OS X Lion: Disc Handling and Preferences

I admit it—I liked Front Row. I’m one of the tortured souls who enjoyed using it to play my music and videos. But now that it’s gone the way of the dinosaur, you might need to adjust the settings for DVDs, for example, to make them do something other than sit on their behinds when you insert them. In this tip, we’ll also take a look at some of the other preferences we have for discs on our Macs—for the time being, anyway, until none of our machines come with optical drives. Then in a few years, some whippersnapper will ask me what a CD is. Get off my lawn, kid.

So if you look in System Preferences > CDs & DVDs, you’ll notice that this is where most of your disc-handling options reside.

But look at the funny little remnant that I’ve highlighted above! My computer is still set to open Front Row when I insert a video DVD, and it has that helpful little default document icon next to it. The practical problem with this is that when I insert a DVD into my Mac, nothing happens. Oh, Lion, you so crazy. To fix this issue if you’re having it, too, just toggle the drop-down menu off of Front Row and onto something else—DVD Player, for example, or whatever third-party application you crafty little devils are using.

While you’re hanging out in that System Preferences pane, you might want to have a look at your other choices if you haven’t before. It’s pretty neat to have your Mac do everything you command it to with discs when you insert them. On that note, you can also examine the preferences in the individual programs to see if there are special options for the way that discs can be handled. 

Let’s first check out what’s built in to your DVD Player application (assuming, of course, that you’ve set that as your default program for DVDs above). Go to the program and click on DVD Player > Preferences, and the choices we’re looking for are under the “Player” tab. There are all sorts of things in there for you to toggle on and off at will; my favorite is telling DVD Player to enter full screen mode when it’s opened. It’s almost like being in a theater with a really, really small screen. 

For another example, set the “When you insert a music CD” drop-down to “Open iTunes” in the System Preferences pane as above. Then go to your iTunes application and choose iTunes > Preferences. If you then click on the “General” tab, one of the choices you have is “When you insert a CD.” Switch that preference to “Import CD and Eject,” and you’ll have a much faster way to bring your CDs into your digital library. Pop it in—automatic import! It ejects when it’s done! Bam! Pow! Gosh, I wish I had a Batman font for this one.