How to import DVDs into iTunes

“Don’t worry, this isn’t a costly venture. The only thing you might need to purchase (if you don’t already have one built-in) is a DVD drive,” Jacob Penderworth writes for Mactuts+.

“My recommendation is the AmazonBasics USB 2.0 external DVD Drive [US$31.64], because it’s simple, affordable, reliable, and easy to use,” Penderworth writes. “Alternatively, you can use the Remote Disc feature to share one Mac’s optical drive with another, but that’s only if you have an older iMac or MacBook Pro.”

Penderworth writes, “Once you’ve worked out what DVD drive you’ll be using, it’s time to get some software. For this tutorial, we’ll be using a combination of HandBrake (for transferring), VLC (for decoding), and MetaZ (for tagging). All three are freeware…”

Full “how to” here.


  1. This method is fairly dated and Handbrake won’t play well with the encryption on most DVD’s these days. I recommend to first decrypting the contents of the DVD to a file folder and then use Handbrake to make the digital file. It’s worth mentioning that this method as well as the method in this post are technically illegal and if you don’t own the DVD, can get you in hot water with the feds.

    1. I don’t care to lecture people on the legality, but I did find it humorous that the article advises you to rummage through the DVDs laying around in the corners of “your friends” attic, because I’m going to show you how to import them into “your” iTunes library.

      On top of that, there is a Pirates of the Silicon Valley DVD in the drive.

      Funny 🙂

  2. Is this a retro article? LOL everyone knew how to do this way back in 2004. How about trading in your DVD to the studios and getting the Blu-Ray version for $4.95 each. That seems to be a better use of time.

  3. @CF

    I’ve used Handbrake on ~500 DVDs (Movies and TV Shows) that I own over the years and have found only 3 that I could not decode.

    In my opinion, Handbrake works quite well.

      1. to me, that’s about the best thing about tv..,you buy a DVD, rip it, add it to iTunes Movies folder and you never have to dick with a disk, disk tray, FBI warnings, jackass menus and coming attractions again. You simply select the film, press play and the file is there to watch from the beginning or to resume where you left off. I despise DVD’s as much as I love HandBrake and tv.

        1. Most good rippers will get rid of the useless menus, but, then you’ve still got a file that’s outrageously large. For full home theatre, sure, keep those DVDs and BluRays, but for the simple handheld iPhone/iPad viewing, a sub-500M file is totally viewable.

  4. Pirates of Silicon Valley is a stupid movie. Too much inaccuracies, sensationalism and iHaters love using that stupid movie as FACTS to bash anything Apple creates.

  5. Makemkv is a more convenient way to get it off the disk (free for DVDs, $50 for BluRay/HD-DVD). It’s smart enough to ignore most of the short deceptive titles on a disk. it just shows the stuff you really want to get. You can then experiment with Handbrake to get the best data reduction.

    1. In this case I would have to say, Who cares?

      Just because a law exists, does not make it moral, just, or right. In this case, I like many other simply IGNORE the law.

      I bought the DVD, I will do with it as I please. NO I am not willing to pay a second time to get a digital copy. The truth is that the law exists because the media conglomerates pay our corrupt, inept politicians to enact stupid laws them. They have no basis in justice or fairness, they are not citizen friendly. Just a bunch of BS.

  6. Not sure about you guys, but I can’t get a modern DVD ripped/converted through Handbrake. Some older DVDs can be converted, but anything remotely new, forget about it.

    What version do you guys use?

    1. This has been my experience as well with newer DVD’s. Handbrake removed the decrypt feature out some time ago and advised users to install VLC Player which would handle it. It’s not always the fastest or best way to do this anymore. One of the best software packages out there is DVDfab. It works on nearly everything and the decrypter is free which you can use Handbrake afterwards on the extracted folder. It’s fast and free.

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