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The Apple SuperDrive is an external CD / DVD drive that reads and writes to optical discs, and while it works well with many Macs, there are some Mac models that don’t work with the SuperDrive, like any Mac that happened to be built-in – in an optical drive. On computers that do not support the SuperDrive, connecting the device often pops up with an error message stating that the Superdrive is “not supported on this Mac”.
Before you give up using SuperDive, you may be able to use the command line debugging method discussed here to make Superdrive run on any Mac, whether supported or not. Of course, this does not need to be done on supported machines, but for devices where the drive does not work, it can be useful.
The approach described in this article changes the Mac firmware nvram on the command line, so it is only suitable for advanced users. Like everyone else, proceed at your own risk and back up your Mac before you begin.
How to make SuperDrive work on a supported Mac
- Back up your Mac and data with Time Machine or the backup method of your choice before you start, this is in case something goes wrong
- Open the “Terminal” application found in “Applications / Utilities /” or you can open it via Spotlight
- Type the following command syntax at the command prompt exactly as it appears: sudo nvram boot-args = ”mbasd = 1 ″
- Click Return and enter the administrator password when prompted by sudo
- Exit the terminal
- To shut down your Mac, go to the Apple menu and choose Shut Down
- Connect the Apple SuperDrive to your Mac via USB when it’s turned off
- Restart your Mac when your Mac restarts, SuperDriven should now work as expected
This should work for the Apple External SuperDrive to work as expected on a Mac that is not otherwise supported, but results may vary. Let us know in the comments below if this trick works for you.
If you decide to cancel this adjustment, or if you find that this approach did not work and you want to return to the default nvram settings for one reason or another, you can reset your Mac PRAM / NVRAM during startup or manually clear the nvram variable from the command line. Either approach removes the variable “mbasd = 1” from the Mac firmware settings.
It’s not entirely clear where the original source of this nvram command came from, but I found it a bit in the web rabbit hole after following a comment on a SuperDrive article in a chain in Apple discussions and an official support article outlining SuperDrive working on supported Macs and what Macs do and don’t support SuperDrive. Obviously, any Mac without a built-in optical drive should support superdrive, but some users manually remove optical drives to use space on an extra hard drive, and sometimes the built-in optical drive also fails, leading to situations where such a command would be useful to support SuperDrive .
Apple says SuperDrive works with the following Macs:
- MacBook Pro with Retina Display (Newer Models May Require a USB-C Adapter)
- MacBook air
- iMac (late 2021) and later
- Mac mini (late 2021) and later
- Mac Pro (Late 2021)
Oh, and if you’re thinking about getting Apple SuperDrive to run on BootCamp, or Windows in general, you need to follow these instructions to use Apple SuperDrive on Windows, which applies to both Boot Camp and a public computer.
Was this trick enabled with SuperDrive features for you? Do you have any other tips, hints, or suggestions for getting Apple SuperDrive to work on a supported Mac? Share your experience in the comments below!
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