How To

How to put a DVD on iPad

DVD to iPad

One of the biggest reasons for owning an iPad is media consumption. Watching movies or TV episodes is probably one of the top things most people do with the iPad. Movies and television shows are readily available from the iTunes Store, but what your existing DVD movie collection?  There is no reason to re-purchase the videos that you already own on the iTunes Store. You can convert your existing movies into a file format that is iPad friendly. There are plenty of sites offering free DVD converter software, a good number of which attempt to up sell you into a paid product. Follow this guide for steps on how to put a DVD on iPad for free.

DVD to iPad

First of all, this works the same way on both the Mac and the PC, however, for this how-to, a Mac will be used.  This process is a little time-consuming, but once you learn it, it is simply repeated for all of the DVD’s you own. Here’s how to rip movies from DVD.

Step 1: Insert the DVD
This seems simple enough, but the first thing you will need to do is insert your DVD into the computer that you are using.  This will (more than likely) cause your computer’s DVD player to launch and begin to play your DVD.  Press stop on the DVD player and be sure to completely exit the program.

Step 2: Download Handbrake & Install
You’ll want to download Handbrake. This software is free and it is available for both Mac and PC operating systems.  Remember where you save the file that you’ve downloaded as you will need to install the program after it has been downloaded.

Step 3: Open Handbrake
Upon opening Handbrake, it will bring up a window that looks like the window above.  Handbrake is asking you what source that you would like it to scan for files that it can convert.  In this case, you will direct Handbrake to the DVD that you have inserted into your computer.  In the example above, the DVD is entitled, “COUNT_OF_MONTE_CHRISTO.”

Step 4: Download VLC and libdvdcss (skip this step if you’ve already installed these files)

In order for Handbrake to be able to scan the DVD, it will need VLC (a third party video player), which you can download here, and a plugin entitled, “libdvdcss.”  Simply click on the button to “Get libdvdcss.pkg.”  This will take you to the website to download the file. Here’s a direct link to download liddvdcss.

Remember where you save the file that you’ve downloaded.  Go to the file, install it, and now Handbrake is ready to go!  Now that you have installed Handbrake, VLC and libdvdcss, the program will work correctly each time you use it.

Step 5: Allow Handbrake to Scan the DVD

Handbrake will scan the DVD for the movie file to convert. (If you have just installed the libdvdcss file, you will need to select “Source” in the upper-left of the window. This will take you back to Step 3.)  It will automatically select the file with the longest time duration to convert.  This is almost always the movie that you want on your iPad. As you can see in the picture below, while there are many other files on the DVD, the longest file is selected, which is the movie.

Step 6: Choose a Location On Your Computer to Save the Movie

Click on the “Browse” button in the Destination section of the window.  This will allow you to choose the destination where Handbrake will save the file. Save the file to your desktop so that it will be easy to find later.

Step 7: Rip the Movie to Your Computer

Click on the “Start” button at the top of the window and allow Handbrake to do its magic!  Your movie is now being saved to your desktop in a file format that the iPad can use.  This process can take awhile, depending on the speed of your computer.  The fewer programs you have running, the faster Handbrake will convert, so shut down other programs if possible.  Go have a cup of coffee and check back a bit later.

Step 8: Move the Converted Movie Into iTunes

Great!  Your Handbrake queue is done!  Now it is time to move the movie file (that you’ve saved to your desktop) into iTunes.  In order for this to happen, simply select the movie file and drag it into the “Library” section on the left-hand side of the iTunes window and drop it there.  iTunes will begin to import the movie into its files at this point.  The movie will show up in the “Movies” section of your library with the original title of the file.

Step 9: Sync the Movie to Your iPad

Select your iPad from the menu on the left-hand column of iTunes and select “Movies” at the top of the iTunes window.  Be sure that the box next to “Sync Movies” is checked and the box next to “Automatically sync all (in dropdown menu) movies is NOT checked.  Browse to the movie that you just imported into iTunes and check the box next to it.  Select the “Apply” button in the lower right-hand corner of the iTunes window and your movie is happily being synced to your iPad!

Step 10: Enjoy Watching!!!


Open up the Videos app on your iPad and your movie is there!  Select it and you’re off and running!

