Apple Music CD won't play via AirPods

I don’t do this very often, but today I decided to listen to a CD on my Mac. I have a Samsung Blu-ray drive. I put the CD into the drive and the Music app opened. It offered to rip the music, but I didn’t want to do that. I pressed play and the music played through the MacBook Pro speakers. But when I connected my AirPods Pro the music stopped. Nothing I did could get the music to play again until I switched back to the MacBook Pro speakers. Anyone have a clue why this doesn’t work?

That seems like a perverse form of DRM. My total guess would be either “no-one ever thought to test that” or something about the way CD audio plays may be different. I.e. I know playing CD audio is a different mode to getting data off a CD, even if it’s an audio CD. Playing CD audio may directly feed the audio from the drive to the speakers and miss out on the whole sound subsystem. As I say, total guess.

You should totally be able to do that, and I really can’t guess why it won’t work for you. Audio routing can be wonky some times, so I have a small utility called “Output” in my menu bar. I don’t use it that frequently, because I have a stable setup for sound that I use 99% of the time, but will try to connect a BT headset to the Mac later.

If it’s a standard CD (and not one of the famed Sony releases that came with it’s own root kit) there is no DRM. At the time of its introduction, nobody had enough storage to spend 600+ MB on a single album. That changed quickly, but the standard remained DRM free. (It does offer to rip it, right?)

Fascinating. I can’t get it to work either. Inserting the CD opens the “Music” app and it will only (as far as I can tell) output to “This Mac” through either built-in speakers or my USB connected DAC. Bluetooth and AirPlay targets are silent, hitting “Play” does not start the count-up of elapsed time.

Playing any track from my library is fine though. So weird…

Of course, the Mac would need to re-encode an AAC stream to transmit over BT or AirPlay on the fly, but surely it should be able to? The same would be required for pulling an Ogg-track from Spotify and push to Bluetooth too, right?

Yes, I was able to rip the CD and then I can listen via my AirPods. Sounds to me like a bug. Probably no one thought to test it. Who still listens to CDs anymore?

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I have this issue with my Beats Wireless Solo headphones but I have been able to get it to work if I do things in a particular order.

  1. Restart Computer
  2. Connect bluetooth headphones
  3. Open Sound in System Prefs and make sure both output and input are set to your bluetooth headphones.
  4. Open Apple Music
  5. Play something from your library
  6. Insert a Music CD and play.

If for some reason Apple Music locks up or it stops playin CD audio, you pretty much need to reboot and follow these steps. If Music is open before you connect the headphones, or the output is not selected properly in System Prefs before Music is open you will not be able to get them working. Its a weird quirk but I hope this helps.

Seems it’s an Apple Music bug. There’s a bunch of errors reported in the Console when I try to play a CD through AirPods on my Mac. Tried on an M1 Mac with SuperDrive and AirPods Pro.

As a workaround I would recommend using IINA. It’s a free media player and is useful when you need to deal with a media file that is too exotic for QuickTime. And the UX is much better than VLC. I have tried playing the CD through that and it worked flawlessly.

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I’m so happy someone else still uses CDs! Sorry about the bug though that sounds frustrating.

No dice. I tried rebooting 3 times. Twice with AirPod Max and once with regular AirPods. I followed your instructions exactly, but the CD refuses to play. Disconnect the headphones and it plays.

Just out of curiosity, are you on an Intel or and M1 based Mac? I am on a new Intel iMac.

Out of curiosity from me, if it’s an Apple Music bug can’t you use another app? VLC?

In my case I was digitizing my old CD collection, and I don’t necessarily want every song so I was listening to which tracks I want before importing them. I have a 20k+ song iTunes library so using another Music app would be sorta dumb although I suppose I could use another app to rip the songs and then import them to Music, but I prefer to groom my music prior to ripping. Obviously I could do it a bazillion other ways like use wired headphones, or use it at a time of day I can use speakers, or another app etc. The point is it’s an annoying bug and should be fixed.


I thought it was just me or I was doing a “duh” so I actually feel relieved but also pissed I found this awesome thread and conversation. I just spent a whole lot of cheese on another Mac set up that will be 100% dedicated as a music server. In a super dumb arse move I didn’t back up my old iTunes library and the drive in storage for ten years is now frozen. So I may have to re-rip 1,500 CDs. Like others here, I will need to preview some of those CDs and I was hoping to make it easy and use my AirPods. But they freeze Music the moment they are activated. Very oddly, Music Radio and everything from my past Library plays fine through the AirPods and Apple Music. Even more oddly, I can click on the disc icon on my screen, showing what is in the Apple SuperDrive, and it will play through my AirPods if I use QuickTime. So it’s a bug in Apple Music. Using the Apple SuperDrive AND AirPods freeze up the “Device” (i.e. the SuperDrive). Apple is supposed to be for artists, creators, and music and video folks. This bug needs to get fixed.

I have a new to me 2014 Mac mini (along with several other Macs) with Intel chip. I followed the steps exactly several times. No dice.

You have the drive and it’s just unresponsive or corrupted in places? If so, and you haven’t tried this yet, I recommend sending it to a recovery service. The money to save that much effort will be worth it.

I’ve used DriveSavers three or four times since the late 90’s. They’re miracle workers but it’s always cost $2000+.

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I was thinking half that, but it would depend on the nature of the damage. Above $1k, a bulk CD ripping service would be better, depending on how the collection is stored/organized.

It’s a relief that I don’t have a dud mac and can see others in the process of also digitizing their CDs have stumbled across the same issue.

Such a shame this doesn’t work properly as it would have been super useful to use AirPods to sieve through each track but I guess I’ll have to dig out some wired earphones!