Apple investigating alleged issues with SuperDrives

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
As scattered reports of failing SuperDrives across the Mac lineup continue to grow, Apple has reportedly begun to investigate the matter by contacting at least one user.



As first reported by AppleInsider earlier this month, some people have seen their drives fail in a range of Mac models. Numerous users have reported drives that fail to mount discs, particularly with the models "MATSHITA DVD-R UJ-857E" and "HL-DT-ST DVDRW GSA-S10N," though others reportedly have issues as well.



One person, who is a developer, has now said he was contacted by Apple recently regarding the reported SuperDrive failure on his Mac mini. A representative from Apple Developer Relations reportedly told him that the company was investigating the matter.



Previously, the developer spoke with the company's technical support, and was allegedly told that the company has not devised a method to diagnose firmware or driver issues with its optical drives.



"Apparently, they have been directed to treat every SuperDrive failure as a separate, isolated incident," the developer said.



Some have suspected that the failure had something to do with attempted installs of Snow Leopard, Apple's new operating system, due to a high correlation with the reported failures. But given that many users have said their drives were rarely used, it's possible that the SuperDrives were problematic all along, but were not accessed often enough for the issue to become evident.



The person had previously said that his Mac mini failed to mount any optical discs after an attempted install of Mac OS X 10.6. He also cited a colleague who had a similar problem with a two-year-old MacBook Pro, which displayed an error after an attempted Snow Leopard install and then stopped mounting DVDs.



A thread on the matter at the Apple Support forums continues to grow, with many users who attempted to install Snow Leopard to no avail.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A thread on the matter at the Apple Support forums continues to grow, with many users who attempted to install Snow Leopard to no avail.



    Bummer! So according to the last sentence, since they attempted to install Snow Leopard leaves me to believe that the user was unsuccessful in the Snow Leopard install and now has to contend with SuperDrive issues... that sucks!
  • Reply 2 of 57
    Any honest developer worth a lick would know the driver for these two drives requires ROSETTA. Install Rosetta from SL's DVD or from Apples site and the issue of burn support goes away.



    For those still on 10.5 and has an older Mac with the Hitachi or Mashusta drives (Pioneer's are in the new units which run an Intel driver).... Choose "Customize" before you select install and click "Rosetta".



    Edit: This was found by me 3 weeks ago and reported to Apple, as well as two forum posts.
  • Reply 3 of 57
    The matshita drive in my Fall 2006 MBP died a few weeks ago while burning a CD-R (hilariously, it was a copy of Windows XP). Thankfully, AppleCare took care of it...
  • Reply 4 of 57
    I just got my MacBook back YESTERDAY because it was getting it's SuperDrive replaced. It was able to read, but not burn. I find this pretty hilarious. I feel like my MacBook was the final straw for Apple! (Well maybe not....)
  • Reply 5 of 57
    I've been on the aforementioned thread over at apple discussions for a while and I am certain the majority, if not all, of the users experiencing the SuperDrive failures are having a problem that is not related to Snow Leopard at all. The fact is, many people do not use their drives that often, and many only learned they had a problem when trying to install SL from the DVD.



    I took mine into Apple and had the drive replaced under AppleCare. (It's worth noting a few users reported that using a disc cleaner or compressed air solved their issue.)



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by xwiredtva View Post


    Any honest developer worth a lick would know the driver for these two drives requires ROSETTA. Install Rosetta from SL's DVD or from Apples site and the issue of burn support goes away.



    For those still on 10.5 and has an older Mac with the Hitachi or Mashusta drives (Pioneer's are in the new units which run an Intel driver).... Choose "Customize" before you select install and click "Rosetta".



    Edit: This was found by me 3 weeks ago and reported to Apple, as well as two forum posts.



  • Reply 6 of 57
    During the past 3 years, i've had my DVD drive in my Mac Book Pro replaced TWICE. Both times, the drives stopped recognizing empty DVDs. Thank goodness for Apple Care...



    Adi
  • Reply 7 of 57
    One more point: If you look at the related apple discussions (http://discussions.apple.com/forum.j...D=1154&start=0), the view/post count for the threads directly related to this issue are pretty high: 37,607 views, 26,956, 20,788... when compared to other threads on in the forums. That may imply that there are whole lot of us out there with the same problem, or at the very least that this problem is getting a lot of attention. I wonder how an issue escalates from a 'isolated incidents' to something that they will cover for users out of warranty? Does anyone know?
  • Reply 8 of 57
    eaieai Posts: 417member
    I had one fail on a late 2007 MacBook Pro, not mounting some disks and having a hard time reading DVDs (skipping etc). Took it to the Apple Store (Regents Street, London) and the genius said that it was "just a matter of when, not if."



    The replacement has been fine so far...
  • Reply 9 of 57
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,961member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Magicite View Post


    The matshita drive in my Fall 2006 MBP died a few weeks ago while burning a CD-R (hilariously, it was a copy of Windows XP). Thankfully, AppleCare took care of it...



    Apple should just roll Applecare into the prices of their products. Those too cheap to buy it are the ones screaming the loudest when something fails out of the one year warranty period.
  • Reply 10 of 57
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,961member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stereoscott View Post


    One more point: If you look at the related apple discussions (http://discussions.apple.com/forum.j...D=1154&start=0), the view/post count for the threads directly related to this issue are pretty high: 37,607 views, 26,956, 20,788... That would imply that there are whole lot of us out there with the same problem. I wonder how an issue escalates from a 'isolated incidents' to something that they will cover for users out of warranty? Does anyone know?



