DVDs are no doubt a thing of the past – which is no surprise considering how you can fit hundreds of digital videos into a single device. But the thing is that many of us still have tons of old discs just laying around. That is probably why so many people are asking how to play DVDs on iPad.
And while there is no way to natively play DVDs on iPad Mini/Air/Pro devices, the truth is that we’ve got a couple of tricks up our sleeve to make it work. All you need is a PC, laptop, or Mac that can play DVDs and, of course, an iPad as well. So, without any further ado, let us get right into it!
How to play DVDs on iPad
As we mentioned above, you can’t natively play DVDs on an iPad. But there are a few workarounds to it.
One of them is using a computer to rip and convert the DVD into a digital video file and then sending it to your iPad. Alternatively, you can also use the cloud.
Any computer will do. As long as it runs either Windows or macOS and it can take DVDs, you can use it to create a digital copy of your disc and then play it on an iPad. Not to mention the same method works for pretty much any other mobile device as well. Phones, tablets, laptops, etc.
Basically, all you need is a computer that can play DVDs and a good program that can create a copy of your DVD in a digital format. Step by step:
- Insert the DVD disc into your computer
- Use DVD rip software to make a digital copy of it
- Convert it to a video format if the software didn’t do that automatically for you
- Send it to your iPad or use the cloud (Such as iTunes) to get access to it via the iPad
- And now you can play that DVD any time you want in its digital format
All you need now is a DVD rip program that can do just that for both Windows and Mac (Sometimes Linux as well). Here are our top picks!
Method 1. HandBrake (the free but complicated)
Most DVD Rippers ask for a small price. Finding something that’s both decent and free or even cheap can be a bit of a challenge – unless you know where to look.
Handbrake is a free, open-source program that can both rip a DVD and convert it to a playable video file. It’s definitely more complicated to use compared to our premium pick. But, that’s the price you pay for not actually paying.
How to use Handbrake
First things first, keep in mind that your DVD may be using some sort of DRM. This means that even if you manage to make a copy of it, there is a good chance that it just won’t be readable no matter what. One way to get around this is by downloading libdvdcss on your computer.
Disclaimer: Let us clarify that we do not endorse piracy in any way or form. You are bypassing DVD protection at your own responsibility and it’s your duty to make sure that you are not breaking any laws by doing so.
Install libdvdcss on Windows Computers (7, 8, and 10)
Installing libdvdcss on Windows 10 computers is pretty easy no matter if you are using the 32-bit version or 64-bit version. All you have to do is copy the libdvdcss file to Handbrake’s install location. If you didn’t modify it, you should be able to find it in C:\Program Files\Handbrake.
Install libdvdcss on OS X El Capitan and Above (Mac)
Those of you who are running Yosemite or older can download this package and install it with a double click. However, Macs that are running El Capitan 10.11 and anything newer come with more protection and thus, you are gonna have to go through a more complicated setup. Press Command+Space and search for Terminal to launch a command line window. Then paste this command into Terminal:
| brew install libdvdcss
This takes just a few seconds. When this is completed, quit Terminal.
After you do this, you should now be able to open HandBrake, rip your DVD, and then convert it to a playable video format for portable devices such as iPads. You can do that by selecting your DVD in the “Open Source” section and then picking “Start Encode”. The default settings should be just fine. So, no need to worry too much about that for now.
One thing to keep in mind here is that the whole process can take a bit of time depending on how large the DVD disc is, the DVD player, and also how powerful the PC is. Not to mention the quality settings. So, you may want to consider doing the conversion when you don’t need the computer for work.
When the video is ready, all you have to do is either send it to your iPad in any way you want or upload it to a cloud service, such as iTunes, so that you’ll be able to get access to it with all your connected devices – including the iPad.
How to send your video to the iPad
When setting up iTunes with a new Apple device, you should automatically get 5 gigabytes of free storage. You can use that to upload content and then get access to it from any other device – including the DVD you just copied via your iPad.
All you have to do is:
- Open iTunes
- Select “File” at the upper left part of the screen
- Then “Add File to Library”
- And select your DVD copy
After the file is uploaded/synced, you should be able to get access to it from any device, including your iPad. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that this heavily relies on your internet connection. If you have slow upload and download speeds, this is going to take a while. In which case, you should consider relying on the previous method.
Mind you, there is no reason to stick to iTunes. If you don’t have any more space or if you simply want to use something else, there are always tons of other solutions such as Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, etc.
And with all that out of the way, you should now have your DVD copy ready to be played on your iPad. If something doesn’t work the way it should, consider trying out our premium pick or head straight to the FAQ section towards the end of this article.
Method 2: Wondershare Uniconverter (the premium but easy)
VLC and HandBrake work just fine if you are willing to spend some time learning how to use them and even more so when making advanced changes. But, if you want an all-in-one package that does everything for you easily, quickly, and with the best efficiency in terms of size and quality, you can hardly go wrong with Wondershare UniConverter.
This is a piece of software that’s specifically made with the purpose of taking DVDs and making them playable on portable devices such as iPads, iPhones, and Android devices as well.
And it’s not just about converting your DVDs into playable videos for portable devices. You can also use this program to edit the videos by trimming them, cropping them, rotating them, adjusting their quality, compressing them, editing metadata, and more.
But, of course, all those things are optional. If you want to, there is always the option of simply jumping right in and creating a copy of your disc.
