Apple declares last MacBook Pro with an optical drive obsolete
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Apple declares last MacBook Pro with an optical drive obsolete

Physical media —

The laptop hadn’t been for sale in more than seven years.

A bulky-looking older Apple laptop

Enlarge / The 13-inch MacBook Pro from 2012.

Sometimes, it’s worth taking a moment to note the end of an era, even when that ending might have happened a long time ago. Today, Apple announced that it considers the mid-2012 13-inch MacBook Pro obsolete. It was the last MacBook Pro to include an optical drive for playing CDs or DVDs.

This means that any MacBook Pro with an optical drive is no longer supported.

Regarding products deemed obsolete, Apple’s support page on the topic says:

Products are considered obsolete when Apple stopped distributing them for sale more than 7 years ago… Apple discontinues all hardware service for obsolete products, and service providers cannot order parts for obsolete products. Mac laptops may be eligible for an extended battery-only repair period for up to 10 years from when the product was last distributed for sale, subject to parts availability.

Apple stopped selling the mid-2012 13-inch MacBook Pro in October 2016 (it was available for a while as the company’s budget option in the Pro lineup), so anyone doing the math saw this coming. Further, it’s been years since this particular Mac was supported by the latest Apple OS releases. Released in 2020, macOS Big Sur ended support for the device, though older versions of macOS continued to get security updates.

The exclusion of an optical drive in subsequent MacBook Pro models was controversial, but it’s now clear that whether Apple was jumping the gun at that point or not, optical drives have fallen away for most users, and many Windows laptops no longer include them.

Apple still sells an external optical drive it calls SuperDrive that can read and burn CDs and DVDs. However, it hasn’t been updated in ages; it still uses USB-A, which most Mac hardware no longer includes. So, even if you have Apple’s external CD/DVD drive, you probably need an adapter to use it with your modern Mac.

That’s a sign of just how relevant optical drives are for today’s users, but this seems like a good time to remember a bygone era of physical media that wasn’t so long ago. So farewell, mid-2012 13-inch MacBook Pro—honestly, most of us didn’t miss you by this point.