How to quickly eject single or multiple partitions in OS X

OS X requires you to manually eject all drives before disconnecting them. This can be a little irritating if you have a connected hard drive which has multiple partitions and you wish to either unmount just one partition, or all of them in one go. The Finder will load up a dialog window asking you to confirm how exactly you wish to eject the drive. For those of you who, like me, perform these tasks so regularly that you love hot-keys that speed things up, here’s the quickest ways to eject single, or multiple partitions, in the OS X Finder:
Most people unmount additional volumes by either dragging them to the Trash, selecting them and choosing ‘Eject’ from the ‘File’ menu, by Control/Right clicking the mounted volume in the Finder, or by using the ‘CMD’ & ‘E’ keys.
If you choose the CTRL-clicking method, the contextual menu appears with the option to Eject the mounted partition, similar to the option available from the ‘File’ menu as shown below:

quickly eject a single or multiple partition in os x
eject multiple partitions osx

This will bring up a dialog window warning you that this partition is one of multiple mounted partitions and will ask you to choose how many partitions to eject.
Not many people bother reading the information in the dialog window, as shown below, however if you did read the second and third paragraphs, they offer a handy hot-key for ejecting partitions:

hotkey for ejecting multiple partitions

Once you have CTRL-clicked a mounted partition and have the contextual menu available, if you keep the CTRL key pressed down, you can immediately eject just the partition you originally clicked on, the same happens if you hold down the CTRL key whilst in the ‘File’ menu:

eject only one partition


eject only one partition osx

If you keep the Option/Alt key pressed down instead, you can immediately eject ALL partitions of the physical hard drive that the partition you originally selected is connected to (in my example, my hard drive contains 4 partitions in total):

eject mulitple partitions os x


eject multiple partitions os x

For those of you that use the ‘CMD’ & ‘E’ hot keys to eject volumes, the same options are available.

  • If you select the mounted partition and then hold down ‘CTRL’, ‘CMD’ & ‘E’ keys, this will automatically eject just the single selected partition without the pop-up dialog window asking for confirmation.
  • If you select the mounted partition and then hold down ‘Option/Alt’, ‘CMD’ & ‘E’ keys, this will automatically eject ALL mounted partitions of a selected volume without the pop-up dialog window asking for confirmation.

I use this quite often as it saves me from having to select ‘Eject’ or ‘Eject All’ in the dialog window!
While the author has taken care to provide our readers with accurate information, please use your discretion before acting upon information based on the blog post. Amsys will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this blog.
This feature has been tested using OS X v10.8.2 which was the latest Mac OS release at the time of writing and also using the latest Internal and external Apple keyboards.