The market for download managers has always been small and shady, at least for the Mac. I’ve never really needed one, although I am also not entirely happy with how the downloads are managed through the Downloads folder. However, for people who spend a lot of their time downloading huge files, sometimes the few extra features that download managers offer could come in handy.
While the market for these type of apps isn’t very big, here we’ll present to you some of the best options we could find. Why would you need a download manager? Which one suits your needs? Let’s find out.
Why Use a Download Manager?
As far as I can tell, download managers aren’t widely used anymore. With the average internet speed that ISP’s offer now being so high and the implementation of better handling of downloads from both browsers and operative systems, developers just have all but forgotten about creating apps like this.
However, some may argue that they still find them useful, and with enough reason. People that need to download huge files on a daily basis may find it very helpful to have an app that lets you organize, filter and limit the speed of each download to avoid slowing down their network.
But the truth is, as a conventional Mac user you are probably used for things being simple and uncomplicated. You want a completely integrated experience, and the Downloads folder that comes with your Mac (coupled with your browser of choice) provides just that. It’s a simple, easy to understand folder in your hard drive where anything that you download will be saved. I think installing a download manager, in a way, breaks that system integration and tarnishes that experience.
If you are an average user comfortable with your browser and Mac OS’s ways of managing downloads, you likely have no need for one of these apps. However if you want a little more control over your downloads, like scheduling them ahead of time, queuing them and limiting their speed so that it doesn’t slow down your browsing; then you should check out a few of the most popular download managers that we found for you.
Speed Download is probably the most widely used app in this category, and also the most expensive. It’s made by a fancy company called Yazsoft that also makes some other cool products. I’ve heard mixed things about it. Some people say it performs very well and has plenty of features, but I’ve also heard that for some people it slowed down their system and caused a multitude of bugs.
It comes with plenty of features like being able to share files with other users of the app, as well as support for FTP clients and the iDisk. It also has the usual features that you would expect from a download manager: prioritization of downloads, the ability to pause and resume downloads, “turbo” downloads, browser compatibility, etc. The app also advertises more speed in your downloads, but from what I hear that is mostly subjective.
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later
iGetter is a free, but old-fashioned looking downloaded manager. Don’t let its looks deceive you, it is actually quite up-to-date and it’s compatible with most current versions of browsers. It’s not that fancy with its features, it has the usual stuff like resuming downloads, queuing and it advertises an “accelerator” of some sort, but outside of that there’s nothing out of the ordinary.
If you are looking for a functional and free alternative, iGetter is probably your best bet. I’ve heard comments that it works pretty well, and you certainly can’t beat the price.
Requires: Mac OS X 10.2 or later
Leech is a discrete and beautifully designed download manager that will go very well with your Mac’s theme. It’s not the most powerful tool out there, but it gets the job done with features like browser integration, queues, history, and more that you can check in this review we did about it.
If I were to use a download manager (which I don’t need at the moment), I would probably go with Leech, as it is just very simple, pretty and Mac-friendly. It might not work for someone who wants to use limit the speed of downloads or use an FTP client, but it does the job for me.
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Developer: Many Tricks
Download managers might have been useful back when we had slower connections and were required to time and organize everything we downloaded, but currently the truth is, unless you are a power user or have a slow connection, you probably could do well without one. Even the market for these type of apps reflects that it doesn’t really get much attention.
But I am curious, where do you stand on using download managers? Have you forgotten about them? Do you still use them, and for what purpose? If so, which ones do you use and what do you think of the dying market for these type of apps? Let your voice be heard in the comment section below!