How to Play DVDs on MacBook Air

For the most part, watching a movie on your MacBook Air means streaming it from one service or another, but what if you want to watch a DVD on your computer? Many of us still have some great DVDs lying around, but we may need to remember how to play them on our computers.

The MacBook Air doesn’t have a built-in DVD drive, so first, you need to connect an external DVD player. You can then simply insert the DVD into the player, and your computer should open the DVD Player application and begin playing the movie.

My name is Eric. As an engineer, technology enthusiast, and lover of movies, I have learned various ways to watch my favorites, many of which I still have on DVD. Watching them on your MacBook Air is a great way to do this, and I can show you how.

Keep reading below if you would like to learn how to play DVDs on your MacBook Air. I will also discuss how to play a DVD if your player does not automatically start when you insert the disc.

DVD Player

The MacBook Air was designed to be small, light, and portable. To incorporate those features, it has never had a built-in DVD player because it would take up quite a bit of space and add significant weight to the system. If you want to play DVDs, you will need to connect an external player.

If you already have an external player, that’s great; you’re all set and ready to play DVDs as soon as you plug the external drive into your system. If you don’t have one, you will need to acquire one by either purchasing it or borrowing one from a friend.

Apple makes the USB Super Drive, which is readily available. Many other capable drives are compatible with the MacBook Air.

Steps to Play a DVD

Now that you have a DVD player playing the DVD is straightforward. Follow the steps below, and you’ll watch your favorite flick in no time.

Step 1: Plug in the DVD Player

The first thing you will need to do is plug the DVD player into your MacBook Air. Most external DVD players have a USB interface, and you can use the supplied cable to plug it directly into the USB port on the side of your MacBook Air. 

Newer MacBooks have a USB-C port, so if your DVD player is a little older and has the older USB-A type plug (the rectangle-shaped one), you might need to get a converter, but they are easy to find and inexpensive.

Once you have plugged the player into your computer, recognizing the drive may take a few seconds. You may see a message similar to the one shown below. You can click on the Allow button to proceed.

Step 2: Insert the DVD Into the DVD player.

Open the drive door by pressing the button on the face of the player. Once the player opens up,  place your DVD in the drive and press the button or push it closed, depending on how your player works.

Step 3: Play the Movie

Once the DVD player closes and your MacBook Air recognizes that the disk is in there, it should automatically start up the DVD Player application and start playing your movie. If it does not, you can follow the steps in the next section.

Manually Starting a DVD Movie

If your system was not configured to automatically play a DVD when the disc is inserted into the player, it’s no problem; you can start the Movie manually using the steps below. 

The steps below will assume that you have already connected the DVD player and have your DVD in the player ready to go.

Step 1: Launch the DVD Player application.

Open Spotlight and type DVD Player in the search window. This will bring up the DVD application; you can click on it to start it up.

Step 2: Navigate to the DVD in the DVD Drive.

Click on the File menu and then select Open DVD Media.

Step 3: Select the VIDEO_TS folder and play.

On the DVD drive, you should see a folder called VIDEO_TS. Select that folder and then click on Open to continue.

Once you click the Open button, the DVD should start playing.


Below are a few questions that often come up when discussing how to play a DVD on your MacBook Air.

Is there a way to play a DVD movie without a DVD player?

Yes, but you will need a DVD player initially and use a converter or what is sometimes called a ripper. These applications can take the movie data from the DVD and put them into a file format. Some will look just like the DVD, and you can play the movie using the same method as above when the DVD will not play automatically. Others will convert it to a .mp4 or other movie file format.

Can I play a Blu-Ray on my MacBook Air?

Yes, you can play a Blu-Ray disc on a MacBook Air, but you must have a Blu-Ray player and an app to play Blu-Ray movies. There are a few out there, and you can find out more from the discussions on or search for the Blu-Ray apps in the AppStore.

Can I play a music CD on my MacBook Air?

You can play music CDs on your MacBook Air. Again, you will need an external drive that plays CDs. Similar to playing DVDs, putting a CD into the drive will automatically bring up the music application and begin playing. You can find out more from Apple support


Playing a DVD on your MacBook Air with an external DVD drive such as the USB Super Drive is easy. All you need to do is plug the drive into a USB port and insert your DVD into the drive. The DVD Player will automatically start and play your DVD.

If the DVD does not start playing automatically, you can start it yourself by launching the DVD Player application and then selecting the VIDEO_TS folder from the drive. 

I hope the information above can help you to play your DVDs on your MacBook Air. As always, let me know if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you.

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