Apple MacBook Air SuperDrive


The SuperDrive aka CD/DVD drive in my late 2009 27” iMac has been dead for a long time now. i was toying with pulling it apart and replacing it, but to be honest I bought a cheap tray loading Pioneer, so I could use the mini discs which often comes preloaded with software and included with Windows hardware.

Anyway, I had an Apple MacBook Air SuperDrive lying around, so I thought I’d use this now, especially as my MacBook internal drive was playing up too. It’s getting slightly worse for the wear, and the slot is bent & distorted, so you have to grab and pull the CD out of the MacBook, otherwise it will feed itself back in.

Running Mountain Lion, aka 10.8.2, the MacBook Air SuperDrive is seen in the Apple System Profiler, but doesn’t function if you insert a disc, and being a little sad, I remembered “mbasd=1” was a flag for some workaround in the past.

Turns out after a Google search a more elegant solution exists now. This one comes from alexburke, and by entering the following line into Terminal, adding your admin password, and restarting your Mac the USB SuperDrive is good to go.

sudo nvram boot-args="mbasd=1"

Incidentally, Apple enabled its’ functionality purely for the MacBook Air originally, but soon after they added the revised MacMini. As Apple removes more internal SuperDrives from their line up, so the latest products, like the Retina MacBooks, and the new iMacs will have to be enabled too.

The really nice thing is you can use the Apple DVD Player default software in Mountain Lion with this external drive, and so now you don’t have to mess around with more geeky stuff, like swapping instances of Internal for External in some plist etc.