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How to burn a CD of photos (or any files)

So you’ve just exported some photos from iPhoto and you want to burn them (or any files) onto a CD or DVD. Your Mac makes this easy. Here’s how.

Video too small? Watch full screen by clicking the YouTube Full Screen button button here

To copy files onto a blank disc, you can just drag folders and files onto the blank disc icon CD-R icon on your Dock. But if you want to watch your progress filling up the disc (CD or DVD), then open the blank disc in the Finder so you can see the available space shrink as you drag files onto the disc.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Michel St-Arneault July 21, 2012, 1:33 pm

    Hi there,

    We’ve got an iMac computer with the following specs:
    Hardware Overview:

    Model Name: iMac
    Model Identifier: iMac7,1
    Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
    Processor Speed: 2 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 1
    Total Number Of Cores: 2
    L2 Cache: 4 MB
    Memory: 2 GB
    Bus Speed: 800 MHz
    Boot ROM Version: IM71.007A.B03
    SMC Version (system): 1.20f4

    Now when we try to put any kind of blank CD, in the side slot, it seems like it can’t read it and keeps on ejecting it after about 10-15 seconds of us inserting it in. At some point, it did read a photo CD but not without about 10 attempts. It’s really driving my wife and I crazy and I’m just wondering what could prevent it from reading what’s being inserted. Oh yes, we did try to use a cleaning disc as well… to no avail.

    Other than buying a separate Optical Burner, is there anything else that could be done to rectify this problem?


    Ajax, Ontario

    • Steve July 24, 2012, 12:53 am

      Hi Michel, I’ll give you the same answers the Apple Store gave me when I had the same problem. They first suggested trying a different brand of blank CD. I bought some new famous name blanks and then had problems too. Then I took my MacBook Pro back to the Apple Store and they replaced my optical drive. I was lucky and was still within the 3 year AppleCare window. I suspect your iMac7,1 is over three years old so you’ll probably have to buy a replacement (or separate) drive. I wish I had better news for you, but the optical drives are one of the few moving parts in your iMac and they don’t last forever.

  • laine September 3, 2012, 11:46 pm

    Hi. I’m new to iphoto, and I just found your site. LOVE it! You make it so easy to understand.

    One little problem: When I create my albums, like you showed, and export them to my desktop, the photos do not appear in a nice folder– they are spread out all over my desktop.

    What am I doing wrong, and how do I get them back? It’s a mess of over 60 photos scattered across my desktop. lol


    • Steve January 16, 2013, 8:43 pm

      I guess I went through this part a little quickly on the video. During the export process, I don’t select the Desktop, I create a new folder within the Desktop and export the files into it. You can see that about 3:45 into the video here: How to burn a CD of photos in iPhoto

  • Kim January 16, 2013, 7:03 am

    Michael, thanks for your site. I’m having trouble figuring out how to keep the title name of the photo when I burn it. I see it in the burn folder as I’ve named it, but after it burns I’m back to all the photo numbers.

    Why can’t I keep the photo renamed from title to text on each photo?

    Mac OS X
    using iphoto

    • Steve January 16, 2013, 8:37 pm

      Hi Kim, that does sound strange. Are you setting the “File Name” to “Use title” when you Export the photos from iPhoto?

      Also, it’s my site, not Michael’s. 🙂

  • Amy March 20, 2013, 9:58 am

    Thank you. Clear and simple instructions. Easy to follow. Just what I needed.

    • Steve March 20, 2013, 11:52 am

      Well, thank you, Amy!

  • mley May 31, 2013, 8:19 am

    Can a DVD made this way play on a TV? Tried and it and when you load the DVD into the player , the TV shows the disk with the word DATA under the disk, & it will not play. It went through the burn and verification process. What are we missing?

    • Steve May 31, 2013, 8:59 am

      No, DVDs made that way won’t work in a typical DVD player. You need to use the iDVD application. It will make a DVD that works on your TV and also let you customize background music, slideshow features, and the menu that shows up on the TV. You can watch a bunch of Apple tutorials about how to use iDVD here: https://www.apple.com/findouthow/movies/idvd.html .

  • Vanessa October 12, 2013, 11:01 am

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Great video and easy to follow. Believe it or not, I’ve been a Mac user for years….and this is the first time I’ve burned a cd of pics (for my in-laws). They will appreciate it.
    Thank you again 🙂

  • Sarah May 29, 2014, 8:34 pm

    Your video was very, very helpful! Thanks so much for making burning to a CD an easy, uncomplicated process..

  • julie July 31, 2014, 9:14 am

    The videos were very helpful and managed quite easily – thanks a ton!

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