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Ripping Audio CDs in iTunes

You don’t have to keep inserting a CD into your Mac to hear its music play because you can use Apple iTunes to rip, or copy, the contents onto the Mac’s hard drive. That’s because when you insert music CDs into your Mac, iTunes typically opens, and the contents of the disc — song titles, artist name, length, album name, and genre — are automatically recognized and copied into iTunes. iTunes actually fetches this licensed information from a massive online database run by a company called Gracenote.

The first time you insert a CD, a pop-up asks whether you’d like to copy the album. Agree and all songs with a check mark next to their name will be copied; be sure to click to deselect any songs you have no interest in before proceeding. In some instances, you’ll copy a CD by clicking the Import CD button at the bottom-right corner of the window instead.

As iTunes goes about its business, a tiny orange circle spins next to the song being ripped; the circle turns green and gains a check mark after it’s been copied. You can monitor the progress of your imports also by looking at the top display. It shows you how much time remains before a particular track is captured and the speed at which the CD is being ripped.

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Incidentally, you can listen to the CD (or do other work) while ripping a disc. After iTunes has completed its mission, remove the CD by clicking Eject (the rightmost icon at the bottom of the screen). Copied songs are stored in the iTunes library.

If you weren’t connected to the Internet and couldn’t grab song names when copying a disc, you don’t need to reinsert the CD into the computer the next time you’re on the Net. Select songs and open the Advanced menu and choose Get CD Track Names.

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