"I have a few DVD movies that I want to watch on my iPad without buying them digitally but I want to have the DVD movies as mp4 files, so what's a good way to archive those movies before the discs stop playing? I'd prefer if the app was Mac compatible as the only windows pc I have doesn't have a dvd drive."

Say you have some movies on DVD, but you want to watch them on your iPad, iPhone, tablet or other portable devices. To do that, ripping these DVDs and turning them into MP4 movie files on your computer is the best idea. Having your movies in digital format after DVD to MP4 conversion not only facilitates them playing anywhere without disc drive, but also prevents them from physical damage. Then how to convert a DVD movie to MP4 video with best quality-size tradeoff or quality unaffected visually? Is there a free DVD to MP4 converter on Mac? To handle all your queries, below are the top 3 methods to get MP4 files from DVD on MacOS (macOS Catalina).

convert dvd to mp4 free on mac

Why we need to Convert DVD to MP4 or other digital files

There are different reasons for ripping DVD and below are some of them:

1. DVDs are vulnerable to warping, scratching, and breaking. That means, your kids and even adults easily break them.
2. DVDs are cumbersome and becoming a headache for those who have an enormous number of DVDs.
3. Modern Macs, most ultrabooks, and game console like Xbox One S are coming without disc drive. To play DVDs, you need an external DVD drive and MPEG2 decoder. This becomes an extra burden when you want to bring some DVD movies on your trips.
4. Normally, almost all commercial DVDs have region codes. DVD region codes are a digital rights management technique designed to allow rights holders to control the international distribution of DVD releases. Therefore, only a DVD player with identical codes is permitted to play that DVD, which is so inconvenient.

Now, let's further and see why we rip DVDs to MP4 format given that there are so many other video formats out there.

MP4 is a container format for storing audio and video, as well as for other data such as images and subtitles. It has some advantages.

1. MP4 is compatible with almost all devices, including computers and HD/4K TVs, phones, tablets, and game consoles from Apple, Samsung, Google, HTC, Microsoft, Sony, etc. It's accepted by programs, editors (e.g. iTunes, iDVD, iMovie) and web services (e.g. YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo). After converting DVD file to MP4 on Mac or PC, you can watch MP4 copies on the train, airplane, bus, etc without taking along physical discs.
2. MP4 features a high compression rate and great output quality. Therefore, it delivers a smaller file size than other formats when setting as the same quality. Sometimes an MKV file at least doubles the size of an MP4.
3. Unlike fragile DVD discs, MP4 files are easy to store but difficult to be damaged during regular use. If corrupted, we have multiple ways to repair MP4 files.

Though MP4 format has so many good features, it doesn’t mean you have to and only can rip DVDs to MP4. Besides the MP4 format, MKV has also been put into the spotlight when it comes to converting DVDs to a digital format. So whether to "rip DVDs to MP4" or to "rip DVDs to MKV" or other formats, it completely depends on your need.

To handle all your queries on how to convert DVD to MP4 on Mac (macOS Catalina included), we have shortlisted the best three methods below.

Method 1: How to Convert DVD to MP4 Free on Mac with Handbrake

When it comes to ripping DVD, HandBrake is always the first to recommend. Well, how to rip DVD to MP4 with HandBrake on Mac? The most comprehensive guide with pictures and video is already presented below.

Prerequisites for Ripping Movie DVDs on Mac with Handbrake:

1. Download and install HandBrake on your Mac.

Handbrake is a cross platform program, available to Mac (Mac OS X 10.7 to 10.15), Windows (Windows 7 to 10) and Ubuntu. As an open-source DVD ripper, it won't cost you a penny. Simply go to HandBrake.fr - the only official place to download HandBrake - to get a copy fit for your computer and install it following wizard. The latest version is 1.3.3.

Important Note: Even with libdvdcss being installed, HandBrake only decrypts and rips some certain DVDs with CSS. To rip any copy protected DVD freely, you need a more powerful alternative.

2. Download libdvdcss on Mac.

HandBrake can't rip commercially copy-protected DVDs by default, you should firstly download libdvdcss - a part of VideoLAN project capable of reading and decrypting DVDs locked by region codes 1-6 and CSS.

To get more details on how to install libdvdcss on Mac, you can refer to this article - How to use Handbrake to rip encrypted DVDs.

Steps on how to rip DVD to MP4 on Mac using Handbrake:

1. Insert a DVD you wish to copy into your Mac. If DVD Player starts up automatically, quit the application.

2. Launch HandBrake, located at Applications.HandBrake will display a dropdown sheet asking which Device should be opened. Select the DVD from the list in the sidebar and then select Open. HandBrake will spend a little time analyzing the DVD you selected. When it's done, it will display the DVD's name as the Source in its main window.

handbrake rip dvd to mp4

3. Choose the Title to copy. The Title dropdown will be filled in with the DVD's longest title; this is usually the main title for the DVD. HandBrake can only create a copy of a single title on a DVD. HandBrake can only rip a single title at a time. If you want to rip multiple titles off DVD or copy several/all episodes of TV show DVD, you have to process the same work multiple times or create a queue.

