Mac BitTorrent Software Comparison

BitTorrent has proven itself to be a very popular system for sharing files online – a wide variety of software, music and video is available through the protocol. In order to download via BitTorrent you need a desktop application capable of handling .torrent files.

A range of different BitTorrent software is available for OS X – most of it free. Applications range from those offering complete simplicity, to far more powerful and feature-packed alternatives. In this post we will take a look at 7 different applications for various types of user.

Transmission

Transmission

Transmission

My personal client of choice, Transmission offers a remarkably simple interface coupled with a number of more advanced features. It shows your download/upload speed in the Dock, can automatically delete .torrent files after you’ve started downloading, and allows you to select specific files to download from within a torrent. Thoroughly useful, and completely free.

Price: Free
Developer: Open Source
Requires: OS X 10.5 or later

utorrent

uTorrent

µTorrent

µTorrent has long been available for Windows, but fairly recently made the leap to OS X. It brings a heap of features including bandwidth prioritization, scheduling, and RSS auto-downloading. The interface is attractive, it uses minimal system resources, and the software is in active development.

Price: Free
Developer: µTorrent
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later

BitTorrent for OS X

BitTorrent for OS X

BitTorrent for OS X

This is the official BitTorrent client, from the man who developed the protocol itself. It is extremely simple and lightweight, acting essentially as a basic download manager. With free applications such as Transmission available, I’d advise opting for something a little more feature-rich.

Price: Free
Developer: BitTorrent, Inc
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or later

Xtorrent

Xtorrent

Xtorrent

The killer feature of Xtorrent is an integrated search function which doesn’t require you to search websites to download a .torrent file. It also provides a subscription feature which can automatically download the latest content from a particular search or RSS feed. Growl support and various other tricks make Xtorrent worth a look, though you’ll need to pay for some of the pro features.

Price: Free (Pro version costs $25)
Developer: David Watanabe
Requires: OS X 10.4 or later

Acquisition

Acquisition

Acquisition

Acquisition has the same developer as Xtorrent, and is similar in many ways. BitTorrent support is slightly less advanced, though the app is also able to connect to the Gnutella file sharing network. This may offer more flexibility if you don’t want to rely solely on BitTorrent, but personally I’d prefer a dedicated app such as Xtorrent.

Price: Free (Pro version costs $25)
Developer: David Watanabe
Requires: OS X 10.4 or later

Tomato Torrent

Tomato Torrent

Tomato Torrent

Tomato Torrent is remarkably simple, but hasn’t been developed for some time. An AppleScript included makes it easy to download a torrent to a particular folder without changing any settings. Worth a look if you need something which uses very little memory (or if you’re fond of the big red tomato icon…)

Price: Free
Developer: Open Source
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or later

Vuze

Vuze

Azureus / Vuze

Azureus used to be one of the major Mac clients, but has recently changed name to Vuze and adopted a different business model. Now marketed as the “easiest way to find, download, and play high-quality and HD videos”, Vuze is aimed at those looking for a fully integrated client.

The new features have added bulk, a great deal of advertising, and persuaded me to find a more lightweight solution.

Price: Free
Developer: Vuze, Inc
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or later

Conclusion

Whether you’re a heavy BitTorrent user who needs RSS subscription and scheduling support, or someone occasionally downloads the odd album, various solutions exist. Here are the three clients I’d recommend for different scenarios:

  • Transmission – For those who are happy to scour the web for .torrent files, and need a simple solution for one-off downloading.
  • µTorrent – For advanced users who want full control over how and when downloading occurs
  • Xtorrent – If you’re a complete novice, Xtorrent makes it easy to search for content within the application itself

If you prefer to use an application we haven’t mentioned, please shout out in the comments. I’d be interested to hear what else is on offer!


  • Michael

    I’m pretty sure the OS X version of uTorrent doesn’t have the ability to download torrents from an rss feed. The mac version still lacks some of the features of its Windows counterpart, but I’m sure they are due to be added soon

  • http://www.wpdone.com Blog Themes

    BitComet is the best. It’s simply perfect for me!

  • http://X111.com XIII

    uTorrent for advanced users? It’s still lacking most of the features of the Windows version.
    I’ll have to give Transmission a try, gotta love these list posts

  • http://www.novolume.co.uk/blogged/ Dave Ellis

    I’ve been using Xtorrent for a long time now and love the integrated search. I’ve recently downloaded transmission but am yet to really get to grips with it.

