.. that mentions this..

    Samuel1 Apr 2, 2012
    This fix certainly enables the drive, but Apple’s DVD Player may not work with the external drive (mine worked for a couple of days).

    There’s a free AppleScript app named DVD Drive Switcher which modifies the DVD Player frameworks to switch between an external/internal drive. Switching to external fixed it for me. I couldn’t Google the original author, but many thanks to them.

    I found the app at:

    works awesome and you can keep both drives working..

  94. Spent ages trying to sort out this problem on my wife’s MPB 2007, Snow Leopard OS. I’ve done it now, and she happy watching DVDs on it in bed, after an operation. Thank you Luz for your effort, but it would be a good idea to warn people googling to your website desperately looking for help that this fix is really meant for geeks/programmers or old MS-DOS fans who know how to handle terminal mode. They can do a lot of damage and if there is no backup they will be deep in the brown stuff.. The problem with Apple’s DVD player needs to be mentioned up front. I found Ali’s post and tried his solutions, VLC worked the other one did not.

  95. Luz, I’m now panicking. Please help!
    I was trying to get the USB SuperDrive to work on my boss’s Mac with 10.5.8 (Leopard).
    I went into the terminal and typed
    sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″
    I gave it his password. Now, not only does the SuperDrive not work, but his wireless keyboard is now not functioning.
    How do I undo the
    sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″
    command? Thanks!

    • IMHO, it’s very unlikely the wireless keyboard thing is related to the sudo nvram boot-args="mbasd=1".

      Still, you can easily undo it by typing sudo nvram -d boot-args

      As mentioned, for making the superdrive work safely, stick with the .plist method, as this has proven working fine for most, while the nvram method seems not working reliably in many cases.

  96. Hi Luz! I’m a new mac user, just bought my first MBA 2 weeks ago…I have a OSX 10.8.2…problem is my MBA cannot detect my wife’s external superdrive (ACER), she’s still on windows…just wanted to try it so I don’t have to buy the apple superdrive…I tried the .plist method but nothing happened…any suggestions?

    • The trick presented here is for the opposite – a MacBook Air Superdrive connected to a non-MacBook Air computer.
      I certainly can’t help in your situation, with a non-Apple external drive.
      You need to look for Mac OS X drivers for your external drive.

  97. Worked perfect on my Mid 2007 MacBook Lion 10.7.5 . was having some problems getting it to work but it was because I was not hitting enter after I hit y.
    Thank you very much.
    I was really quite disappointed when I came home and it wouldn’t work.

  98. Can you reverse the mbsad=1 to make internal work again

    • Sorry meant mbasd=1

      • mbasd=1 does not disable the internal drive. It just allows an external MBA Superdrive to be used at all with a non-MacBook Air.

        But of course, you can reverse it (same steps as adding it to the .plist, except that you remove the “mbasd=1″ string instead of adding it).

        • so i i add mbasd=1 in terminal, when external superdrive is not plugged in, it will revert back to internal, just in work they had an external on sale for 15pound which is a bargain i think so was just gunna use it to make it easier when my mac is linked to my tv, i can have the external on a usb extension

  99. Just wanted to say thanks, the fix worked first time on my iMac OS X 10.6.8

  100. I have tried this method on my MBP late 2011 but to no avail. I removed my optical drive and converted it to s external superdrive and I hoped that this would work but alas I am still looking for a solution. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP11

    • This post desribes how to connect an external Apple USB Superdrive. If you put the internal superdrive into a external box, that’s something entirely different – for your mac does not see the drive itself, but the USB to SATA converter in your external box (some work with OS X as is, some need drivers – please ask the maker of your external drive case).

  101. Hello:

    For some reason I have GNU nano 2.0.6 on my computer (no idea who installed it), and I tried the method above and after I tell Terminal to save the code, it asks for “File Name to Write:” what should I type here?

    Sorry, I’m not that technical!


    • pico and nano are two names for the same editor:-) And both are part of Mac OS X standard installation.

      When pico/nano asks for the file name, the correct name should be already there, so all you need to do is pressing enter and the file will be saved with the correct name.

