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!