Today we’re taking a look at a range of different CD and DVD burning tools for your Mac. Along with those bundled with your machine already, we’ll consider a number of third party applications that specialise in different fields. Some are delightful in their simplicity, others pack a huge feature set.
Whether you regularly produce and burn optical media, or just need to share a few photos from time to time, there will be something here for you!
Third Party Apps
Disco caused something of a splash in the Mac developer community when it launched a few years ago. The fascinating interface, coupled with a simple burning process makes it a really interesting candidate. When creating your disc, the app emits virtual “smoke”, that even reacts to you blowing into your Mac’s microphone.
Although Disco hasn’t seen a great deal of development in recent years, it’s still worth trying the demo if you’re looking for something futuristic and simple.
For a completely free app, Burn has a lot to offer. We recently reviewed the application, and it’s a good place to start if you’d like to find out more.
Split into four “modes” of Audio, Video, Data, and Copy, it’s capable of creating a wide range of different disc types.
Developer: Open Source
The heavyweight player in the disc burning industry, Toast comes at a hefty price with a feature set to match. It’s been around for 10 years and the chances are that if you can imagine a way in which you’d need to interact with optical media, Toast will be able to do it.
It certainly isn’t for everyone (don’t buy it just because it’s an industry leader), but if you need to do something very specific it may be the best option.
From the makers of Toast, Popcorn is designed for helping to rip, copy and convert DVD content. The main sticking point is that (understandably) the software doesn’t rip commercial DVDs with copy-protection. Although this makes sense, in my opinion it makes popcorn a little redundant for anything other than home videos.
Considering you can find free software that does a very similar thing, I wouldn’t recommend shelling out $50 unless you know exactly why you need Popcorn in particular.
BurnX Free lets you burn a CD or DVD by dragging and dropping files or folders to the main window, and you can use sessions so multiple burns can be done in the same disc (CD only). It also has the ability to erase a CD or DVD.
As the name suggests, it’s completely free. The only downside is that it’s starting to look a little dated compared to a few of the other tools featured here.
BurnAgain FS places a great deal of emphasis on the idea of multi-session burning, and being able to use a CD or DVD more like a hard drive. You can add and remove items from the disk, and BurnAgain takes care of hiding the technicalities of how the process works.
Discs burned using the app work cross-platform, and you can download a trial that gives you 20 burns for free before deciding whether to purchase.
Developer: Free Ride Coding
SimplyBurns has a fairly straight-forward interface, and provides functionality for creating audio and data discs, ripping, copying media, and burning an image already stored on your computer.
If you’re weighing up the different free options, SimplyBurns is worth taking a look at (though probably won’t match up to Burn in terms of functionality).
Developer: Martin Köhler
In-Built OS X Apps
I’m sure you’re already familiar with iTunes for storing and playing music/video, but did you know it can also burn CDs? Just select a playlist, then click “Burn” in the lower right hand corner. You can either create a standard Audio CD, or an MP3 CD, depending upon your preferences.
iTunes will also let you backup your entire music library to optical media. You click File > Library > Backup to Disc, and keep feeding iTunes DVDs until it’s done. It could take a while!
Burning is built right into Finder, and can be initiated in a few different ways. Click File > New Burn Folder, and you’ll be looking at a new folder into which you can drag-and-drop content to burn to a disc. If you have a folder you want to use already, just right click it and select “Burn “x” to Disc”.
iDVD is Apple’s more full-featured DVD burning tool, geared primarily towards producing home movies containing video and photos. In a few clicks you can produce something that looks professional, and probably won’t bore your friends and family to tears.
Which App Do You Use?
We all have our preferences for particular burning applications, so which do you use on a regular basis?
I’m finding that it’s something I need to do less and less frequently, as most data backup and sharing I do tends to be centred around hard drives, or USB devices! Is this something you’re discovering to be the case as well?