  102. Worked for me on MacBook Pro Early 08 running 10.8.3.

  103. thnx a lot man, this works perfect… I did not check at all and just bought the drive after our internal drive on the mac did not work anymore, thought this would be easier then bringing the whole macbook to the service.

    and first it did not work, but your tip did the trick!!

    btw I macbook from 2010 running on 10.6.8

  104. Thanks! After trying the sudo command line and .plist string edit, I was able to get it to work! Works like a charm and works with DVD’s!!! ;-) Very Happy!!!!

  105. You have to make SURE you do not cut and paste the string. It MUST be typed and none of the other parts of the string can be changed or it won’t work…

  106. Luz,

    You should be running Apple tech support, or at least be voted into the “Humanitarian of the Year” competition.

    I gave up trying to follow the mac OS years ago, so i’m not nearly as qualified to do this sort of thing as many of your other posters. I also didn’t want to attempt to log on in single user mode, but did find this out, and so want to relate it.

    Admin privileges was not sufficient for me to gain access, so i signed in as ‘root’, typed the .plist into the terminal utility, added the mod, and viola. No other modifications were required for the drive to work with the OS DVD player.

    (I haven’t seen this clarification in the other posts, so decided to send it along with the Kudos.)

    27″ iMac, 2010. OSX 10.8.2

  107. Thanks so much for the tip. My iMac 27″ 2009 superdrive kept making weird sounds and eventually would not read DVD’s. I went to apple and told them about my problem and that I could not drop my computer off for any amount of time for them to fix it. The apple genius told me the usb superdrive would work. I was excited. I opened it up plugged it in and nothing. I found an article on apple site saying it would not work. I was pissed, then I found your blog.

    You kick ASS.

    I opened terminal with no experience with code at all. Followed your directions, and now I have a bad ass new drive that works with my 2009 iMac!!!!! Thanks so much for your help with this matter. I am so glad I do not have to drive back to the store to return it.

  108. Hi Luz,

    again, thank you very much for this valuable tip.

    i already used your tip successfully in december to connect the drive to a iMac Late 2009.

    With your tip i was also able to connect the drive to an usb hub connected to the new iMac Late 2012.
    Without that modification i got that known error message, although connecting the drive directly to the mac did not show up that error message.



  109. Thanx, this worked out perfectly on my old MacBook from 2007. Followed the instructions except from using space to separate the mbasd..
    Now I can burn DVDs in iMovie : )

    • It seems that the part about the separating space was misleading – no spaces should be used except when another kernel flag is already present (which is usually not the case). I tried to clarify the text.

  110. Thanks for the tip! Worked a treat.

    Both my wife’s and my MBPro’s internal superdrives broke within 2 years (mine just after a year). Couldnt believe it when I bought an external one to find that Apple had disabled them on all older Mac’s. Unbelievable – there seems to be no end to their arrogance.

    Anyway, thanks to your tip, we both have nice new USB Superdrives working. Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion.

  111. Just tried this on my MacBook (2006) running 10.6.8, and it worked like a charm. Thank you soooooooo much for this!!

  112. Early 2011 Macbook Pro – did as per above and works Great…

  113. This situation is rubbish. I bought a super drive because the internal drive on my iMac refuses to eject CD’s. Mac users should not have to go through all of this coding crap to get an external CD drive working.

    Mac central (if anyone is listening?), please make this simple…at the moment £65 down the drain. It’s not the money, it’s the principle. Remember ‘plug and play”?



    • Probably a private blog providing “coding crap” is not really a good place to make comments intended to be heard by “Mac central”… I doubt Tim regularily reads my blog ;-)

      One important note, though: just using “an” external CD drive is no problem, there are many 3rd party drives which just work out of the box. Only Apple’s own external drive is restricted to be used with Macs that don’t have a built-in drive – lifting this (and only this!) restriction is what this post is about.

      • Only Apple’s own external drive is restricted to be used with Macs that don’t have a built-in drive – lifting this (and only this!) restriction is what this post is about.

        Bring it on…my point is that ‘mere mortals’ just want to plug this (efficiently marketed) gear in and expect it to work…sad that it doesn’t…

      • And if Tim is not reading your blog…then, he’s missing a trick ;-))

      • Only Apple’s own external drive is restricted to be used with Macs that don’t have a built-in drive.

