Roundup: Best BitTorrent clients for Mac: 6 reviewed and rated

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When most individuals hear the word ‘BitTorrent’, they don’t have the tendency to think ‘Ah, yes, that indubitably fine method to download genuine files’. Given that its creation, though, the often-naughty protocol has actually been simply as helpful for legal file transfer, such as handling the grunt work in tools like Blizzard’s World of Warcraft updater, and for letting creators share motion pictures and games and other large files without needing to foot a crippling bill.

BitTorrent’s developers are also experimenting with ‘package’ material, with over 18 million legit downloads currently clocked and a cool publishing platform on the way. Undoubtedly, this is the only sort of content you’ll be downloading.

While the standard task of any BitTorrent client is pretty basic – click a gush, unwind and wait – the apps we will be looking at all put a very different spin on things. Tools vary from open source to commercial items, from light apps that just do their job to detailed media suites. But which is finest for you?

Malware and more: Mindful when you click

BitTorrent customers do not have the greatest credibility, and while it’s not as deserved on the Mac as on other platforms, they stay a bad kind of item to simply download and give a shot. Even the genuine ones regularly try to sneak toolbars and homepage changes past you through their installers, and every huge update can be a new opportunity for them to offer it a shot. In most cases these can be repaired with a sigh and a trip to your browsers’ extensions menu, however it’s still a nuisance and you are constantly left with the possibility of something quieter lurking around.

Before downloading any, it’s worth doing a fast search of the name plus vital terms like ‘spyware’ just to be on the safe side. A variety of clients are ‘open source’ – simply puts, you can download the code behind them. Despite exactly what some people think, this does not guarantee a lack of naughtiness, however it does assist.

Also, just ever download your clients from main sites/links, and ensure you are on the right one. Fraudsters are not above repackaging clients and passing them off as the genuine offer, or picking up website addresses that look main until it’s far too late.

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Test one: The basics

For when you simply want that file now

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Almost all of these apps do a great task from the box, with download speeds based more on the variety of users accessing the file than anything else. Xtorrent is the exception, its free variation caps downloads at 100kb/s after a few minutes and nags you for $25. With complimentary options and an absence of distinct features, this is a tough sell. BitTorrent Plus is PC just. Vuze Plus includes antivirus for $19 a year.

All the apps provide a way to manage the amount of uploading you do. BitTorrent (and uTorrent, which is very carefully related) offers transfer capping. BitTorrent, Transmission, and Xtorrent offer the alternative to quickly alter limits instantly between set times, however differ on whether they treat it as a speed limiter or lifting regular limitations.

Vuze offers this too, however configured by a strangely clumsy text file. After a download finishes, many customers choose to keep seeding, and all offer controls for that – Tomato is the most detailed, providing a percentage, a maximum amount of data, or a set time period.

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Test two: Advanced options

Which customer is best for power users?


Aside from Xtorrent, these apps can create gushes in addition to download them – a process that’s as easy as picking a file or a folder and optionally pointing the resulting gush file to a tracker. That’s where Tomato calls it a day, followed by BitRocket. BitTorrent and Transmission support remote access with a web browser, though for the latter you require a fixed IP address. BitTorrent offers a service that simply works across the web.

BitTorrent, Vuze and BitRocket all include feed support, enabling new torrents to be included with RSS. Xtorrent and Vuze can also add downloaded media files straight to iTunes, with Vuze dealing with transcoding responsibilities utilizing a cost-free plugin.

Vuze likewise offers by far the most options to tweak and have fun with, thankfully filtered based on a User Efficiency option that goes from Beginner to Advanced. The innovative alternatives consist of DNS, IP filtering, regional RSS and far more, covering everything you are most likely to need to twiddle with and more.

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Test three: System load

For when you have got it on all the time

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The great information is none of these apps should noticeably influence a Mac’s performance. We set all of them to at the same time download a hefty Linux circulation on our test MacBook Air. On the CPU side, Xtorrent immediately stated itself king of the fatties by swallowing 21.5 % of CPU time to Vuze’s 12.1 %, with the others barely even signing up a blip.

Vuze went to town on RAM, nevertheless, gulping down 330.6 MB compared to Xtorrent’s 95MB. Sveltest without a doubt was Tomato, clocking in at around 17MB of memory and simply 1.4 % CPU use. We likewise ran Xtorrent by itself, it began at simply 10 % CPU usage, however rapidly shot up to 20 and afterwards 30 %, though its memory usage was far lower, at only 113.2 MB.

At rest, Vuze was the most CPU and memory draining, at 10 % and around 300MB respectively, Xtorrent joining the others at the lower end of the scale. Basically, whichever you select must be great, however for the lowest-impact torrenting, you can not beat Tomato.

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Test four: Finding content

Of the legal kind, obviously

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Most of the time, torrents are discovered outside the customer, and Transmission, BitRocket and Tomato are happy to leave it there. Strangely, so is BitTorrent, with its main material only available with a web browser – a minimum of in the meantime. Vuze, meanwhile, has embraced online material, with a stack of complimentary trailers, online shows and other giveaways.

Do not get too delighted when you see programs like The Wire however, click through and you get behind-the-scenes documentaries and recaps rather than complete episodes. Vuze also promises a search, though it defaults to just searching the web like normal. A second tab supplies access to a more focussed metasearch, which opts for legitimate sites like Web Archive and its own collection rather than (ahem) ‘others’, though (ahem) ‘others’ can be added.

Xtorrent, nevertheless, supplies by far the very best search, organizing results within the interface and breaking them down by website, size and swarm quality.

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The winner: BitTorrent


BitTorrent (and by extension, uTorrent), strikes an excellent happy medium for torrenting apps. It does not have as numerous features as Vuze and it’s a little heavier than Transmission or Tomato, however it ticks all the needed boxes, doesn’t crash as much as BitRocket did, and has a number of really useful functions – not least that setting it around work over the web could not be simpler.

The scheduler implies big downloads can adjust to you instead of by hand stopping and starting the procedure, and being able to point out a transfer cap for an offered period is superb for anyone on a capped connection. Effectively putting its cash where BitTorrent’s business mouth is – with more direct access to legal material – would not harm, but if you understand where to look, this is all you need.

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