How to Burn a CD in macOS Monterey / Big Sur
Want to burn a CD on your modern Mac with macOS Monterey or Big Sur with the Music app? You can do that!
Yes indeed, you can rip a CD on your good old modern Macintosh computer, so crawl out of your cave and dust off your caveman clubs, fellow troglodytes, because we are going to learn how to burn a music or audio CD on the Mac.
For the unfamiliar out there, a CD, which stands for Compact Disc, is a form of physical media that was very popular in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, before the days of streaming music over your iPhone from Spotify or Apple Music took over. “Burning a CD” means basically copying a playlist made from music files in the music app to the CD, so that you can play it in a CD player. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, read along!
How to Burn a Music / Audio CD on Mac
You will need an external CDRW or Apple SuperDrive to be able to burn a CD on a Mac, since no modern Mac ships with a CD drive any longer. So have one of those and plug it in to the Mac before beginning.
- Open the Music app
- Pull down the File menu and choose New > Playlist
- Label the playlist something like “CD” and then create the playlist of songs, music, or audio you want to burn to a CD, you can do this by dragging and dropping music into the playlist, or right-clicking on music and choosing “Add to Playlist”
- When finished creating the CD playlist, pull down the “File” menu again and choose “Burn Playlist to Disc”
- Configure the audio CD as you want it to be (typically Audio CD if you want it to be able to play in a standard CD player) then click “Burn”
- Insert a blank CD into the CD-RW drive or SuperDrive and let the music CD rip and burn to completion
The CD will take a while to burn depending on the speed of the drive and how much music or audio is on the playlist, but expect between 5 minutes and 30 minutes or so.
Once it’s finished, eject the disc, and you’re ready to play the CD in any CD player, whether it’s a car, stereo, a discman, or whatever else you have laying around that plays CDs.
For best results you’ll want to use high bit rate audio files, since a CD doesn’t need to stream audio like Spotify or Apple Music, you can go for maximum bit rate and just appreciate the good audio quality.
Note that you can also burn files to a data disc on a Mac, whether it’s a CD or DVD, using a disc as a storage medium rather than just an audio disc, and you can burn those directly through the Finder.
Oh and if you feel up for it, you can also rip a CD on the Mac, turning a CD into audio files on the Mac, that tutorial was written with iTunes but the process is the exact same on Music. Ripping CD’s offers a good way to archive your CD collection. It’s kind of the opposite of burning a CD.
Now you know how to make a CD and burn a disc right from macOS, and it’s the same in macOS Monterey and macOS Big Sur or newer, or any other Mac with the Music app. Try it out!