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How to Rip Unprotected and Copy-Protected DVD to Hard Drive on Mac

What's the best way to copy my DVDs to my hard drive so that I can just click to open & play. I don't want to make DVD disk copies, I just want to get my library of DVD movies onto my hard drive in preparation for AppleTV. - Apple Discussion

Piles of DVD discs not only take up too much room space but also make it hard to watch without a DVD drive. However, if you take advantage of a DVD ripper, you can copy DVDs to Mac's hard drive, external hard drives, and other storage media like NAS, SSD, USB flash drive, and even cloud services. Then you can freely play the movie anywhere you want.

As long as the DVD does not contain DRM, Mac's built-in Disk Utility can assist in ripping DVDs to the hard drive. To copy a protected DVD, we also share a method here. See below for instructions on how to copy DVDs to your hard drive on a Macbook Pro, a Macbook Air, and other Macs. 

Copy Protected DVDs to Mac Hard Drive in Clicks

MacX DVD Ripper  - Copy DVDs to Mac hard drives in MP4, MOV, MKV, HEVC, ISO, VIDEO_TS, and any other format. Rip any homemade or commercial DVDs protected by region codes, UOPs, 99 fake titles, bad sectors, CSS, Sony ARccOS, etc. Within clicks, you can copy your DVDs to hard drives (SSD, HDD, NAS, USB, cloud, etc.) on your MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini, M1/M2 machines. 100% quality and fast speed.

First, try to copy DVD content to the Mac's hard drive directly: 

If the DVD doesn't contain DRM or other copy protection measures, you can try to copy the DVD content to hard drives on Macs by drag and drop.

Step 1: Insert the DVD into the optical drive. Double-click the DVD icon on your Mac to open it.

Step 2: Then copy the VIDEO_TS folder to the hard drive on your Mac. You can also do it by holding ALT and dragging the DVD from the desktop to your hard drive.

Step 3: Now open the VIDEO_TS folder and you will see some BUP, IFO, and VOB files. Copy the VOB files to your hard drive, as they contain the DVD movie. However, VOB files are not supported by QuickTime or other Mac applications. You can try tools like VLC, 5KPlayer, etc. to open them.

For Protected DVDs: Copy DVDs to Mac Hard Drive with MacX DVD Ripper

It's quite simple to copy a homemade DVD to hard drives on your Mac. But many movie or TV show DVDs you want to transfer to a Mac hard drive might be copy-protected by CSS, UOPs, region code, RCE, Sony ARccOS, or something else. In this case, you need a professional DVD ripper that can bypass these DVD copy protection schemes.

MacX DVD Ripper is a great program for the task. It is DVD ripping software designed specifically for the iMac, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini, allowing you to copy and rip DVDs to hard drives in near-original quality. 

  • 98% high quality with small size - Copy DVDs to MP4, MOV, HEVC, H.264, M4V, MPEG4, etc. on Mac for a safe backup on a hard drive.
  • 100% original quality - Copy DVDs 1:1 to ISO image, MPEG2, and MKV on Mac's hard drive for future burning.
  • Support new DVD releases, multiple or 99 titles, foreign DVDs, homemade DVDs, oversized 75GB DVDs, DVDs with bad sectors, DVDs with playlist obfuscation, AV discs, scratched or unreadable DVDs.
  • Fast ripping speed thanks to Hyper-threading, multi-core CPU and the unique Intel/Nvidia GPU acceleration tech.

Now we'll walk you through the steps of copying DVDs to the hard drive on a Mac with MacX DVD Ripper Pro.

Step 1: Load and Scan the DVD

To begin, download this Mac DVD ripper for free onto your computer. It is fully compatible with all the latest macOS, including macOS Ventura and earlier. Then install and open it.

Another step in the preparation process is to insert the DVD disc you want to rip to a hard drive into your Mac's DVD-ROM drive, whether internal or external. Then, load your DVD by clicking the "DVD Disc" button on MacX DVD Ripper Pro.

Step 2: Choose an Output Format

• For those who want to fast and losslessly save DVD discs to Mac's hard drive for safe backup, you can simply make a 1:1 copy of a DVD on Mac's hard drive in an ISO image, or back up the full title to MKV, MPEG2. Its high quality engine is enabled to automatically demux and remux the movie content with all/selected subtitles, video and audio tracks, without re-encoding.

