How to Copy a DVD to Your iPod With HandBrake

It's easy to watch all your DVDs on the go

When you want to move your DVDs to your iPod, check out the free HandBrake file converter program. Use HandBrake to rip DVDs to your computer in a special file format, add the movie files to your iTunes, sync iTunes with your iPod, and watch movies from anywhere.

HandBrake works on Windows, Linux, and Mac. The screenshots below are from Windows.

Be sure to only use this process with DVDs that you own. Doing so with someone else’s DVDs is theft.

  1. Download and install HandBrake.

    HandBrake download page
  2. Put the DVD into the optical disc drive.

    If the computer automatically opens the DVD in a video player, shut that program down.

  3. Open HandBrake, go to the Source Selection section, and select the DVD drive.

    DVD source file in Handbrake

    If you don't see this screen, choose Open Source.

  4. Wait for HandBrake to scan the files on the DVD. The time it takes depends on the size of the disc and the speed of the DVD drive and computer.

    HandBrake scanning titles screen

    If a message appears stating that HandBrake is unable to find a valid source or title, the DVD may contain copy protected data. If this is the case, you can't use HandBrake to rip the DVD contents. Try a different DVD ripper.

  5. Select the Presets dropdown arrow and choose an Apple preset that matches the device, or choose the settings that you know are appropriate for the iPod.

    Apple codecs in Handbrake

    If you're not sure what to choose, select the Format dropdown arrow and choose MP4, go to the Video tab and set Video Codec to H.264 (x264), then go to the Audio tab and set the audio codec to AAC.

    Take note of any other option you might want to customize before moving forward, for example, to add a subtitle file or enable chapter markers.

  6. Select Browse.

    Browse button in Handbrake
  7. In the File name text box, enter a name for the DVD file, choose where to save the file, then select Save.

    Save button in Handbrake
  8. Select Start Encode to copy the DVD to the computer.

    Start Encode button in Handbrake
  9. Wait while HandBrake extracts the video from the DVD, converts it to the iPod video file format you chose, and saves it to the computer.

    HandBrake encoding process

    The time this takes to complete depends on the length of the video, and the speed of the computer and DVD drive. Monitor the green progress bar to see an estimation of how long it will take, and watch for a Queue Finished message.

    Select Do nothing to change what happens when the DVD ripping process is complete. Options include shutting down the computer, going into hibernation mode, logging off, closing the program, and more.

  10. To add the movie file to iTunes, go to File > Add File to Library, then choose the movie HandBrake copied to the computer (from the location you specified in Step 7).

    Add File to Library menu item in iTunes
  11. Sync movies to the iPod via iTunes to copy the DVD to the device.