Apple advises on ejecting copy-protected audio CDs

By now many consumers are aware that the music industry is beginning to press audio discs that have been copy protected to prevent them from being ripped to MP3 on a PC or Macintosh. But did you know that in some cases, if you insert such a disc, you might not be able to get it out again?

The problem is documented in a recent Apple Knowledge Base entry entitled Mac OS: Cannot Eject Copy Protected Audio Disc, Computer Starts Up to Gray Screen.

These discs aren't strictly CDs, according to the technical definition of the term, since they don't follow the basic CD standard for how data should be written to a disc. Even though they're labeled "Will not play on PC/Mac," there's still a risk that Mac users may insert them in their systems.

According to Apple Computer, when such a CD is inserted, the CD isn't recognized, and when the Mac is restarted, a grey screen can appear that prevents you from doing anything further. If your Mac lacks a manual eject button or pinhole for its optical drive, you may be stuck that way, too -- Apple offers some advice for what to do under those circumstances.

The documentation provides instructions for forcing your Mac to boot into Mac OS X on restart (holding down the X command on boot) or to force-eject a CD on boot (by holding down the mouse button when the Mac starts up). Forcing the Mac to boot into OS X won't eject the disc arbitrarily, but you may be able to by clicking on the Eject button in iTunes or DVD Player.

There's one other extreme option, too: Booting into Open Firmware and using a command line prompt to force the CD to eject, as well.

If all else fails, Apple noted that you could bring your Mac to an authorized service center to be fixed. But probably the best solution is just to avoid using these audio discs all together.

A list of some of the affected discs is provided in Apple's documentation.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Cohen

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?