How to Burn CDs with iTunes

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01
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Introduction to Burning CDs with iTunes

Burning CDs in iTunes, Step 1

ITunes is a great program for managing your music library and your iPod, but not everything we want out of our music can be done on an iPod or computer. Sometimes we still have to do things the old-fashioned way (You know, the way we did in 1999). Sometimes, our needs can only be met by burning CDs.

If that's the case, iTunes has you covered with a simple process to help you create the CD mixes you want.

To burn a CD in iTunes, begin by creating a playlist. The exact steps for creating a playlist depend on what version of iTunes you're using. This article covers making playlists in iTunes 11. If you have an earlier version of iTunes, click the link in the last paragraph.

In iTunes 11, there are two ways to create a playlist: either go to File -> New -> Playlist, or click on the Playlist tab, then click the + button in the bottom left corner of the window. Select New Playlist.

NOTE: You can burn a song to CD an unlimited number of times. You are limited, however, to burning 5 CDs from the same playlist. Additionally, you can only burn songs that are authorized to play through your iTunes account.

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Add Songs to Playlist

Burning CDs in iTunes, Step 3

Once you've created the playlist, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Add songs to the playlist. In iTunes 11, navigate through your music library in the lefthand window and drag the songs you want on your CD to the right column.
  2. Name the playlist. In the right-hand column, click on the playlist name to change it. The name you give it will apply to the playlist and will be the name of the CD you burn.
  3. Reorder the playlist. To change the order of the songs in the playlist, and thus the order they'll have on your CD, click on the drop down menu under the playlist name. Your sorting options include:
    • Manual order - drag and drop the songs as you want
    • Name - alphabetical by song name
    • Time - songs arranged longest to shortest, or vice versa
    • Artist - alphabetical by artist name, grouping songs by the same artist together
    • Album - alphabetical by album name, grouping songs from the same album together
    • Genre - alphabetical by genre type, grouping songs from the same genre together alphabetically by genre
    • Rating - The highest rated songs descending to the lowest, or vice versa (learn about rating songs)
    • Plays - The songs played most often to the least, or the opposite

When you're done with all your changes, click Done. ITunes will then show you the completed playlist. You can edit it again or proceed.

NOTE: There are some limits on the number of times you can burn the same playlist.

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Insert & Burn CD

Burning CDs in iTunes, Step 5

Once you have the playlist in the order you want, insert a blank CD into your computer.

When the CD is loaded into the computer, you have two options for burning the playlist to disc:

  1. File -> Burn Playlist to Disc
  2. Click the gear icon in the bottom left of the iTunes window and select Burn Playlist to Disc.
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Choose Settings for Burning CD

burn cd in iTunes, step 4
Confirming CD burn settings.

Depending on your version of iTunes, clicking Burn isn't quite your last step to creating a CD in iTunes.

In iTunes 10 or earlier, it is; you'll see iTunes begin to burn the CD pretty quickly.

In iTunes 11 or later, a pop up window will ask you to confirm the settings you want to use when burning your CD. Those settings are:

  • Preferred Speed - This controls how quickly iTunes creates your CD. In most cases, you'll want Maximum Possible.
  • Disc Format - To make a CD that can be played in stereos, cars, and other standard CD players, choose Audio CD. To burn a disc of the MP3s of the songs so they can be transferred to another computer, choose MP3 CD (if you want to move files, this is better than an Audio CD because an MP3 CD can hold more songs). To create a CD or DVD that stores only data and is only used in a computer, choose Data CD or DVD.
  • Gap Between Songs - If you choose Audio CD, you can control how much silence there is between each song, from a few seconds to none. Some CDs are designed to listened to without the short gaps of silence between songs. These are called "gapless" tracks or CDs and they include some classical music recordings and concert recordings, among others. Find the menu labeled Gap Between Songs. The drop-down menu next to it lets you choose how long the silence between songs will be. For a gapless CD, choose 0 seconds.
  • Use Sound Check - The Sound Check feature of iTunes checks all of the songs on your playlist and tries to adjust them to equal volume (not all songs are recorded at the same volume).
  • Include CD Text - Some CD players, especially in cars, can display the song title or artist name for the song that's playing. If you have one of those CD players and want this information to appear when the CD is playing, check this box.

When you've selected all of your settings, click Burn.

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Eject Disc and Use Your Burned CD

Burning CDs in iTunes, Step 7

At this point, iTunes will begin to burn the CD. The display at the top center of the iTunes window will display the progress of the burn. When it's complete and your CD is ready, iTunes will alert you with a noise.

Click on the drop-down menu in the top left corner of iTunes. In that list, you'll now see a CD with the name you gave it. To eject the CD, click the eject button next to the CD's name. Now you've got your own custom CD ready to give away, use in your car, or do whatever else you'd like with.