Make Handbrake work even better with DVDs [libdvdcss]



Handbrake has made a huge breakthrough recently by finally releasing version 1.0 which has been over a decade in the making. It was worth the wait because it truly works well, is stable and is fast. In testing it seems that there are still a few DVDs that Handbrake will mangle or just not process but there is a reasonable reason for that behavior and a fix for those that are geeks-at-heart.

The problem with Handbrake processing a wide range of DVDs is because everyone follows the classic instruction:

Download the file “libdvdcss.2.dylib” from the following URL and install it in the ~/lib folder

[MPAA and the film industry still claim that you shouldn’t bypass copy protection because they simply license you to “view” that movie but that is still completely up for debate. For example, if yo move and lose a box containing hundreds of DVDs that you legally and personally paid the license fee for each and every one of them, the movie companies will not replace the discs, even though you have their license to “view” the movie, this of course proves that you actually own that disc and its contents, since they take no responsibility for it, however you must check for the legality, in your region, of copying DVDs for any reason. These articles on this website are you your information only, you are personally responsible for your decisions, acts and outcomes.]


Following this instruction will enable Handbrake to bypass the protection of the DVD disc and make a copy for you. Unfortunately, following the instruction precisely will get you a copy of libdvdcss that is a little too old to work on all discs, but runs on macOS. The link downloads version 1.2 which is many years old and what we need is a newer, more reliable, version of libdvdcss so that we do not have to run the disc through MakeMKV first, then through Handbrake (which works perfectly fine, MakeMKV is amazing in that it works with any DVD or Blu-ray disc and it always gives perfect results, we just don’t want to spend the extra time of running two apps when running one app is more convenient and takes less time) to get our final video.


If you are handy with the command line and can compile simple software then there is a solution for you (if not then don’t despair, just run the disc through MakeMKV first then through Handbrake, if running it through Handbrake alone does not work on a specific disc). There is a newer version of libdvdcss that does appear to work well, so its a matter of installing that one on your system.

libdvdcss Instructions

  • Go to and look for the newest version of libdvdcss
  • Download the latest version of libdvdcss (as of this writing its at version 1.4)
  • Note that this will download the source code, not a precompiled binary
  • Decompress the downloaded archive (double clicking on the download should do the trick)
  • Open
  • Navigate to the folder where the source code is located
    • Shortcut: type cd then drag the folder from the Finder to the Terminal window, then hit the return key
  • Type ./configure and hit the return key (this sets up the source code to be optimized for your OS and hardware
  • Ignore any errors that you see, the source code is for many different operating systems and your system will not need all those files
  • Type make
  • Make the invisible Finder files visible
    • defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE;killall Finder
  • You will now see at top of the list of files a previously invisible folder titled .libs
  • In the .libs folder you will find a file titled libdvdcss.2.dylib
  • Go to the ~/lib folder (at the root of your user folder)
  • Move the existing libdvdcss.2.dylib to the trash
  • Move the new libdvdcss.2.dylib (that you just compiled) to the  ~/lib folder
  • Make the invisible Finder files invisible (normal)
    • defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
  • Move the folder with the source code to the trash (or archive it in case something weird happens to the VLC website that hosts the original source code)
  • Launch Handbrake and do your thing.

At this point it looks like version 1.4 of libdvdcss works just fine, if you run into any issues with it, just post a comment below so everyone can take a look at it. 





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