How to BitTorrent on your Mac – the complete (and secure) guide

29 February 2016, 03:22

Today sees a major new release of the Mac’s best BitTorrent client: Transmission (free of charge) has reached version 2.90 and sees many improvements, including better handling of those all-important magnet links.

Now’s as good a time as any to provide a How To on downloading BitTorrent files on your Mac. There’s a lot of snooping going on when it comes to BitTorrent downloads, so it pays to create the most secure setup.

Setting up Transmission

  1. Open Transmission and then open its preferences dialog box (Cmd+comma). Click the Peers icon at the top of the window.

  2. Ensure Prefer Encrypted Peers is checked, and then check Ignore Unencrypted Peers beneath this.

  3. Put a check alongside the Blocklist heading, and in the URL field paste the following:
    Ensure the box headed Automatically Update Weekly is checked, and click the Update button to grab the latest block list.

I also like to make some adjustments in the Transfers section of the dialog box to ensure downloads start as soon as I click the link, rather than having Transmission pop-up a dialog box asking what I want to do. However, this is ultimately personal preference.

Overcoming ISP censorship
Users in certain countries, including the UK, might want to setup a third-party DNS on their Mac to overcome government-mandated blocking/censorship of BitTorrent sites. Google’s DNS is fast, although we recently looked at benchmarking DNS to get the absolute best results. Google’s DNS can be added as follows, but these instructions can be easily adapted for other DNS addresses:

  1. Open System Preferences and click the Network icon.

  2. Select the type of network connection you’re using in the list at the left (that is, Wi-Fi or Ethernet etc.). It will have a green dot alongside. Then click the Advanced button at the bottom right.

  3. Click the DNS tab, and then click the plus button at the bottom left. This will delete what’s already there. Type the following:

  4. After hitting Enter, again tap the plus button and type the following:

  5. Click OK and then close System Preferences.

Upgrade to a VPN
For complete peace of mind against snooping you might consider using a virtual private network connection (VPN), which will keep your downloading entirely private – and safe from snoops. There are some insane deals around at the moment. For example, you can get a lifetime subscription to ZenVPN for just $49.99, a discount of 94% on the price of $840 it would cost normally! These services typically cost between $5-$20 a month, so it’s obvious how incredible that deal is. Alternatively, a lifetime subscription to AnonVPN can be had for less than $20 – but be quick because that’s a “Pay What You Want” offer where the price might go up.

Leave a comment...

solid article! helpful and to the point for doing secure torrents. thanks

— Latha · Mar 12, 07:46 AM · #

Is the screenshot for the Transfer paragraph wrong?

Otherwise great article. Helped me with a few settings.

Michael Quinn · Mar 24, 05:30 PM · #

@Michael, I think it might be a little out of date now but the key settings remain exactly the same.



Keir · Mar 25, 10:00 AM · #