Step 1: Insert a CD or DVD
Assuming that you’re using an external CD/DVD drive, the first step is to connect your drive to your computer, and then insert a CD or DVD. If you insert a movie or music CD and an application automatically starts playing, quit that application.
Step 2: Find the CD/DVD identifier
The first thing you need to do is find the “identifier” of your CD/DVD device. An identifier is just the name of the special file under the /dev directory that refers to your CD/DVD drive.
To find the identifier, start the Mac Terminal application, then use the
diskutil list command, as shown in this example:
$ diskutil list /dev/disk0 (internal, physical): #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER 0: GUID_partition_scheme *500.3 GB disk0 1: EFI EFI 209.7 MB disk0s1 2: Apple_CoreStorage MacOS 499.4 GB disk0s2 3: Apple_Boot Recovery HD 650.0 MB disk0s3 /dev/disk1 (internal, virtual): #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER 0: Apple_HFS MacOS +499.1 GB disk1 Logical Volume on disk0s2 3F65B80C-D17A-4803-BDF9-AB184587DAC4 Unlocked Encrypted /dev/disk2 (external, physical): #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER 0: DVD_TITLE_HERE *7.5 GB disk2
In my case, the last entry is the entry for my DVD drive — which you can tell in a variety of ways, including the words external and DVD, as well as the size — and the identifier is
disk2. This means that the device that the Mac/Unix system uses to communicate with the DVD drive is /dev/disk2. That’s all you need to know for this step.
Step 3: Unmount the drive
The next thing you need to do is to unmount the CD/DVD drive. Because my identifier is
disk2, I use this command to unmount my drive:
$ sudo umount /dev/disk2
After entering my
sudo password, the drive is unmounted. If you happen to have a Finder window open, you’ll see that the drive disappears from the “Devices” section of the Finder.
Step 4: Copy the DVD with the
The final step of the process is to make a copy of your CD or DVD with the Unix
dd command. This command reads from the device file /dev/disk2 and writes its output to a file in the current directory named MyDisk.iso:
$ dd if=/dev/disk2 of=MyDisk.iso
Once you hit
[Enter], the backup process will start. I’ve been backing up a few DVDs today using an external USB 2.0 DVD drive, and I’ve found that the process takes 30-60 minutes, depending on the size/contents of the DVD. You can also try other options with the
dd command, such as trying to control the block size, but I’ve found that the default command runs faster than any block size command arguments I’ve tried.
Step 5: Eject your media
Now there’s just one more step. Because you unmounted the DVD, you have to do something to eject the DVD from the DVD drive. This step depends on the DVD player you’re using, but if you’re lucky you may just be able to press the Eject button on your keyboard. Give that a try first.
Assuming that doesn’t work, and you’re using an external drive, another simple process is to briefly unplug the DVD drive from your system, and then plug it back in. After you plug it back in, MacOS will mount it for you, and then you can press the Eject button on your keyboard, the Eject button on the DVD drive itself, or the Eject icon in the Finder.
If that’s too much physical labor, you can also re-mount the DVD from the command line, and then eject it as described in the previous paragraph, but I haven’t looked into the
mount command (or commands) yet.