How To Burn A CD On A Mac

The Art of Burning CDs on Your Mac: A Comprehensive Guide

In this digital age, physical media may seem like an ancient relic from the past, but there are still many occasions where burning a CD can be a useful task. Whether you’re creating a backup of your favorite tunes or sharing music with friends and family, having the ability to burn CDs is essential for any Mac user. In this article, we’ll walk through step-by-step instructions on how to successfully burn a CD using your Mac.

Pre-Burning Preparation

Before you start burning that CD, it’s crucial to prepare yourself and your system by doing the following:

  • Organize Your Music Library: Make sure you have all the songs or files you want to burn organized in one place. You can do this by creating separate folders for each artist, album, or genre.
  • Select Your Burnable Files: Choose the tracks from your library that you’d like to include on your CD. Most music players and organizers allow you to select individual tracks or even create custom playlists.

Software Selection: iTunes vs. Disk Utility

When it comes to burning CDs on a Mac, you have two primary options for software: Apple’s built-in Disk Utility and the popular multimedia player iTunes. Let’s explore each:

  • ITunes: The go-to choice for many users, especially those familiar with managing their music libraries in iTunes. To spend iTunes:
    • Open iTunes.
    • Click on “File” > “Burn Playlist to Disc…” (or press Command + B).
    • Select the desired burn speed and media type from the dropdown menus.
  • Disk Utility: This built-in utility provides a more manual approach, allowing for greater control over your burning process. To use Disk Utility:
    • Go to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.
    • Click on “New” to create an empty CD/DVD master (or select an existing one).
    • Drag the files or folders you want to burn onto the master.

    Burning Your CD

Now that you’ve chosen your software, it’s time for the actual burning process:

  • ITunes:
    • In iTunes’ Burn Playlist to Disc… window, navigate to where your playlist is stored (e.g., Music Library).
    • Check off the “Erase disc before writing” box if you want to start from scratch.
    • Click on “Burn” and follow any prompts.
  • Disk Utility:
    • In Disk Utility’s New CD/DVD Master window, select a burning speed suitable for your equipment (e.g., 2x or 4x).
    • Drag the desired files or folders onto the master by holding Command while dragging them.
    • Click “Burn” and let the process begin.

    Troubleshooting Common Issues

Don’t panic if things don’t go as planned! Here are some common issues with potential solutions:

  • Error: Can’t burn to this disc:
    • Check that your CD is properly inserted or try a different blank CD.
    • Ensure you’ve selected the correct burning speed and media type in iTunes or Disk Utility.
  • Error: The disc can only be burned once:
    • Make sure the “Erase disc before writing” box is unchecked when using iTunes to prevent accidental erasure of existing data.

Post-Burning Maintenance

After successfully burning your CD, you’re done! But for future reference and organization:

  • Organize Your CDs: Store each burnt CD in a separate folder or contianer with clear labels detailing what’s inside.
  • Keep Track of Your Files: Maintain an inventory of the tracks on each burned disc by using metadata tags, like Artist/Title combinations, to identify individual files.


Burning a CD on your Mac may seem daunting at first, but this step-by-step guide has walked you through the process with ease. Whether for backup purposes or as a way to share music with others, having the ability to burn CDs is an essential skill for any Mac user. Now go forth and fill those blank discs with all sorts of delightful tunes!