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MacBook Air SuperDrive hacked for other Macs, PCs

updated 03:35 pm EDT, Tue June 24, 2008

Blogger hacks MBA_SD

Mobile Technology blogger tnkgrl has posted a workaround for using a MacBook Air SuperDrive with other computers. Previous reports indicated that the internal design of the system only allows it to be recognized by the MacBook Air and that power demands of the Apple-made drive prevent it being used elsewhere: the sole USB port has been boosted past its specifications to supply enough power to use the drive with just the data cable rather than a direct power connection: Tnkgrl, however, says he has successfully circumvented the system: "I have successfully hacked my MBA SuperDrive to work with other Macs and PCs. All you need is a $9 part (shipping extra) and a bit of soldering and you too can do this mod."

Tnkgrl goes on to explain that there is a handshake requirement between the IDE bridge in the SuperDrive that requires replacing the bridge with the above part (requiring removal of the daughterboard) allowing the drive to work with any USB equipped computer, Mac or PC. Photos on the blog show the procedure for the hack.

by MacNN Staff



  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I can see lot's of people doing that.

    Of course, you'd think Apple could find a way to make a CD drive that would work without breaking the standards in the first place.

  1. rvclblm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Definitely not 4 everyone

    Interesting hack if you have the skill, the MBA Superdrive is very very nice, so making it more compatible is cool. Too bad Apple doesn't want to sell more of these to non MBA owners.

    Just a correction GRL stands in for GIRL as in a SHE hacker. Just say hacker and everyone assumes its a guy. Tnkgrl means Tank Girl ( a movie not very well received that I personally like.


    Joined: Dec 1969



    I will be doing this for sure. Parts ordered!

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Please fix your post

    Dear MacNN,

    I'm a girl, not a guy... You used the wrong pronouns in your post! Please fix - thanks for linking to my blog:)


  1. Monde

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Kinda dumb

    Not the hack, but the business sense Apple brought to the table with this product. If it could be made to run off a standard MBPro or PB, why not do it? I'm sure they'd rack up some sweet sales numbers. I can think of plenty of times this sort of mobile device would have come in handy. Dumb-plain dumb.

  1. facebook_Jeff

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2011


    no longer works 12/2011

    i just bought two drives, and two bridges.
    unfortunately once you open the new drives (mfg'd 10/22/2011), it's completely different than it used to be.
    there is no external bridge anymore, so you can't swap out this one.

    there's a tiny bit of a circuit board exposed with 4 solder points only. so they're emulating with software? or it's inside the mechanics of the dvd drive.

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