How to burn a CD on Mac OS X

Burning CDs on Macs is quite simple.  You can burn a data disc or an audio disc using Mac OS X’s built-in Finder and iTunes applications. 


Audio CDs store about 80 minutes of audio and allow you to listen to your songs in your car, DVD player, portable disc player, computer, or any other device that has a CD player.  It’s a great way to create copies of your music. 


Data CDs hold 700MB of data.  They can be used to make back-ups of important data or to share files with others.  They can store virtually any type of file, including pictures, documents, videos, or MP3 files.  Here are instructions for burning CDs on Mac OS X: 


To Burn an Audio CD:

  1. Open iTunes and create a new Playlist.
  2. Add the desired songs to your playlist by dragging and dropping them from your music library.  As you add songs, keep in mind that you can only burn up to 80 minutes worth of songs.  There is a summary of your playlist at the bottom of the iTunes window that shows you how many minutes/hours your playlist consists of.
  3. Insert a blank disc.
  4. Right-click (or Control+Click) on your Playlist and then click Burn Playlist to Disc.
  5. To burn a MP3 CD, change the disc format to MP3.  Otherwise, leave it on Audio CD.  Note:  Not all CD Players can play MP3 discs.  You can also change the burn speed on this screen.
  6. Next, click Burn.  Enjoy!


To Burn a Data CD (or DVD):

  1. Insert a Blank disc.
  2. Your computer will ask you which application you would like to use.  Choose Open Finder and click OK.
  3. You will now see an icon of your new disc on your desktop.  Double-click the icon to see its contents.
  4. You may now drag and drop any files or folders you wish to burn to that disc.
  5. When finished, choose File > Burn disc and follow the on-screen instructions.


If you frequently burn the same data to a disc, you can create a burn folder by choosing File > New Burn Folder in a Finder window.  Copy items to that folder.  To create a disc, open that folder and click Burn.


Compatibility:  Unlike DVDs, you usually do not have to worry about compatibility issues with compact discs.  CDs burned on a Mac are compatible with Windows and most other operating systems as well.  Most modern CD and DVD players are also able to read burned discs.  Some compact disc players even read MP3 CDs, meaning you can burn your disc as a data disc.  This allows you to fit many more songs on one disc compared to an audio disc.


ComboDrive vs. SuperDrive:  Since 2009, all Apple computers (besides MacBook Air, which has no optical drive) have been shipping with SuperDrives.  ComboDrives read CDs and DVDs and can burn CDs.  SuperDrives, on the other hand, can do everything ComboDrives can, but can also burn DVDs.  Therefore, in order to burn a CD, either of these drives will work.


As you can see, burning discs on Mac OS X is a simple task.  Apple does a great job of integrating the “burn” feature in its operating system, eliminating the need for buying other software for most tasks.  Aside from the options covered above, you can also burn discs using iPhoto, iDVD, or Disk Utility.   These options provide a great way to back up cherished memories or to share those moments with friends and family.  If you wish to store large amounts of data onto a disc, I would suggest burning to a blank DVD.  To burn a data DVD, follow the same steps as a data CD above.