Updated: 28 January 2017

How to Use Handbrake: Tutorial by Software Engineers

How to use Handbrake for video converting is not always clear. You can easily get stuck in all the settings & codecs. But stay calm – this Handbrake tutorial is all you need for plain sailing!

Julia Nash


Handbrake has been around for dozen of years already. And even though Handbrake has a huge history behind its shoulders, the app still remains a relibale, trustworthy way to change one video fromat to the other one. 

Here we'll show how to use Handbrake in the definitive guide below. But, if you'd like to convert video for your iPhone or iPad, I'd recommend jumping straight to the second part of our article, where we describe the fastest way ever to convert movies and music to iOS devices. 

Handbrake Tutorial: How to use Handbrake

It's a no secret that HandBrake belongs to that 'old school' software generation. But besides being solid and stable, it's not always easy to use. Using Handbrake may seem quite puzzling at first. 

No worries – right here we'll show you how to use Handbrake effectively. For us – software engineers, Handbrake is an iconic video converter. 

How to use Hnabrake effectively

Before we learn how to use Handbrake – here's a quick rundown of its buttons & tabs for you to navigate better:

At the top of the program’s window you can find six buttons, like open a 'Source file', to add a movie into the list of files which should be transcoded, etc. There is a button signed 'Start', too. 

A bit lower, you can notice 'Source' and 'Destination' buttons. The one signed 'Destination' lets you select, where you want to save the transcoded file, and how you want to name it. 'Source' button shows a short info about the source file: titles, angles, and dropdown buttons. With them you’ll be able to transcode your file by chapter, timeline (in seconds), or by frames.

Once you learn how to  navigate, using of Handbrake becomes substantially easier!

Finally, output options. There are lots of possibilities and functions. You can set a quality for both: picture and sound. Subtitles can be added too. 

How to Use Handbrake on Mac & Windows:

We assume you already have Handbrake downloaded and installed on your computer. You can use Handbrake on both Windows and Mac computers.

The very first thing, that should be done is the source file localization. 

1. Press “Source” and click “Open File” in the row displayed below.

Find the required file in your computer’s memory. Choose it, and press “Open” button. The name of the video you need to convert is now displayed below the “Source” heading. In this instance, we'll be using Handbrake to convert MKV to Mp4. 

Handbrake Tutorial by Software engeneers

2. Choose the destiantion of the file. 

Right below the 'Source' button you can spot 'Destination' where you can select folder to store the outcome movie. 

3. Specify Output setttings.

In the Output settings you can select:

  • file format (I'm using Handbrake Version 0.10.5 and here I can convert either to MKV or to MP4)
  • video codec (H.264,H.265, MPEG-2, MPEG-4)
  • frame rate (we'll recommned sticking with the same you have in your source)
  •  bitrate etc

Converting MKV to MP4 with Handbrake is actually one of the most popular tasks.
In Picture settings (located in the top right corner above) you can select the desired picture resolution.

4. Hit 'Start'

How to Use Handbrake, converting files with Handbrake

The estimated time before the end of converting would be shown right in the bottom of the app. That's basically all you should know of how you can use Handbrake.

5. Done!

All in all, this is an oldie method that still works fine, though speed leaves much to be desired. 

And it's so true, since  for smaller files using Handbrake is quite a good option, but if you have a whole HD movie there, it could be drastically slow (depending on your system's configuration and the size of your file). It may  last a few minutes as well as several hours. If you aren't willing to wait – There's also a faster way that we're featuring right below. 

How to Convert Files for Apple Devices using WALTR 2 (without Handbrake)

Handbrake is a good old tool, but it may not be cutting for those, who wish to move files on Apple devices. 

MKV, AVI, WMA, and a good deal of other formats simply can't be played back on iPhones & iPads. Sure, you now know how to use Handbrake + iTunes, but there's something that works better. And faster. WALTR 2 is a specially designed tool that transfers any file (movies, music, ebooks) to Apple devices for native playback. It's a breath of fresh air, since it's way easier than any other tool you might spot on the web! 

A video is better than a 1000 words, watch this quick video tutorial to learn how things work:

Also, we came up with this easy-to-follow tutorial to show you how just incredibly painless this whole way is:

Step 1. Download the recommended application – WALTR 2.

(the download doesn't cost a dime ;)

Download WALTR 2 for FREE
Opens in a new tab

WALTR is the only video converter, that converts your video on-the-fly – while it gets transferred. 

Once you dowloaded the app – go ahead and install it. 

waltr 2 on a mac

Step 2. Launch WALTR 2 and plug-in your Apple device.

We're on MacOS Sierra in this very tutorial, but the app works on Windows computers just as smoothly. 

And from there...

Step 3. Push the video into the drop-zone.

Alll you’ve got to do is to drag the file you want to have converted and drop it into the WALTR’s window. The program will automatically convert your file to the type which is compatible with your Apple device, and copy the movie to its memory at once.
While after using Handbrake, you still need to use iTunes.

WALTR 2 is transferring video to iPof touch

And everything will take literally a couple of seconds!

On the other hand, you'll need to convert MKV to MP4 with Handbrake and then use iTunes to transfer the file to your device.

Videos App iPod Touch

WALTR 2 is an app of many trades:

  • Convert Movies & Music WIRELESSLY 
  • No need even to launch iTunes or Handbrake
  • Support of ANY Apple device (including the whole iPod lineup released by Apple)
  • AVI, MKV, FLAC, CUE, WMA, MP4, MP3 and more are all covered!


With just a little attempt and a couple of tricks, anybody can learn how to use Handbrake. The Handbrake tutorial, you just read, is here to help!

However, you may want to use alternative ways to convert files for your Apple goodies. If so, then WALTR might be a good choice for you. 

Don't hesitate & test both solutions, and then let us know in the comments what worked better!

Direct-to-iPhone Converter
WALTR 2 WALTR 2 Learn More