Burn: Free & Functional CD/DVD Burning for Mac

Burning files to CD or DVD, although gradually becoming an outdated practice, is still a necessary function for many people. Mac OS X comes bundled with some basic disc writing capabilities in iTunes and the Finder, however these options do not give you full control over some of the finer details of burning to optical media

Today I’ll be reviewing the free, open-source burning application (aptly named) Burn. Although keeping things simple on the surface, Burn packs quite a bit of useful power and custom functionality under the hood.

What It Does

Burn provides the standard file-to-disc writing features. At its most basic, the process for burning discs involves dragging the files you need to be written onto the window. Burn can handle almost any file you throw at it. The left column shows each filename, and in the right column the file size is displayed.

Burn checks a disc when you insert to calculate how much free space is available. This lets it keep a live count of the space you will be taking up as you queue up files to be burned.

You can see more disc information by going to, appropriately, ‘Disc Info.’ The available space, what kind of disc you have inserted, and whether or not its writable.

You can give the disc a specific name and, when you’re happy, you simply hit the ‘Burn’ button. That’s it! Now just sit back and wait for the app to finish. The most satisfying part? That hot off the press warmth that the disc has coming out of your DVD drive. Of course that’s just the simplest use case. Next, I’ll go over the specifics for each different mode that Burn has to offer.

Ready to Burn

Ready to Burn

The Modes


With data mode, you have the option to adjust which filesystem you want the disc to be compatible with. You have access to the following:

  • HFS+ (Mac only)
  • Joliet (Can be read by most computers)
  • UDF (The most common format for use with DVDs)
  • HFS Standard
Adding Data

Adding Data


Burn can write an Audio CD, MP3 CD, and a DVD-Audio disc. The Audio CD must be burned to a CD, however the MP3 can be burned to any disc. DVD-Audio is supported by some DVD players, and they can contain very high quality audio files.

Preparing an Audio CD

Preparing an Audio CD

Burn can also convert between different formats. For instance, when I tried to burn an MP3 disc with files that where .MP4, it offered to convert each file for me. Burn can also create folders for albums and artists, adjust the bit-rate, and the audio mode (mono, or stereo.)

Converting Audio Files

Converting Audio Files


You have access to VCD, SVCD, DVD-Video, and DivX when burning video. DVD-Video is the most common format used to distribute video. You have a lot of options for writing videos with Burn. Which region code (PAL, NTSC), which audio codec, video and audio bitrate and the layout of DVD menu. There are many more details for you to tweak and perfect.

Burning a Video DVD

Burning a Video DVD


This is a really neat aspect of Burn. You choose a disc image and an already existing disc. This feature works just like any of the others. You choose your image (dmg, img, toast, iso, cdr, dvdr, cue/bin and TOC) or the existing disc and hit ‘Burn.’ Its that simple, and you’ll have an exact copy of the image in no time at all.

Customizing The Disc

Burn gives you very fine control over the minute details of your completed disc. This power is offered through the inspector window. The information you can edit varies depending on which mode you are using. When editing the information of a disc in data mode, you have access to different fields depending on the filesystems you are burning for. The list is far too long to reproduce here, but a few of them are:

  • Title
  • Icon
  • File permissions
  • Copyright Information
Customising Disc Data

Customising Disc Data

A Few Bugs

Burn, the great app that it is, isn’t without a few bugs. Something I regularly came across was the text field for naming discs forbidding me from entering text. Other times, certain aspects of the interface don’t work as they should. The software can be a little rough around the edges. While Burn remains usable, these interface niggles detract from the underlying quality of what’s on offer.


Burn brings many advanced CD/DVD burning features to your Mac, and packs them into a surprisingly simple interface. Despite this, I don’t feel that – for the average user, – you’ll gain much benefit by swapping across from iTunes or Finder. If you need to have any level of control over the type of disc you’re burning, Burn is a compelling (and free) option.


A great solution for more advanced burning needs, Burn gives you complete control - whether you're creating a Audio, Video, or Data disc. A few interface bugs hinder the experience, but Burn is compelling, free solution.



Add Yours
  • this app is awesome , i just tried it yesterday and i like it very much .. it is a decent alternative for Toast

  • Hi,

    Thanks for this useful and interesting article.
    I read that in Nero you can record straight away images from a video camera.
    Do you know if Burn does the same?



    • If the camera is behaving as mass-storage, then yes. Just drop the files to Burn window.

      • Thanks Richard, I’m afraid that my camera is analogue, now I understand that the same must be in Nero.

        Thanks for your help.


  • This has been around for a while, and is a great fallback when Finder won’t quite cut it. Great little beast.

    • Nerd

  • Very nice indeed. I’ve used this a few times when the other solutions don’t do what I need.

    Also, is it just me, or did mac.appstorm get a redesign? It looks really nice.

  • Have you tried Disco? It’s by far my favorite burning app :-) Simple, beatiful, macish.

    • I loved Disco, but development seems to have pretty much stopped completely in recent years. The smoke was brilliant :-)

  • yeah disco is cool and the fire effect is amazing and just 5 mega in app folder but for free one burn is pretty cool

  • gfgf

  • Nice guide, thank you for sharing. I also found a guide regarding how to burn DVD on Mac, it works pretty well for me, share it here.

  • I use disco. It’s a great app, for the simple things that i usually do

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  • It also converts EVERY media-file possible, for example an AVI to DVD-Video… Amazing.

  • Hack again?!

  • I use nero and nero is all that I have used to burn DVDs. And I have heard of disco. But isn’t nero way better than disco as far as daily every day needs are concerned? And burn also sounds almost just the same nero. Is there any feature about burn which makes it better than nero ? I would like to give burn a try. Where can I download a demo version to see if it suits me?

  • is true, this has been around for a while, and is a great return when Finder does not quite cut it. Great little beast.Hugs!

  • Well, reading this review gave me some interesting details and a new perspective that I needed a lot. Unfortunately, I didn’t really know that Burn provides the standard file-to-disc writing features and much of the other info here and in other sections on this website is new to me, so I’m happy that I came here after all.

  • High grade web site; I am going to certainly keep returning to your website for extra information and facts.
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  • Thanks for sharing! I’m glad to see these changes for burning software! It’s looking better each time I try. Orlando Christmas Lights Installers

  • good posting

  • nice stuff you guys have here.. Thank you for the software dragon from burn itunes movie to dvd

  • nice tutorial, for Rip DVD to hp touchpad on windows, i’ve got this passage

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  • I give it 5 !
    When compiling an Audio CD It will not let you move tracks up or down, or delete / replace tracks with others. It means you have to start a new file every time. Ridiculous.
    It does not allow DAO to remove 2 second gaps, nor normalise tracks.

    To its credit it will allow you to overburn – eg onto a 90 min disc. It will say not enough space but ‘burn anyway’ works a treat. Smooth operation, but the above gripes sadly make it useless for me.

  • So where’s the download icon? Did you forget it?