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?

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Happy watching!