I know we’re far off from the days of dial-up where downloading a single document would take hours and you’d pray the connection didn’t time out or that your dad wasn’t expecting an important call. These days are much better. Broadband speeds are stable. With 3G and 4G, even wireless speeds are pretty great. But of course, not for everybody.
There are still moments where you could use a download manager. When you’re downloading a really big file, for example, one that’s multiple GBs. Or you want to download heavy software, data, or even a game perhaps. Download managers provide the luxury of not tearing your hair off when the download times out at 99%. Download managers help you save on your daily allowance of abuses so you can use them for places that really matter – internet trolls, flame wars, and standing up to haters.
Why Do You Even Need a Download Manager?
It’s a valid question. Chrome downloads files just as well. And on a Mac, if you’re just using the Mac App Store, you shouldn’t even need to download big apps from other sources.
Pause downloads: This awesome feature is very underrated. When you want to move away, or need to shut off the PC or the download for some reason, pausing is a big help.
Accelerated downloads: Many direct download sites limit your download speed. To get around that, download managers basically take a segmented (multi-threaded) approach to downloading. More speed for you.
Managing downloads: Yes, it’s right there in the name. If you download a lot, even if you have great speed, you can do with a download manager. When you merge all the above features with great organization features (queue, folders, tags), you’ve got some ease of mind.
Now that we’ve established the purpose of download managers, let’s talk about the best download managers for OS X.
iGetter might just be the IDM for Mac. If you’re not familiar with Windows, let me tell you about Internet Download Manager (IDM). It’s a software equivalent of HBO Go, in that many, many people use it, but not that many actually pay for it.
No college freshman’s Windows laptop is complete without a copy of IDM. The reason why IDM is so popular is because it’s awesome and reliable. No matter what you’re downloading and from where, IDM will make that transfer faster and will give you a lot of control over the process.
In some ways, iGetter is like that. In my experience, Macs already get better download speeds than Windows, but iGetter makes it even better. It was released in 1993 and is still in development.
iGetter is free for all, but you can pay $20 for a license. Even if you don’t pay, you get access to all the features. Only you need to wait for a dialogue box for 15 seconds every day.
iGetter does not look great on Yosemite, but I think the features and ease of use make up for it.
Browser plugins for direct download to iGetter.
Excellent download management features. Pre-populated folders are helpful.
Good speeds. Accelerated download works as advertised.
Folx is a download manager, torrent client and YouTube downloader all rolled into one. Folx gives you the basics of download management and torrenting for free. Everything else, you’ll need to pay for – $19.99.
Even features like multi-threaded downloading and speed control are not available in the free version.
But the app is stable and fast. Even in the free tier, the downloads are fast enough and you do get 2 streams of multi-threading. Hey, that’s better than one.
Yes, the app is not as feature rich as iGetter but it has couple of things going for itself. The app looks right at home on Yosemite. And while it doesn’t have browser integration like iGetter, the Chrome extension works fine for me.
The app delivers where it counts. There’s scheduler, multi-threaded downloading, a resume feature, speed limits, auto shutdown, and more.
Which One is for You?
If you’re looking for a basic but completely free download manager, head to Progressive Downloader’s website and download the app.
If you want more features, can tolerate the bad UI and don’t mind waiting 15 seconds every day for a popup, iGetter is for you. Or you can just pay $19.99 for the pro upgrade.
Speaking of the pro upgrade, if you’re going to shell out 20 bucks, you’ll get far more out of it with Folx.
How Do You Download?
Do you use a download manager or do you find the built-in download features to be sufficient? Share with us in the comments below.