Whether you have the new iPad with the retina display or an earlier model, TV and movies look absolutely fantastic, not to mention you can take them anywhere thanks to the portability of the iPad. How did the steps go for you?  Did you encounter any glitches or questions along the way that we didn’t cover?

Have questions or need help? Join today and receive expert advice for free. You’ll be able to comment on articles, create and reply to posts in our iPad forums and more.

Happy watching!



  1. jv1

    April 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Cool. Now I can get rid of all my physical dvds and not worry about getting them scratched.

  2. Bazza1

    April 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Archiving my DVD collection for mobile use / loss prevention, I’ve used Handbrake in the past on my PC – and while its okay, I much prefer either VidCoder (which uses the Handbrake ‘engine’) or the graphically appealing Freemake. VidCoder seems less geeky (and complete) than Handbrake, while Freemake’s conversion and editing options are terrific.

  3. Attime7

    April 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Does nayone know if this will update to your iCloud account for streaming once you put it in iTunes? I remember seeing that Apple TV stored your purchased movies. I just wasn’t sure if those were isolated to just movies your purchased through the Apple TV itself.

  4. bigdog5142

    April 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    From what I’ve seen, only Digital Copy movies are made available through iCloud. Unfortunately it doesn’t currently work like iTunes Match.

  5. sabine

    June 12, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    thanks for this step by step advice!
    Does anyone knows if it is possible to change langage and/or put subtitles?

  6. Josh Yates

    June 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    You do have the capability of using an alternate audio track when transcoding the video. That would be under the “audio” tab. You would have to select the desired audio track. I also believe the subtitles are available, that would be under the “subtitles” tab. Simply select what “track” the desired subtitles are on.

    The biggest thing to remember is that you are transcoding the entire video. So, the options to change will not be there. If you transcode a video with subtitles and in Spanish, the video will remain in that format. If you want a different format, you will need to transcode another video for the options that you desire.

    • blake

      June 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm

      When I go to drag the file that was created on my desktop – iTunes isn’t recognizing it and placing it into the movie file? Any suggestions?

      • Josh Yates

        June 27, 2012 at 8:12 am

        I assume you’re on a Windows machine?

        • Ali

          July 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm

          I’ve got the same problem – it won’t go into iTunes. Any ideas??

        • NTM

          July 28, 2012 at 5:35 am

          Hi there this is also happening to me!
          Have created the desktop file but iTunes will not recognise when I drag across, please help!

          • JB

            June 2, 2013 at 11:01 am

            I also am having this problem using a PC. Help??

  7. Lorna Doone

    June 27, 2012 at 7:40 am

    How about BluRay? Will Handbrake work it’s magic on a BR DVD?

    • Josh Yates

      June 27, 2012 at 8:11 am

      Since I have a Mac and do not have a Blu-Ray drive, I have not tested Handbrake with Blu-Ray. However, from what I have found, Handbrake can rip Blu-Rays. However, the problem you will come upon is the size of the ripped file. BR movies can be between 30-50 GB of data, so you will have to tweak compression settings in order to get the file size down while still having an HD movie. Ultimately, ripping a BR gets MUCH more technical. I’ve also found that you can rip the BR with MakeMKV ( & then use Handbrake on the file that’s produced to compress it for iTunes to use.

      Hope that helps!

  8. Travis

    June 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I received a message..
    madagascar was not copied to the ipad, because it cannot be played on this ipad…
    ok.. so what did I do wrong..

    • Josh Yates

      June 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      Hmmm…what is the file format of the movie? .mp4, m4v, etc? The movie made it to iTunes, but would not copy to your iPad?

      • Becki

        July 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm

        Mine said the same thing as well. It wouldn’t copy over to the iTunes account. I tried a couple different ways but the same message popped up. I was curious if I have to check the iPod 5 support box?

  9. Travis

    June 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    i have a imac with snow leapard. I can get my movie downloaded to desktop and moved over to Itunes, but will not load to Ipad.

  10. Travis

    June 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    the format is MP4
    I looked on the itunes movie info.. and it says.. Kind: MPEG-4 video file

  11. Travis

    June 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I followed every detail, (not hard to do ) easy to follow and and great screen shots to help along the way. It was fast and easy. downloaded to my desk top and easy to drag over to Itunes.. Now if I can just fix the glitch of now loading to my ipad.