        Where is the logic in this? Can somebody please explain?

        • It is indeed hard to understand, as it makes Apple customers angry which is no only bad for them, but also for Apple.

          The only explanation I can imagine is what I already said in the original post: they don’t want to give way to having multiple optical drives in a single Mac, for support reasons. If they officially sold their superdrive for use with any machine, they’d officially have to support multi-optical configurations, which is more tricky as it might seem at a first sight – think copying from one disk to another, etc.
          So they chose the same route as with various other features in OS X – technically, there’s a lot the OS supports and they even supply drivers, but they don’t want complicated scenarious linked in any way with their products. So if you want a second CD drive, you can have it, but from a third party which is then responsible for resolving issues.

          Not that this is an excuse for apparently not training their shop staff to tell customers NOT to buy that drive except for Macs without a built-in optical drive.

          • Thanks luz,

            On inspecting the packaging more closely, there is a sticker on the outside front edge of the box that does inform (in font size 6 or thereabouts) that it is “Compatible with Mac systems without a built in optical drive.”

            So that will be my fault then for not reading the small print…shame the sticker and message isn’t bigger…but I guess that would offend the packaging style police…as we have been saying since Roman times…”Caveat Emptor !!” (Latin for let the buyer beware…)

            Thanks again for taking the time to respond,



  114. With the approach detailed in Update 2, what value should I set boot-args back to/what should the default value be?

    • The default is no bootargs at all. As somewhere mentioned in the comments, you can delete the nvram boot-args by typing sudo nvram -d boot-args in a terminal.
      Basically, it seems the nvram method does not work in many cases, so I’d recommend to stick with the only slightly more complicated .plist editing, which works fine for most.

  115. Thanks so much, you saved me in one important moment!!

  116. That is an awesome trick! I thought I had just wasted my whole afternoon. Genius :) Thank you!

  117. Have late 2008 MB, running on 10.5.8. Have a problem with my internal optical drive, and I need to update to 10.6.8 and “repair my disk” so I bought the superdrive.

    Tried method 1, all went fine – but no rxn to the drive being inserted! nothing (comes up under System utility -USB)

    when i open the file in Preferences/SystemConfiguration via Text Edit

    I noticed an m at the beginning before the ‘less than sign’?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

    so the first line is now
    m’lessthansign’?xml version….etc.

    I must have had a typo when saving the file????
    Any way I can reverse this?

    • The “m” definitely does not belong there and is most probably the reason it does not work (I assume the OS now ignores the entire file due to invalid XML).

      So just open it again with “sudo pico…” as described in the post, delete the “m” and save. If everything else is correct, I’d guess the drive will work after a restart.

  118. worked fine on my macbook pro Mac OS X 10.6. as of the 9th of may 2013.. thanks for the help

  119. I’ve followed the comments but haven’t found a solution to the problem I’m having yet. I’m running Lion a an iMac 7,1. When I plug in my superdrive it’s recognized, but the SuperDrive doesn’t seem to have power (it won’t draw a disc. though it does spin on startup/plug-in). I’ve plugged it into a hub, the keyboard and the iMac so I think the one of the ports should be sufficient… Anyways I’ll give you the Console error log that I received, maybe you’ll be able to decipher it:

    13-05-13 10:58:31.377 PM ReportCrash: DebugSymbols was unable to start a spotlight query: spotlight is not responding or disabled.
    13-05-13 10:58:31.000 PM kernel: USBMSC Identifier (non-unique): KXQC7342729 0x5ac 0x1500 0x202
    13-05-13 10:58:32.782 PM ([10]) Job appears to have crashed: Segmentation fault: 11
    13-05-13 10:58:32.927 PM ReportCrash: Saved crash report for kextd[10] version ??? (???) to /Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/kextd_2013-05-13-225832_localhost.crash

    I’m thinking we might need a better hub so if power is an issue then hopefully it should be a simple solution. Your advice would be the deciding factor.

    • From the log excerpt it’s hard to tell if the reason of the crash has something to do with the SuperDrive or not.

