Rip DVD on Mac: Create DVD images under OS X and macOS with the Handbrake app

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If you want to rip a DVD on your Mac, i.e. copy it to the hard drive, the Handbrake app for OS X and macOS will help you - you can use it to copy films and series from the DVD to the hard drive of Mac and MacBook. Where you get the software, which settings you should make and further information you will find in this article. So you are then independent of the discs again, as you are used to from streaming services;)

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Rip DVDs to the hard drive on your Mac: Convert films to videos

On a stationary Mac, it may not bother to have the Superdrive or another external DVD drive connected. But if you are traveling with your MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and so on or want to drag films and series onto the iPad, then you need an alternative. If you can't find the film or series you want on a streaming service like Amazon Prime Video or Netflix, the only thing that helps is to rip the corresponding DVDs, i.e. to save a DVD image on the hard drive of your Mac or MacBook.

The Handbrake app and its download for OS X, macOS, Windows, Ubuntu and Co you can find here.

The best settings for copying DVDs with Handbrake on a Mac

If you use the handbrake App uses to copy DVDs or their films and series episodes to the hard drive on the Mac, then you can make some very extensive settings. These help you to create a video file of less than 500 MB from the originally huge DVD track of several GB in size. So that neither video nor audio suffer, I have compiled the settings for you here, which should lead to a very good result:

  • Best video format for DVD rip: MP4
  • Recommended video codec: 264 (x264)
  • Frame rate: best Same as source (same as with source) and Constant frame rate (constant rate)
  • Video quality: Constant quality with an RF value of 20 (Why RF 20? Here is a comparison)
  • Preset: Slow or very slow (small output file); faster settings result in larger files
  • tune: Movie, and the checkmark next to Fast decode omitting
  • Level: 3,1

Note: with these settings you create a DVD rip that takes up comparatively little space on your hard drive and still shows a high quality. This transcoding of the video and audio information takes a correspondingly long time; this is not a task for in between;)

More help, instructions and tips for the Handbrake Mac app

In the list with the best settings I have linked a video for you to compare different RF values ​​with regard to video quality. There are numerous other guides (in English) from the maker of this video that you can use for the optimal DVD rip on Mac, PC and Co. You can find these tips, tricks and instructions for the Handbrake app at If you have worked your way into the program a bit and know the individual settings, then you can (relatively) quickly and easily copy films and series from a DVD to the hard drive.

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  1. Martin says:

    In the article, however, there is no indication that only unprotected DVDs are copied. For protected DVDs you have to use a few additional tricks ...

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi Martin! Yes, that's right ... but protected ones shouldn't be copied either. ? I don't even know whether you can even name the "additional tricks", because you are practically promoting illegal activities ...?

    • Thomas Sigrist says:

      Is there a hint somewhere on the net what you have to do to make it work? I have a huge DVD collection (all originals) which I want to rip for my own use.
      Incidentally, this is also legal in Switzerland.

      • sir appleot says:

        Hello Thomas! So on the Mac you have really bad cards ... the built-in drives recognize the copy protection and do not allow reading. This cannot be circumvented with software either. A Windows PC is definitely the better choice for ripping. And if you now get the idea to rip the DVDs with Parallels Desktop: That doesn't work either, since macOS and the drive have already negotiated one level "lower" that nothing will be ripped if there is copy protection. The only thing I haven't tried is to rip Windows with Bootcamp ... that might still work.
        VG! Jens

  2. Heinz says:

    And which interesting DVDs are not copy-protected ???
    Are there DVDs still in the age of Bluray ???

    • sir appleot says:

      I have to admit that I prefer DVDs to Bluray. I don't appreciate the difference in resolution after 5 minutes anyway and all these pointless trailers, which you get pushed into the Blurays even more heavily than with DVDs, are really annoying to me.

  3. Holger says:

    Since there are hardly any unprotected DVDs, the whole article is irrelevant from the start.

    • sir appleot says:

      Most current blockbusters are certainly provided with copy protection, but I've also had a number of DVDs that could be copied without any problems. Especially the children's films, which I like to rip so that the kids can take them with me on the iPad for longer trips, are often not protected.

      • Martin says:

        DVDs can be ripped with little effort - regardless of whether they are protected or unprotected. With BluRays it looks a bit different - but it works too ... with significantly more time.
        In my opinion, I have never seen unprotected DVDs. CSS is included on every commercial DVD.

        • Johannes Domke says:

          There are some DVDs that do not have copy protection. Some of them with children's films or series. In other words, content that you would rarely download or share via file sharing, but where the private copy is even more worthwhile because the children can use it themselves - without having to worry about the original disc. There are also discs from the early days of DVDs that also offer blockbusters without copy protection. In addition, there are not such commercial offers as documentation and information material issued by organizations / authorities.

  4. Piet says:

    i would love to put tv series on my mac and then play them on my ipad, because i'm traveling a lot and i would prefer the "self-chosen" and purchased entertainment than surfing the net ... if only i knew how i do it dvd could play

    • Johannes Domke says:

      Hello Piet,
      I think DVDs would be the worse alternative here. For saving series on the iPad, I would rather recommend a video-on-demand provider such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Maxdome. These let their customers save most of the content locally (or mobile) so that series and films can be enjoyed even without an Internet connection; also on the iPad. In addition, the providers offer a free trial month so that you can test the offer. Here is an article about it: Amazon, Netflix, Maxdome and Sky Ticket in comparison

  5. Carl Brewer says:

    Hello, thanks for the useful and easy post! It's nice that you can rely on the tests and settings of others!

    But what didn't work for me: I have a DVD with several films (clips) from a film festival, and Handbrake only rips one film at a time, namely the one that is set under "Title" in the GUI. How can I convert the whole DVD to an mp4?

    I have already made an ISO so that I can put the DVD away in the basement, but with 6GB that is a bit unwieldy on the Ipod etc.

    Thanks for a tip!

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Carl! That's a good question ... I can't understand it because I don't have your DVD and I haven't used Handbrake in a long time. But normally you should be able to mark multiple clips and then rip them. Can you ONLY rip the first one or another one, but only one at a time? LG! Jens

  6. hintzsche says:

    -O curl
    sudo mkdir -p / usr / local / lib
    sudo mv libdvdcss.2.dylib / usr / local / lib /

    Simply enter that into the terminal and then you can rip any DVD

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