Top 8 Free DVD Ripper for Mac - Rip DVD to MP4 for iPhone/X/8, iPad and iTunes

Posted by Mia to DVD | May 31, 2018

Before we dig deeper into the free DVD ripper for Mac review. Here are some facts and problems in connection with DVDs.

DVD once had its glory days. Over the past few decades, approx. 86% of U.S. consumers have bought or rent a DVD, and DVD collections have been made up of 87 titles on average. Some may have thousands of titles scattering around their house. If you are one of them, you have to face up to the realities now:

▶ Apple had successively wiped out optical drive from its iMac, Macbook and Mac Pro models since 2008.
▶ Nowadays DVD is anachronistic while online streaming is stage-centered. Statistics from Digital Entertainment Group's year-end report proved the trend: DVD sales dropped to $4.72 billion while streaming took in $9.55 billion. The advent of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and HBO Go changes the way of home entertainment from physical disc to digital video.

In the meantime, I'm sure you have ever come across one or two such ideas:

To follow the trend and live without a disc drive in your Mac computer, smartphone or tablet, no need to make any compromise when these ideas conflict with the facts. The advent of Mac DVD ripping tools will get it all solved.

Wanna backup and digitize DVD for safekeeping or on-the-go watching?

Try MacX Free DVD Ripper - Fast & High Quality

* FREE backup DVD to Mac hard drive and save it in MP4, MOV, etc.
* Convert DVD to a video file perfectly sized for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV.
* Support almost all homemade/commercial DVDs (latest & classic DVDs).
* Merge movie titles, crop out black bars, add subtitles, and more.

Is There a Mac Built-in App to Digitize DVD? No. The ripping process on Mac doesn't go as simple as DVD burning. The latter can be achieved with Mac's built-in app like Finder or iDVD, as long as you have an Apple external USB SuperDrive. While the former is still out of reach with Mac unless you own a third-party DVD converter software.

This is because almost all DVD movies or TV shows you bought or rented are technically copyrighted and DVD rips will inevitably involve in breaking DVD copy protections, e.g. the Content Scramble System. Such action is currently unlawful in the US and UK. Apple is of course unwilling to set against law or money in consideration of continuous cooperation with U.S. studios for iTunes movies, it won't allow you to rip DVD to Mac the way you can burn it. This makes it a sense to download a third-party DVD ripper instead.

Note: We don't accept ripping DVD in such a way to steal the movie you don't legally own.

 

Part 1: How to Judge the Best DVD Ripper for Mac

There are plenty of free DVD copying and ripping software for Mac, which claims to rip any DVDs to any formats, say DVD to MP4, MOV, FLV, MPEG, H.264, etc. But most often, you endure a whole day long sitting aside your Macbook, trying to get the contents off DVDs yet find it crashes constanly, makes scratching high frequency sounds, gets choppy video on output, or keeps giving messages like no valid source found, etc. Therefore, you shall take "something" into consideration prior to download a free Mac DVD ripper. Here are the four decisive elements that make up the best one.

ripping ability

Ripping Ability

DVD studios adopts protections (e.g. CSS) on commercial discs to prevent against illegal distribution. This thwarts DVD conversion, thus many free rippers end up with crash and output disordered content. So the ripper capable of defeating encryption codes is much preferred.

ripping quality

High Quality

DVD transcoding involves in codec compression that leads to quality degradation inevitably. Good rippers manage to create high-quality movie file with almost imperceptible loss of quality (preferably the bitrate is around 1500kbps), by virtue of advanced video transcoding kernel.

ripping speed

Fast Speed

DVD rippers used to rely on CPU to improve ripping efficiency while some accelerate the speed twice or more with GPU that's good at concurrent computing (e.g. video processing). If you have hundreds of DVDs to be digitized, why not choose the one with GPU HW acceleration enabled.

Ease of use

Ease to Use

Great tools will feature intuitive interface under the hood, where its features are clearly marked and locally placed, leaving little room for guesswork. Preferably, Mac users can get the hang of disc to digital process with no more than 3 clicks, regardless of the computer skills.

 

Part 2: Top 3 Free DVD Rippers for Mac [Review & Guide]

With the 4 elements taken into consideration, we've sought out 3 from an overwhelming number of Mac DVD ripping software. They are MacX DVD Ripper Free Edition, HandBrake and MakeMKV, respectively. Handbrake is an open source DVD and video transcoding program, and MakeMKV is a widely used free DVD and blu ray ripper, both of which work well on macOS. What about MacX DVD Ripper? Scroll down.

