The easy-peasy guide to ripping DVDs on macOS Sierra

5 December 2016, 09:44

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Recently I had to rip a couple of DVDs to USB sticks to make them easier to play on our smart TV, and I tried to research how to do this on a Mac. There were so many scam sites out there with crappy or out of date information. It’s an area that’s honey to a bee for dishonourable software sellers or clickbait bloggers, it seems.

In truth, the instructions are pretty simple (all the steps below use free, open source software):

  1. Install Homebrew, which is a core of open source apps that live happily on your Mac, invisible, and alongside the existing open source apps that Apple installs. To install Homebrew, open a Terminal window (it’s an app in the Utilities folder of the Applications list in Finder) and enter the following:
    /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"
    Note that this might appear as more than one line in your browser, but it’s really just a single line – triple-click it to select it, then copy it, and then paste it into the Terminal window.
  2. In the Terminal window type the following:
    brew install libdvdcss
  3. Head over to the HandBrake site and download the latest version.
  4. Insert your DVD, close the DVD Player app if it starts automatically, and then use HandBrake to rip the DVD.

Handbrake isn’t that hard to use, even if it looks bewildering. When it opens it’ll show a File Open window. Use it to select the DVD disk under the list of Devices at the left – you’ll see something like VIDEO_TS folders, and others, but just don’t select anything and click the Open button.

The key then is to select the LONGEST file from the Title dropdown list (see how they’re all listed in minutes and seconds?), which will probably be the movie in question on the DVD. If you’re ripping a DVD full of episodes then you’ll need to find each within the list, assign it a filename in the File: area, and then click Add To Queue at the top of the window, before repeating for the next episode.

Your Mac not got a DVD drive? Get an external one. They’re pretty cheap. I use an old SuperDrive taken out of my old 2009 MacBook Pro when I added-in an SSD.

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/usr/bin/ruby -e “$(curl -fsSL”

Copied & Pasted both from your website and Homebrew’s website. Tried with both sudo and without.

I’m getting Illegal variable name.

OSX 10.12.1 with Command_Line_Tools_macOS_10.12_for_Xcode_8.1 installed.

Thanks for the great source of valuable information.


— Peter Gnemmi · Dec 5, 11:19 AM · #

Try the following

bash /usr/bin/ruby -e “$(curl -fsSL”

Keir · Dec 5, 11:35 AM · #

Or alternatively type


and then the Homebrew install command.

Keir · Dec 5, 11:38 AM · #

Take the quote off the end

— Pdero · Dec 6, 07:27 AM · #

The quotes above got turned into smart quotes, which Terminal doesn’t understand. Notice how they’re curly?
Copy / paste the bit above, but then delete the quotes and retype them. It will work then.

— Glen · Dec 27, 08:35 AM · #

Also, a trick you can use to figure out which title to pick in Handbrake – play the DVD in DVD Player and start the movie. Under the Go menu, the currently playing title will have a checkmark. Pick that one in Handbrake. Be sure to quit DVD player before starting the rip, or the 2 apps will fight over the dvd drive.

— Glen · Dec 27, 08:37 AM · #

Keir here, who writes this blog.

Glen, the code is in <pre> tags and I’m not seeing smart quotes.

Keir · Dec 27, 08:48 AM · #

Code does not work brew command not found

— ken lee · Feb 11, 08:45 AM · #