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How to Increase the Import Speed for CDs in iTunes

Updated March 23, 2017

Like other media managers, Apple's iTunes program includes functionality for importing, or ripping, audio CDs -- transforming the tracks on the CD into individual audio files playable in iTunes or other audio programs. Although importing a CD into iTunes takes less time than actually playing the CD, it may still move too slowly for you. You can do a few things to improve import times, from shutting down unnecessary system-resource-hogging programs to installing an entirely new CD drive.

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  1. Quit as many other applications as possible. Ideally, iTunes will be the only application running. This frees up memory and processor capacity for the import process.

  2. Disable iTunes' error checking. This is a function designed to minimise the effects of physical damage to the CD. With error checking off, scratches or pits may result in snatches of garbled digital noise. This usually isn't worth the added speed, but if you're confident that your CD is pristine, you can get away with it. Disable error checking by opening the "iTunes" menu and clicking "Preferences," then "General" and then "Import Settings." Uncheck the "Use error correction while reading audio CDs" box and click "OK."

  3. Install an external CD drive. This is a drastic step, but cheap optical drives sometimes have significantly faster read times than the drive built into Macs. Check your computer's documentation for information on its CD read speed, and shop for a faster drive. Once you have installed the drive, iTunes will be able to read its contents just as it reads that of your current drive, and read times may be increased.

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About the Author

Theon Weber

Theon Weber has been a professional writer and critic since 2006, writing for the Village Voice, the Portland Mercury, and the late Blender Magazine. He was a staff writer at the Web-based Stylus Magazine from 2005 to its closure in 2007.

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