Removing an external hard drive or USB flash drive is easy, but should be done properly by first ejecting the disk in the Finder before removing it physically. The same is true for iOS devices which can be ejected from inside iTunes.
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today’s episode let’s talk about properly ejecting external drives.
So I find from the questions I get sometimes that there is some misconceptions about how to properly eject an external drive. Let me show you how. I’m going to take this little USB thumb drive and I’m going to put it in the USB slot for my Mac. This could be a larger external drive as well. When I do it it is going to appear here in the left side bar of the Finder and you can see it here. It is just marked “Untitled.” That’s the external drive. When I formatted it I failed to name it so it names it untitled but you might see the name that you used.
You can also see this drive appear on the desktop if the Finder is set to show it. If you go to Finder Preferences you can decide what items to show on the desktop and if you choose External disks then you will actually see it show up on the desktop and here it is on mine.
Now to properly eject a drive like this what you want to do is hit this little eject button that appears to the right of it in the Finder sidebar.
Likewise, you could take the icon you see for it. Control click on it and you see Eject there as well.
There are a lot of other ways to do it also. For instance, I could go up, I’m going to do Command click here, and go up to my computer’s level and I can see all my drives listed. I have a lot of internal drives on my MacPro and I have an eject button there and I can Control click here and also use eject.
Now this is all you need to do to get rid of the drive and then you can physically disconnect it from your Mac. There are some users that think it may be better to shut down all the way. You don’t need to do that at all. If you eject it, and I’m going to do it right here, it will disappear. It takes a second and you see it’s gone. You don’t see it anywhere. That means now it is safe to remove it.
Now the reason for this is that you want to make sure that your Mac isn’t in the middle of doing something with the drive at the moment that you physically remove it. Well you might say I’m not doing anything with it. I have finished copying a file to it, I’m done. So it’s not being used. But in fact the operating system may be doing things. It may be indexing files for searching. Maybe doing some clean up. You don’t know what’s going on exactly with all these things in the background so you want to make sure you eject it. This tells it to finish what it is doing, get rid of the drive, and make it safe for physical removal.
Now the same can be true for other devices as well. Plug your iPhone into your Mac it won’t appear as a hard drive as an iPhone doesn’t do that. But in iTunes you will see it appear in the left sidebar and you will see an eject button. So we want to make sure it is safe to physically disconnect your iPhone or iPad or other device from your Mac simply hit that eject button in iTunes and it will remove it from here and now you know it is safe to remove.
Now if you change your mind after ejecting a drive and you still have it connected and you want to actually get access to it again one of the simplest things to so is to just unplug it and plug it in again right away. But you can also go into disk utility if you want. You will see the drive still listed there. You can select it and hit the mount button and it will come back on without you actually having to physically remove and reattach the drive.
So I hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.