No.1 - MacX DVD Ripper Mac Free Edition

MacX DVD Ripper Free Edition is a free DVD converter designed specifically for Macs running OS X 10.6 or later (macOS High Sierra incl.). This program deals with most commercial titles with encryption schemes that deliberately hamper the ripping, incl. CSS, Region Code, Sony ARccOS, etc. Engineered for Apple ecosystem, it can freely convert DVDs to Mac-specific formats like MOV, M4V that are compatible with iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, etc. You can also digitize DVD to MP4 format that your SSD, NAS or USB accepts to store the movies well. Besides, a full range of basic DVD editing features like cut, crop, merge, subtitle, etc are offered to cater to your DVD movie customization needs.

MacXDVD supports hyper-threading and multi-core CPU techs. When it starts decoding and encoding DVDs, multiple cores are fully utilized to execute the DVD converting task simultaneously and multiple threads are enabled to run on each core. For example, if your Mac ships Intel Core i7 with 4 CPU cores and 8 threads, your DVD ripping task will be distributed to 4 cores and 2 threads on each core. This dramatically shortens the DVD decoding and encoding process and enhances the ripping efficiency. High-quality engine and De-interlacing engine are available for you to check, purpose built to produce remarkably high quality.

how to free rip DVD on Mac

[Tutorial] How to Use MacX DVD Ripper Free Edition

Step 1: Insert DVD
Click "Add DVD" button to load the disc and let MacX scan the right title.

MacX easily finds the accurate main title in our test. We successfully open the titles like Inside Out, Frozen from Disney. For TV shows with several episodes, select the item and MacX will decode it in sequence.

Step 2: Choose the output format
Preferrably, you can rip DVD to MP4 H.264 for better compatibility, quality and smaller file size. With no further tweaking, it achieves an H.264 file with crisp picture. The Mac specific library also offers options to rip DVD to MOV, FLV, iTunes videos, MP3, MPEG4, etc.

Step 3: Start protected DVD converting
For DVDs with tough protections, check "Safe Mode", whose unique title check mechanism will crack severely protected DVDs and smooth the ripping process. It also smoothly cuts the commercials and merge the useful parts via its editing features.

No.2 - HandBrake

Handbrake is an open-source DVD ripper for Mac, Windows and Linux, which can freely convert DVD discs to MP4 and MKV, with support for iPhone, iPods, PSPs, Apple TVs, PS3s. Handbrake rips DVD that is homemade/unprotected only. It cannot rip commercial DVDs without the help of third party software like VLC or DVD decrypter, not to mention the Disney newer protections. MacX would be the HandBrake alternative to solve this problem.

The version Handbrake V1.0.7 adds support for HEVC encoding. This means that you can re-encode DVD into HEVC to store more movies on Mac hard drive and newer iPhone or iPad. You shall understand the DVD to HEVC converting process takes a longer time as HEVC entails high computational demands. The good news is Handbrake still performs ultrafast DVD conversion speed if your Macbook or iMac is equipped with a video card like Intel's Kaby Lake processor series. But it doesn't support NVidia GPU acceleration for H.264/HEVC encoding what MacX's advanced edition (MacX DVD Ripper Pro) does.

Handbrake rip DVD free Mac

[Tutorial] How to Use HandBrake

Handbrake works with Mac OS X 10.7 to 10.13. Make sure your Mac has enough space to store the program (around 12.41MB). You can go to its official site to download and install the freeware.

Step 1: Insert the DVD disc into Mac's DVD drive and run Handbrake. Click the Source button to load the DVD. It takes a few seconds to scan the disc. To rip protected DVD on Mac, libdvdcss is required to remove the CSS.

Step 2: Click "Browse" to set where you want to save the rips on your Mac.

Step 3: Click "Presets" and select an output format. Here are MP4 (M4V) or MKV, and mobiles like iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, Android, Windows Phone.

Step 4: Now click "Start" to rip DVD for free on Mac now.

Having problems with Handbrake, check the full solutions to Handbrake DVD ripping errors on macOS:
* Handbrake cannot rip DVD with 99 titles? Fix it here
* Handbrake libdvdcss error on macOS Sierra? Check the solution

No.3 - MakeMKV

If you're seeking for a tool that rips protected DVDs & Blu rays and preserves all video/audio tracks and subtitles with meta-information, there is no better tools than MakeMKV, an easy free DVD/Blu ray ripper for Mac. As its name suggests, the free DVD ripper aids Mac and windows users to rip DVD to MKV format only. Since MakeMKV works rather a format converter than a transcoder, it remuxes the movie content from one format MPEG2 to MKV, so the whole DVD to MKV ripping process is pretty fast with excellent quality. In this regard, MakeMKV is your premium choice if you just want to backup and store your movie contents on your hard drive, NAS or USB.

