No Disk Drive? No Problem! Easy Ways to Read CDs on Your MacBook

In today’s digital era, the need to read CDs or DVDs has significantly diminished. However, there are still situations where you might find yourself requiring access to these older formats, whether it’s for retrieving an old program or game or accessing data from a past backup.


The Challenge: No Built-in Disk Drive

Many modern laptops, including MacBooks, no longer come equipped with built-in disk drives, making it impossible to insert CDs or DVDs as you did in the past. But fear not, there’s a straightforward solution that doesn’t involve searching for ancient devices.

The Simple Solution: External CD Reader

To read CDs on your MacBook, all you need is an external CD reader, and the good news is that it’s fully compatible with any Mac. Purchase this accessory, connect it to your MacBook, and you’ll have a disc reader as if it were an integral part of your laptop. Once connected, the device will read CDs just like it does with a USB drive or any other external device.

Explore Your Options

These external CD readers are commonly referred to as “external CD/DVD readers” and come in various types, models, and price ranges. While there are differences among them, the basic functionality remains consistent, regardless of which one you choose.

Additional Features: CD/DVD Reader and Writer

16-inch Macbook Pro with Apple Silicon

Some options go beyond reading and offer CD/DVD writing capabilities as well. This feature may not be an immediate requirement for everyone, but considering the price difference is often minimal, having this capability can be advantageous in the long run.

Compatibility and Ease of Use

These external CD readers are compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems and are typically Plug & Play. This means that there’s no need to install drivers or engage in any complicated setup. They are compact and can be connected and disconnected as needed, making them the ideal solution for reading discs without the need for a built-in drive.

Consider Your Needs

When purchasing a new computer, especially a MacBook, it’s worth reflecting on your CD usage. Think about the last time you needed to use a CD and decide whether having a built-in drive is essential for your next laptop. Many prefer the simplicity and lightweight design of laptops without built-in drives, relying on external accessories like the one discussed here when the need arises.

Addressing USB-C Concerns

If your MacBook lacks USB ports and uses USB-C exclusively, you have options as well. You can either look for an external CD reader with a USB-C connector or invest in a multifunction adapter that accommodates various connection types, including USB-C. Such adapters can come in handy for connecting other devices like USB drives as well.


In conclusion, while the need for CD and DVD access has declined, there are still scenarios where having the capability to read these discs is valuable. Modern MacBook users can easily address this need with an external CD reader, which is both cost-effective and user-friendly. Whether you prefer a simple and lightweight laptop or a multifunctional setup, there are options available to cater to your specific requirements.