  12. Travis

    June 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    yep.. MP4 , and shows up in itunes and can play it in itunes, but.. just will not load to ipad.

  13. Travis

    June 27, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I downloaded another movie and it came up with the same info. “Wrong format. ”
    Im redownloading VLC, to see if this works.

  14. Travis

    June 28, 2012 at 8:28 am

    I went in and took out all parts of VLC, out of my system. I then reinstalled VLC .. Now it says it can not load VLC.
    Now then, all the movies will play on my itunes.. when I click on it.
    now im trying to put the movies into TV shows and see if that will work. .. after that.. im lost.

  15. Travis

    June 28, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I have imac 10.6.8 , I loaded handbrake, VLC, and libdvdcss.pkg
    I was able to get my dvd movie over handbrake and to intunes, for for some reason it says it can not be played on my ipad. I rebooted my computer. and tried it again with a dif movie.. but.. same problem. .. It is MP4 file.. so not sure what problem I could be having. . Any ideas ?

  16. Josh Yates

    June 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm


    Click on my name at the end of the article and get in touch with me there. Let’s see if we can get this worked out. 🙂

  17. Travis

    July 3, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I did that.. but still no way to contact you.

  18. Macy

    July 5, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    awesome….but….I followed all the instructions but when i try to click the start it takes 3 seconds and the “movie” is a black screen with the movie title on it…so tried changing the “title” and they are either advertisments or the black screen…can someone help me?

  19. britni

    July 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Will the subtitles still be available to use on my iPad?

  20. Hugo moitino

    July 14, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    YOU ARE A GENIUS thanks

  21. Bernadette Tate

    November 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    I converted the movie, but it still won’t add to my itunes. I have dried again and again and nothing I do works. My itunes won’t accept any new videos!

  22. bcowart

    November 29, 2012 at 3:59 am

    Now, with iCloud, you can skip the iTunes part. I simply ripped the DVD with Handbrake, then dragged the resulting video file into Dropbox, in the Finder. Then I went to the iPad and opened the Dropbox app. You should see the file there, once it actually gets completely copied there, from the computer. Then, click on the movie file and it will start streaming. Here’s the catch. If you want the movie to play even when you’re not online, you have to “favorite” the file. This tells Dropbox to download it into the iPad for offline viewing. Now, get on a plane or whatever, and watch your movies. You favorite it by clicking the star icon up at the top of your iPad screen, WHILE THE VIDEO IS PLAYING via streaming. THat means you start playing the video from Dropbox (it will stream for a couple of minutes, if you’re online, but will eventually stop after 5 minutes or so), during which time you have to Favorite it. Once you do, Dropbox downloads it to the iPad. When you are ready to play the movie, open the Dropbox app on the iPad (or other iDevice), and click on the movie. It should already have a little white star on it, indicating it’s a ‘favorite’.

  23. Ana Maria Hintermann-Villamil

    January 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Hi there! I’m so amazed about Handbrake, but I’ve got a problem. I can’t seem to copy all the movie of a DVD. It just rips half an hour, 40 or 50 minutes. What can I do?

    Anyways, your explanation was the best I could find! easy to follow! THX!

  24. Miss M

    January 8, 2013 at 3:23 am

    Im having alot of trouble with step 4, the VLC and libdvdcss downloading. I have downloaded the VLC suggested by the guide, it is on my desktop, is there anywhere specific I should place it? Also I am not getting promoted by Handbrake to download the libdvdcss. I attempted to download it via searching for it, but Windows says it cannot open the file. Is anoyone able to help?
    Miss M

    • cara

      March 7, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      I am having the same issue. Have you or anyone been able to figure this out?

    • Alice

      March 24, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      I know. it says it cant open it and i tried looking for other sites to get it but i cant hardly find any.

  25. sian

    February 13, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    i did all the steps, downloaded and synced to ipad, pressed play and very distorted and grainy jumpy video 🙁 any suggestions? i need this perfected before taking my 7month old on a plane!!

  26. Valerie

    February 19, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I believe I followed all the steps correctly, the first DVD I tried wouldn’t work but the second one only a few episodes came up. Once in itunes the sound is jumpy and there is no image for the first half of the video and when there is it’s all messed up. 🙁 Help please!

