How to get movies from DVDs to iOS devices using a Mac (in 15 screenshots)


I recently had a request for instructions on how to get movies from DVDs to iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch). This seems like something iTunes should have built in, right? Well, greedy people somewhere have caused this to be left out, making most end-users pay for the same movie twice, once on DVD and again on the iTunes Store. So following are 15 screenshots made on a MacBook Pro running OS X Lion with instructions for copying movies off of DVDs, and optionally onto an iOS device. Warning: Copying movies from DVDs incorrectly is pirating! Do not distribute any movies you copy from your DVDs! More on pirating at the bottom of the post.


First, you will need to download VLC. VLC is a video player application, and though you never actually need to use it, it’s files are required for HandBrake, the second program. Bring up any web browser, and Google Search for VLC. Click the link that I have highlighted below.


This should bring up a site that has a giant blue button that says Download VLC. Click it. The next page will look like this:


Now, while that downloads, Google Search for HandBrake. Again, click the link that I have highlighted:

Google Search for HandBrake


On the page that this opens, click the Download link on the left. This should bring you to a page like this:

HandBrake Download page


If you know whether your Mac is 64bit or 32bit, choose the corresponding download. If not, and your Mac is fairly new, choose the Download (Intel 64bit) option. If your Mac is fairly old, choose 32bit. You will move to a download page similar to that of VLC. While you are waiting for the downloads to finish, put the DVD you want into the disc drive. As you can see below, I have chosen Wallace & Gromit for my example. Once the two applications have finished downloading, go to your Downloads folder. If you do not know where this is, you can search you computer for it using the magnifying glass symbol on the upper right corner of your screen. Next, in your Downloads folder, double-click the icon that has VLC in it’s name, as shown below.


It will decompress for a minute or so, then pop up with a folder like the one below. When this happens, drag the VLC icon into the Application alias, as below. (This may prompt you for a administrator password.)


Now move back to the Downloads window, and double-click the icon with handbrake in it’s name. This will pop up a window like this:


Double-click the HandBrake icon. This will bring up a warning like the one below; choose Open when that happens.


Now you should have a HandBrake window like the one below. If you don’t, return to step 5, choose the other download option, and then move on to steps 7-9. When it shows up, choose the disc you are planning to copy from, and press Open.


HandBrake will scan the disc for a few minutes. Once it finishes, change the destination and file name to your liking, make sure Formant is set to MP4 file, and then press start.


This will run for about an hour, depending on the length of the movie. While this is happening, bring up iTunes and get your iOS device and its USB plug ready. When it finishes, there should be a .m4v file in the destination folder, and an alert message like this should pop up.


Next, drag the .m4v file into the Library section of the left side of the iTunes window. iTunes automatically sorts it into the Movies tab.


Now, connect your iOS device and choose it on the left side of the iTunes window. Once that is up, choose the Movies button along the top bar.


Click the box in the icon for your movie to add it to your iOS device, then click Apply to finish it. During the sync, the movie will be added to your iOS device, and will be able to be found in the Videos app.


Now you know how to copy movies from DVDs, but you should remember that using this skill incorrectly can be pirating. Just use common sense as your guide; if the DVD is from the library, Netflix, or any other place you eventually return it to, don’t copy it!!! That is pirating and pirating is bad, not to mention illegal. Only copy the DVD if you own it. Also, never sell copies of the movie to anyone. Giving it to them freely is borderline, so don’t do that too often.

This is the first of hopefully many weekly, biweekly, or monthly How-to posts that I will write, exclusive to this website! Next up will be either Wood-burning (not so exclusive) or Water-gun repair. Stay tuned! Or rather, bookmarked. 🙂

Thanks to Nathan, TheGreatBug, and Drew for spell-checking my post and correcting my mistakes.

P.S. If you know how to find whether a Mac is 64- or 32- bit, leave a comment and I will edit the post. Thanks!


One comment on “How to get movies from DVDs to iOS devices using a Mac (in 15 screenshots)

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