Disc Burning Quick Assist

Whether you want to have a tangible copy of your GarageBand creation, burn a customized disc of songs in iTunes, manually back up certain files to a CD/DVD, or put an iDVD or iMovie creation on a disc, this article will show you how to create your own CDs and DVDs, and help you troubleshoot issues that may occur.


This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Disc Burning Quick Assist

Optical drives that let you burn discs are included with most Macs. To learn what kinds of discs your Mac's optical drive (if it has one) can burn to, choose About This Mac from the Apple () menu, then click More Info to open System Profiler. In System Profiler, click the "Disc Burning" line. The types of CDs and DVDs that your drive can write (burn) are listed in the right side of the window. Blank DVDs can hold more than CDs can.

What do you need help with?

Burning CDs and DVDs using the Finder in Mac OS X

Use the Finder in Mac OS X if you want to burn specific files to a disc.

Note: If you want to back up your entire system, you should use Time Machine (with a hard disk). Burning discs is a good choice for copying select files to a disc, rather than your entire system.

In Mac OS X, you can either:

  • Insert a blank disc, drag files you want to burn to the disc, then click Burn or choose Burn from the File menu. See this article for more information.


  • You can create a Burn Folder named with what you want your disc's name to be, fill it with content you want to burn to disc, click Burn when ready, and insert a disc when prompted. To create a Burn Folder, in the Finder choose New Burn Folder from the File menu.

Burning discs in applications such as iDVD, iTunes, iMovie, GarageBand

You can burn discs from iDVD, iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand. To get specifics about creating and burning discs in any of these applications, open the application, choose Application name Help from the Help menu, and type burn disc in the Search field.

Burning disk images

If you want to burn a disc from a master disk image, such as a software disk image you downloaded to make a disc from, you can use Disk Utility.

Burning an audio CD using iTunes

  1. Create a new playlist of songs
    From the File menu, choose New Playlist. Type a name for your playlist in the Source list (this will become your CD's name), and then drag songs from your library to your new playlist. To change the song order, select your playlist and just drag and drop songs in the order you want. Note that you add more songs, the total time and MB values at the bottom of the window will increase. Be sure you stay within the limits of how much your blank CD can hold (a disc's capacity is usually printed on the disc itself). Make more playlists if you have too much for a single disc.
  2. Burn your disc
    With your playlist selected, choose the Burn Playlist to Disc from the iTunes File menu. Insert a blank, recordable CD into your disc drive to start burning it.

Top troubleshooting tips

In addition to the following tips, check out these articles:

Solving problems with burning discs
If the disc burning options are dimmed or unavailable

  • If a burn does not succeed, check the disc or try another disc
    Eject the disc from the drive and inspect it to see if the surface is dirty or scratched, or if it already has data written on it (the shiny surface is slightly darker where data has already been burned). If it's dirty, wipe it clean with a soft, damp cloth and try burning again. If the disc already contains data, try another disc. If you're using a rewritable disc that already contains data, be sure to erase it before burning data on it again. Small flaws or surface inconsistencies can cause an unsuccessful burn. Try burning your content to another disc or try a different brand of disc (if possible).
  • Make sure that your optical drive can record discs
    If your drive is built into your Mac, make sure that you have at least a Combo Drive if you want to burn a CD or a SuperDrive if you're trying to burn a DVD (or CD). Consult your Mac manual or your third-party manufacturer's disc drive manual for more information.
  • Check the disc type
    Make sure that your disc drive is capable of writing to your media at hand. For example, you won't be able to burn a DVD+RW disc with an older Apple SuperDrive. Consult your Apple or third-party product manual for your drive's supported media specifications. You should also use discs that are rated for the burn speed of your drive.
  • Slow things down
    In the Burn dialog, specify a burn speed that is slower than the maximum speed rating for your disc drive (if you can) and try burning another disc.
  • Free up some memory
    If you've got other applications open, quit the ones that you're not using (or quit them all except for the one from which you're burning your disc). Allow the disc to burn before doing other things on your computer.
  • Check your hard drive's available space
    When you burn a disc, your Mac temporarily sets aside an amount of hard disk space equal to the amount of data being burned to the disc. If you're burning a large amount of data, you may run out of room on your hard disk if it's almost full, which may prevent a disc from burning. To free up space, throw out unwanted files or back up files to an external drive.
  • Restart your computer
    Sometimes a simple restart can resolve issues. Once you've restarted your Mac, try burning another disc again.
  • Update your software
    Use Software Update (from the Apple menu, choose Software Update) to check for, download, and install the latest versions of your Apple software. If you're using a third-party burner, visit the manufacturer's website for the latest software updates for your model.
  • Check your connections
    If you're using an external disc writer, make sure that all of your cable connections are secure and that the optical drive is powered on.

Still having issues?

If the tips above don't resolve your issue, here are some other things to try:

  • Use the Search tool on our Support site to search for your particular issue.
  • Search our Discussions forums for disc burning advice from other users.
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