  27. Richard Stern

    February 22, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Absolutely the BEST explanation of how to perform some specific task with Apple and the iPad! I am simply amazed at how well you described each step in the process. And, of course, it worked like a charm. I can’t give you enough praise for what you did. Thanks so much. Richard

  28. Josh Yates

    February 22, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I wanted to post today to simply reply to many of your comments. The process of ripping DVD’s to your computer and then to your iPad is not exactly a perfect science. There are many more individuals out there that know more than I do about the file formats and codecs out there to break the protection on DVD’s. The process above describes how to rip ALMOST all DVD’s. Also, I am on a Mac and have not experienced any of the issues that are described above. I will say that I sometimes run into issues with a DVD here or there where I simply cannot break the encryption and I have to just move on to another DVD. I’d say that has happened with about 5% of the DVD’s I have ripped to my computer.

    If you are having issues with ripping, I’d uninstall all the programs above and reinstall. If you are having issues with importing into iTunes, attempt to use the iPad settings on the right panel.

    In the meantime, I will tinker around with the windows version (through a virtual machine) and see if I can replicate any of the issues that are described in the comments. If I can…I’ll do my best to come up with a solution.

    Good luck, all and thanks for your comments!

  29. Richard Stern

    February 23, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Dear Josh, One question. Everything worked well, but how do you choose the language that will appear on the iPad? We watch movies in either English or French and would like to decide before putting the dvd on the iPad. Thanks again for all your assistance. Richard

    • Josh Yates

      March 4, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Thanks for the question, Richard! You should be able to select the “audio” tab in the middle of the Handbrake window. That will show you the different audio tracks that are available on the DVD. Simply choose which audio track that you desire and rip. You should be all set at that point!

      • Richard Stern

        March 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm

        Hi Josh, Super!! Thanks so much once again. I have put 26 (and counting!) films onto my iPad. Just great help. All the best, Richard

  30. Paula Williams

    February 27, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Handbrake, mpeg streamclip, videomonkey, elgato turbo.264 HD, roadmovie.

  31. Ed

    February 28, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Handbrake is terrible.

  32. Charles Fierle

    March 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I have an old iMac PowerPC with OS 10.4.11 (Motorola Chip Machine). Will this process work for me or do I need a newer Mac? My iPad is a new generation 4. Any advice would be appreciated.

  33. Alsealey

    March 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    I’ve tried your easy step process a couple of times and always ends up with a really un-readable version of the movie, it’s pixelated and impossible to watch. I downloaded the Libdvdcss.dll and changed the name but nothing works. I’m not very tech-savvy so the easier the explanation the better! HELP!

    • Josh Yates

      March 22, 2013 at 9:11 am

      Hm…that has to be FRUSTRATING! :/ I’m wondering what settings you’re using in Handbrake. If you click on the “Toggle Presets” at the top right of the Handbrake window, it will bring out a drawer to the right. What settings do you have selected? Can the movie play in iTunes or Quicktime? That will help me troubleshoot you a bit. I’m tech savvy, but not necessarily video savvy! 🙂 I’m learning that different computers must have different internal settings because I’ve tried to duplicate the issues that have been on the site and I have been unable to do so.

      Let’s see what we can do!!!

      • DJ

        July 22, 2013 at 9:34 pm

        Same problem. I am using a MacBook Pro. I download the movies to iTunes using HandBrake and they come out pixelated. I haven’t touched any of the settings. HEEEEEEEELLLLLP!!!!!!

  34. Brandon Tharp

    March 21, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Hi Josh,
    I was able to do everything for the handbrake application and was able to save the movie to the desktop but when trying to put it into iTunes it won’t transfer. I own a mac with MacOSX and iTunes 11.0.2. Let me know what I can try.

    • Josh Yates

      March 22, 2013 at 9:08 am

      Hey, Brandon! I’m sorry you’re having issues! What does iTunes say when you attempt to drag the movie into iTunes?

      iTunes 11 has brought some interesting changes…I should probably amend the article with the slight changes. iTunes treats movies that are imported from Handbrake as “Home Videos.” I find them there, then change their “type” by right clicking on the file, selecting “get info”>options and then changing the “media kind” to “movie.” That places the file into the movies section of iTunes.

      I hope it’s as simple as that. I know that when I downloaded iTunes 11, I couldn’t find my movies! Took me a bit to find the Home Videos portion. If it’s not that simple, let me know what iTunes is saying and hopefully we can get it fixed!