Other adjustable options including Angle, Chapters, Seconds and Frames. Seconds is an option used to define the start time and end time of to-be ripped title.

handbrake rip dvd to mp4

4. Configure MP4 as output. HandBrake DVD ripper empowers you to copy DVD to MP4 (M4V on Mac, same as MP4) or convert DVD to MKV on Mac. In addition, it offers dozens of output presets, grouped under General, Web, Devices, Matroska, and Legacy. You can choose any one at will, or add personalized preset by clicking Save New Preset.

If you know little about picture, filters, video, audio parameters, just keep the default settings untouched and instead focus on Presets only.

Kindly Note: If the file extension is M4V, you can change it to MP4. In fact, you can also keep M4V without no change since M4V is based on MP4 file format.

handbrake rip dvd to mp4

5. Choose a Destination. This is the file that will be created when the copy is made. You can use the suggested file name, or use Browse to select another location to store the destination file and create a new name.

handbrake rip dvd to mp4

6. If you have nothing to modify, simply click Start button at the top menu bar to start ripping DVD to MP4 with HandBrake. Then you will see a display bar and can estimate the time remaining to complete.

Drawbacks of HandBrake Converting DVD to MP4 on Mac:

● It does not allow converting protected and commercial DVDs.
● The interface is complicated to understand and use.
● A lot of users complain about compatibility issues while working with the application on Mac Mojave and other versions.
● DVDs can be converted to a limited number of formats.

Method 2: How to Rip DVD to MP4 Free on Mac with VLC

Another simple and straightforward method to convert DVD to MP4 free is by using VLC media player. VLC is a free and open-source player that is portable and works on different platforms. In addition to playing your video files, the player also allows converting your DVD to MP4 as a free DVD converter for Mac. So if you are in search of a method that facilitates simple conversion without any need for downloading separate software, rip DVD with VLC is the right way.

Insert the DVD into your Mac drive before proceeding with the below steps.

Step 1: Open VLC Media Player app on your Mac system. From the drop-down menu at the File tab, choose the Open Disc option.

vlc rip dvd to mp4

Step 2: A window with your disc information will open. Click the box for Disable DVD menus. At the bottom left corner, check the box for Stream output.

vlc rip dvd to mp4

Step 3: Hit the Settings button that will allow you to a new window. Here check the File option to get the ripped disc as a file on your Mac. Hit Browse to select the location where you want to save the converted disc. A pop-up window, choose file name and location at Save As and Where tabs, respectively. Click the Save button to confirm.

vlc rip dvd to mp4

Step 4: Next, Open the drop-down menu at the Encapsulation Method and choose MPEG 4. Make the needed video and audio settings. Click OK to confirm all the settings.

vlc rip dvd to mp4

Step 5: Finally, click Open to start to convert DVD to MP4 free with VLC Mac.

vlc rip dvd to mp4

Drawbacks of Convert DVD to MP4 with VLC on Mac:

● It does not allow selecting the desired quality and resolution of the output file.
● Video editing features before conversion are not supported.
● Conversion controls are limited as compared to professional software.
● Conversion quality is not very good when compared to other paid programs and tools.

Method 3: How to Rip DVD to MP4 Fast with Optimal Quality & Small Size

VLC and Handbrake are free but not good options for converting DVD to MP4 on Mac since there are many drawbacks and errors out there. To convert DVD to MP4, maybe you're worried that:

1. The conversion time takes too long.

DVD video to MP4 ripping speed lies on both the performance of DVD ripper and computer configuration. The faster processor the computer has, the faster the encoding will be. It's widely considered as fast to convert a DVD movie to MP4 on Mac within 15~30 minutes, with an average speed of 20FPS+. A speed slower than that will require more patience. It's unacceptable when it takes 2 hours or more to finish a DVD copy. In fact, you can rip a DVD in 15-30 minutes with a faster Mac DVD ripper.

2. The output is not as good as the original DVD

The DVD rip to MP4 process will re-encode the videos and lose quality for that reason. But different codecs like MPEG4, H.264, and HEVC have different qualities (generally, HEVC > H.264 > MPEG4). To keep the the visually same quality (including Dolby digital sound), DVD to MP4 x265 is the best choice. Besides, copy protections like fake title, bad sector, CSS, etc. can result in bad quality if the software fails to remove them. That means you need to install a third-party DVD decrypter to handle encrypted DVDs.

3. The ripped MP4 is huge in size

A compelete DVD is anywhere from 4-7GB and the rip size depends on how nice you want the quality. Simply put, DVD = low compression and mp4 = compression. Therefore, you can compress down to whatever size you want. The smaller size, the lower quality. Generally, for full length movies (1.5 - 2hrs) to h.264 codec, 1.2-1.8 gigs a movie will give good quality.

