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Best External CD/DVD Drive for Mac in 2023 - Review & FAQs for External DVD Drive

As Apple kills off the optical drive in its MacBook Pro and MacBook Air to maintain super-thin profiles, users are left with no ways to play or copy DVDs on Mac directly. However, the removal of DVD drive doesn't mean blocked access to DVD discs on Mac. Despite the lack of built-in optical drive, there are workarounds available, among which the USB external DVD drive for Mac maybe the easiest.

In this article, we'll introduce the best USB external CD/DVD drives for MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, iMac Pro, Mac Pro, and Mac mini.

Play DVDs on Mac without Buying an External DVD Drive

To watch movies without buying an external DVD drive for Mac and carrying a stack of discs, simply copy DVDs to computer hard drive. MacX DVD Ripper will help convert DVDs to Mac hard drive in ISO, MP4, MKV, MOV, AVI, M4V, 3GP, and more formats. It's able to bypass DVD region codes, CSS, bad sectors, 99 fake titles, and any other DVD protections. Create a high-quality DVD copy on Mac at super fast speed. No external DVD drive required anymore!

Now, let's connect an external DVD drive with Mac, and free download the lightweight MacX DVD Ripper to make a digital copy of your DVD without hassle.

The downloads above are for Windows and Mac only. If you are a mobile user, please click here.

1. Apple USB SuperDrive- $79.00

Customer Rating:

  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 2.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Formats: CD, DVD
  • Optical Storage Write Speed: 24x (CD) / 8x (DVD±R) / 6x (DVD±R DL)
  • Optical Storage Read Speed: 24x (CD) / 8x (DVD)
  • Hardware Interface: USB 2.0
  • Connections: USB-A
  • Compatibility: compatible with Mac models from 2008 and later that don't have a built-in optical drive. (Note: MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro models with USB-C ports require a USB-C to USB adapter (sold separately) to use Apple USB SuperDrive.)

Apple's USB SuperDrive is the Mac external hard drive designed to complement MacBook Pro/Air. It is compatible with Macbook ,Macbook air, Macbook Pro, iMac or Mac mini via a single USB cable to help read DVD/CD and write to CD-R and DVD-R discs. With this portable disc drive for Mac, you can play DVDs, rip discs, burn home movies to DVD, extract music from CD etc. The external ODD has 8x faster DVD writing speed.

Having problem with Apple USB SuperDrive? Read our guide

Best external dvd drive for mac - Apple USB SuperDrive
Best external dvd drive for mac - Apple USB SuperDrive

2. Rioddas External USB 3.0 Portable CD DVD +/-RW Drive - $28.99

Customer Rating:

  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Formats: CD, DVD
  • Optical Storage Write Speed: 24x, 8x, 4x, 2.4x, 10x, 3x
  • Hardware Interface: USB 3.0
  • Compatibility: macOS, Windows, Linux

Rioddas is a popular external optical drive for Mac with trendy design and embeded cable. You can simply plug it into the USB port of your Mac and it will be detect, no external driver or power required. It's fully compatible macOS and other systems. It's able to read and burn various DVD and CD formats, with the writing speeds claimed to range from 8x for DVDs to 24x for CD-RWs. A big plus is the fast data transmission speed (up to a maximum of 5Gbps) of the USB 3.0 technology. Anyway, it's one of best external DVD drive for Mac picked for DVDs.

Best external DVD/CD drive for Mac from Rioddas
Best external DVD/CD drive for Mac from Roiddas

3. LG Ultra Slim Portable External Drive- $33.99

Customer Rating:

  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Formats: CD, DVD
  • Optical Storage Write Speed: 8x (DVD±R, DVD±RW), 6x (DVD±R DL), 5x (DVD-RAM), 24x (CD-R)
  • Optical Storage Read Speed: 8x (DVD±R, DVD±R DL, DVD±RW, DVD-ROM),6x(DVD-RAM), 4x (DVD-Video[CSS Compliant Disc]), 24x (CD-R, RW, ROM, CD-DA DAE)
  • Hardware Interface: USB 2.0 (3.0 compatible)
  • Compatibility: Mac os, Windows 10

LG is the best Mac portable DVD drive that's alternative to Apple USB SuperDrive but at a lower price. It can read and burn DVD and CD on Mac and PC, also delivering 8x max DVD writing speed. This external disc drive for Mac has two distinct features: first, it supports M-Disc which will protect the data and makes it exist longer than standard DVDs; second, it adopts Silent Play technology that can make the DVD playback process less noise than other external Mac ODDs.

