As most of you know, Apple and Blu-ray aren’t good friends. Mac’s don’t come with Blu-ray players and don’t offer any playback and support what so ever for Blu-ray discs. Nevertheless you can rip Blu-rays on your Mac, and to be honest, it’s not that hard to do.

— If you want to rip the subtitles of a Blu-ray disc too, you need Windows! —

In this tutorial, we’ll need the following software:

  • MakeMKV (Free, Mac OS) Link
  • Handbrake (Free, Mac OS 64 bit) Link
  • Subler (Free, Mac OS) Link
  • MKVtools (Shareware, Mac OS) Link
  • Subrip (Free, Windows) Link

If you only want to rip the Blu-ray disc without the subtitles, you only need MakeMKV and Handbrake and Subler.
The next thing we need is off course an Blu-ray drive. They aren’t cheap, but if you look around, you can find them for as little as $70.

Now, hook everything up to each other and we’re ready to rip some Blu-rays. Note that the time needed to rip a Blu-ray depends on your hardware. I have a Mac Mini that needs just about 7-8 hours for one Blu-ray disc while my iMac does the job in 1-2 hours. For that reason I often let my Mac rip my Blu-rays at night when I don’t need my computer.

First up: Make a copy of the Blu-ray with all the information you need with MakeMKV.

With your external Blu-ray drive hooked up to your computer, insert the disc in the player. After a few seconds you should see your Blu-ray pop up in the Finder.
Now open MakeMKV.
Before you can actually make an MKV, you’ll have to go through some screens. In the first screen, MakeMKV will read the disc’s information. Now you’ll have to click a button to decrypt the Blu-ray. The button should look like this:

Decrypt Blu-ray

Now you’ll see another screen saying that it’s opening and decrypting the Blu-ray disc. The following screen should be one with a few to a lot of checkboxes. Now read carefully. The files you are now seeing are all video files. They probably are advertising and extras. In most cases, the movie is the biggest file.
In my case, the movie is 30.7 GB. You can uncheck all checkboxes that are not your movie. Now click on the file you think is your movie. To make sure, you can check the duration with the duration of the movie, both should be the same.

Next click the disclosure triangle in front of the movie, you should see a bunch of audio and subtitle files. Uncheck all languages you don’t need and if possible, only check DTS-HD Lossless in the language you prefer.

If you’d like subtitles with your movie, select all subtitle languages you want, and be sure to uncheck the (forced only) ones. Now click the folder icon and choose your destination.

MakeMKV main window

Now click MakeMKV and sit back for about 30 minutes to 1 hour while MakeMKV does it’s job. Be sure to have enough disk space as a Blu-ray can easily be 30GB or more.


Now: Convert to a video file iTunes understands.

Wow, the first part went quick! Now you have an exact copy of the Blu-ray you like with only the subtitles and languages you want. Next up we’ll need handbrake, because neither iTunes, your Apple TV, iPad, iPhone or iPod will play MKV files and let us not even start about the size of the files. If you compress a 30GB Blu-ray, you can turn it into a 2,5 GB 720p file for all your Apple devices. If you prefer 1080p you’ll have a file size close to 5-6 GB.

Let’s start converting movies with Handbrake now.
When you fire up Handbrake, It’ll ask you to select a movie file. So navigate to where you stored your MKV and click it. Now wait o minute for Handbrake to scan the source. If it’s not already toggled, toggle the presets on the side. Handbrake has some great build in presets, so you don’t have to be a genius to convert your movies.

Under Devices you’ll find a few Apple related products. For a 720p movie, choose AppleTV 2, if you want a 1080p file, do the same.

— The following step is only for people who want 1080p —
Click on Picture Settings at the top of the window, make sure Anamorphic is set to Loose and change the width to 1920. Now your movie will be full HD.

— The following part is for everyone —
 Set the Framerate (FPS): to 24, this will give the best overall results. Now change the destination to wherever you like and don’t forget to name your movie. Also don’t forget to add .m4v or else your file wont have an extension and thus will not work. With that done, click Start and let Handbrake do it’s work, as I told before, the speed depends on your hardware. This step could take anywhere from 30 minutes (Mac Pro 12 cores) to 7 hours (Mac Mini Core2Duo).

Handbrake ripping

Add important information to the video file!

Once that’s done, we can go to the next step: adding some useful information to the movie file so iTunes and all your other Apple devices will benefit from your conversion. For this we’ll use Subler. Now, open the ripped movie in Subler (the .m4v file). If everything went right, you should see a Video, Stereo, Surround and Chapter track. Don’t touch those. If you look down, you’ll see the metadata with Annotations and Values. There should already be one field filled in, the Encoding Tool should say Handbrake followed by the version of Handbrake you used. Click this field and delete it by pressing the — at the bottom left of the screen. After you’ve done that, press the little gear with a disclosure triangle next to it and choose Movie. Now you’ll see a few empty Values which we’ll need to fill, let me explain you what information goes where.

I find all of my information on 2 sites: iTunes preview (or simply in the iTunes store) and IMDb.

The following information is best gathered in iTunes Preview or the iTunes Store:

  • Name
  • Genre
  • Rating
  • Cast
  • Director
  • Screenwriters
  • Copyright

The following information is best gathered in IMDb:

  • Release Date
  • Description
  • Long Discription

Where it says Track #, just enter 1/1 and do the same for Disc #.
The Artist and Album you can leave blank as we’re talking about movies.  For the Description, use the small description you find next to the movie’s artwork and if you scroll further down, use the storyline for the Long Description.

Subler Metadata

Alright, next we’ll have to get some artwork, or else iTunes will just show you the first frame of the movie. A website I use regularly is Get Video Artwork it’s a rather slow site, but it has most of the Artwork I’m looking for. So, go over there, download the artwork and simply drag it into the Artwork field of Subler.

Subler Artwork

Now, the last thing we need to do is tell iTunes our Blu-ray rip is in fact an HD movie. To do so, simply click the Other Settings tab and check the option HD Video. If the Media Kind is not yet set to Movie, you can do so yourself, now simply save (cmd + s) and your Blu-ray rip is ready to be imported in iTunes and will work on all your Apple Devices!

Subler Other Settings

Thor Screenshot

Next up: Rip the subtitles from the Blu-ray too!


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