      Anyway, powering the drive through a non-Apple Hub most probably will not work, because the SuperDrive needs more power than a regular USB port can deliver. Apple’s USB ports (in not too old macs and in cinema displays) can deliver extra power, which allows the SuperDrive to be USB-powered only, rather than requiring a separate power supply. I don’t know if there are third party USB hubs that can deliver more power in the same way.

  120. Hi, I have an old macbook (2005?) running 10.5.8 (Model Name: MacBook
    Model Identifier: MacBook1,1
    Processor Name: Intel Core Duo
    Processor Speed: 2 GHz)…. if that helps at all.

    I tried the first option and it doesn’t seem to work, won’t accept discs. In Console, All messages I do get that the “Mac Air super drive is not supported etc”

    The beginning of the ‘sudo pico’ is different. I was able to successfully put in the mbasd=1 and save it but should I change the top part? (Ex. Apple Computer to Apple, adding in Propertylist etc) This is what mine displays…

    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "$

    Kernel Flags

    When I do the permission check it came up as : -rw-r–r– 1 root admin 297 16 May 12:21 /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/
    …. is that ok? I know you said the date would be different but I have 297 instead of 232.

    What am I doing wrong? Plz help!

    • The DOCTYPE line does not matter here – it’s “Apple Computer” as that was the official name of the company back in 2005.
      It must be something else, possibly something happened to the file along the way since 2005, but as it is not required for normal operation, that got unnoticed, but now prevents the OS from seeing the mbasd=1 option (that’s why you get the “MacBook Air super drive is not supported” message at boot).

      One thing you can do, is having the entire file checked for XML errors that might escape the eye, by selecting/copying the entire text and pasting it into a online XML validator.

  121. Oh, the blog deleted all the but they are fine on my terminal, it’s just the beginning that shows a few different things

  122. Damn it all the lesser than , more than symbols, they are fine on my terminal

  123. ok …. I had it all followed up in terminal until the paste of the XML text … since there was nothing in Sudo ( have Lion on a `Macpro where my writer stopped working ) … but when I press control-X and Y …. in need to confirm with a file name …

    is this filename i should use there ?? –>

    or can you just give it any name when pressing ENTER ?

    I get cancelled now when just pressing Enter and since I have no experience in Terminal or Sudo …. I prefer not to experiment with filling in just something there ….

    Thank You for any help on this matter !!!


    • The sequence is:
      – you press Control-X
      – pico says: “Save modified buffer (ANSWERING “No” WILL DESTROY CHANGES) ?”
      – you press single key “Y”
      – pico says: “File name to write:”
      – you press the return key to confirm that name.
      – pico quits, file is saved.

  124. The plist method worked fine on an MB Pro 13-inch (2012) where a SSD and a standard HDD in Opti-Bay are installed, using Apple Superdrive via USB.
    Tried the simple method first, but it did not work, plist did the trick. Thanks!

  125. What I really dont get, how can Apple produce such bull*”§$$% !? Looking at the new MacBooks where you cannot configure anything yourself (RAM, SSD, etc.) where does this end!? Apple needs to be careful…

  126. Btw, I am using OSX 10.8.3, and all fine!

    Another question – how to make the drive DVD region-free?

    • I have no idea if it’s possible at all with the external superdrive. I once applied a patch I found on the internet to get “region code autoreset” for a internal superdrive a while ago, but that procedure was highly specific on the exact model, and really risky (good chance to brick the drive if something goes wrong).

  127. Thanks for the information, I thought I was going to have to take it back. Fortunately I found your blog and the instructions provided worked like a charm.

    Thanks once more for posting this.

  128. i tried the commands as listed by copy and pasting exactly as shown above. the superdrive shows up in the system profiler, but still doesnt power up on restart. my software version is Mac OS X 10.5.8 (9L31a). Hardware iMac7,1. what am i doing wrong. and is there a way to revert to the factory settings and try again if necessary

  129. Im very happy couse im try with the first option and its done!
    my Mac is a MBP 13 Mid 2010 w/ML 10.8.4
    salutes from mexico

    sorry my english isn’t well

  130. in a mac pro early 2008 w/ML 10.8.4 woks perfectly too

  131. So i was finally able to change the [] file by individually changing the read/write permission on each folder (Library, Preferences, System Config) but now when I try to run “sudo pico /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/” in Terminal, I’m unable to type in my password for some reason. Never had that problem before I started messing with the files. I’m afraid I screwed something up when I first tried to change [] using sudo pico in Terminal.(which, in hindsight, I realize I did incorrectly)

    Any suggestions? Could I repair this by verifying disk permissions in Disk Utility?

