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Archived - You're unable to burn a CD in iTunes

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This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

To create audio CDs with iTunes, you must have a compatible CD-RW drive and Mac OS X 10.1 or later (Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later is recommended).

All Apple internal CD-RW drives work with iTunes. To see if iTunes works with an external drive, choose Preferences from the iTunes menu, then click the CD Burning tab. If your drive is listed, it will work with iTunes.

Make sure your computer and display are not set up to go to sleep.

If you've made a CD and it seems to stutter when played back in your external CD-RW drive, try playing it in your internal CD drive or in a stereo system. Some external drives may not play CDs properly.

If your CD burn is unsuccessful and your external drive becomes unresponsive, turn it off and on to reset it.

Make sure your burner is listed as a device or volume in Apple System Profiler. If not, check to make sure it is connected correctly and set up to burn discs.

Check iTunes settings

If you have set the Gap Between Songs to 5 seconds in iTunes preferences, try setting it to something shorter, such as 2 seconds.

Make sure you've chosen the correct disc format for the files you're trying to burn to your CD or DVD. To create an audio CD, you need to choose Audio CD in the Burning pane of iTunes preferences. To create a CD with any type of audio file that iTunes supports (MP3, AAC, AIFF, and so on), you need to choose "Data CD or DVD" in the Burning pane of iTunes preferences.

Songs that aren't selected are not burned to a disc and are dimmed during a burn. If none of the songs in a playlist are selected, you will see the alert "None of these items in this list can be burned to CD."

Set the burn speed in iTunes to 2x:

  1. From the iTunes menu (Mac OS X) or Edit menu (Mac OS 9), choose Preferences.
  2. iTunes 5: Click the Advanced tab and then click the Burning tab. iTunes 3 and 4: Click the Burning tab.
  3. Choose 2x from the Preferred Speed pop-up menu. If the burn is successful, keep trying a faster burn speed until you are unable to burn successfully, then set the burn speed to the last successful speed.

Check CD media

Use a different brand of CD media that is 74 or 80 minutes long. Apple sells blank CDs at the Apple Store that should work with iTunes. Click on Music to find the discs.

If you are using CD-RW (instead of CD-R) discs, only use CD-RW discs that are rated from 1x to 4x speed.

Update your software

For Mac OS X, use Software Update to make sure you have the latest version of Mac OS X and iTunes.

For Mac OS 9, use Software Update to make sure you have the latest versions of Mac OS 9 and Authoring Support.

Quit other applications

Quit all other open applications before burning a CD.

Quit the Classic application environment in Mac OS X. You can do this in the Classic pane of System Preferences.

Allow the drive to complete the burn before you do anything else with the computer. Wait to browse the Internet or listen to music with iTunes until the burn is complete.

Other things to check

If your playlist includes songs that were purchased from the iTunes Store (iTunes 4 only), you can only burn 7 copies of the same playlist to an audio CD. If you can't burn a CD that contains purchased songs, make sure you haven't tried to burn the same playlist 7 times. Additionally, if the song has not been authorized to play on the computer, it will not burn.

When you insert a blank CD, a message asks you to continue, eject, or initialize the volume (disc). Click Continue, then click the Burn button in iTunes to create the CD. To avoid this message, click the Burn button before inserting a blank CD.

If you can't eject a blank CD after you've inserted it, click the Eject button in iTunes.

Tips for external USB CD-R burners

In addition to the steps above, try these additional steps if you have an external USB CD-R burner.

To create CDs with a USB CD-RW drive, set the burn speed in iTunes to 2x. Choose Preferences from the iTunes menu (Mac OS X) or Edit menu (Mac OS 9), then click Advanced tab (iTunes 5) and then the Burning tab. Choose 2x from the Preferred Speed pop-up menu.

Disconnect all other USB devices except the mouse and keyboard.

If you are using a USB hub, disconnect it, and connect the drive directly to the computer's built-in USB port.

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only, and does not constitute Apple's recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.

Important: iTunes software may be used to reproduce materials. It is licensed to you only for reproduction of non-copyrighted materials, materials in which you own the copyright, or materials you are authorized or legally permitted to reproduce. If you are uncertain about your right to copy any material you should contact your legal advisor.

Last Modified: Feb 18, 2012
  • Last Modified: Feb 18, 2012
  • Article: TA44597
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