      • Richard Stern

        March 22, 2013 at 10:46 am

        When I drag the movie into iTunes I put it under the category “Unwatched” and not under “Movies.” That is where all the movies I have transferred from the DVDs end up. They transfer very easily to that section and then when I sync with my iPad it syncs from there. Maybe that helps. Richard Stern

      • Brandon

        April 12, 2013 at 7:57 am

        Hey Josh!! Thanks. I supposedly hadn’t downloaded the libdvdcss correctly. I installed that and now it works!! Thanks so much, my wife loves me even more now because I was able to put one of her favorite shows on the iPad!!

        Another question though. I am trying to download a dvd onto my computer and when I put it in and run handbrake, it reads it but then when I try to encode it takes a second and then says it done. I only get about a second of play time and that’s it. Am I doing something wrong or is it because it is protected? I put another DVD in right after this and it worked, so I don’t know. Thanks for all the help.

  35. Alice

    March 24, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    where can i download libdvdcss.pkg???

  36. Rick

    March 26, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I am also having the same problems as mentioned above. I’ve tried this two times. When it gets to step 4, when I click on the button, I get a screen that says file not found. I had previously downloaded something called libdvdcss, but there is nothing in it about installing or how to install that is understandable. What I wind up with is an unwatchable (unless you are on some illegal drugs) pixelated video with choppy sound. It really shouldn’t be this hard to transfer videos that you own to different media players. Thanks for your help in this.

  37. Zach

    March 28, 2013 at 8:29 am

    When I try to move the file to my iPad, it keeps saying that it cannot copy the item because the “device has either stopped working or has been disconnected.” My iPad is still plugged into my computer, and the computer is recognizing that it is plugged in. Is there something that I am doing wrong? Or something that I can do to fix this problem?

  38. Kim

    April 1, 2013 at 5:36 pm


  39. Rachel Couillard

    April 7, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Your directions were fabulous…I couldn’t believe I actually did it! But when I play the movie (m4v file) on my ipad mini it’s all pixelated and the sound is bad. Please work some more magic for me!

  40. Rachel

    April 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I tried installing vlc and the plugin again and it worked…I’m good!

  41. Amanda

    May 22, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I followed all directions and it went on my iPad fine – thank you very much (and iphone for that matter). My only problem is that the movie is very grainy and there are lines all through it so it seems that the quality was off? Any experience with this? Thanks!!

  42. Donna

    May 24, 2013 at 4:26 am

    I am trying to install libdvdcss as you have mentioned above however I am getting the following error message when trying to open with VLC “No suitable decoder module:
    VLC does not support the audio or video format “undf”. Unfortunately there is no way for you to fix this.”
    What am I doing wrong?

  43. Brittaney

    June 2, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I pretty much get through the whole process and I even get the movie to play in my itunes put the picture is very pixelled and the colors are all off. the sound is there but I don’t know what i did wrong as far as the picture. any suggestions?

    • Amanda

      June 2, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      Exactly my problem as well…

  44. T White

    June 12, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Your directions worked perfectly! I have the DVD ripped into Itunes. My only problem now is that I have commentary audio playing over the movie video and audio. I’ve deleted and reloaded several times so I’m sure that I’m missing a setting somewhere. Any ideas?

  45. Josh Yates

    June 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    For all of you having issues, I’d suggest following what Rick updated with a new libdvdcss.pkg. You can download either Mac OSX or Windows (32 & 64 bit versions) here:

    Good luck!!!

    • Roy

      July 6, 2013 at 9:11 pm

      So I at the link above for libdvdcss I see a .pkg file in the macosx folder, but there isn’t a .pkg file in the win32 or win64 folders. I get an error when I clock on the .dll files contained in them. Any ideas?

      • Josh Yates

        November 1, 2013 at 7:30 pm

        There are .dll files in those folders. They need to be dragged to the program files of Handbrake, I would assume. Since I run a Mac, I wonder if anyone on a Windows machine can give some advice here?

  46. Logan

    November 1, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I have everything downloaded on my Mac and it still is saying that no Valid source is found. I have Handbrake, VLC and put the plugin libdvdcss.dylib in my user/lib…but it still is not working. Any suggestions?

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