How to Burn Files to a DVD / CD on Mac OS

Jul 11, 2018 - 4 Comments

How to burn files and data to DVD or CD disc on Mac

If you’re a Mac user that has a SuperDrive, DVD burner, or CD burner, you may be interested in knowing that modern versions of Mac OS continue to support a simple native ability to burn files directly to a DVD or CD disc.

Burning files and data to a disc allows for easy backups and file transfers, and remains common in many multimedia rich environments. Additionally, burning files or other data to a disc is particularly helpful for situations where you need to copy or share data with another computer which is not directly networked, nearby, or even a computer which is airgapped.

If this general concept or capability appeals to you but you do not currently have a SuperDrive, DVD burner, or CD burner, then you can use Remote Disc to share a SuperDrive, or you always obtain one yourself. Buying the Apple SuperDrive is a popular option (and you can often make the Superdrive work with an unsupported Mac or even a Windows PC if you happen to have one laying around going unused), but there are a variety of well-rated third party options available from Amazon too. Anyway, let’s assume you already have a SuperDrive with the capability to burn a DVD or CD.

How to Burn a Data Disc on the Mac

You can copy and burn any data or files to a disc by using this method:

  1. If applicable, connect the SuperDrive to the Mac
  2. Create a new folder on the desktop (or elsewhere) and place the files you want to burn to the disc inside that folder
  3. Select the folder you just created containing the files you wish to burn to the DVD / CD
  4. With the folder selected, pull down the “File” menu and choose “Burn ‘Folder’ to Disc…”
  5. How to burn files to a disc on Mac

  6. You’ll be presented with a “Burn Disc” window, when you see this, insert the blank DVD or CD disc into the drive
  7. Insert a blank disc to burn files to

  8. Label the disc you want to burn accordingly, and optionally choose a burn speed, then click on “Burn” to start the process

Burning a disc can take a while depending on the speed of the drive, along with the size of the data being burned and copied to the disc itself. Burning a CD is usually faster than burning a DVD, if for no other reason than a CD has less storage capacity than a DVD does.

Keep in mind that the amount of data you can burn to a particular disc will depend on the size of the files as well as the storage capacity of the target disc, and again a DVD will have more storage available (4.7 GB or so) compared to a CD (700 MB or so).

Once completed you can eject the disc from the Mac and share it as you would normally. Hand it off to a person, take it to another computer, drop it in the mail, send it via FedEx across the world, whatever you want to do.

If this idea of copying data to a physical device and sending it onward appeals to you, but you do not have a SuperDrive nor do you want to get one, you can always copy data to a USB flash drive and send that off or share that as well. Copying data to a USB flash drive does not require burning, as the flash drive maintains both read and write capabilities (unless it is specifically locked).

Mac users can also create a new burn folder from the File menu, or by inserting a blank disc directly into the Mac and choosing to open the Finder, and then dragging and dropping data onto that disc and choosing the “Burn” button in the relevant Finder window.

How to burn a CD or DVD of data or files on a Mac through Burn Folder

The approach covered here obviously pertains to files and data, but you can also use the built-in Burning functionality to burn disc images directly from the Mac Finder, Disk Utility, or even from the command line.

Physical media discs like CDs and DVDs are becoming less common as online data transfer takes over as a dominant form of data transmission and file sharing, but nonetheless discs containing files and data remains an important method of transfer and sharing for many industries, and for many users.

Was this helpful to you for learning how to copy data and files to a disc from a Mac? Do you have any other tips, suggestions, or advice on burning data to DVD or CD on a Mac? Share your experiences and advice in the comments below!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

4 Comments

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  1. avenged110 says:

    The real question is what reliable and full-featured software to use for burning to Blu-Ray discs on OS X. That’s what I’ve really struggled to find since everything I’ve tried is either crap or lacking the features I need.

  2. Alberto says:

    The other problem is burning a CD or a DVD that can be read by any device, that is not only by Macs but by PCs, playstation and so on. I believe that Mac system software doesn’t do (never did) the work ….

    • donisgood says:

      I use Toast Titanium which allows you to burn a cd or dvd that can be read by a machine with Windows :)

    • SunByrd says:

      Alberto,

      The Mac system has always been able to create a format that can be used with a Windows, Linux or Amiga (and others). This goes back to MacOS 7 and has continued since. I have created disks for friends using those systems. I have no idea about playstation or any of the gaming consoles though. I am just providing this as background information not an argument.

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