Whether you prefer to watch your DVDs on your computer, laptop or your tablet, when you rip a DVD to your Mac, you create a convenient digital copy. Fortunately, the process does not require advanced technology skills to complete.

Install Ripping Software

Load your Mac with ripping software that enables you to pull content off DVDs and onto your computer's hard drive. Several options exist for Mac users, including HandBrake, a free program that is widely considered the best DVD ripper for Mac. Download the version intended for Mac OS X and follow the on-screen instructions to install it.

Download a Decryption Program

Commercial DVDs require decryption programs to eliminate copyright encryption prior to ripping. Since HandBrake is not equipped with decryption technology, you'll need a third-party program. Utilities like libdvdcss offer this functionality for free. They render the content of the DVD readable by the ripping program. If you need something more sophisticated, consider a paid app like RipIt, which both decrypts and rips.

Prepare a DVD

Insert a blank DVD into your Mac's optical drive. Run HandBrake or the DVD ripper of your choice and follow the instructions. The precise settings depend on your specific purposes, but most software programs feature intuitive user interfaces.

Since DVDs contain multiple titles, you'll need to select the one(s) you want to rip. The title with the longest run time usually represents the main title, but you might want to rip extras like commentaries, featurettes and gag reels. Select multiple titles at once to add them to the queue or add them one at a time.

Adjust the Settings

In some cases, you might not need to adjust any of the default settings on your DVD ripper. However, certain adjustments can improve the software's functionality and prevent confusion. For example, when ripping DVDs with multiple features (such as TV shows or concerts), find the Use Auto Naming setting under the General tab. This forces the software to create a unique name for each file on the DVD.

You might also want to select device-specific presets. For example, HandBrake's DVD ripper allows you to specify the device on which you'll watch the ripped movie. The preset for iPhones or iPads differs from the iOS or Windows preset.

Rip the DVD

When you've decrypted the DVD's contents and selected your titles, click the Start button to launch HandBrake. It could take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours to copy the DVD to Mac devices. When it finishes, it will alert you to the completion of the process.

Speed Up the Process

If your DVDs take too long to rip, consider removing unnecessary audio tracks. For example, some movies come equipped with three or more language tracks. If you don't speak those languages, remove them before you rip. Similarly, you might want to prevent your DVD ripper from copying subtitles if you don't need them.

A high-quality DVD ripper allows you to backup your video collection without spending hundreds of extra dollars. Use the best ripping software available for the highest quality output.

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