Transmit 4: Meet Your New Favorite FTP Client

Today we’re going to get our hands on the newest version of Transmit, Panic’s longstanding FTP client. Though it’s the patriarch of Mac FTP applications, Transmit has been knocked about recently by a few new competitors upping the ante for innovation and style.

Transmit 4 has risen to the challenge with a completely redesigned interface, newly streamlined workflow and stunning speed increases. I’ll just say now to any Transmit 3 users, this is an update you won’t want to miss.

Shiny & New

I’ve been a Transmit user for several years so I naturally couldn’t wait to stop by Panic’s site when I’d heard that the fourth iteration had finally launched.

What I saw in the screenshots impressed me, but they honestly did the new interface very little justice. You simply can’t appreciate the nuances of this excellent overhaul until you’ve downloaded the app for yourself.


The Welcome Screen

As soon as you open the app you know you’re in for a visual treat. To contrast a history of plain white file windows, the new theme is all about dark gray vignettes complimented perfectly by brightly colored icons.

Though functionally superfluous, one of the coolest features in Transmit 4 is the newly animated interface. Everything you click slips and slides its way on and off the screen with beautifully fluid jQuery-like motion. Normally, file browsing and uploading is quite the mundane task but these animations make it feel like a futuristic, high-tech experience.

Making Connections

Functionally speaking, if you’ve used Transmit in the past, there’s almost nothing about the new system that will confuse you. In fact, the interface changes have merely streamlined the connection process even further.


Creating New Connections

As you can see, a strip of buttons along the top of the window allows you to choose from the four different types of connections available: FTP, SFTP, Amazon S3, and WebDAV. The thin typography, rounded corners, grunge stamp and wrap around bookmark ribbon in this area really emphasize that this application was made with designers in mind.


The old favorites system is still in place, now refreshed with the dark theme.


Adding a New Favorite

You can set just the basic server options or expand the window to include preferences for specific ports, remote and local paths and root URLs. Droplets and DockSend are still in place as well giving you several options for uploading files quickly and easily with a drag and drop.

In addition to favorites, there is a new customizable “places” feature that sits at the beginning of the folder breadcrumb trail at the top of the window. This gives you lightning quick access to your most used folders. Adding places is as simple as dragging a folder to the icon.


Adding a New Favorite

Revamped File Browsing

The file browsing system is the biggest functional overhaul, featuring tons of new features that take full advantage of recent OS X enhancements.


Now with Finder-like Features

Perhaps as a response to the excellent file browsing experience found in FTP competitor Forklift, Transmit now includes nearly all of the functionality you see in the Snow Leopard Finder app. You can view both local and remote directories in list view, icon view, column view, or even cover flow. You can also hit the space bar on a file to bring up the Quicklook preview, zip and decompress files, and apply labels just like in Finder.

Transmit also now makes it easy to switch between a single and double pane view with the click of a button. The ability to utilize two adjustable panes and multiple Safari-like tabs in a single window in addition to all of the new file browsing options will no doubt have you considering abandoning the Finder and using Transmit for all file-related tasks.

Menubar Miracles

Transmit now places a little truck in your menubar that allows you to connect to your favorite servers even when Transmit isn’t launched. The server is mounted into Finder and acts just like any other mounted disk, allowing you to upload and download files at will.


Mount Remote Servers on Your Desktop

If your workflow is such that you’re constantly accessing remote file servers, having Transmit integrate this closely with Finder is a dream come true and will save you tons of lost app-switching time.


Syncing files between local and remote servers is pretty much a standard feature in FTP apps, but Transmit 4 brings some excellent innovation to the table.


File Syncing

After selecting two directories to sync, the window above pops up containing various options for the sync. Using the Transmit rules system, you can create specific cases of files that will and won’t be affected by the sync.


Advanced Syncing Rules

The really nifty part though lies in the “Simulate the sync” option. Countless developers have forever large lost portions of work because of syncing experiments gone wrong. Though Transmit 4 really simplifies the syncing process, the simulate option gives you one last fail safe (aside from maintaining responsible file backups) against accidental data loss. You can view the effects of the sync as if it had actually happened, then decided whether to proceed or cancel.

Other Improvements

Other notable updates include multi-touch gesture support, instant favorites, and full 64 bit support. And of course, the biggest change that we haven’t yet mentioned is speed.


File Syncing

Transmit 4 features a blazing fast new engine that boasts up to 25x faster uploads than Transmit 3 on small files. Obviously, your Internet connection speed is the largest factor in file transfer speed but it definitely helps to have a streamlined application engine turning the gears.

My Thoughts

To sum up, Transmit 4 is both the most aesthetically and functionally significant update Panic has made to its beloved FTP client since making the jump to OS X. The application is a perfect balance of brand new and completely familiar. Everything I tried just worked and I was constantly in awe of just how dang pretty the app is on all fronts.

