How to Rip DVD to iTunes

By Robert Vaux

The legality of ripping DVDs onto iTunes is still a matter of some debate. However, many DVDs offer free digital downloads with a purchase, and ripping an older DVD to watch on iTunes constitutes much the same thing. So long as you use your digital copy solely for personal use, there is little danger, and a piece of software known as HandBrake allows you to do so quite easily.

Things You'll Need

  • Mac or PC
  • HandBrake
  • iTunes
  • DVD

Step 1

Find the HandBrake software for your computer and download it from It costs nothing and is available for most operating systems.

Step 2

Place a DVD in your computer's disk drive, then open HandBrake. It will ask you to select a file. Click on the DVD, select any file and click "Open." It should then scan the entire disk and find the movie for you. (The other files represent extras on the DVDs, such as behind-the-scenes documentaries.)

Step 3

Check the running time for the file HandBrake has selected and compare it with the running time listed on the DVD cover. They should be almost exactly the same.

Step 4

Hit the "Toggle Presets" button, then click on the "Normal" option. This sets the size of the download. (You can also click another option such as "iPod" or "iPhone" or click on the "Picture Settings" button in the lower right-hand corner of the window to set your own download size.)

Step 5

Click the "Start" button on HandBrake. It will begin ripping the DVD to your computer. The process usually takes a long time (10 to 12 hours in some cases), so you may want to start it right before you go to bed or have things to do away from the computer.

Step 6

Find the completed DVD file on your computer.

Step 7

Open iTunes and drag the DVD file over to the window. It should immediately make a copy of the movie. Check the "Movies" folder on iTunes when it is done to make sure it has transferred successfully.

Step 8

Open the movie in iTunes and watch it as normal.

Tips & Warnings

  • If HandBrake doesn't automatically ask you to find a file, click on the "Source" button, located in the upper-left-hand corner of the window. It should then proceed as normal.Download size can be a tricky thing. If you want to preserve as much image quality as you can, use the "Normal" setting or set it as large as you can. If you want to fit a lot of movies into your iTunes, use the "iPod" setting or set it to a smaller size.