I have a M1 MacBook Pro. I often have external drives, either SSD or spinning ones connected.

I’ve been told it is very bad to remove a drive before it is properly ejected, especially if it is writing at that time.

So, when I shut down my MacBook Pro, then the screen goes dark after a few seconds leading me to believe that the computer has properly shut down.

But did it?

If I look very closely at an angle under the keys, I can still see lights underneath the keys for as much as 10 seconds or so. (My guess is it is still properly ejecting the drives). Finally the lights go out. At this point I believe the computer is finished shutting down and it would be safe to pull the plugs on the hard drives.

So when exactly does shut down mean shut down?

Unfortunately, Macs no longer have a glowing light to indicate their state. The safest thing to do is manually eject the external drives before shutting down.


Agreed - I miss that light.

It would be trivial for Apple to add a final shut down sound.

When I shut down my M1 MacBook Air, even at a low level of screen brightness, l can still see a faintly lighted rectangle taking up most but not all of the Mac’s screen. This is easier to see if the room is dimly lit. I wait until that is gone and the Mac’s screen is fully black to know the Mac has actually shut down. And it can take a while, occasionally as long as 30 seconds.


I usually notice the same exact thing with my M1 iMac. I know that it’s completely shut down when the faint backlight finally shuts off.

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Another way to ensure the system is powered off is to press the Caps Lock key first and wait for the green light to go away. Not an elegant solution but it works.

Apple is NEVER going to add a shut down sound…


That is a fun idea!!!

Agreed. I don’t see how a device could trigger or produce a shutdown sound after it has actually quit.

The sound can’t play if the computer is shut down… :wink:

This was the way Windows used to handle it before they ditched the shutdown sound.

I was thinking it would simply play the sound just before final shut down…

I don’t think that would be helpful in the OP’s use case though.

I was thinking it would simply play the sound just before final shut down…

hmmm I’m confused:

  • I am the original poster.
  • I was thinking it would simply play the sound just before final shut down - this is a sonic equivalent of MacGuyMI’s great caps lock post idea - so how is this not helpful?

maybe I am missing something?

Thanks Dave

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The caps lock light shuts off when the system is actually shut down. A shutdown sound would have to be played before the system actually shuts down.

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OK… let’s just say a power down tone that alerts one to full power off a spilt second before. I personally would dislike that feature very much. I also believe that Apple probably feels the same way. Some people might like that feature, but I’m guessing not enough for Apple to offer that in the OS.

Tomato… TomAto…
Potato… PotAto…
6 of one… half dozen of the other…

Time to go outside and hopefully enjoy your day!

Exactly! Maybe I did not make my self clear enough? I though I said exactly that: “I was thinking it would simply play the sound just before final shut down”…

Ah, okay. I didn’t realize that.

Regardless, shutdown sounds have fallen out of favor across the entire industry. It’s just something that’s seen as “old-fashioned” to most people, and as a result, I don’t think Apple would ever bring it back. :person_shrugging:

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Sure that may be. But in light of destroying a hard drive by yanking cables too early, I will support something like this that can help us not have this issue.

I totally agree. But writes occur quickly even on old spinning drives so unless you are in the process of copying a large file to the external drive you can normally survive the occasional improper shutdown, IMO. (On recent versions of macOS it seems the system will take extra time to check the drive before mounting it)

FWIW I’ve never damaged a drive or, to my knowledge, lost data due to an improper shutdown. And I must have had that happen hundreds of times. I try to use the proper procedure and check the last file that I worked on if it isn’t shutdown properly.


good to know. I heard that some years back early ssd’s - if you might yank a cable (by accident) during WRITES - then you may Completely BRICK the drive forever with no recovery possible - an expensive operation (unlike spinning drives that just might lose a sector or something). That’s why I am scared of this issue. I do not know if SDD’s have improved in recent years.

SO best to do as tomalmy says - to eject BEFORE shutting down…

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Do your hard drives not have activity lights?