Since there is little compression in the DVD to MKV ripping process, the output file size is tremendous, almost the same as the original DVD disc. This is not good especially when you want to import the DVD movie into your iPhone or iPad - Just 3 full-length movies will eat up your 16GB iDevice space. So you'd better compress the movie into a size-friendly file with a video transcoder. MakeMKV is available as a free DVD ripping tool. For free Blu-ray ripping, you can try its beta version that stops functioning after 60 days.

rip DVD free Mac with MakeMKV

[Tutorial] How to Use MakeMKV

Free download MakeMKV on Mac. The tool is completely free to rip a DVD disc to Mac during the beta-testing phase, and after that, if you want to rip Blu-Ray disc, you will need to pay $50.

Step 1: Open the software and insert the disk. It accepts both DVD and Blu-Ray discs. Then click "Open Disc" to load in the information.

Step 2: MakeMKV will scan and identify the titles correctly and pop up a list of disk chapters. Choose the chapter you want to rip, normally the longest and biggest title.

Step 3: Select a folder on Mac to save the ripped MKV files and click "Make MKV". It shows a fast DVD to digital processing speed on Mac, with an average of 30 minutes to rip Blu-ray disc. The output MKV keeps high video and audio quality, but MKV file is enormous (6.73GB MKV file for the 7.84GB DVD in our test).

 

Part 3: Performance Comparison among the 3 Free Rippers

To better understand the performance of the top 3 Mac DVD ripper freeware, below is a table and detailed comparison in ripping speed, output quality and supported encryptions.

Tools

Movie

Performance

Errors during the ripping

MacX DVD Ripper Free Edition

Transformer (7.84GB)

1. Loading: immediately | ripping time: 18min | Avg. FPS: 197-206fps
2. Output file: 720x404p (16:9, 1500kbps), 1.61GB, AAC Audio (128kbps)

1. You need to check "Safe Mode" to rip tough protections

HandBrake

Transformer (7.84GB)

1. Loading time: 1min | ripping time: 37min | Avg. FPS: 97.13-149fps
2. Output file: 718x360p (2.35:1, 1495kbps), 1.87GB, AAC audio (164kbps)

1. Can't identify the right title
2. No response when clicking Start
3. Scrambled screen after slight tweaking
4. The ripped movie with aspect ratio of 2.35:1 is not perfect for YouTube or mobile playback.

MakeMKV

Transformer (7.84GB)

1. Loading: 1min | ripping time: 4min | Avg. FPS: NA
2. Output file: 720x480p (16:9, 5533kbps), 6.73GB, AC-3 (448kbps)

1. Requires manaually selecting title
2. No parameter setting or editing option
3. Big output file size

Note: This test is based on our hands-on test on 27" iMac with 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5, 8GB1333 MHZDDR3 and AMD Radeon HD 6770M 512 MB. You shall also have to note that the DVD encoding speed is greatly dependant on your computer configuration. Higher config will lead to great performance. And make sure to spare some space to save the final rip. The DVD used here is a 7.84Gb movie named Transformers 2, distributed by DreamWorks Pictures, one of the studios that use intractable protection scheme on discs.

Free rip dvd on Mac with fast speed

1. Comparison on DVD Ripping Speed

According to the company of MacX, it uses Multi-core CPU technology that allows a CPU utilization to a maximum of 800%. That is, for a Mac with 8 cores, CPU will be fully utilized to rip DVD with full speed, and multi tasks are allowed without affecting the ripping.

The DVD ripping is impressive on a 27-inch iMac (2.7 GHz Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6770M, 512 MB, on Yosemite). MacX's DVD conversion frequency reached averagely 200 fps, twice as high as that of Handbrake. It took 18 minutes to convert the full-length Transformers 2 DVD to MP4, while we could still view web pages or do other tasks since the CPU usage remains as low as 131-134%.

Handbrake auto enables Intel QSV HW acceleration for DVD and video processing tasks and switches to pass 2 for better encoding. But the time it took to rip the DVD to MP4 is less than satisfactory, generally 19min lagging behind MacX. The CPU usage went up to 397%. We are happy to find MakeMKV converted DVD to MKV on Mac pretty fast, completing within 4 minutes only, with read rate reaching up to 45.7 M/s.

free rip dvd on Mac with high quality

2. Quality and File Size of the Output Rip, Who Wins?

MakeMKV works as a format converter that just repackages the movie content from DVD MPEG2 to MKV format. So the output image quality isn't affected at all. Higher saturation of color can be noticed on the rips in MakeMKV, with dark darker and white whiter. But the file size is tremendously large - 6.73Gb that is almost the same as the original.