That said, the increased aesthetic appeal is just the icing on a nearly perfectly streamlined cake. The enhanced integration of favorites and the new “places” feature into the more Finder-centric file browsing makes for the best FTP experience on the market. Hats off to the the guys at Panic for really stepping up to take back the top spot in a market that was admittedly starting to fill with more worthy competitors.

What Do You Think?

Now that you’ve heard us rave over Transmit 4, let us know what you think. I know from past articles that we’ve got plenty of avid Forklift users out there and I’m anxious to hear if you’ve given Transmit 4 a shot and how you thought it stacked up.

No matter what FTP client you’ve been using, join the conversation and let us know whether you think the new Transmit lives up to the hype or if it’s just the same old application with a new coat of paint. Just be sure to stop by Panic’s site and grab the fully-functional demo so you can see for yourself.


This new version of Transmit hits the ball out of the park with enough visual and functional updates to earn the king of Mac FTP clients back its crown. I tried hard to think of a reason to give this app a 9/10, but with its shiny new interface, blazing fast speed and dramatically improved file browsing, Transmit 4 gets a perfect score in my book.



Add Yours
  • Please check ForkLift 2 beta, is much faster and cheaper.

  • Looks nice. Now let’s just hope they build some of that new (and faster) technology into the next version of Coda, which is dying for an update.

    I can’t imagine taking a step backwards from using Coda to *just* an FTP program, but I may give this a whirl, just to get a feel for what’s to come for Coda.

    • I still haven’t managed to get Coda’s “Sites” functionality to work yet. Still… i’d rather use coda to connect to my ftp than an actual ftp program… despite how amazing FL2 may be.

    • Amen! Coda needs some attention – badly.

      As for Transmit, I jumped on the v4 upgrade already and love it. And by the way, it never occurred to me to utilize the double pane view for file browsing/management tasks in addition to the ftp tools. Thanks for the tip!

  • Yep! Confirm, FL 2 beta is much better. Just compared YummyFTP, FL 2 beta, Transmit 4 and Cyberduck. Transmit 4 has the worst results with sending many files and folders (about 1000) to server! With my 6Mb/s broadband it took YummyFTP less than 2.5 minutes while Transmit 4 needed almost 5 minutes!!!

    • I have used YummyFTP, CyberDuck, Forklift, Interachy, and several others; none of them compare to transmit 4. I use FTP everyday in my job sending thousands of files and transmit 4 is been the fastest and most stable overall. I have tried AT LEAST 6 different FTP applications on the MAC.

      Not only is it fast but has twice the features including FTP/Disc mounting which is pretty convenient.

      Also keep in mind that speed is also determined by your servers speed and your location to the server… among MANY other variables. Hell, the server you uploaded to could have been reacting slower at the time you were using transmit 4 compared to the time you used another FTP Program.

      • I did my test 3 times for every app with the same files

  • I went through a whole load of these last year and ended up choosing Yummy for speed. I have Cyberduck for backup, but always find Yummy is quicker.

  • I bought Transmit 4 last week and am really impressed with the application. I would *really* like it if they could integrate it into Coda, which seems logical to me.

    • Read my comment. Transmit 4 is the slowest :(

      • Speed is not everything. I will gladly choose UI and feeling over speed and price.

      • While I appreciate your opinion on speed, could you provide us with some data? Without that, it is just your OPINION!

      • @Rick: I posted that in my first comment

  • I prefer cyperduck and textwrangler.

    • We get it, you’re cheap.

      • We get it, your a troll.

  • ForkLift 2 beta is a lot faster than Transmit 4. Hope you review FL2 as soon as it get released.

  • Can’t beat CyberDuck. Come on – it’s only FTP! What more do you need?

    • S3 support.


      Well constructed UI.

      Remote sync.

      • Disc Mounting
        Better Organization

        I’m sure theres more…

        • All of which cyberduck offers and does so well, including support for rackspace and best of all t’s free! If you’re the kind that needs to spend money to feel like you’ve got quality software, cyberduck accepts donations too.

  • I bought this the day it came out and love it. I really like Panic’s design style and it seems to work intuitively the way an app should, just like Coda does. By the way, like other comments above, I hope some of this is integrated into a future Coda release (along with code folding). Can’t wait for that! Anyone have inside details of a new Coda release :-) ??

  • I have both Cyberduck, and Flow (which is my first paid FTP app). I have been quite pleased with Flow so far. It’s got a great interface, too.

  • I’ve been a Transmit user for what seems like ages. Since I’m used to it, I’ve never thought of trying the other apps noted above, so I faithfully paid for the upgrade to T4. While it continues to work fine for me, I have not been able to mount a favorite using the menubar truck. I have also not been to mount the favorite as a “disk” from within T4 using the Favorites > Mount as Disk. When I do that I get a dialog box stating that I need to update MacFuse. When I go to the MacFuse pref pane, it tells me that I’m already up to date. Trying to get Panic’s attention hasn’t resulted in any helpful advice over the past week. While this option certainly isn’t critical for my use, it does bug me a bit. Other than that, T4 is a fantastic upgrade and worth the price for me.

