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How to fix: The volume can't be ejected because it's


currently in use (for regular users)

February 2, 2018 Arthur Gareginyan Mac OS 2 Comments 3 min read

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After working with an external hard drive (further
simply - disk) I want to cleanly unmount it. But to my Featured WordPress
surprise when pressing the ‘eject’ button Finder warns Plugin

me with the following error message:

Featured WordPress
Plugin

For more experienced users, I recommend reading another article about


this issue.
Featured WordPress
Plugin

What causes this error

This error message is self explanatory. It means that we are trying to eject
the disk that is currently in use. If we have any file stored on the disk open
in any app, macOS may prevent us from ejecting the disk so we don’t lose Featured WordPress
any of our data. Theme

If this happens, we just need to close the file in question and try again eject
the disk. As far as I’m aware, I’m not using the disk but Finder says I do, so I
must be wrong. Now I need to know what app is using my disk so I can
properly quit that app and eject my disk.
Note! In some cases, macOS will allow us to “force-eject” the disk, but we may still
lose data, so force eject is not reasonable.

After some investigation I found that in my case this is the QuickLook


process. The QuickLook process is a feature that was introduced in the
Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. You can learn more about it here . I noticed that
when I use the Quicklook feature to preview a video in any format, the
process keeps active even when the Quicklook window was already closed.
If I preview any other file like PDF or JPG the disk can be ejected normally.
Why does Quicklook preventing me from ejecting my disk? I suspect that
this is just a bug.

What I have:

Drive: WD Elements Portable 500Gb


OS: macOS High Sierra 10.13.3
Computer: MacBook Air 11-inch (2014)

How to solve it

Once we know what process is preventing us from ejecting our disk, we can
force it to stop. For this we use the Activity Monitor app.

1 Launch the Activity Monitor app from the Utilities folder of your
Applications folder, or use Spotlight to find it.

2 Go to the “Disk” tab to sort by the disk usage by each process.

3 Find the process that uses our disk, it has the name
QuckLookUIService . Select it by clicking on the line.
4 Now let’s quit this process. For this click on the button with a cross in
the upper left corner. When a pop-up message appears asking if you
really want to quit the process, just click on the “Force quit” button.

5 Finally, we can unmount the disk in the usual way.

Done! Now our disk should be safely ejected.

If this article helped you solve the problem then please leave a comment

Thanks for reading!

February 2, 2018 Arthur Gareginyan Mac OS 2 Comments 3 min read

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Hope that Helped!


If this post helped you out and you'd like to show your
support, please consider fueling future posts by buying
me a co!ee cup!

Arthur Gareginyan
Arthur is a designer and full stack software engineer.
He is the founder of Space X-Chimp and the blog
My Cyber Universe . His personal website can be
found at arthurgareginyan.com .

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Pawel K • 4 months ago • edited


Thank you. Great tip, worked for me. I would want this in a script as this regularly happens to
me. Can't believe Apple has not fixed this for at least 5 or more generations of OSX, I have
this problem forever.
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Arthur Gareginyan Mod > Pawel K • 4 months ago

@Pawel K You're welcome. I’m glad I was able to help!


Thanks for commenting and have a great day!
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