    You can't equate "views" with people having issues. That's ridiculous. Just because someone looks at a thread doesn't mean they have the alleged issue. Your statistical logic is simply wrong.
  • Reply 11 of 57
    The drive in my first generation Unibody macbook pro died after about 4 months and I used it less then 10 times. It is a matshita UJ-868. I have applecare just havent had it replaced yet because I dont want to be without my laptop for a couple of days and I hardly use the drive.
  • Reply 12 of 57
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stereoscott View Post


    One more point: If you look at the related apple discussions (http://discussions.apple.com/forum.j...D=1154&start=0), the view/post count for the threads directly related to this issue are pretty high: 37,607 views, 26,956, 20,788... That would imply that there are whole lot of us out there with the same problem. I wonder how an issue escalates from a 'isolated incidents' to something that they will cover for users out of warranty? Does anyone know?



    The number of replies does not equate with the high numbers of views. This is particularly true if you read through them.



    A significant number out of the ~300 repliers are either from the same persons, have been resolved by various means that were not 'drive' related, and some because of bad disks.



    I like the one where every other disk worked fine, but the MS Office Install disk.
  • Reply 13 of 57
    I've had no issues with with either the drive on my old 17-inch iMac from '06 (still in use), or my 2008 MBP.



    In any case, I can't wait until Apple decides to just yank out these optical drives a la Macbook Air, and just make them available as a separate add-on. But optical media is still something enough people want, so it'll be a while . . .
  • Reply 14 of 57
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post


    You can't equate "views" with people having issues. That's ridiculous. Just because someone looks at a thread doesn't mean they have the alleged issue. Your statistical logic is simply wrong.



    I agree. I meant that compared to other threads on the apple discussion boards, the threads relating to this issue have a larger percentage of views, which can either imply that people are either having the issue themselves (likely), or they just want to read about failing super drives more than they want to read about other threads (possible, but not as likely).
  • Reply 15 of 57
    Just sent my iMac to the local authorized repair dealer this morning because the Superdrive started to scratch my DVDs
  • Reply 16 of 57
    Most of you miss the obvious. The slot-load drives are crap. Too many mechanics involved in loading the disc, etc. They are prone to failure at some point. Has nothing to do with Snow Leopard or Rosetta (SL has native Intel drivers). It was just a coincidence that people discovered their drives didn't work when they tried to install a new OS, because the article mentioned that most don't use the drive that often. Has nothing to do with the SL DVD.



    I use an external FireWire Pioneer SuperDrive because the full size drives are faster, quieter, and rock solid. No cheap mechanisms to fail when loading a disc. There were rarely any drive failures when Apple used the 5.25 size drives. Even my AppleCD300i still works in my vintage LC 575.



    Even this thread has an ad for Mac SuperDrives starting at $37.99. What do you expect for a $37 drive? The other issue with burning is finding DVD media that can burn well, especially dual-layer. Memorex DVD DL+R are ones to avoid. I get so many failures with that media.
  • Reply 17 of 57
    My friend bought a Unibody MacBook in early June and the superdrive needed to be replaced in the first month. It had nothing to do with Snow Leopard. It would randomly not mount the CD image, it would sometimes refuse to burn or rip cd's, I remember it would bug out when installing The Sims 3. Unfortunately in frustration she sold The Sims 3 thinking it was a problem with the game until later with my suggestion calling Apple and got her superdrive replaced. Hopefully Apple figures out what the problem is and attempts to fix it on a large scale.
  • Reply 18 of 57
    daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    Sounds like a bad situation...



    Maybe Apple should consider renaming these drives - SubStandardDrives, not only due to their 'alleged' lack of reliabilty, but also for their glaringly absent BluRay playback/recording capability.
  • Reply 19 of 57
    The consensus that I've seen on various forums is that the Matshita drives are pretty lousy. I don't know about the other one mentioned in the article. I suspect that this problem doesn't have anything to do with Snow Leopard, but it's just that a lot of people haven't used their optical drives for a while before they had to install the new OS. The lousy drives have gotten wonky over time, but many people are just noticing the problem now.
  • Reply 20 of 57
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hillstones View Post


    Most of you miss the obvious. The slot-load drives are crap. Too many mechanics involved in loading the disc, etc. They are prone to failure at some point. Has nothing to do with Snow Leopard or Rosetta (SL has native Intel drivers). It was just a coincidence that people discovered their drives didn't work when they tried to install a new OS, because the article mentioned that most don't use the drive that often. Has nothing to do with the SL DVD.



    I use an external FireWire Pioneer SuperDrive because the full size drives are faster, quieter, and rock solid. No cheap mechanisms to fail when loading a disc. There were rarely any drive failures when Apple used the 5.25 size drives. Even my AppleCD300i still works in my vintage LC 575.



    Even this thread has an ad for Mac SuperDrives starting at $37.99. What do you expect for a $37 drive? The other issue with burning is finding DVD media that can burn well, especially dual-layer. Memorex DVD DL+R are ones to avoid. I get so many failures with that media.



    http://www.digitalfaq.com/reviews/dvd-media.htm



    Only buy the good stuff. I've been using Taiyo Yuden for years and had not ONE failure!! I am on a 2006 MBP. I get it only from supermediastore.com - free shipping.



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