How to Rip a CD with iTunes on a Mac

April 13, 2011, By Christian Cawley

If you’re using a Mac computer then you probably use iTunes to listen to your MP3s, and purchase new ones from the web.

You should remember, however, that you don’t have to purchase MP3s of tracks you already own on CD – all you need to do with these discs is use iTunes to rip the tracks from the disc and into your iTunes library on your computer.

This is a pretty simple task, but one that newcomers to iTunes tend to ignore, so it is certainly worth explaining here. There are a couple of ways in which you can rip a CD with iTunes, depending upon how many you plan to get through!

How to Rip a CD with iTunes on a Mac

Ripping a Single CD with iTunes

There are obvious benefits in copying tracks from your CDs into MP3s that you can access from your computer, iPhone or iPad. However the main benefit, portability aside, is the saving you make. After all as you already own a copy of the music, you can technically do what you wish with it. Many record companies recognise that they are powerless to stop you ripping the majority of CDs into MP3 format, and therefore impose restrictions on the MP3s rather than the CDs. This is why it is difficult to share MP3s ripped from a CD in iTunes with other users, as Apple apply digital rights management technology to the MP3 on behalf of the music publishers.

As such, before you use iTunes to rip your MP3 you should be aware that there are several alternative applications that you might prefer to use that don’t apply these restrictions.

If you plan to carry on, however, simply insert the CD into your Mac. ITunes should launch and ask “Would you like to import the CD “[CD_NAME]” into your iTunes library?”, where [CD_NAME] is the title of the disc. Click Yes to proceed, and you will find that just a few minutes later the contents of the CD have been imported into iTunes.

Ripping Multiple CDs with iTunes

You might prefer to import multiple CDs rather than a single disc, and this can be done in the same way. However you might prefer to skip the bit where you click “Yes”, and this can be done by opening the iTunes preferences, going to Advanced > Importing and in the section labelled On CD Insert: change the default option to Import CD or Import CD and Eject.

This will save considerable time and allow you to insert and automatically rip CDs while you are busy with other tasks. Note that using the other options on the same screen you can opt to Play songs while importing or converting as well as set the encoding type and bitrate, allowing you to specify the audio quality of the data that is ripped from your discs.

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