The way you get music from your CDs to your iTunes library and thus to your iPod or iPhone is a process called ripping. When you rip a CD, you're copying the CD and converting the music on it to a digital audio format (often MP3, but it could also be AAC or a number of other formats), and then saving those files in your iTunes library for playback or syncing to your mobile device.
While it's pretty easy to copy a CD using iTunes, there are a few things you need to know and a few steps to take.
- To begin the process, you'll want to make sure that you're importing the songs from the CD in the format you prefer. The two most common music formats for use with iOS devices are MP3 and AAC.
- To choose your preferred format, launch iTunes. Next, open the Preferences window (iTunes menu -> Preferences on a Mac; Edit menu -> Preferences on a PC).
- On the first tab, towards the bottom is a section labeled "When you insert a CD." There are a number of options there, but you'll likely want to choose either "Ask to Import CD" or "Import CD", which will automatically begin copying the CD to your library.
- Next, click the "Import Settings" button next to that drop-down menu. In the window that pops up, select your preferred type of file and your preferred quality. The higher the quality, the better the song will sound, though also the larger the resulting file. I'd recommend 256 kbps for a good balance of sound quality and file size.
- Click "OK" in the pop up. Then click "OK" in the Preferences window to save this change.
NOTE: If you're looking for how to make a duplicate of a CD, rather than copying its content to your hard drive, check out this article on how to burn a CD using iTunes.