Trouble ejecting your Time Machine drive? There’s an app for that!

Apple discontinued the Time Capsule, Apple’s wireless backup solution, years ago. Though I am sad to see it go, the fussier method of connecting a hard drive is in fact faster and more reliable.

The most common problems people have with plugging in a Time Machine drive (apart from remembering to do it!) are that you also have to eject your backup drive before physically unplugging it. While desktop Mac users may have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure MacBook users are familiar with this little admonishment:

Why is it so important to eject the drive? Mostly because if the computer is in the middle of writing something or making a change when you pull it out, it could leave something half-done, and then the computer doesn’t understand what it’s looking at anymore. Your computer does try to recover from this, and it’s usually successful. But occasionally it’s not and the only solution is the erase your backup drive and set it up again.

There are several official ways to eject drives including:

  • Locating the drive on your Desktop and dragging it to the Trash
  • Locating the drive on your Desktop and right-clicking (control-clicking) it and choosing “Eject”
  • Locating the drive on your Desktop and clicking it once to highlight then pressing Command-E
  • Open up a Finder window and click the Eject button next to the drive on the sidebar
  • Shut down the computer, at which point it’s safe to unplug the drive

But of course, as they say, there is an app for that. Several, actually. But my favorite is EjectBar by Benjamin Mayo. It’s the most reliable and easiest to use that I’ve found. Simply download it from the Mac App Store, open it, choose to have it launch at login. Any time you want to eject your backup drive you will consistently find it under the eject icon on your menu bar. Or right-click the icon to disconnect all attached drives. It does have a one-time cost of $2 but I think it’s well worth it for most people.

Further help

If you are an existing customer who needs help with this or if you have other questions, or if you are in San Francisco and interested in becoming a client I invite you to book an appointment with me. Otherwise, you may wish to contact Apple Support or find a local Apple consultant.

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