  • Seriously, Forklift and Cyberduck are better? Faster maybe, but that’s not the only measure. I do get the comment about it just being FTP, but the nice thing about snazzy new interfaces is that they tend to spread to other apps that don’t fall into the “just” category.
    Like Coda, which is already one of the most beautiful apps on my hard drive, but could always get better. Looks count.

  • Guy, check out this one:
    Looks like Transmit 4 is not the king. I mean it’s sweet but not that fast.

  • Does anyone how all mentioned ftp clients (Transmit, Forklift, Cyberduck, etc) compare to Macs version of filezilla?

    • I assume you mean in regards to speed. Filezilla is ok but from my experience, transmit 4 is still faster.
      As far as features and UI go.. Transmit is about 100x better. I don’t think I really need to explain this, you can compare feature lists of each.

  • Bought it already, and – it – is – amazing-.

  • Holy crap, I didn’t know about the Menubar feature, that’s awesome

  • ForkLift 2 is far more better. Transmit has become a large monster just like Stuffit in the compression apps.

    • I used Forklift and it has nowhere near the ‘polish’ of Transmit. You name any category and Transmit will meet or exceed Forklift. Speed, ease of use, looks, everything.

  • Flow has been the first app that appealed to me, because of its very light interface and speed. It was the first paid ftp app fpr me. It would be the perfect fit if flow would not crash or hang up to 3 times a day.

    i seriously thinking about switching to transmit. im still in test period. but right now its to much eyecandy/distraction for me.

  • Gonna have to agree. Transmit 4 rocks. I was using Flow for a while, but it’s very unreliable.

  • Doesn’t any of you use FileZilla? It’s free – and I believe does the job very well.

    • Its also Ugly, Unorganized, lacks several features desired, to name a few flaws of filezilla.

  • I am really liking the upgrade and have seen some substantial speed increases when uploading large groups of files.

    And it is by far the prettiest FTP app I’ve ever seen.

  • Transmit’s new “Menu Bar Miracle” is based on a OpenSource project called MacFuse which basically extends the native filesystem.
    You can have this feature for free just by installing MacFuse and a tiny app called MacFusion.

    I must admit that Transmit feels faster, but for smaller jobs MacFusion is a good choice if you want to use the good old Finder for FTP.

    Tip for Geeks: I think many might overlook that you are also able to use your terminal instead of Finder’s GUI once the remote connection is mounted on your system. Works faster.

  • I bought this as soon as it was released and I still find Transmit slicker, more feature-rich, rock-solid, and easy to use than the competition. The upgrade to V4 was very reasonably priced and the new version is amazing!

  • great review about a GREAT software
    just one thing I need to know: how can I get my favorites from the old version as it doesn’t appear in my favorites and I really need them ?


  • Loved Transmit 3. Hate Transmit 4’s new interface. Ugly boring icons and a Disconnect button that I’m constantly searching for. Dark interface = change for the sake of change. Boo, Panic. Boo.

    • your a moron

      • If you are going to call someone a moron. At least don’t prove that you are a moron also. Your is you’re (think of it as you are) Moron!

  • But how to connect to google docs!???

    • I agree. Cyberduck already has this funcitonality. It would be great if Transmit could follow suit.

  • 10/10?? Seriously?? Did you even seriously use it? Sure it LOOKS awesome but it lacks some very basic features, namely being able to replace based on certain parameters (newer, older, size) and it’s S3 file permissions are all messed up.

    I think it’s an awesome FTP client but 10/10 is unrealistic.

    • I agree, I would at least distract 2 point because it is so expensive… look at FileZilla, free open source, does more things faster… only the looks are bad..

  • Transmit definitely isn’t faster than Forklift. I tested both of them with large files and Transmit took about double the time and still didn’t complete do to an error uploading one of the large files. I still have to test the speeds Yummy and Cyberduck.
    The score is a bit too high maybe an 8 would suffice.

  • Dolphins are great – I just love them they are such an intelligent creatures of the ocean they love us if we show them some care.

  • Yummy FTP is twice as fast as Transmit 4 !!!

    Yummy FTP Rocks !

    I will be waiting for Yummy FTP version 2.0 :-)

  • How can anyone think ForkLift is a better option? It is wholly unreliable. it blows up at the worst times, and IS NOT faster. Cyberduck is better than Forklift.

  • I like this app. Sadly there’s something that I cannot understand with it. I transferred a few files and some failed. Cool that’s understandable, but where the hell are the failed transfers ? I tried looking in the folder that reads “Some files could not be uploaded” but I couldn’t see any. I can’t click on the retry upload button as it will upload the entire folder. FlashFXP on windows logs every failed files making it easier to spot them sadly not transmit. Maybe I’m overlooking and I cant see this option so I will appreciate any input.