    P.S. my superdrive still wont work with my 2008 macbook pro running 10.5
    P.P.S. I have lost all respect for Apple

  132. Hi Luz,

    (ignore the above comment) (except for the part about it not working)

    So i changed the file Boot.plist file so that the second line of code reads:

    However, when I open this file in Terminal using “sudo pico” the second line reads:
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "$

    Any suggestions how to change that? I assume that’s why the Superdrive still doesn’t work. I know how to copy and pasted into terminal but am unsure how to re-edit the entire thing. Would really appreciate your help. This is driving me crazy.


  133. O.K. (7/3/13): the patch works fine on my iMac but not my wife’s. Both are identical vis-a-vis OS/X–10.7.5, kernel–11.4.2, boot rom–IM1010.00CC.B00 and SMC–1.52f9.

    Both were (Sudo) Pico’d per Luz’s instructions, permisions and content verified using ls -la and cat respectively. No glitches noted in either plist file.

    My Mac? the changes took and the drive works fine.

    When I PICO’d my wife’s Mac I noted that the file did not contain the Kernel and mach_kernel lines. It only had the KernelFlags after which I entered MBASD string. After rebooting the SuperDrive was not recognized, so I re-Sudo’d and added the mach_kernel lines, rebooted and again failed to get the SD recognized.

    The wife’s console reports (short form) “Superdrive not recognized by MAC”. But, both her and my consoles report the same ID for the SD, so clearly her Mac is seeing the drive, just ignoring it. The only difference between our Macs that I can see as a problem is hers is 6 months newer than mine–Nov 2010 vs May 2010. Source:

    Tis interesting; any suggestions, anyone?

    P.S. I have a fair amount of config editing experience going back to very early MSDOS. I’ve doubled and tripple checked my work and cannot see any errors that would invalidate the plist on her Mac.

    Solving this is a priority for us as we both had 3yr ext-warranties (now expired) and in that time my MAC had its internal drive replaced three times, my wife’s two (dusty, desert climate?). And now here we are again with both drives broken. The SD is the perfect solution… if I can get it to work on her unit. (Any wonder the new desktop come sans DVD drives?)

  134. Thank you thank you thank you! Unbelievable that they don’t just make everything work with everything.

  135. Hi Luz,

    I have a Macbook Pro (mid 2008) and I’ve fallen foul of the DVD region max reset nuisance which means I can only play Region 1 DVDs. I thought about hacking but thought better of it given many people’s varied experiences.

    So my question is, will the new Apple USB Superdrive (2012/3 model) work with my older Macbook Pro assuming the enablement described in your post works? It’s just that the Apple docs say it’s only compatible with Macbook Pro’s with Retina Display which mine, given it’s vintage, doesn’t have.

    Thanks very much,


    • From my experience, I can say the superdrive does work on the early 2010 MBP, and the comments indicate it works on any MBP as long as it has OS X 10.5.3 or newer.

      However, the trick described in this article does not address the region code nuisance. That’s a separate story, apparently with no easy solution. For my own built-in superdrive, I went the “DVD region code autoreset” route and patched the drive firmware. That worked, but it was a very complicated process, needing a WinXP machine or VM and exactly the right combination of drive and firmware patch. Definitely risky – though I was lucky and it worked.

      • Thanks for the prompt response Luz.

        Ok, based on your feedback and other’s I’m going to dive right in and purchase the Apple USB Superdrive.

        Will report back on my findings.



  136. Ok, so I’m reading the conflicting results and so I figured I’d ask before further proceding. I have a macbook pro 15″ late 2012 model 2.3 Ghz Quad i7 running 10.8.4.

    So when I did the terminal thing and got…

    sudo: pico/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ command not found

    I didn’t want to try the update option when this was recommended. Any ideas?

