How To: Download torrents on your Mac (and Windows) remotely from iPhone

I’ve been playing today with Transmission’s WebUI settings, trying to figure out it’s potential and in the meantime I found a very cool life-hack to download any torrent from anywhere in the world on my Mac.

Just a little reminder, this is a universal way. That means it works whether you own a Mac or a PC (I think that it works with Android phones too—if anyone can test it, give me a heads-up.)

Intro

The very tool this how-to is based, is Transmission’s WebUI. Almost every torrent downloader application supports a WebUI. If your app doesn’t support a WebUI, you can switch to uTorrent (if you’re on Windows/Mac) or Transmission (if you’re on Mac).

Small parenthesis: imho after using several years uTorrent on Windows, on various Linux distributions (through Wine) and on Mac I’d recommend you using uTorrent as torrent downloader in Windows/Linux and Transmission in Mac. Transmission simply rocks in it’s native environment. But at the end of the day, it’s all about what your preferences. End small parenthesis.

Step 1

Fire up Transmission’s Preferences and then click the Remote tab. Check to enable remote access. If you like, you can setup a username/password authentication (I didn’t). The listening port can remain to it’s default number, it should be 9091 anyway.

Step 2

Find your computer’s IP address (not the public one) under Preferences > Network. Click on the connection you are using. Under it’s status there is a small text that states where AirPort (if you’re using WiFi) is connected, the name of the network and your IP. Copy the IP somewhere, for example on TextEdit.

Step 3

Grab your iPhone, open Safari.app and type:
http://the-ip-you-copied-before:9091/transmission/web/. If everything worked well, you should see a screen similar to this:

You can click now the Safari’s + icon to add Transmission’s WebUI to the home screen as a web app.

Until now we have complete management functionality of our desktop torrent downloader from our iPhone. But, how about actually downloading a torrent from the iPhone to the desktop?

Step 4

Now, it is time to actually use the remote access. Visit a torrent tracker from Safari.app, I’d say the world’s most resilient one, The Pirate Bay, browse for a torrent and copy its the “Download” link. Open the newly created Transmission web app from your home screen, click on the “Open” icon and paste the torrent’s URL.

Boom.

That was it. From now on you can download any torrent from anywhere in the world on your Mac. Although I don’t want to repeat myself, I’ll say again that this method works for every torrent downloader with a remote access WebUI. If you’re not using Transmission, just follow the same logical steps.

10 thoughts on “How To: Download torrents on your Mac (and Windows) remotely from iPhone

  1. stergi0s

    Nice how-to! I mostly use private trackers and i find it a pain in the ass to login to tracker and copy-paste links to the webUI. For me RDP works great and its a lot faster ;)

  2. Apostolos Post author

    Yeah, there is a small hiccup with private trackers. But I never liked them anyways (oxymoron to be private when sharing with one of the most open protocols).

    BTW, what’s RDP?

  3. stergi0s

    I use private trackers because im getting quality downloads. Its a smaller community so its easier to moderate, thus less BS links. RDP = Remote Deskop Protocol. Both RDP and remote torrent downloading require your computer to be online so why not use RDP for more? Works for me!

  4. Apostolos Post author

    That’s so cool, but not every computer has Firefox installed (it should though, or better: Chrome). It’s another nice implementation—but what about the iPhone?

  5. Kade Madison

    So basically this is if I am out and find a torrent on my iphone I can just start downloading onto my desktop ? And of course, my mac needs to be left on right ? Sorry if I seem confused. Is there a way to download torrents to the iphone if it’s jailbroken ? I did follow all of your steps, and it worked flawlessly. Thanks.

  6. Apostolos Post author

    Yep, exactly—your Mac needs to be left on too. As far as I know, there might be some ways to download torrents to the iPhone, but the question is, why to do that. I find no practical use.

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