When clearing out the garage recently we stumbled upon an old DVD. Since we no longer have a DVD player plugged into our TV, we thought we’d see if we could RIP the DVD onto our Mac so that we could copy it to our iPad and also stream to our Apple TV.

Luckily, we have an old MacBook Pro with a DVD drive, but if your Mac doesn’t have a DVD drive (as has been the case since Apple sold the last DVD-equipped Mac back in 2016) you could plug in a SuperDrive, which Apple sells for £79.

It’s unlikely that we are alone in this scenario. We might be in the era of streaming and downloads, but many of us still own DVDs and don’t want to pay for a digital version of the same movie or TV series.

We confronted a few problems in our challenge but we were able to use MacX DVD Ripper Pro software from Digiarty and a few other apps to overcome them.

Our first issue wasn’t so easy to get past. You might have bought the DVD fair and square but copying it to your Mac is actually breaking the law!

Back in 2015 the UK high court ruled that it is illegal to rip a CD or DVD, even if you own the DVD or CD and it’s for your own personal use. Previously there were exemptions that meant it was ok to rip CDs and DVDs for personal use but the new law doesn’t allow for this exemption any more.

In practice, it is unlikely that you are going to be sued for copying your own CDs and DVDs though - unless you are then distributing copies to your friends, selling the copies, or copying the DVD prior to selling it. As long as you aren’t profiting out of ripping the DVD then you should be safe from legal proceedings, but be warned that you could be sued!

But that could be the least of your concerns if you can’t even get the DVD to play. This was the first issue we encountered, so we’ll start of by explaining what to do if the DVD won’t play because it’s from a different region.

How to play a region locked DVD on a Mac

In order to play a DVD on a Mac the region code of the DVD needs to match the region code of your DVD drive. A DVD bought in the US is set to Region 1, while the DVD Player software on your Mac might be set to Region 2 (Europe). As a result, when you insert a DVD you may see a message that: “You need to select the region for your DVD Drive.”

Luckily the DVD Player software on your Mac makes it easy to switch regions, but you only get to do this five times. What if you’ve changed your drive region five times already?

In that case, you could use 5KPlayer (free) to play the DVD. Just click on File > Open DVD, then click Play and the disc menu will open so you can start playing regardless of the region. Alternatively you could use MacX DVD Ripper Pro to copy the DVD to your Mac, which would allow you to bypass any regional limitations. More on how to do that below.

What to do if your DVD won’t play on your Mac 

Unfortunately being locked to a different region isn’t the only reason your DVD might not play on your Mac. There are lots of other problems you might be facing, especially if the DVD and your DVD equipped Mac are quite old. If your DVD won’t play, or it skips, or you see a disc error message read on to find out what to do.

If the DVD won’t play, we suggest you start by running through the following checks: There’s also a useful tutorial on the MacX DVD website. 

  • Is the DVD upside-down?
  • Does the DVD work in another DVD player?
  • Insert another DVD to see if it plays. There could be faults with your DVD player. Dust could have got in and damaged the lens or motor. In which case try using a DVD lens cleaner.
  • Is the DVD dirty? Give it a wipe with a soft cloth but be careful not to scratch it!
  • Is the DVD scratched, worn?

If you think that there is a problem with the way the DVD was originally burned, or you think that the DVD is damaged, you may still be able to access the content using MacX DVD Ripper Pro($29.95)

MacX DVD Ripper Pro can rip any DVD - home-made or commercial. Once the content of the DVD is copied onto your Mac you will be able to access it even if the DVD is damaged. It’s also a great solution if you want to convert your DVD for playback on your iPad - which is what we were originally trying to do!

How to use MacX DVD Ripper Pro to rip a DVD

  1. Download, install and open MacX DVD Ripper Pro.    
  2. Click on Disc, beside Select Disc (in the DVD Disc tab) you should see your DVD listed. Make sure that the correct title is selected.
  3. There are three DVD file system types to choose from: Auto Detect, Force UDF, and Force ISO. We left Auto Detect selected. Click Ok.
  4. Now you need to choose the output profile. There are lots to choose from, you can choose from General Profiles, that includes iPhone/iPad, or the generic Apple Device, which includes options like: to iPhone Video, to iPad Video, to Apple TV Video, and so on. There are lots of outputs you can choose from, including MP4, MKV, MOV, FLV, MP3 and more. Within each profile are further formats, such as iPad Pro (MPEG) or iPad Pro (H264). iPad Pro (MPEG) was ‘Recommended’ so we stuck with that and clicked on Done. 

  5. Next choose your Destination Folder. If you don’t like the default folder that was added by the program choose Browse and find another location.
  6. Now click on Run. The DVD will start hiring and the software will start converting. There’s an indicator of how much time it will take - our DVD took about 40 minutes to convert. The DVD ripping speed is determined by various factors, such as the size/condition of the DVD as well as the performance of the Mac computer. It’s possible to rip a DVD in just five minutes using this software if you enable the Intel/AMD/Nvidia hardware encoder on MacX DVD Ripper Pro.
  7. Now that you have the files on your Mac you can transfer them to your iPad to watch there, or watch on your Mac (it will open in 5KPlayer is you have installed that software).
  8. Now that you have the files on your Mac you can transfer them to your iPad to watch there, or watch on your Mac (it will open in 5KPlayer is you have installed that software).