Both MacX and Handbrake involved in DVD video compression, which cut file size down but inevitably led to quality loss. What matters most is whether they manage to maintain a good balance between the size and quality. MacX created a MP4 file with 720x480 (16:9) in 1.61GB from the 7.84GB DVD and Handbrake outputted the MP4 content in 1.87GB in fast 1080p30 encoding. There is no noticeable change between the the source and ripped file. Quality is slightly inferior to MakeMKV. So if you care about quality, MKV is your ultimate choice. But if you emphasis on both sides, choose MacX and Handbrake, which run neck and neck.

free rip protected DVD on Mac

3. Which Ripper Supports the Widest Encryptions?

From the developer, MacX supports wide range of DVD protections, from CSS, region code, UOPs, APS to Sony ARccOS. If this is true, it will sideline Handbrake, which requires third-party tool to bypass certain restrictions, or MakeMKV, which supports AACS and BD+ only, and other DVD ripper Mac freeware.

In the test, Handbrake popped up "No Valid Source Found" error when scanning the new titles like Divergent and MakeMKV produced many problematic rips. MacX chose the right title but sometimes it quitted unexpectedly. However, its "Safe Mode" is proven to be very useful with these intractable DVDs. The movies tested include Toy Story (Disney), Wall-E (Pixar), Star Trek (Paramount), Life of Brian (Sony), and newer releases (Frozen, Inside Out). We do not encourage you to rip commercial DVDs on Mac or PC for any illegal use and it's not allowed to legally copy commercial DVDs or Blu-ray discs in some countries.

Specs Comparison Among the Top Three Free DVD Rippers for Mac

Main Features

MacX DVD Ripper Mac Free Edition

HandBrake

MakeMKV

Supported Input Formats
(DVD disc, ISO image and DVD folder)

Y

Y

DVD and ISO

Rip Proteced DVD
(Compatible with CSS, region code, Sony ARccOS, Disney X-project, and more)

Y

N (libdvdcss is a must)

N (AACS and BD+ only)

Copy Feature
(Backup main title DVD, copy full title DVD, clone DVD to ISO image, backup DVD to MKV)

N

N

Y (to MKV)

Supported Output Formats
(Rip DVD to digital formats like MP4, MOV etc)

MP4, MOV, M4V

MP4, MKV

MKV

Supported Devices
(Rip DVD movie to iPhone, iPad, Android etc)

Apple TV, iTunes, MP4/MOV for iOS & Android

iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android, Windows Phone

N

Support the Latest Mac OS X
(El Capitan, macOS Sierra and High Sierraor above)

Y

Y

Y

Edit Function
(Trim, crop, merge titles, rotate, add external subtitle, batch rip, etc)

Y

Y

N

Setting Adjustment
(Adjust resolutions, frame rate, aspect ratio, bit rate, codec etc)

Y

Y

N

FAQ about DVD Copying and Ripping

Q1. Are There any Other Free DVD Rippers for Mac?

1. Mac The Ripper: MTS has been regarded as the oldest DVD copy software for Mac so far. The last free version of MacTheRipper is V2.6.6 that can work with Mac OS X Snow Leopard or lower. It breaks protection and rips DVD content for free on Mac, but doesn't encode rips to other formats. It only rips the DVD menu to hard drive in VOB file. So a third party tool is required to convert VOB to MP4, AVI or others.

2. FFmpeg: It is considered more as an open-source command-line utility for Linux based on popular libraries such as libavformat and libavcodec. FFmpeg stands for Fast Forward MPEG and now it can be complied under Mac and other OS. This tool is complicated to operate and not friendly to newbies. But if you are more experienced and spend hours on the disc ripping tasks, FFmpeg comes to our top free dvd converter for Mac list and is really worthy of your persistence.

3. Any Video Converter: It handles almost all video formats, including DVDs. Reviewed as "ridiculously easy to use", this tool can easily and freely rip DVD into the right format in its long list of options including MP4, AVI, WMV, MOV, etc thanks to its intuitive GUI. However, AVC sometimes gets glitches and only rips part of the full-length movie, e.g. It only rips 40 mins of a 2 hrs DVD movie. This is probably because you are ripping a DVD with complicated protection measure. So its pro version is needed to ensure a smooth DVD digitizing on Mac.

