DVDs are still one of the most common ways for people to watch movies. Until recently these CD-like discs were the standard way to watch a movie, but these days more and more people are using digital downloads or online services to watch movies.

On the one hand playing a DVD on a Mac is extremely simple. Insert the DVD into your DVD drive... oh, you don't have one. Most modern Macs don't have DVD drives. Read our roundup of the best DVD and Blu-ray drives for Mac, plus Should I buy a SuperDrive?

How to play a DVD on a Mac with a DVD drive

Playing a DVD on a Mac with a DVD drive couldn't be easier. You simply insert the DVD into the SuperDrive and the DVD Player app should open automatically, and start running the disc. Like all DVDs it should open at the Menu and you click Play to start the movie (you can use the mouse to click on menu options).

When the movie plays the on-screen controls quickly vanish, but if you move the mouse they'll appear again. At the bottom of the display are shuttle controls, that you can use to play/stop the movie, skip chapters, control volume and so on.

How To Play a DVD on a Mac

If you move the mouse up to the top of the display a horizontal Chapter List bar will appear. Clicking on chapters skips to that display. When you've finished, press the Eject button on the keyboard to eject the disk.

How to play a DVD on a Mac without a DVD drive

With the exception of the MacBook Pro (without Retina Display) all new Macs no longer feature DVD SuperDrives (Apple's optical disc reading and writing technology). There's no physical drive for you to play CDs or DVDs on.

This makes playing DVD movies on a Mac somewhat more challenging. However, there are some options available to you.

Buy a Apple USB SuperDrive

Just because you've bought a Mac that doesn't have a built-in SuperDrive doesn't mean you can't attach a SuperDrive to it. Apple sells a USB SuperDrive for £65 that connects to a iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Pro with Retina Display or MacBook Air.

Once connected it acts just like an internal SuperDrive. You insert a DVD and it plays as normal. Like other SuperDrives you can also use it to play CD audio and record both CDs and DVDs.

Apple USB External SuperDrive

Use another Mac and Remote Disc

Another feature you might be able to use is Remote Disc. This is where you can insert a DVD into a drive on one Mac, and watch it over a network using another. To turn on Remote Disc.

  1. Open System Preferences on the computer with the DVD drive and click on Sharing.
  2. Click the lock icon and enter your admin password.
  3. Tick DVD or CD Sharing.

You should now be able to insert the DVD into this drive, and use it on another computer. Note that this doesn't work for audio CDs or copy-protected DVDs (which is most commercial DVDs). For these you need to still use a directly connected SuperDrive.

Apple Remote Disc

Read more: Set your DVDs free with Handbrake | Rip and burn DVD Video.