  137. it doesn’t work at all on osx 10.8.4.

  138. Got a MacBook Air mi-2012 and a brand new external superdrive which it is supposed to work with isn’t even recognised by the system it keeps spitting out the disc after 3 – 4 seconds.

    Also its a replacement superdrive (as last one was borrowed from my luggage in Amman) the previous one had no problems and worked with all discs

    OS X 10.8.4

  139. Thankyou a great deal. Suddenly on the even of a big gig my CD burner gives up. And you come to the rescue.

    Mid-2010 2.66 GHZ intel Core Duo – OS X 10,8.4

  140. Works a treat on my 2006 white iMac (iMac4,1) maxxed-out at Snow Leopard (due to only having a Core Duo, as opposed to the 64-bit Core 2 Duo, processor). Many thanks!!!

  141. Thank you so much!!! I’ve never done anything like this before… but it was so easy… and not the drive is working!!!!! I tried the update simple version first… (1) Open a Terminal, 2) type sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″) but it did not work for me w/ a 13 inch mid 2010 running 10.8.4… :( but I tried inserting the mbasd=1 and it worked!!!! so much easier than I thought!!!!

  142. Thanks for this. I tried the simpler sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″ on my 2010 27″ iMac running 10.6.8 , followed by a hard reset and it worked straightaway.
    Still p****d that Apple didn’t make it clear on their Store webpage that this drive wasn’t compatible (without these changes) with older iMacs. I’ve already had the Hard disk replaced and as it’s now out of warranty didn’t fancy paying to have the internal superdrive replaced also.

  143. Thank you so much. I’m not too good at repairing my computer or things when they go wrong, but I can follow instructions and this worked a treat. I know it’s my fault for not having checked if a Superdrive works with all Macs, but I’m incredibly glad now to have used your instructions, made the drive work, and not wasted $89.

  144. Worked great. I reblogged this and linked back here. I was able to use textedit to GUI modify the plist for those who didn’t want to use sudo pico in the terminal.

    • Thanks! However, in your blogpost you write “TextWrangler” while you mentioned “TextEdit” here. Readers, don’t try TextEdit, it cannot edit that plist file (and will create useless duplicates)! It is true that TextWrangler and other good third party text editors can edit root owned files, but not everyone has them. “sudo pico” on the other hand is available on each and every installation of OS X, that’s why I based my description on that. Don’t be too scared about the command line :-)

  145. 1. internal dvd is dead. 2. MBA superdrive does not attache 3. used the method in the article – did not worked, went into the folder /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration and deleted file (it was empty) file renamed as /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ (cleared of word save) – now everything works – evidently, when you save cntrl-X it doe not replace the old file but creates the new save file.

    • Thanks for describing your successful recovery via renaming the “.save” file!
      However, Ctrl-X (followed by Y to save and then Enter to confirm the filename) in pico will replace the file. The fact that you got a “.save” copy of the file means that pico created a recovery file for some reason. It does so when it thinks you would loose your work otherwise, e.g. when it is killed by another process or crashes. Anyway, glad to hear you could make your external drive work!

  146. Doesn’t seem to be running on version 10.9 Maverick – any workarounds??

    • [Update] I just verified on a MBP early 2010 – the patch works fine with OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

      Did the patch work before upgrading to Mavericks and then did not work any more after upgrading? Or did you apply the patch only after Mavericks was installed?
      Note that after restoring from a Time Machine backup or another Mac, you need to re-apply the patch – it does not migrate automatically.

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  148. Thank you so much!

  149. Works great in SL and MacBook black 4,1 just did the process of the .plist Thank you so much!

  150. Do you know if this works with other drives besides the official Apple superdrive? I took the CD drive out of my 2011 Macbook pro last year and put it in an external housing. I recall I had to do some hacking to make it work at the time. Now that I’m on Mavericks its not working again, and I can’t find the article that told me how to do it last time.

    • The mbasd=1 hack described here only applies to the official Apple superdrive, and is irrelevant for any other external drives.