  • Wei Cui

    Xtorrent was blamed for a long time, and the kernel was from old libtransmission library. Anyway, consider the developer support, Xtorrent was not a good choice.

    • phormality

      Xtorrent was also being blocked by a lot of trackers making it useless

  • Pieter

    I use Automatic (http://osx.iusethis.com/app/automatic) for RSS torrent downloading. Transmission automatically picks up the torrent files, thogh it would be nice if Transmission supports RSS torrent download.

    As mentioned before the mac-version of utorrent doesn’t support RSS.

    The developer of Xtorrent and acquisition has a bad reputation, I rather stay away from these apps.

  • http://kolophon.net jacob harvey

    I just switched over to an Automatic/Transmission setup like Pieter uses. I had Vuze for the longest time but this new setup provides basically the same functionality with less resources being used. Automatic is super lightweight and installs itself as Preference Pane. Which means it’s grabbing .torrent files whenever there’s a net connection. Now that I’m used to it I don’t think I’ll ever go back.

  • wez

    I love Transmission but it always kills my cable modem. Had to resort to uTorrent instead.

  • http://inguyenvu.com/blog VuNguyen

    To me Transmission is good enough :D

  • http://www.webkarnage.net WebKarnage

    I’ve never downloaded a torrent on my Mac, and I’m not about to start now. It’s not necessary for anything I have the full rights to have on my machine. Good luck to those who take the risk. It’s about the only place malware for the Mac is found!

    • http://www.plurk.com/the_frenchman the_frenchman

      pussy

  • michaelmichaels

    transmission – earlier on my linux box and now on my mac. just the best :)

  • Nathan

    Please help!

    Is there any torrent client that doesn’t have memory leaks? I’ve tried 3 or 4 and they all have really bad memory leaks. It is not noticeable for 99% of people because it doesn’t do it if you’re downloading under 500kb/s, but my speeds range from 1.0mb/s to 2.0mb/s and within 10 minutes all my ram is used up and my mac becomes unusable. Any solutions?

    • Nathanael Williams

      Same problem! I have 8gb ram and 7.95 is ‘used’ up…

  • http://www.xqlusive.nl xQlusive

    I use Transmission for torrent files, i dont’t download much. So i don’t need to much config options.

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  • http://www.plurk.com/the_frenchman the_frenchman

    I used to really like some of the features on Azuerus, but Java runs really slow. Transmission is by far the best BT app.

    Author might want to note that uTorrent is only available on Intel Macs.
    Some of us are still using the G series, buddy!

  • http://www.mma-aruba.com MMAAruba

    Thanks for the article, it’s a good read.
    I am a big uTorrent fan. It does exactly what I’d like for a torrent program to do, download. Download and don’t take too much of my memory because I’d like to keep working on other stuff :)

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  • jason

    Transmission is by far the best of the bunch and the web interface is also very cool (with great styling in the iPhone view)

    I generally use it to grab Tv episodes, and found a really cool app called TVShows which let’s me subscribe to the latest episodes of my favorite shows. (It integrates with Transmission too)

    http://tvshows.sourceforge.net & http://tvshows.sourceforge.net/index2.html

  • Chris Chua

    Transmission is my choice. It’s really run in full speed for my 30M connection.
    I can get over 3.xmb/s in my Transmission status.

  • slughorn

    Transmission is the only client I’ve reliably gotten proper ratio recognition from on demonoid.com. Something about it communicates properly to demonoid. I love the client, constantly updated too.

  • http://www.m65jacket.com m65

    bitcomet is the best out of all them. nice article

  • http://www.martinvaresio.com.ar/dijes.html Martín

    Something about it communicates properly to demonoid. I love the client!!!

  • http://www.cybertime-solutions.co.uk Cheap Website Design Leeds

    I only ever use UTorrent, never really needed to use another one. I suppose they are just like search engines, once you pick one you like and trust i suppose you just stick with it.

    Damien

  • http://www.softelgroup.com/ Chantal Terry

    I am pleased to have located this site. I have a PC and not knowing downloaded Vuze, which is clearly for Mac users. Oh ! I feel so foolish as I am a significant user of computers and should have know better.

  • Shadi Mirza

    Anyone who pays for software used primarily for piracy is an idiot. Transmission and uTorrent are really the only good choices on OS X.

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