How to use UniConverter to rip DVD for iPad
Creating DVD copies with Wondershare’s offering is pretty easy. But, if you are new to this whole DVD ripping thing, you may want to follow our step by step guide:
- Install Wondershare Uniconverter (Make sure to select the right operating system version for your computer – such as Windows or Mac)
- Insert the DVD to your DVD drive (If your computer doesn’t have one by default, you can use an external solution)
- In UniConverter, select the DVD icon to add your DVD
- Select “Output format” at the bottom left part of the screen
- In the window that comes up, navigate to “Devices”
- Select your iPad model
- Pick a file location at the bottom left part of the screen (Optional)
- Then hit “Start all” at the bottom right part of the screen
Now all you have to do is wait for the process to finish which, again, may take some time depending on how powerful your hardware is. And this includes the DVD drive as well, so, don’t be surprised if your 16-core powerhouse takes its time.
Also, one last thing to keep in mind is that you don’t necessarily need to take a copy of the DVD drive in its native resolution. And that’s especially true if you are dealing with 4K Blu-ray discs. After all, chances are you’ll hardly be able to tell the difference between 1080P, 2K, and 4K on the small iPad screen.
After the conversion is done, all you have to do is send that DVD video copy on your iPad. Thankfully, UniConverter also offers a direct transfer tool in its toolbox so that you won’t have to bother with iTunes and other methods. That’s one of the main reasons why this is our premium pick.
How to transfer the ripped DVD with UniConverter
As we mentioned above, UniConverter comes with its own tool that can transfer files directly to the iPad without any need for 3rd party options.
Here’s how to use it:
- Open UniConverter and go to “Toolbox”
- Select “Transfer”
- Connect your iPad (Or any other portable device) to the computer
- A prompt will come up on your iPad asking if you trust this computer. Tap on “Trust”
- Insert your password when asked
- Tap on the top left corner
- Find and select your video
- Then hit “Transfer All”
DVD to iPad: FAQs
Can iPads play DVD files?
Yes and no. You may be able to open a raw ISO file with the help of an app such as VLC. However, your mileage can greatly vary depending on the file and the app that you are going to use. Converting it to a playable video format is a much “safer” way of doing it
Are there any DVD players for iPads?
If you are thinking of playing a DVD directly by using an external DVD drive, forget about it. iPads do not come equipped with the necessary software and hardware to work with anything like that.
Even if you manage to connect a DVD drive to an iPad, it just doesn’t have the means of recognizing the DVD drive or the DVD disc.
Can I hook a CD drive to an iPad?
Yes. There adapters that can be used to connect USB Type-A devices to Lightning Ports – such as the ones that iPads have. However, as we mentioned above, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to work. The iPad doesn’t have the required software or hardware to work with it. That is why you should follow the aforementioned steps to just get a copy of the DVD disc.
How can I send the video without the Cloud?
You don’t necessarily need the cloud to transfer files. It can also be done directly with iTunes.
This is no doubt the most “traditional” method of sending files to mobile devices via a computer. It has served us well for more than a decade and it still does. All you need is:
- The iPad’s charging cable
- Preferably that can run iTunes
If you have that equipment, here is what to do with it:
- Connect the iPad to your PC with its charging cable
- Open iTunes
- Select your iPad at the upper left part of the screen
- Select “File Sharing”
- Pick an app (Preferably a video player)
- Select “Add”
- Find and pick the digital video you just got from the DVD
- Select “Add”
- Click “Sync”
- And then “Done”
This works for both Windows and Macs. All you need to have is iTunes or, alternatively, you can also use File Explorer. And if you can’t find the video on iTunes, you’ll have to add it manually either by dragging it to it or by select “file” at the upper left part of the screen and then “Add file to library”.
If that doesn’t work, and it usually doesn’t on Windows PCs, you can always use File Explorer and make the transfer as you would with any other external device or external drive.
Since this is a local transfer, it also provides the fastest transfer speeds.
Can I watch the DVD on iPad without sending it?
All of our aforementioned methods include sending the file directly to the iPad and then playing it locally. With this one, however, you can let the computer do all the work and then stream its screen to your iPad – which is useful if you don’t have enough storage space left.
To do this, you are going to need a screen/video streaming program. And while there are plenty of options to choose from, Air Video HD is one of the most popular options. And for 6 bucks, you can hardly go wrong with it.
It’s available on both Windows and Mac and you can use it not just with an iPad, but also with iPhones, iPods, or Apple TVs. No setup is necessary. Just install the app on your devices and let it do the work for you.
The only downside to this method is that it once again relies heavily on your router and/or internet connection. If you don’t have the necessary speeds, you won’t be able to properly stream a video at a decent quality.
Worst case scenario, you may even experience audio delays and video lag. But, again, your mileage will greatly vary depending on the internet connection and hardware.
Is it legal to rip a DVD?
Frankly speaking, it depends on your country and the local laws. DVD ripping copyrighted content is still considered illegal in the U.S no matter the case. However, if we are talking about personal usage, there are tons of places where it’s fully legal.
Don’t come running to us if anything goes wrong cause we are not taking any responsibility for your actions and we certainly don’t endorse any illegal actions.
What are the best DVD ripping settings?
Generally speaking, any of the common video formats will do just fine. This includes MP4, M4V, MOV, MPEG-4, and M-JPEG. If you are willing to use a 3rd party solution such as VLC, iPads can play pretty much anything.
As for the rest of the settings, we’d recommend just leaving everything as is so that you won’t reduce the video quality. Most of the older DVDs sit around the 480P up to 1080P mark anyway. So, they shouldn’t take large amounts of storage by today’s standards.
That said, if you are dealing with a 4K Blu-ray disc, you may want to downscale the resolution to 1920 x 1080 (1080P) in order to save a bit of space. After all, we highly doubt you’ll be able to tell the difference between the two on iPad’s small display.
That’s about all there is to know about playing DVDs on iPad devices. Basically, all you have to do is convert the DVD to a playable video file by using your computer and then send that file to the iPad by any means possible. Simple as that.