How to Safely Eject USB from Mac/MacBook (Pro/Air) – 6 Ways

Cassie Xie
Last updated: Jan 3, 2024
Summary: This post from Dr.Buho explains how to safely eject USB from Mac or MacBook Pro/Air to avoid data corruption or disk error.

If you connect a USB device to your Mac, you should properly eject it after usage to avoid data corruption. This post introduces how to safely eject a USB device from Mac/MacBook. Some tips to help you fix can’t eject USB on Mac are also provided.

how to eject USB from Mac

How to Safely Eject USB from Mac/MacBook – 6 Ways

1. Use Menu Bar

Select the target USB device that you want to disconnect, click the File tab in the menu bar, and select the Eject option.

how to eject USB from Mac

2. Use Finder

  • Click the Finder app on the Dock.
  • In the left sidebar of Finder, click the Eject button next to the target USB device. Alternatively, you can right-click the USB and select Eject.
  • Then you can safely remove the USB from your Mac.
eject USB Mac

3. Use Disk Utility

  • Click the Spotlight Search icon.
  • Search for Disk Utility and launch the Disk Utility app.
  • Select the target USB drive from the sidebar.
  • Click the Unmount button in the toolbar.
  • Then eject the USB from your Mac.

4. Drag the USB Icon to the Trash

If you see an icon of the USB drive on the desktop, you can drag the icon to the Trash. Then unplug the USB from your Mac.

5. Use Keyboard Shortcut

Make sure the USB drive is open and is the current window. Then press the Command + E keyboard shortcut to safely eject the USB on your Mac.

6. Use Terminal

  • Click Spotlight and search for the Terminal app to open it.
  • In the Terminal window, type the command diskutil list external and press Enter.
  • Next, type the command diskutil eject disk [NUMBER]. Replace [NUMBER] with the exact disk number of the target drive that you want to eject. Press Enter to execute the command. Then you can safely remove the USB from your Mac.

Fix Can’t Eject USB on Mac – 6 Tips

If you try to eject a USB or external hard drive from your Mac but it shows a message saying that you can’t eject it, you can try the tips below to fix the issue.

Tip 1. Empty the Trash on your Mac and try to eject the USB external drive again.

Tip 2. Try another way to disconnect the USB from Mac.

Tip 3. If you can’t eject the USB from your Mac, another app may be using one or more files on the storage device. Make sure you have closed all open files and apps. No files in the USB are still in use.

Tip 4. Log out and log in again on your Mac. You can click the Apple menu and select Log Out, and log in again. Then try to eject the USB from your Mac again.

Tip 5. Shut down your Mac and remove the USB device. If you can’t eject the USB drive, you can click the Apple menu > Shut Down to shut down your Mac. Then you should be able to smoothly disconnect the USB device from your Mac computer.

Tip 6. Run First Aid in Disk Utility to check the USB for errors and repair the corrupted disk if necessary.

How to Write to NTFS-Formatted USB Drives on Mac

If the USB drive is formatted in NTFS, then you may find you can’t copy or write files to the USB from your Mac. NTFS drives are read-only on Mac. To enable the write-support of NTFS drives on your Mac, you need to use an NTFS for Mac software program.

BuhoNTFS is a free NTFS for Mac tool allowing you to easily read and write to NTFS drives on your Mac.

Download
For macOS 10.13 and above
  1. Download and install BuhoNTFS on your Mac. Open it.
  2. Connect the NTFS USB to your Mac and select it from the left panel in BuhoNTFS.
  3. Check "Allow Read & Write permission".
BuhoNTFS

Conclusion

Improperly removing a USB device on Mac may cause data loss or file/disk corruption. This post introduces 6 ways for how to safely eject USB from Mac. Some tips to fix can’t eject USB on Mac are also offered. Hope it helps.

Cassie has been writing about technology for her entire career life - over 5 years. She enjoys diving into how Apple products work and then breaking it down in a way anyone can understand.