      With a 2011 Macbook internal drive in an external housing, it only depends on the SATA-to-USB converter built into that housing (Mac OS X supports some of these converters out of the box, for others you might need third-party drivers). Probably you had installed a third party driver which now is missing after installing a fresh copy of Mavericks.

  151. Worked perfectly on Mavericks!!!!

  152. Worked great on MacBook with Retina Dsiplay with OS Mavericks. Thanks!

  153. Just wanted to say thank you.

    Mac mini, mid 2007, with OS X 10.7.5, used for reading hundreds of CDs into iTunes library. Built-in drive chokes on older CDs, sometimes crashing the whole system. Thought an external drive should fix it, didn’t read the small print.

    Your fix works perfectly and my CD treasures finally make into the next millenium.

  154. I used the first trick in Lion, and it worked like a charm. Then recently I upgraded to Mavericks & my Superdrive stopped working. Being lazy, I tried the second one ( sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″ ) restarted, and it works like a charm!

    Thank you!

  155. I’ve done everything on this (and multiple websites) with my 2008 Macbook Pro running mavericks.

    The USB Superdrive now clicks on and accepts CD’s. It also shows up in system profiler under USB devices.

    However, inserting a blank CD does nothing. Pressing the Eject key or any variation does nothing. If I try to burn a disc in iTunes, it is not an available disc burner.

    Any help?

  156. The internal drive of my macbook pro died, so i tried the sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″ into a terminal in attempts to get an external superdrive to work -it didn’t work. I’ve installed a new internal drive, but now am not able to use the dvdplayer -it just immediately crashes upon attempting to open. I’ve tried playing dvd through vlc and it won’t play them there either. Will you offer some suggestions on how to fix whatever happened after using the sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″ .

    Thank you very much!

    • it is highly unlikely that your problems playing DVD and doing the “sudo nvram boot-args=”mbasd=1″” are in any way related. But still, you can revert that setting easily by doing “sudo nvram -d boot-args”, and reboot the machine.

  157. Confirmed this fix on a 13″ 2011 MacBook Pro running OSX 10.8.4. Many thanks for sharing your info!

  158. Thanks for this. It worked great on my late 2007 MBP running Mountain Lion (broken optical was swapped out for a second hard drive).

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  160. Wow thank you so much…worked a trat with my iMac.

  161. Thanks so much. Worked on a mid ’07 iMac running Lion. DVD player launched too.

  162. So happy! Works on my Early 2008 iMac 24″ with Mavericks! Woohoo!

  163. Just confirming that this works with a late 2007 MBP (15-inch) running Mavericks! Thanks so much for the tip!

  164. Luz,
    Thanks for the great tip. I have a 2011 MB pro 17″ and replaced the opti drive with a 960 gb SSD. I have an iMac with a SuperDrive and couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t work on my 17″ MBPro since I paid $75 for it. I had a new drive ordered on Amazon and came across your post on this. Eureka, it worked like a charm. I promptly canceled my Amazon order thanks to you.

    Cheers from Boulder Colorado, USA,


  165. Worked a treat on my MBP 2011 running Mavericks. I have to use VLC to play DVD movies but that is no biggie!! Thanks heaps. I did use the simple fix that you posted at the end and it’s great!

  166. I have a Late 2008 MB running Mavericks. Internal drive failed so I bought a new SuperDrive. Initially got the “not supported on this Mac” error message. I used the “mbasd=1″ fix and now it works perfectly. Thanks!

  167. Excellent! This works with my 2006 Core Duo MBP and MB, both with 10.6.8!

    Thank you!

  168. Update 2 worked brilliantly on my Macbook Pro 2009 running Mavericks. Thanks so much, this was a real life-saver after the recent Microsoft Offfice 2011 debacle where I’m reinstalling everything and my hard drive gave out.

  169. Thanks for this, much appreciated! My mid 2010 iMac CD/DVD drive simply died over the weekend for whatever reason (looks like a common issue reading the Apple Support page) Thinking this SuperDrive would be perfect, was ready to run out the door and grab one. Figured I better check if it’s compatiable with 2010s. (apparently it is for late 2012 iMacs) It’s USB, kind of mind boggling that it won’t recognize it.