4. DVDFab HD Decrypter- Although discontinued in 2014, it's still the favorite when dealing with many old DVDs that refuse to be copied with other free DVD rippers, owning to its aculeate DVD decrypting ability. It offers options to freely copy full disc with all menus, trailer, extras, etc or just extract the actual movie from DVD onto Mac's hard drive, cracking many known DVD protections, like AACS, CSS, RC, UOPS, etc. There are some minor drawbacks, e.g. heavy processing power and CPU resources are consumed during the ripping process. Plus, it only copies protected DVD in VOB rather than MP4 MOV or other formats.

Q2. Should Mac Users Rip DVD to MP4 or MOV?

* MP4 - When digitizing DVD with these free DVD rippers for Mac, many users are at a loss whether to choose MP4 or MOV. Both MP4 and MOV use lossy video compression to sacrifice minimal quality for file size. MP4 is popular for streaming over the internet and playable on Mac, Windows and almost all media players, say VLC, 5KPlayer, QT, etc. But P-frames or B-frames in MP4 makes it difficult to edit.

* MOV - As MOV is originally developed by Apple for its QuickTime player, it's much friendlier in Apple ecosystem. MOV contains one or more tracks, meant to store each type of data including audio, video, subtitle, etc in a hierarchical structure, which is good for editing. So for Mac computers, to convert DVD to digital MOV for Mac QuickTime is more preferred than MP4.

Q3. How to Copy DVD to Hard Drive?

When the modern computer hard drive, external flash drive, HDD, SSD, NAS drive etc can hold as large as 60TB storage, there's no need to store DVD collections anywhere else. After users copy DVD to Mac hard drive, they can also stream them on TV using Plex, Roku, PC or transfer to phones or tablets. To rip DVD to Mac hard drive, it depends:

Q4. Is it Prossible to Rip Scratched DVD on Mac?

DVDs are too fragile, that's why we need to backup the DVD collection. If your discs are already damaged or scratched, there are measures to remedy.

Note: if the program refuses to rip a well-conditioned DVD with an error stating that there is a bad sector, it's because the DVD is protected by a copy protection scheme from Sony named ARccOS. The system deliberately mixes corrupted sectors with the correct one to mislead DVD copying software.

Q5. Can VLC Rip DVD?

Yes, VLC can enable some really novel uses, including ripping DVD for free. You can use it to digitize DVD into H.264, H.265, MPEG, MP4, AVI, Divx, ASF, WMV, DVD or more. To convert DVD on Mac with VLC: load DVD disc > click Open disc and then click DVD without menus > click Stream/Save and then Settings to select the output format > set an output folder and you can start to rip DVD on Mac for free.
The steps are simple, but not necessarily smooth. Forums like VideoHelp and Apple Communities are inundated with users complaining about VLC crashes and freezes on Mac. Those problems with DVD ripping are caused by CSS or other copy protection schemes.

Q6. How about Vudu Disc to Digital Serivce? Is Online DVD Digitizer a Good Option to Digitize DVD?

Vudu is another way that you can convert DVDs into digital files. With the "In-Home Disc to Digital" service, you can effortlessly gain digital copies of your DVDs for a low price: $2 for DVD to a standard-definition digital copy and $5 for a high-definition "HDX" copy. But there are concerns:

In consideration of these problems, you'd rather use DVD ripper software than online services.

Q7. Is it legal to Rip DVDs that You Own?

Many users who want to space-shift or format-shirt their legally purchased DVD or Blu-ray discs often concern about the legality of DVD ripping. The fact is, currently it is considered as illegal to rip copyrighted DVDs in US, even if you legally own the discs. Some other countries have already made it legal. In practice, as the DVD conversion happens locally on your computer, you won't get sued or caught if you don't distribute the rips. However, you're highly suggested to obey to the law where you live. Check if it's legal to rip copy protected DVDs in your country.

External Sources: DVD movies are almost all encoded in MPEG-2 format defined by Motion Pictures Expert Group. Generally, the content is interlaced for display on ordinary TV sets. Resolution of DVD is either 720x480 pixels at 29.97 frames per second from America's NTSC television system or 720x576 pixels at 25 frames per second from Europe's PAL.

Note: The software developer calls for copying or ripping DVD on Mac and Windows under the concept of Fair Use and does not encourage any illegal reproduction or distribution of copyrighted content. Please abide by the local DVD copyright law before doing it.

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For any questions with MacX Video Converter Pro, please feel free to contact our support team.

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