Summary: It's kinda a paradox to get the fast speed, optimal quality, and small size for the DVD to MP4 conversion task on Mac. However, a battle-tested Mac DVD converter can get the best possible results in a balanced way.

Best Tool to Rip Any DVD to MP4 on Mac with Fast Speed, High Quality, and Small Size

There is a long list of conversion programs and tools available. But if you do not want to compromise on the quality and to look for the best option to extract DVD to MP4 on Mac, EaseFab DVD Ripper for Mac is there for you. It's an easy-to-use yet powerful DVD converter for MacOS (10.15 Catalina)/Windows PC and has the top performance when converting DVDs to MP4.

Key Features of EaseFab DVD to MP4 Converter for Mac:

● Support all types of DVDs - new, old, regional, damaged, etc.
● 5 minutes to backup a DVD without quality loss with 2 Modes.
● From 8GB DVD to ~1GB MP4: easily adjust the resolutions, bit rates, codecs, etc. of the output MP4 H.264, MPEG4 to reduce the final file size. Specifically, the ripped MP4 file is 700MB ~1GB instead of GBs for a full movie, a 80% space saving. Plus, there are ready profiles for AVI, WMV, MOV; DVD to iPhone, iPad, Android, and 400+ formats/devices.
● Cut video & remove black bars; advanced flexible settings.
● Add subtites and freely select desired subtitle and audio track.

Download for Free

For macOS 10.7-10.9? Click here ↓

If you're running a Windows PC, download its Windows version here (Windows 10 compatible).

Steps on how to convert DVD to MP4 with good quality-size tradeoff

Step 1. Load DVD Files

Insert a DVD into your DVD drive, and click the load dvd button. The program will add the DVD to the program and list all the titles. Double-click one of the titles, and you can preview the movie in the Preview window on the right. See the picture below. You can also import ISO files, IFO files or DVD folder for conversion.

best mac dvd to mp4 converter

Tips: A DVD may contain many titles more than the main movie, such as the trailers or commercials. By default, EaseFab DVD Ripper choose the longest title which is usually contains the main movie. And this helps ripping without converting unnecessary titles.

Step 2. Select the subtitle(Optional)

If you do not want to rip DVD with subtitles, please skip this step. To select the subtitles you like, simply click Subtitles and select the one you prefer. You can also choose preferred audio track from the Audio drop-down lists.

choose subtitles

Step 3. Convert DVD to MP4 in the Best Quality

Click "Profile" and select MP4 or HEVC MP4 as the output format. If you want to convert DVD to MP4 for iPhone, iPad, Android, game console, TV, etc., you can browse to find any video preset from the correspoding category as the output format.

Tech details:

1. To get the best possible output quality and smallest file size, convert DVD to HEVC MP4. It has 50% smaller size at the same quality.
2. The default setting works well. Of course, if you want to customize video and audio encoding settings, just click the Settings button to customize these settings.

Recommended settings:

1. You're not suggested to adjust the frame rate and aspect ratio, if not necessary.
2. Use the codec H.264 or H.265 and lower the bitrate to a lower level. For example, adjusting the original 2500 to bitrates of around 1800-2000 is acceptable without noticeable pixellation.
3. Lower the resolution. Typical DVD videos are 720×480 (NTSC) and 720×540 (PAL). Adjust the resolution to 640×480 won't make any quality difference.

Please note: Adjusting these variables have some effect on the re-encoded video quality. Remember the file size and video quality is based more on bitrate than resolution which means bitrate higher results in big file size, and lower visible quality loss.

dvd to hevc mp4 settings

Step 4. Start converting DVD to MP4

Check to make sure all the settings are OK and then click the Convert button to begin the DVD video to MP4 conversion on your Mac.

After the DVD is converted into MP4 (h.264/mpeg-4 avc/hevc) video, you can freely transfer the MP4 to iPhone, iPad, Android, game consoles, tablets, and computers that don't have a hard drive.

Verdict - Software vs Online: Which Is the Best DVD to MP4 Converter for macOS (Catalina)?

The reason why we do not list free online DVD to MP4 converters is that we all know online DVD converters are unstable and disposable tools for one/two time usage. Those online free tools have too many limitations regarding uploading file size, upload/transcode/download speed, network requirement, and have hidden risks of file corruption.

Whereas the three DVD to MP4 conversion softwares listed above for macOS are all local applications. Among them, both Handbrake and VLC are top free options for ripping DVD to MP4 on Mac, but they are not the best choices due to the errors or drawbacks that mostly result from copy protections, poor output quality and slow process. And the best way to fix them could be trying a HandBrake alternative like the EaseFab DVD Ripper for Mac, which is capable of processing various encryption schemes and converting both homemade/encrypted DVDs to any mainstream video formats with quality, size and speed well balanced.