How to Copy a Music CD to iTunes

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Getting Started

Transferring CD to Portable Device
Transferring music CDs to your Portable. Image © Thinkstock Images / Stockbyte / Getty Images

The fastest way to start building your music library is to import your CD collection to iTunes. It's a great way to centrally manage your music collection and keep your original CDs in a safe place. Once your CD collection has been converted into digital music files, you can synchronize them with your iPod or compatible player.

If you haven't already installed iTunes on your Mac or PC, then the best place to get the latest version is to download it from Apple's web site.

First, launch your iTunes program and update to the latest version if prompted. Once the iTunes software is running, you can change the file format and encoding settings using the preferences; for the sake of simplicity, we will stick with the default encoding setting (AAC / 256  Kbps) for this tutorial.

Before we begin the tutorial, I would recommend reading the ​dos and don'ts of CD copying and ripping if you're unsure about what you can and can't do.

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Inserting a CD

Insert a CD and wait for a few seconds until you see a list of tracks. The iTunes software will connect to a CDDB (compact disc database) and try to automatically insert the correct album and track titles.

A dialog box will automatically be displayed, asking if you want to import the CD tracks - click yes to start the digital encoding process.

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The Audio Encoding Process

As the encoding process continues, you will see green checks start to appear alongside each track – this signifies that the track has been successfully imported into your iTunes library.

At the top of the screen, a statistics dialog box displays the current track name, time remaining and read speed.

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After the Audio Encoding Process

When the CD encoding (ripping) has completed, you should see a green check next to all the imported tracks. iTunes will start playing the imported music as soon as the CD ripping process is complete. Depending on your settings, as the music plays you will see at the top of the screen either a spectrum analyzer or a progress bar.

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Verifying Your Music Library

To verify that all tracks from the CD are in your music library, simply click on the music icon. As the music plays, you will also see a small speaker graphic next to the current song that is playing.

Next time you connect your iPod, your music library will be automatically synchronized.

To learn how to make your own customised playlists, see the tutorial on iTunes playlists.