  170. *By the way, I bookmarked this page, printed your instructions. And will try the SuperDrive. Again thank you!

  171. When I try this it asks for a password and then won’t let me type anything in. Any ideas?

    • There’s no feedback when entering passwords on the command line, so it looks like it won’t let you type. But in fact, your input is recognized – just type the password blindly and hit enter.

  172. You rule! Thanks for taking the time to post this! SO lame of Apple to neuter their own products.

  173. This is truly an excellent fix, and a well written tutorial. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this.

    Successfully worked on a Mid-2012 Macbook Pro 13″ (Non-Retina) with the original optical drive swapped for an SSD!

    Absolutely brilliant, THANKS AGAIN!

  174. Pingback: Apple: Why the big-brother attitude with peripherals? | Nagg

  175. Pingback: Internet Info Apple: Why the big-brother attitude with peripherals? | Internet Info

  176. I just got a brand new superdrive to try on my macbook OS X 10.5.8 in order to upgrade my operating system to snow leopard because the original drive doesn’t work. When it didn’t work I stumbled across this, followed the directions precisely and restarted the computer. Now the computer is in a constant reboot cycle. I have tried multiple things, but I cannot access disk utility and don’t want to screw things up in single-user mode (BTW when I plug the superdrive in during single-user, it says that it is not supported by this computer). I do not have backup disks (couldn’t read them anyway) and the computer has not been time-machined in awhile, but I know the hard drive is still good. Anybody else with this issue, or know what to do?

  177. I just came home from the Apple Store having paid $100 for a Superdrive… only to get the “not supported”-message. Thank you so much for this simple fix. It worked like a charm.

    I’m on a Macbook Pro (late 2011) running OS X (Mavericks) 10.9.4.

  178. This worked for me on my ’08 Mackbook Pro except I can’t get sound from the cd/dvd. Any help appreciated.

  179. Thank you thank you… was pulling my hair out all day with this

  180. Thank you. My internal optical drive failed, some googling led me to this blog post, and I decided to take the punt on the $99 external superdrive and attempt your method. I’ve never used Terminal before but the .plist editing instructions were clear and worked perfectly for me on my mid-2009 Macbook Pro running 10.9.4.

  181. As most of the other entries here, my internal optical drive for my iMac also failed recently. After I got over the initial “Wow, you’re kidding me – how is this NOT working? Come on, Apple, why not?” This entry was very helpful. I edited the plist exactly as the directions indicate, and I am now successfully using the external USB SuperDrive with my early-2009 20″ iMac running Mac OS X 10.9.4 (Mavericks).

  182. The plist edit worked perfectly on my 2008 MB running 10.6.8, with the minor adjustment of using VLC to play DVDs. Thanks for posting!

  183. Worked for me without a hitch! I have a 2011 macbook pro version 10.9.4

  184. Yes, Yes, Yes!
    Was a bit afraid at first of screwing up my computer – but after a couple of trys and finally doing exactly as you prescribed – it worked…on my 2010 iMac 27inch i7 running OS10.6.8 – THANK YOU very much.

    What stupid people apple are becoming, might of had a warning on the packet or website saying the superdrive DOESN’T work computers older than 2 years! Or at least a software update to fix it. I used to love the company!

  185. Confirmed working on a Mid-2010 Macbook running OSX 10.10 Yosemite – Works fine – did have to manually edit the plist file per the top instructions. The 1 line sudo edit command didn’t work.

  186. It works on my early 2009 Mac Pro running Yosemite, but only if I plug the SuperDrive into a USB port on the body of the Mac Pro, not into one of the USB ports on the monitor or keyboard. I get error messages about USB device drawing too much power, and the drive keeps being dismounted.

    Clearly, the USB hub which is built into the monitor can’t supply the 1 amp needed for this drive.This is a nuisance, as the SuperDrive’s cable is very short, so the drive itself is sitting on the floor atm. Will have to get a USB extension cable.

    I can’t thank you enough for posting this fix, as I couldn’t have returned the drive to the shop to get my money back. I still can’t believe that Apple don’t put a note on the purchase page, or at least on the packaging, to the effect that it only works with MacBook Air computers.

    Thanks again for posting this fixit!


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