LG external DVD writer drive for Mac
LG external DVD writer drive for Mac

4. Amicool USB 3.0 Type-C External DVD Drive for Mac - $30.99

Customer Rating:

  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Formats: CD, DVD
  • Optical Storage Writing Speed: 24x CD-R, 8x CD-RW, DVD±R: 8X Max; DVD±R DL: 4X Max; DVD-R±9: 2.4x Max
  • Optical Storage Read Speed: CD-ROM: 24x Max; DVD-ROM: 8x Max; DVD-ROM(DL): 6x Max
  • Hardware Interface: USB 3.0
  • Compatibility: Mac OS, Windows, Linux

This ODD is especially designed to play CD/DVD on MacBook, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, other ultrabook, PC, laptop via USB. The external optical drive for Mac is compatible with USB3.0 and backwards compatible with USB2.0 USB1.0. So you don't need to worry about any lags during a DVD movie playback. Moreover, it has a beautiful and very portable design that is suitable for a laptop bag.

Like most other Mac external DVD drives, it won't work with TV, car, projector, tablets, smartphones, Chromebooks, etc. However, there are a few things to note when using Amicool external DVD drive on Mac. First, it may take some time to read and therefore show up the DVD icon on Mac. And after you use it, you need to eject the drive use the mac command.

Best USB 3.0 external DVD drive for Mac
Best USB 3.0 external DVD drive for Mac

5. Gotega External DVD Drive for MacBook - $36.99

Customer Rating:

  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Formats: CD, DVD
  • Optical Storage Write Speed: Max 24xCD / 8xDVD
  • Optical Storage Read Speed: Max 24xCD / 8xDVD
  • Hardware Interface: USB 3.0
  • Compatibility: Mac OS, Windows, Linux

The external CD/DVD drives for macOS from Gotega works just like it should. Plug it in and go. It will read CDs and DVDs with aplomb. You can move it around to different laptops and it is plug and play. With a max 8x DVDR write speed and a max 24x CD rrite speed, you will have a happy DVD playback experience without any lags.

The only thing that you may NOT like about this Mac external DVD drive is that the USB cable is too short to make it easy to access the drive. Other than that, the drive works pretty well on Mac. If your drive is not working correctly, make sure you have change the region of the DVD driver to your region.

Gotega external optical drive for Mac
Gotega external optical drive for Mac

6. Pioneer Slim Mac External DVD Drive for Blu-ray - $105

Customer Rating:

  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.55 x 5.2 inches
  • Formats: CD, DVD, Blu-ray, BDXL
  • Optical Storage Write Speed: 8x(DVD±R, DVD+RW), 6x(DVD±R[Double Layer], DVD-RW, BD-R ), 2x(BD-RE), 24x(CD-R, CD-RW)
  • Optical Storage Read Speed: 8x(DVD±R, DVD±RW, DVD-ROM [Dual/Single]), 6x(BD-R, BD-ROM, BD-RE SL/DL), 4x(BD-RE TL), 24x(CD-R, CD-RW, CD-ROM)
  • Hardware Interface: USB 3.0
  • Compatibility: Mac OS, Windows

The previously mentioned options are best external CD/DVD drives for macOS, but they all don't support Blu-ray. If you handle with Blu-ray discs a lot, Pioneer is a good choice. As the external BD drive for Mac and Windows, it accepts BDXL, Blu-ray, DVD, and CD media with speeds up to 8x DVD disc burning and ripping. The Blu-ray ripping is slower with some noise. It price is much higher than other external DVD drives for Mac, but it's quite affordable compared with other BD drive competitors.

Pioneer external optical drive for Mac
Pioneer external optical drive for Mac

7. Sony BDP-S1700 Region Free DVD Drive for Mac - $139.99

Customer Rating:

  • Product Dimensions: 10.75 x 10.67 x 2.72 inches
  • Formats: DVD, Blu-Ray Disc
  • Connections: Wi-Fi, USB, Ethernet, HDMI
  • Compatibility: Mac OS, Windows

If you want to play DVDs from different regions with your external DVD drive on Mac, here we recommend you Sony BDP-S1700. It's able to play Blu-rays from any region A, B, or C & play standard DVDs from any region 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. So you can play a foreign DVD on Mac without changing regions anymore. This Mac external optical drive can even upscale your DVD for playback with better quality. However, it may be a little bit expensive.

More choices: 2023 Best Region-Free DVD Players for Mac

Best external DVD drive for Mac
Best region-free external DVD drive for Mac
note icon

How to Play Region DVDs with External Disc Drive on Mac? [Cheap]

Don't want to get an expensive multi-region drive for Mac? You can remove the region codes as well as other protections from DVDs with regular external drive and save a region-free DVD video on your Mac. You simply require a DVD ripper like MacX DVD Ripper Pro.

note icon Get the Mac version for free here >>

How to choose an external DVD drive for Mac?

There are a few factors you need to consider while choosing an external optical drive for Mac, including compatibility, supported disc format, reading/writing speed, price, noise, size, build quality, and connectors.

