Ever since Apple introduced disc burning into Mac OS X, third-party software stopped seeing much development. While there aren’t a ton of disc-burning apps still in the running, Burn still stands strong as our top choice thanks to its simplicity, powerful feature set and $0 price tag.
- Burns files
- Creates audio CDs
- Creates simple Video CDs and DVDs with interactive menus
- Create your own DVD menu themes
- Works with versions of Mac OS X as old as 10.3.9
- Easily copy discs with the copy function
- Choose between multiple file system formats for your file-based disc
- Small, simple interface
Burn is a surprisingly powerful application for its size. It exists in a tiny little window and you simply drag files onto it to create the disc you want to create. That disc can simply contain files and folders or you can create a video or audio disc as well. Burn can copy discs, too. Basically, it’s a fast, fully-featured disc burner that is completely free to use and compatible with nearly every version of Mac OS X. It is pretty hard to beat that.
There’s very little to complain about with burn. One of the little things that bothers me is that video DVD burning requires converting your video to .mpg before you can burn it. Burn will actually do this for you, but you have to let it perform the conversion as you drag files in. Again, not a huge deal. It’s nice that Burn tackles this for you. I just kind of wish it handled it before you burn the disc so you could get everything organised beforehand. All in all, you may find little things like this that work in a way you don’t particularly like but others may like just fine. Any complaints really just come down to a matter of preference and are certainly not deal breakers.
Disk Utility and the Finder both offer disc burning as a feature. Disc Utility can burn disc images and the Finder can create CDs and DVDs from files and folders on your computer. If that’s all you need to do, those features are already part of Mac OS X and work pretty well.
Disco (free) is a very cool CD-burning app that has the option of emitting smoke when a disc is burning. This is completely superfluous, but it’s still pretty neat. On the useful side, it offers multi-session support, seamless disc-spanning (for when files are too big to fit on a single CD or DVD), and a record of everything you burn so you can easily search and find what you’re looking for without going through each disc manually. Disco’s development was discontinued in July of 2011. This made it free, but it also made it non-functional on certain machines. It wouldn’t launch on my MacBook Air with OS X 10.7.2, for example, but this could have been a result of the lack of an optical drive. It’s a very good app if it works for you. (I used to use it back when I burned CDs/DVDs.)
Although it has been passed between various development companies over the years, Toast Titanium ($80) is one of the longest-standing disc burning apps for Mac OS X. It can handle discs of any kind, offering many features in the video department. While Burn can rival its burning features, Toast offers a lot in the way of digitising your old media — both audio and video. It’s also capable of burning Blu-ray discs (if you have the necessary hardware). If either of those things are your goal, it might be worth the high price tag.
There are also a few other options, like DiscBlaze and LiquidCD, but we haven’t come across anything that differentiates itself much from what’s listed here. If you’ve got any favourites we didn’t mention, however, be sure to share them in the comments.
Lifehacker’s App Directory is a new and growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools in a number of given categories.