Take That, Apple: Download Torrents With Your iPhone Without Any BitTorrent App

Apple created a little bit of an uproar this week when it refused to approve a BitTorrent application for its App Store. The company explained the rejection by saying that this “category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third-party rights,” but many have since lamented that Apple’s real motivation may have been to get people to download videos from its iTunes Store as opposed to torrent sites.

Well, guess what? You can still access all the free and legal torrent goodness with your iPhone and iPod touch simply by using your mobile Safari browser. We’ll show how to download torrents from your mobile and even convert every download to an iPhone-friendly video format.


Just to be clear about this: The application that Apple rejected did not actually allow any P2P downloads straight to your phone. It merely transformed your iPhone into a remote control for your BitTorrent downloads, while your PC was doing the heavy lifting to get all the bits and bytes. The same can be done through your iPhone’s browser with the help of a so-called Web UI.

Most modern BitTorrent clients offer such a Web UI as a way to remotely control BitTorrent, so you can download files on your home machine while you’re at the office, for example. Developers have also started to come up with a bunch of Web UIs optimized for mobile phones. A number of mobile Web UIs are available for Transmission, uTorrent and Vuze, just to name a few of the major clients. This article will focus on the iZureus Web UI because it’s feature-rich, iPhone-friendly, and available for OS X, Windows and Linux. And did I mention the video converting?

OK, here’s what you need to get started: An installation of the Vuze BitTorrent client and the iZureus extension.

Install Vuze if necessary. Then go to “Tools > Plugins > Installation Wizard.” Select “By list from Sourceforge.net,” scroll down the list of available plugins and select “Azureus HTML WebUI.” Install the plugin.

Open a browser on your computer and enter in the address bar. You should be able to access the regular Azureus HTML Web UI. Now go to Vuze’s “Preferences > Plugins > HTML Web UI” and enter a password. That way, your downloads won’t be exposed to others.

Now unzip the iZureus file to “/Your Username/Library/Application Support/Vuze” if you’re on a Mac, “C:Documents and SettingsYour UsernameApplication DataAzureus” on Windows XP or “C:usersYour Usernameappdataroamingazureus” on a Vista machine.

And that’s it, you’re all set! Just enter your computer’s local IP address followed by the port :6886 into your iPhone browser if you want to control your torrents from the comfort of your own couch, or figure out your current global IP address by visiting a site like Whatismyip.com and monitor your torrent downloads on the go. This should work right away if your router supports UPnP; otherwise you might have to familiarize yourself with the magic of port forwarding.

You’ll now be able to start and stop torrent downloads, change many of Vuze’s settings, as well as add new torrents to download. You can also use Vuze to convert your videos once they’re on your hard drive. Just activate “Devices” support in the left side bar, drag the video in question onto the iTunes icon within Vuze, and it will show up in your iTunes library once it’s converted, ready to be synced with your iPhone.