Speed: The speed of an external DVD drive for Mac refers to how quickly the drive reads and writes data. The speeds of a drive range from 1x to 24x. If you simply need to play a DVD movie with it, there is no big difference among different drives. But if you want an external DVD drive to burn a disc or rip a DVD, you may want a fast DVD drive speed.

Connectivity: When you select an external DVD drive for your Mac, you also need to consider the type of connection the drive uses. Some old DVD drives use a microUSB connector and USB 2.0 connectors. However, newer Macs now come with USB Type-C ports. In addition, choose a DVD drive that uses detachable USB cables, or damage to the cable will ruin the DVD drive.

Compatibility: Make sure that the DVD drive works with your macOS. Some old DVD drives work with Windows only or do not support the latest macOS Ventura.

Price: Generally speaking, you should be able to buy an external DVD drive for around $35 and a Blu-ray drive for around $100. A drive at a higher price may come with some features that you don't need at all.

Frequently Asked Questions for External DVD Drive

1. Will any external DVD drive work with Mac?

Yes. There are many external DVD drives that can work with Mac, such as the five devices we mentioned above. While choosing an external DVD drive for Mac, you need to check its compatible operating system. Some external DVD drive works with both Windows and Mac, while some are only compatible with Windows or Mac.

2. How to connect an external DVD drive to Mac?

It's easy. Simply connect your external DVD drive to a USB port on your Mac. Check how to connect the Apple USB SuperDrive to Mac >>

3. How can I get my Mac to recognize my external DVD drive?

Older Mac computers that come with internal DVD drives do not recognize external DVD drive. But if the internal drive fails, you can also force your Mac to recognize external DVD drive by editing a system file called com.apple.Boot.plist.

Step 1. The file path is: Mac HD/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.Boot.plist. Before any further, make a copy of this file in case something goes wrong.

Step 2. Open com.apple.Boot.plist with text editor. On line 8, enter mbasd=1 between <string> and </string>, like this <string>mbasd=1</string>. And then, save this file.

Step 3. Restart your Mac, connect your external DVD drive, and then your Mac should be able to recognize it.

4. Why won't my external DVD drive work on my Mac?

There are many causes for external DVD drive for Mac not working, including:

  1. The external DVD drive isn't properly connected. Check if it is wobbly or loose.
  2. The cable could be at fault. Try a different cable.
  3. The USB port is damaged. Try connecting the DVD drive to another port.
  4. macOS issue. Restarting your Mac may fix it.
  5. The external DVD drive might be incorrectly formatted. It might only interact with Windows. Check if your external DVD drive is compatible with Mac.
  6. Your Mac isn't formatted to display the external DVD drive on the desktop. Go to Finder menu -> Preferences -> General and check External Drives to make sure that from now on it shows up on your desktop too.
  7. Your external DVD drive is broken.
  8. The external DVD drive has a different region.

5. How to rip a DVD on Mac with an external DVD drive?

If you want to play a DVD disc, a built-in or external DVD drive is necessary. But after ripping DVD, you can play movies without the need of DVD drive and DVD player software.

You simply need to use a piece of DVD ripping software like MacX DVD Ripper Pro to turn massive DVD collection into digital files for storing on your Mac, external hard drive, cloud, and more:

  • It converts DVD to MP4, MOV, AVI, MKV, ISO, etc. Over 350+ output profile formats are provided.
  • It supports all DVDs like new DVDs, old DVDs, DVDs with 1-6 regions, 99-title DVDs, damaged & unplayable DVDs, etc.
  • It's able to rip a full disc within 5 minutes thanks to the hardware acceleration. Excellent quality reserved.

Step 1: Free download and install the DVD ripper on Mac.

Step 2: Connect external disc drive to Mac, and insert the DVD you want to rip.

Step 3: Click the DVD Disc button on MacX DVD Ripper Pro and select your DVD to load.

Step 4: Choose output format from the pop-up output profile window. To play DVD disc on Mac, MP4 or MOV are both good formats as they're compatible with Mac default QT player or other programs.

Rip DVD on Mac with external DVD drive
Rip DVD on Mac with external DVD drive

Step 5: Click Browse to save the output file and click RUN to begin DVD ripping. After a few minutes, the DVD movie will be saved in your computer and then you can watch those movies without taking an external DVD drive for Mac computers every time.

6. Can the external DVD drive support DVDs outside of the USA?

Yes and no. If the DVD Region of the DVD drive is set to a foreign DVD, you can play it perfectly on your Mac. However, the region of a DVD drive can be set for up to 5 times only. After that, you can no longer play DVDs from another region.

Disclaimer: The software developer calls for copying or ripping DVD under the concept of Fair Use and does not encourage any illegal reproduction or distribution of copyrighted content. Please abide by the local DVD copyright law before doing it.