The volume can’t be ejected because it’s currently in use

Method #1

Select Finder, then click the Apple Logo at the top left of your Mac screen and click Force Quit Finder.


Click the Apple Logo at the top left of your Mac screen and click Force Quit…, select Finder and click Relaunch.


Method #2

Open the Terminal application (Applications > Utilities > Terminal) to check which files are using the external drive.

Figure out the full hard drive path with df.

In my case, it’s /Volumes/MyBook.

df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Capacity iused ifree %iused Mounted on
/dev/disk0s2 931Gi 560Gi 371Gi 61% 146744600 97236142 60% /
devfs 333Ki 333Ki 0Bi 100% 1152 0 100% /dev
map -hosts 0Bi 0Bi 0Bi 100% 0 0 100% /net
map auto_home 0Bi 0Bi 0Bi 100% 0 0 100% /home
/dev/disk2s2 16Ti 14Ti 2.4Ti 85% 911128025 162592802 85% /Volumes/MyBook

Do an lsof against the affected hard.

lsof /your_external_hard_drive_path


lsof /Volumes/MyBook
Finder  258 tommye   29r   DIR   14,6       68 261851 /Volumes/MyBook/.Trashes/37721
Finder  258 tommye   30r   DIR   14,6     2244  83672 /Volumes/MyBook/Pictures/Wallpapers
Finder  258 tommye   38r   DIR   14,6     3060 165630 /Volumes/MyBook/Videos/Other
Finder  258 tommye   39r   DIR   14,6     5100  70920 /Volumes/MyBook/Pictures/2011/2011-1014
Finder  258 tommye   40r   DIR   14,6      952 165501 /Volumes/MyBook/Videos/Movies
Finder  258 tommye   63r   DIR   14,6      136 166000 /Volumes/MyBook/Videos/Tommy Elmesewdy
Finder  258 tommye   76r   DIR   14,6      340 178928 /Volumes/MyBook/World/Desktop
Finder  258 tommye   79r   DIR   14,6    16796  81587 /Volumes/MyBook/Pictures/Random

I noticed a bunch of files that I had previously copied over to my local drive still being accessed, in my case, by the Finder application for some reason (the copy had already finished).

All I had to do was kill PID 258, which was Finder.

kill 258

If that doesn’t kill the process, kill it with a -9 option.

kill -9 258

Finder will relaunch after you kill it and then you should be able to eject your external drive properly.

11 responses to “The volume can’t be ejected because it’s currently in use”

  1. All you said can be in one line of instruction!
    “Click on the “apple button” on top of your screen , click on “force close” and the select the “finder” to “relunch” 😉

    • You are correct. I didn’t know there was an easier way to Force Quit an application via GUI. Much easier doing it your way. I guess going through Terminal and doing an lsof will show you the problematic files/directories if you really wanted to know for one reason or another. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. Tommy, thanks for posting this – I appreciated the lengthy explanation: I like to know *why*, not just *how*.

  3. Just want to say, be EXTREMELY careful with that rm -rf command. I accidentally just deleted my ENTIRE external drive because I typed sudo rm -rf /Volumes/”Drive name”/

    • I’m not sure why anyone would blindly copy and paste commands without reading the blog first, but I removed that part of the blog just to be safe. Thanks.

  4. Hi, relunching the Finder its not working for me (I have the same problem, the hard drive wont eject) Am i doing something wrong? I’m new at Mac so if you can give me a very “step by step” answer I’ll be so very glad, thanks!

  5. Hi, may i ask for help? What registers on my lsof is this:


    Google 4741 neoweichong 35r DIR 14,2 1598 784818 Library

    Google 4741 neoweichong 58r DIR 14,2 1598 784818 Library

    Any ideas? Thank you!