How Do I Download Movies on My Mac?

By Raechel Donahue

Mac computers are far simpler to use than PCs when it comes to certain tasks and those tasks include downloading music and movies. Unfortunately, many commercial subscription sites are not Mac compatible, but native Mac programs such as iTunes are very helpful and there are many other choices available.

Downloading Movies With iTunes

To download movies to a Mac, the operating system must be in the OSX family. These operating systems, which began release in 2002, include Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard and Snow Leopard.The easiest way to download movies on a Mac is through the iTunes Music Store, an application that comes with your Mac. It is a legal service that allows you to purchase movies for a cost range of $9.99 to $14.99. If you have an older Mac OSX machine and do not regularly use iTunes for music, you might not have selected upgrades recently. Select Mac OSX software or Software Update from the dropdown menu under the Apple menu at the top of your screen and update your iTunes. Restart your computer and then return to iTunes and click on the iTunes store link on the left side of the window.The rest is easy—at the bottom there is a link to explore movies. You can even pre-order movies that have not made it to DVD as yet. Click on the movie of your choice and a box appears that tells you the price and if you want it, just click the "buy movie" box at the bottom left. Next you'll be taken to a screen that will let you sign up for an account. You'll have to have a debit or credit card and also a valid email address to make the purchase. Then it comes right to your computer and you can open it in iTunes. The only downside is that you can only play the movie on your computer or your iPod unless you have AppleTV.

Downloading From YouTube

YouTube offers homemade movies as well as studio movie clips and entire television series episodes. These can easily be downloaded to a Mac with the help of a Firefox application called DownloadHelper. It is available free of charge at the website After installing the DownloadHelper you can save YouTube movies to your computer, but most will be Flash files. Your Mac should have no problem playing flash files, but be sure to update your player using the drop-down menu under the Apple icon at the top of your basic screen or download the free software at