1:1 backup DVD to hard drive

• For those who want to copy DVDs to a hard drive on Macs for later playback on iPhone, iPad, TV, or something else, you can rip DVDs to any widely used format like MP4 and MOV. MP4 H.264 is highly recommended for the best compatibility with mobile devices and storage media.

Rip copy-protected DVD to hard drive mac

Step 3: Select an Output Folder on Mac's Hard Drive

Click the "Browse" button to choose a folder on your Mac hard drive to save the converted DVD files.

Step 4: Begin Copying DVDs to Hard Drives on Mac

Click on the "RUN" button, and this DVD ripper's encoding engine goes into action. The whole DVD ripping process is fast, courtesy of its unique full GPU acceleration.

When we copy the DVD Spider-Man: No Way Home (duration: 150 minutes) to MKV format, it takes less than 10 minutes. If you have a higher computer hardware configuration, it will take about 5-10 minutes to rip the whole DVD to Mac hard drive.

Start converting DVD to hard drive Mac

After ripping DVD to the hard drive on your Mac, you can transfer DVDs to iPhone iPad iPod for on-the-go viewing with the help of the great DVD to iPhone transfer tool MacX MediaTrans.

note icon
The MacXDVD software calls for copying or ripping DVDs under the concept of Fair Use and does not encourage any illegal distribution of copyrighted content. Please abide by the local DVD copyright law before doing it.

For Unprotected DVDs: Copy DVD to Hard Drive with Mac's Disk Utility

Disk Utility is a very useful tool built into Mac OS X and macOS systems. It can perform many tasks related to hard disks and storage devices, including the creation of disk images. So you can simply use Mac's Disk Utility to rip the DVD to Mac's hard drive in an image file for backup.

Rip dvd to hard drive on Mac
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Disk Utility is only workable for unprotected DVDs. If you want to copy commercial DVDs to your Mac's hard drive, try the DVD ripper in the first method to remove the DVD copy protections.

Now let's show you how to copy DVDs to a hard drive with Disk Utility on Macs. First, make sure the hard drive on your Mac has at least 4GB to store a DVD copy, as Disk Utility can only copy DVD to ISO Image, which is quite large in size.

Step 1. Insert the target DVD into your Mac's built-in DVD-ROM drive or an external one.

Step 2. Launch Disk Utility. Where is Disk Utility? Simply open a Finder window, click on Applications in the left window, scroll down, and click on the Utilities folde. Then you'll find Disk Utility.

Step 3. Click your DVD, which should appear in the left panel of Disk Utility.

Step 4. Click the File menu, select New Image, and choose Image from the "DVD name".

Copy DVDs on Mac hard drive with Disk Utility

Step 5. From the pop-up window, you should specify the file name, save path (choose a folder on your hard drive), format (which you should choose DVD/CD master), and encryption (which you should set to None). Then click Save. Now Disk Utility will start creating an image file from your DVD. Once done, you'll see a confirmation message. The resulting image file will end with .CDR file extension.

Note: If you want to playback the DVD copies created using the Disk Utility, you may need to transcode the ISO Image files to video formats like MP4. You can do it with the free transcoder Handbrake, or directly rip the DVD to MP4 on Mac hard drive using Method 1.

Save DVD to hard drive on Mac

FAQ about DVD to Hard Drive

1. Can I directly copy the VOB, IFO, and BUP files from DVDs to the Mac hard drive?

Yes, as long as the DVDs are not encrypted or protected. If the DVD is properly made by yourself without copy protections, you can open the DVD and find a folder called Video_TS. In the folder, there are multiple files like VIDEO_TS.BUP, VIDEO_TS.IFO, Video_TS.VOB, VTS_01._0.BUP, VTS_01._0.IFO… The actual video is stored in.VOB files. You can either copy the entire Video_TS folder from the DVD to your Mac hard drive or external hard drive, and play the Video_TS folder with the Apple DVD Player app, or copy the .VOB files from the DVD to your Mac hard drive to play the individual VOB videos.

But for protected DVDs, you can't simply copy the content because the DVD copyright protections are designed to prevent DVDs from being copied directly.

