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Written by Mårten Björk

Using torrents, you can quickly download movies, films and other files to your Mac. A torrent is a file with the file extension .torrent. This article will explain how to download torrents on a Mac.

Are torrent files legal?

Torrent files are not illegal, but downloading copyrighted material is. However, there are many torrent files out there containing non-copyrighted material which is why we choose to publish this article.

How torrent downloads work on the Mac

Without going all geeky, we’ll now try to explain how torrents work.

Someone downloads a .torrent file

The first thing that happens is that a user downloads a .torrent file. This file is very small and contains only a list of the files that are to be downloaded and some other stuff used by the user’s torrent application.

Opening the torrent

The next thing that happens is that the person that downloaded the file opens it with an application designed to handle this kind of file (more about these applications later). This application will try to find other people trying to download the same file. The torrent application will now grab pieces of the file from the other computers and put them together into one file. The user’s torrent application will in its turn start to share pieces that you have downloaded with other users. You get some and you give some.

Torrent applications for the Mac

There are various torrent applications available for Mac users. In this article, we’ll tell you about our favorite application, Transmission. It’s simple to use and free (we’re not paid to say this).

Transmission

Transmission is a great torrent application for Mac. It’s easy to understand, it works pretty flawlessly and it has most of the features that one wants. To download Transmission, click here (download will begin immediately).

Adding torrent files to Transmission

Create a new downloads folder

Okay, let’s assume that you have downloaded Transmission and want to start downloading files. The first thing you should do is create a folder where your downloads will be put. For instance, name it “Downloads” and place it on your desktop.

Tell Transmission that you want your downloads to be out into that folder

Now, open Transmission and go to the top menu. Click Transmission > Preferences. In the preferences window, click the second tab labeled “Transfers”. A drop-down menu is now available and from that menu, choose the folder where you want your downloads to be put (the folder you just created).

Get a torrent file

The next thing you do is download a .torrent file. You do this from your web browser. Find a web site that offers torrents and find a download button. When you click it, a .torrent file will be downloaded to your computer.

Open the .torrent file with Transmission

Now drag the torrent file into Transmission and it will be visible in the list. All the files that you want to download will now be created in the Downloads folder. These files are useless and broken until Transmission says that the files are 100% downloaded. You can throw the .torrent file away after adding it to Transmission.

Download problems that may occur

The torrent download won’t start

The problem with torrents is that they depend on someone seeding the file from his or her computer. Seeding means that you allow other users to download parts of the file from your computer. Sometimes no users are downloading or seeding the file and therefore it can’t be downloaded.

Try to find another file. Finding good torrents might be tricky, but have patience.

How to get regression in excel for mac. Torrent, named after BitTorrent, is a file sharing protocol which allows files to be fragmented and downloaded from multiple sources called peers. Although the word “torrent” has been long associated with illegal piracy and forbidden files, the torrent file itself is simply an instruction set of where to find those file fragments, so they can come together to form a whole. All the fragments are hosted by other computer users connected to the torrent network, such as yourself.

Best torrent clients for Mac

Get a huge set of downloaders for your Mac. Best utilities in one pack, give it a go!

It might sound complicated, but peer-to-peer is actually a very smart and efficient way to share files that don’t rely on single servers or private storage. Mac Torrents are no different to their PC or Linux counterparts. The only thing that isn’t the same is the choice of torrent clients themselves.

What is a Mac torrent Client?

As torrents became popular, the stigma around their use was diminished. Users worldwide were surprised at how quickly they could download files without experiencing the paywall or slowdown of traditional file-sharing systems.

To start downloading files through torrent, you just need to download and install a torrent client (software). The torrent client will then follow the instructions given in the torrent file to complete your download. Think of it like a download manager, specifically built for torrent files.

Torrent Mac clients come in different shapes and sizes, but all ultimately do the same thing — download files (called leeching) or upload files (called seeding). The right torrent client for you depends on your needs. You can opt for small and simple, or look for something more complex boasting advanced features. Downloading and installing a torrent client isn’t illegal per se, but all users should be wary of some nuances.

Is a torrent downloader for Mac legal?

Although torrents have historically been seen as illegal file-sharing systems, they are not inherently illegal at all. Torrent clients have many legitimate uses, including the sharing of open-source software or publically available files. The advantage of using a torrent client in these situations is potentially faster download speeds, especially if you use the best torrent downloader available.

Assuming the files you’re downloading aren’t subject to copyright or distribution laws, there should be no cause for concern. Conversely, if you’re using the torrent client to download files that you’d normally have to pay for, you may be breaching legislation, depending on the jurisdiction you reside in.

What to look for in a torrent Mac client

When it comes to reviewing a torrent downloader for Mac, there are a few considerations to take into account. At a high level, a basic user who runs the torrent client to download files infrequently will be happy with the most basic, lightweight app, and they don’t necessarily need the best torrent software. Those who wish to contribute and share their own files, or spend a lot of time downloading and uploading, might want to enjoy some of the advanced features available. For example:

  • Bandwidth limiters allow you to throttle your download or upload speed to ensure your internet connection remains available for other tasks, or to ensure you don’t use all of your internet data.
  • Magnet URI functionality lets you begin your Mac torrent download from a link rather than physically downloading a torrent file first.
  • Encryption helps to mask the torrent activity to throw off your ISP monitoring and enjoy full-speed downloads in the case of ISP throttling.
  • Superseeding enables you to become an uploader much faster after a download, but carries a risk of failing the upload if there’s only one downloader on the other end.
  • Pricing can either turn on some advanced features, extra security, and ensure no advertising, or offer you a basic torrent client for free.

As you can see, most of the features separating various torrent clients are generally of a more pro-level nature. For the majority of basic users, they are less important than the look and feel of the torrent app. So what’s the best torrent client for Mac? Let’s dive into the pros and cons of the most popular Mac torrent clients so you know where to pull the trigger.

