wikiHow to Use HandBrake on a Mac

Two Methods:Opening a Source FileEncoding the Video

If you’ve got a collection of DVD movies, you may have considered transferring them to your portable device or computer for easy viewing later. After you’ve ripped the movie, you’ll need to encode it to make it viewable on other devices. This is where HandBrake comes in. Use HandBrake to encode video files into formats supported by any device, and use this guide to learn how.

Method 1
Opening a Source File

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    Click the Source button. This is located at the top-left corner of the Handbrake window. In the menu that appears, choose to either select a folder or select a specific file.
    • HandBrake can open DVD images (.iso), unencrypted DVD and Blu-ray discs, and virtually any video file format.
    • You cannot use HandBrake to copy a protected DVD or Blu-Ray disc. You must use another program to first rip the contents of the disc. HandBrake will convert the video file into a format suitable for other devices.
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    Choose your chapters. If the source file is broken up into chapters, you can designate which ones you would like to convert.
    • If there are multiple angles available, you can choose between them.
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    Choose your file destination. Set where you want the file to appear after it is converted. Make sure to name it something that you will remember.

Method 2
Encoding the Video

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    Choose your preset. For the easiest encoding experience, pick your intended destination device from the list on the right side of the window. These presets will make sure that the file is completely compatible with the selected device.
    • MP4 is the most playable format, so it is always selected by default in the Output Settings. If you plan on uploading the video to YouTube or other streaming service, check the box labeled “Web Optimized”[1]
    • If you are encoding the video to watch on a computer or upload to YouTube, select the Normal or High Profile presets.
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    Watch a preview. You can click the Preview button to watch a small clip of the video you are encoding. This will let you check the quality before you commit to a long project. Encoding can be a time consuming process, especially if you are encoding high quality video. The preview may take a few moments to create.
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    Adjust your settings. If you are unhappy with the results, you can use the tabs on the bottom to adjust your settings. Each tab relates to a specific aspect of the video.[2]
    • Picture: This will allow you to change the resolution of the video, as well as crop out unwanted edges such as black bars.
    • Filters: These filters can affect the playback of the video. They can remove layers that make a video look obviously filmed.
    • Video: This tab lets you change the codec of the video, as well as quality options such as frame rate and video optimization. One of the most important settings on this tab is the Quality section. Here you can adjust the bit rate of the finished file. Higher bit rate files are higher quality but much larger than lower bit rates.[3]
    • Audio: The Audio tab allows you to adjust the settings for each audio track found in the source video. You can remove unwanted tracks (such as other languages), or adjust the quality of the audio independent from the quality of the video.
    • Subtitles: This tab will allow you to add subtitle files to videos. These files are usually found with the original video file.
    • Chapters: You can see the list of chapters in your video file here. These are most typically found in DVD images. You can import custom channel files as well.
    • Advanced. This tab is usually disabled, and can be enabled by checking the box in the Video tab. This tab will give you much more control over the x264 codec.
    • Changing preset settings may make the video unplayable in your chosen device. This is especially true if you change the frame rate or the picture size.
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    Add the project to the queue. If you have multiple files that you need to encode, click the Add To Queue button after you are finished with your project settings. This will add the project to the list of videos that will be encoded when you start.
    • You can click the Show Queue button to display a list of the projects you have lined up.
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    Start encoding. Click the green Start button to begin encoding the video files in your queue. Encoding will take a significant amount of time, as well as a lot of system resources. Using your computer during encoding will slow the process down and may cause errors in the final product.
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    Test your finished encode. Once you have finished encoding the video, transfer it to your device or open it on your computer. Make sure that the quality suits you, and that there are no errors.


  • If you plan to burn the ripped movie to a disk follow these directions. In the lower left quadrant of the main interface, titled "Video," click the radio button labeled "Target Size" and enter the a number about 10MB under the capacity of your media; i.e. 690 for 700MB disks, 790 for 800MB disks, etc. If you're burning to DVD, be careful when converting GB to MB! You may want to use the calculator at
  • Visit the forums on the handbrake website (links below) for any troubleshooting information or help.


  • HandBrake is very resource-intensive. Avoid using your computer while you are encoding a file.

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Categories: Media Software