2. How to rip DVDs to hard drives on Mac using Handbrake?

Handbrake is able to rip DVDs on Mac hard drive in MKV, MP4, or WebM. It will assist you in converting the DVD to a hard drive on your Mac so that you can watch it on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. But it can make an exact copy of a DVD to Mac hard drive in an ISO image or Video_TS folder. It's able to deal with copy protections when libdvdcss is installed.

Step 1: Free download Handbrake from its official site. To handle protected DVDs, free download libdvdcss for Handbrake.

Step 2: Insert the DVD into Mac's optical drive. Open Handbrake and select your DVD from the Source Selection menu. Handbrake will use libdvdcss in the background to scan the correct title of a protected DVD.

Step 3: Once it finishes scanning, it will open the Settings window. First, open the Preset drop-down menu and select a 480p or 576p setting.

Step 4: Next, under Summary, you can decide whether you want to rip the DVD to Mac hard drive in MP4, MKV, or WebM. Under the Video tab, you can further adjust the video encoder, quality, bitrate, etc.

Step 5: Click Save as and select the hard drive of your Mac to store the ripped DVD video. Then click Start to begin the rip.

Save DVD to hard drive on Mac

3. Any other tools to copy DVD to Mac hard drive?

  • MakeMKV - rip protected DVDs to Mac hard drive in MKV. High quality but large file size.
  • VLC - free rip unprotected DVDs on Mac hard drive in MKV, MP4, WebM, AVI, MOV, and various other formats.
  • iSuper DVD Ripper - rip home-made DVD to hard drive on Mac in MP4, AVI, WMV, etc. It doesn't support protected discs.
  • MacTheRipper - MTR V2.6.6 is a free choice to save DVDs in VIDEO_TS folder on Mac hard drive. Macrovision and CSS protections are supported.
  • Mac DVDRipper Pro - Copy DVDs to Mac hard drive in ISO image or dvdmedia, and also rip DVDs to .m4v/.mp4/.mkv for iDevices and Apple TV. The first 5 rips are free.

4. How to copy DVDs from Mac to an external hard drive?

Once you rip the DVD into digital video, you may want to transfer the DVD video from Mac to an external hard drive, here is how to do it: Connect the external hard drive to your Mac > open the Finder app and select the DVD video > press Command-N to open a second Finder window and choose the external hard drive under the Devices >drag and drop DVD video from your Mac's Finder into the external hard drive.

5. What is the best format to rip DVDs onto a hard drive?

It all depends on what you want to do with the copied DVD video. Below are some examples:

  • If you want to transfer the DVD collections to a hard drive to keep a safe copy, then quality will be what you care about most. In this case, consider ISO image, Video_TS folder, MPEG-2 VOB files, or MKV. They will keep 100% of the original DVD quality, but these formats are not accepted by many players.
  • If you want to copy DVDs to a hard drive on Mac in order to play them easily without using an optical drive any more, MP4 is good for you. It's widely supported by most mobiles, TVs, players, and devices.
  • If the hard drive doesn't offer a very large storage for your DVD collection, try to convert the DVDs to MP4 HEVC. It's able to compress a DVD from 7.5 GB to less than 1 GB without quality loss.

6. How to copy DVDs on Mac to an external hard drive to watch on TV?

After you rip the DVD to an external hard drive on Mac, you can play the movies from the hard drive on the TV. To play movies from a hard drive on a TV, there are two methods.

  • Stream from Plex. Once all the DVDs are ripped on an external hard drive, you can set up your Plex. Download Plex and set it up. Login/create your account and name the server. Then create a library and add your movies. If your streaming player works with the Plex app, you can access your movie library and watch the DVD movies on the TV. Note that Plex doesn't support DVD formats such as ISO image and Video_TS folder.
  • Connect to the TV. Check the manual of your TV to see if it supports HDD or USB input. If yes, simply connect the external hard drive to the TV and you can watch the movies on it. But you need to make sure that: the converted DVD movie on the hard drive is in a codec supported by the TV. If the external hard drive you use to save the DVD copy is in HFS+ format, you need to format it to the NTFS format as most TVs use the NTFS standard.   

7. Is it legal to copy DVD to hard drives on Mac?

We only advocates copying and ripping DVDs 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.

Click the download button below to download a Mac DVD ripper for ripping your DVD collection to hard drive.

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