Blog Post

µTorrent Comes to Mac in Beta Form

If I’m using stuck using Windows for whatever reason, I’m probably using µTorrent. It’s fast, lightweight, and far superior in almost every way to any of the other, more bloated Windows clients. That said, I still prefer Transmission overall, and that’s what I use on my Mac machines. I love them both, for similar reasons, but luckily I’ve never had to choose between the two, since they weren’t available on the same platform. Until now. µTorrent Mac Beta has been released and is shattering my carefully divided reality.

I had to fight a little reluctance, and remove my Transmission icon from my dock so it wouldn’t see my betrayal, but I managed to download and install the new beta. I have to admit, µTorrent’s icon is very appealing. Score one for the newcomer. It also opened very quickly, revealing a minimal, Mac-friendly, attractive user interface. So this is what temptation feels like.

With the proper ports forwarded in my firewall, and running one after the other, not simultaneously, I found download speeds to be roughly the same in both applications on my test file, a (legally) free audio book of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer. Both feature individual file prioritization, speed limits, peer information, and ratio monitoring and automatic stopping of seeding at customizable ratios. After I performed my brief test, I had to ask myself: would µTorrent unseat Transmission as my go-to torrent client?

There are a few reasons why it won’t. First, I really like Transmission’s automatic resizing of the application window to fit active torrents. It may be a minor feature, but I’m nuts for it. Can’t go back. Second, the Transmission icon can be badged with upload and download rate, while µTorrent’s cannot. That at-a-glance access to rate information saves me a lot of time in obsessive application window switching. Finally, Transmission supports remote control, groups, speed limit scheduling, and has an auto-add function for a folder you specify. That’s a lot of “finalies”, I realize, but I don’t want to overdo it with the feature listing. It’s probably the product of having been an actively developed app for far longer than µTorrent has, but Transmission still wins nonetheless.  Recent Windows-switchers will have a familiar face to greet them when they cross over though, and that’s always a good thing.

26 Responses to “µTorrent Comes to Mac in Beta Form”

  1. I am a relatively new iMac user, and would like to know what to use to create a new torrent file. I’ve used the WinXP version of uTorrent, with no problems. I am patiently waiting for the “create a new torrent” feature in the Mac version…

  2. @Road Mark: Sure you may see that comment; there are negative comments about both Mac and Windows UI. Some people are blackberry people, others have affinity to iPhone or touchscreen devices. I also consider myself “stuck” on windows if there’s a proprietary lock-in (protocol or app) that conflicts with an open platform such as Linux or MacOSX. Feel free *not* to write that on your blog :) Kidding aside, is there a comment you’re making by mentioning that you see this comment?

  3. >>”Finally, Transmission supports remote control, groups, speed limit scheduling, and has an auto-add function for a folder you specify.”

    uTorrent for Windows has all those things. Perhaps the Mac version is just behind a few features, given that it is new and all.

  4. Biggest thing I like about uTorrent over Transmission is that IF my OSX computer crash’s for whatever reason (and it does happen about once a month, more regularly than XP ever did but that is another story) uTorrent saves its progess very well.

    I have lost ENTIRE torrents using Transmission, I simply cannot trust it.

  5. Chris Bolton

    I switched to Mac at the beginning of this year. I really did miss the fact that the uTorrent on my PC didn’t steal much memory, compared to Transmission on my Mac. For this reason I was eagerly awaiting the Mac release.

    To be honest, the Mac beta version is a memory hugger like Transmission. Maybe Macs are just not good at sharing files. Either way, I would still not swap my Mac for five PCs.

  6. finally a competitor to transmission!

    i get the points the author of the article states, but i personally have a different opinion after using both transmission on my mac and utorrent on my windows machine for several months.
    for me the most important information are download speeds, and not just the speeds right now but over time, the graphical display of utorrent gives me much more relational information than the text information of transmission. i want more of this! for example colorcoded graphs for each downloading torrent, and how they add up and how many seeds/peers are there at a specific point presented graphically, so i can guess if this torrent is getting faster because more seeds are coming or if its going slower, also speed guessing would be nice. the ul/dl badge feature of transmission is nice but in my opinion i do no want to know this stuff when i am working, i just get distracted.

    so the biggest differences between the 2 tools are:
    -transmission emphasizes the progressbar – how much of the file is downloaded
    -utorrent emphasizes the actual and relative speed of the download (but could do it better)

    in my opinion, relative speed is more relevant because u seldomly get constant speed with torrents. and the derivation of it does make it simpler to look at, but leads to the impression of a slow download. (think: loading bar as a metaphor – who wants to look at that)

    the best would be to visualize each bit of flowing data so you would see a really fast stream of bits

  7. I to have been testing uTorrent, although the speeds are about the same, there are certain things that I dont like / miss. Auto scheduling, groups and auto-adding, I have missed them already. Only time will tell i suppose

  8. What I do not understand is when you get a great product like this why on earth do the production team feel the need to add features that we do not need, and I am not just talking about this product but also many other tools that we use. They feel that by adding as many things as possible we are going to be impressed but it just means that we have all these useless tools which are a waste of space and time.

  9. 100% agree with Brad. it prefer uTorrent to Transmission for all the reasons he mentioned. and don’t forget it’s just 0.9 beta release and it’s freaking awesome!
    I’m sure they’ll ultimately add all those useless feature that only maybe 5 percents of the users actually use and then they’ll be no reason for a rational mind to use transmission.

  10. I decided to try out uTorrent as well, since it was my de-facto go to client on Windows. While I love Transmission, ultimately I can see myself switching over to uTorrent.

    First off the don’t-s. I don’t use Trasmission’s remote control feature. I don’t use speed-limit scheduling, and I don’t use the auto-add function. I -do- enjoy the “fit window to active torrents” feature of Transmission.

    I think it’s important to keep in mind that this is a beta, and not the final product. I’m sure they’ll be bringing the web interface over to the Mac, and I’m sure that features such as speed limit scheduling and auto-add features will make their way in.

    There’s two main reasons I’ll see myself switching. Ultimately, I prefer the layout of the uTorrent window. I dislike the heavy dependence on inspector-style windows in Transmission. The window needs to be active to see any more information than the torrent name, progress, and download rates. uTorrents sidebar and horizontal split produce a larger window, but presents more information more readily.

    Secondly, memory memory memory. In all my experience so far, uTorrent uses far less memory than Transmission, which is huge. When downloading some larger files, I’ve had the memory usage in Trasmission get pretty high.

    Ultimately it will come down to simply what the user prefers. Come version 1.0 of uTorrent, it will probably have similiar features to Transmission and the difference will be in how they’re presented and how you interact with them. As long as uTorrent keeps getting better, though, I’ll probably switch over.