Your Mac’s Magic Keyboard has an Eject key, but it doesn’t need one because modern Macs don’t have any drives to eject. You can repurpose that key to make it do something more useful, and we’re going to show you how.
Below, we’ll run you through three different ways of getting the most out of your Mac’s Eject key. Some of them will require you to download additional apps, and some won’t. But they’re all pretty great and, best of all, make a once-useless key more useful.
Using Features Built Into macOS
macOS has its own set of keyboard shortcuts that take advantage of the eject key and are enabled out of the box. Here’s a quick look at what you can do without any additional software:
- Control+Eject presents a dialog box, giving you the option to put your Mac to sleep, restart it, or turn it off.
- Command+Option+Eject puts your Mac to sleep.
- Control+Command+Eject restarts your Mac.
- Control+Option+Command+Eject turns your Mac off.
- Control+Shift+Eject puts your display to sleep but keeps your Mac awake.
If you’re looking to get a little more from your keyboard’s eject key, however, there are some third-party options to help superpower it.
Karabiner is an app that lets you configure the Eject key to mimic other key presses or mouse clicks. It has more advanced options for more powerful customization as well, but for our purposes here we’re going to focus on its simpler options. It’s also open source, and you can download it for free.
Open Karabiner-Elements from your Mac’s Applications folder.
Select the “Simple Modifications” tab and click the “Add Item” button at the bottom of the window.
Click the empty box in the “From Key” column and select the key that you want to change the behavior of. For our purposes, click “Eject.”
Do the same in the “To Key” column, selecting the key press that you want the Eject key to initiate.
Test your work by pressing the Eject key. If everything works, your chosen keypress will be initiated. If you need to edit a function, change the “From Key” or “To Keys.” If you want to undo everything, click the “Remove” button beside the item.
Ejector makes it quick and easy to eject a volume whether it’s an external hard drive, a USB drive, or a disk image. It’s a $10 expense if you plan on using it full-time, but you can give it a test run thanks to the seven-day trial.
To get started, give it a download and install it. Press the Eject key, and Ejector will open automatically. From there, click the volume you want to eject and then click the “Eject” button.
If you find that you need to eject volumes regularly, Ejector could be well worth your ten bucks. Ejector can also forcibly eject stubborn volumes—press and hold Option+Alt when clicking “Eject” to force macOS to eject the volume.