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BitTorrent and uTorrent

BitTorrent for Mac is one of the original torrent clients designed to implement the BitTorrent protocol. It comes with the advantage of many years of experience and updates under the hood.

Strangely, BitTorrent also owns and operates uTorrent, another leading client. At face value, they are essentially the exact same software, right down to the user interface.

The key difference between the two apps is that BitTorrent for Mac only releases stable, tested versions, whereas uTorrent releases alpha and beta versions for those who wish to test out the latest features before everyone else. The early releases can beg the question: Is uTorrent safe? When it comes to subscribing to alpha and beta builds, it’s a matter of buyer beware — best for advanced users.

Another key difference is that uTorrent is slightly smaller than BitTorrent, and therefore easier to launch and less taxing when running a Mac torrent download.

Generally speaking, uTorrent still might be the better option for basic users who download torrents infrequently, simply because of its simplicity and lightweight build. Just hope those betas are stable enough!

Pros:

  • Small and lightweight
  • Ability to schedule downloads
  • Long history of reliable updates

Cons:

  • Contains ads (!)
  • Both clients are susceptible to some security issues

Vuze and Vuze Plus torrent for Mac

Free

If BitTorrent and uTorrent are the small, lightweight clients that get the job done — Vuze is created for the more advanced user who wishes to enjoy extended functionality.

The key difference here is the ability to add plugins for new features. Vuze comes in two versions. The first is Vuze Leap and the second Vuze Plus, which is essentially the same except for professional virus protection and the ability to preview files as they are downloading. Vuze Plus is also a paid client with all ads removed.

Vuze in general is likely a more suitable candidate for tech-savvy users who wish to take full advantage of the expandable plugin functionality. When set up correctly, it can be a top candidate for the best torrent downloader for Mac.

Free

Pros:

  • Expandable functionality through plugins
  • Simple interface that borrows from the best
  • Vuze Plus features added security

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Cons

  • Contains banner ads unless in paid version
  • Two versions can lead to confusion

Folx Pro – the best torrent client for Mac?

Folx Pro is a paid torrent client, which means there are no ads and it comes with some great security measures right out of the box. Folx covers all of the basic features you would want in a torrent client, including scheduling. You can even search for new torrent files to download from within the client, instead of having to browse the web.

Additionally, Mac users will appreciate the look, which takes after macOS and feels right at home. The interface is beautifully simple — refreshing after the added visual noise of competing Mac torrent clients.

Downloading with Folx Pro is thus even simpler than with other apps:

  1. Use the top search bar to type in your keyword and hit Return
  2. Wait for all results to show up
  3. Choose the appropriate file and click Download on the right-hand side

Pros:

  • No ads whatsoever
  • Built-in security measures
  • macOS-inspired design

Cons

  • Paid version only

Maintain your security at all times

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One of the most important considerations to keep in mind when downloading torrent files is the risk of viruses or malware. Because there’s no single owner or distributor of the file at hand, it’s very easy to upload malicious files and escape the liability or consequences of doing so. Often, hackers will hide malicious software or scripts in popular torrent files. In these cases, it’s best to try to download torrent files that are distributed from a trustworthy source. Additionally, the best torrent software should come bundled with some security measures.

In any case, it’s a good idea to always scan your Mac for viruses. Thankfully, there’s an easy to use app called CleanMyMac X which will not only scan your system and quarantine malicious files but also optimize your Mac and help you properly configure your privacy settin

To quickly check your computer after every torrent download with CleanMyMac X:

  1. Open the app and navigate to Malware Removal tab under Protection in the sidebar
  2. Click Scan and wait for the process to finish
  3. Remove any malware found

Now that you know what Mac torrent clients are and some of the features to look for, you’re ready to get started with your unlimited file sharing. It’s recommended that you lean on the side of caution though, so a paid torrent client is your best bet.

Thankfully, you can try both Folx Pro torrent app and CleanMyMac X virus scanner for free during a seven-day trial with Setapp — a subscription service for Mac that grants you access to more than 150 indispensable apps to enrich your digital life. What are you planning to download now?

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Bittorrent Mac Client


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BitTorrent is a fast and free peer-to-peer file sharing application that makes it easy to locate and download torrents from around the web.

The program includes its own search box. Enter a few keywords describing whatever you're looking for, and a browser windows will open at Ask.com with whatever matching torrents the site could uncover. Follow the links, and as long as you made BitTorrent your default torrent application during installation, the program should open and begin downloading your selected file.

BitTorrent isn't your default app? Click Options > Preferences and you can set up your file associations manually. And while you're there, knowledgeable users may want to take advantage of BitTorrent's many customisation options. You're able to tweak the port used for incoming connections; limit upload and download rates to ensure there's bandwidth left for other apps; cap torrent transfers to a particular amount in the past month; use a scheduler to enable BitTorrent to run at full speed only during the times you define, and more.

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BitTorrent 7 takes all this further, from support for both global and per-torrent speed limiting, to adding entirely new features like an RSS Downloader. Yet it still remains fast and extremely lightweight, with the core program consuming barely more than 7MB RAM (private working set) when it's first launched - this isn't a tool that's going to slow you down.

BitTorrent 7 also gets a dramatic rewrite to its disk i/o, which means noticeable performance gains in multi-tasking. For example, you can delete files from a torrent or move torrents to a new location, but without the usual slow-down in torrent downloading. Or, download torrents to two different drives, but with the speed of downloading to a single drive. You'll notice gains at both low and high speeds, and whether you're writing to local disk, a RAID or a network drive. You'll also experience improvements to the disk subsystem and rate limiter.

Verdict:

A capable and effective BitTorrent client