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How To Convert a DVD on a Mac for Use on an iPad



Watching a DVD on an iPad seems like an easy enough request. With great battery life and a beautiful screen, it makes perfect sense to want to take the iPad on long family trips. For many, using a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu+ are great ways to get content on the iPad. However, being able to stream a movie on an airplane is nearly impossible, even with in-flight WiFi. Let’s take a look to see what is actually involved in taking a DVD on a Mac and converting it to a file the iPad will understand.

Before beginning, it is important to have two pieces of software installed on the Macintosh that will be used for this process. The first piece of software is MakeMKV. This program will convert a DVD (that you own) into the MKV file format. The MKV file format can be played back digitally on a computer without the copy protection, or it can be fed into the second program that will be needed. That program is HandBrake.

Also, if you own a Mac that does NOT have a DVD drive, it is important to have the Apple USB DVD SuperDrive to make this work.

Step One: Convert DVD to MKV File

Insert the DVD into the DVD drive and close the DVD Player program if it loads.


MakeMKV converts a DVD to a MKV file.

Open the MakeMKV program. It will automatically load the disc’s information.



Click the image of the DVD in order to begin the processing of the disc.


MakeMKV allows for individual track selection (great for removing previews).

Uncheck the boxes except from the biggest file. Those additional files are often previews or DVD extras. Then click the Make MKV icon on the right to start the conversion.


Make MKV shows its progress graphically and textually.

Step Two: Convert the MKV File to an iPad Compatible File

Open up HandBrake on the Mac.


HandBrake opens up to a window asking for a source file.

Locate the MKV file created by MakeMKV. Typically, it will be in the <users>/Movies/<dvdtitle> folder.


HandBrake provides a variety of quick and easy presets.

Select the iPad preset from the tray. If the preset tray is not open, click the Toggle Presets icon at the top right of the application.

Click on the green Start icon to begin the process.


HandBrake provides a progress bar on rendering.

HandBrake will show a progress indicator for how much time is remaining on the rendering job. Because this can be a computer-intensive process, the fans may speed up to keep the computer cooler. This is normal.


HandBrake informs the user the job is completed.

Step Three: Import into iTunes and Sync iPad


iTunes for Mac on Movies section.

Launch iTunes on the Mac.


Select the movie file from the Add to Library menu option.

Click on Add to Library from the File menu. Select the movie file (typically saved on the Desktop) and click Open.


Movie file loaded in iTunes, ready for sync.

iTunes will automatically copy a version of the movie file to the library folder. Click on Unwatched to see it on the list. It is now ready to go to the iPad!

Plug in the iPad and allow it to sync. Once the sync is complete it will be available by clicking on the Videos app on the iPad.

Although it requires a few steps and some additional software, it is fairly easy to load up hours of entertainment onto an iPad for travel and viewing anywhere in the world!

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