3 Applications To Speed Up Your Downloads [Mac]

faster downloadsBrowsers have much improved over the past few years. I remember a time when downloading large files in-browser was the chore of legends. Every modern browser now has a fairly decent download manager built in. I must be getting old.

Things have improved, but we’re not there yet. Download resume capabilities have been added in some of these browsers, but more often than not they only work haphazardly. It’s true that you can get around without a download manager, but if you often work with large files, bulk downloads, or if you want to milk your cable for that extra speed and faster downloads, this is where you have to look.

Featured in this article are four great and easy to use (GUI) download managers for Mac OS X. If you like to tinker with the command line, take a look at Angela’s article on Mastering Wget & Learning Some Neat Downloading Tricks. If you’re on a different platform, check out my previous article, The Best Free File Download Managers for Windows, or Justin’s SteadyFlow Simplifies & Manages Your Downloads [Linux].


JDownloader is an extensive platform independent download manager written in Java, and you can also download it for Windows, Linux, or another Java-enabled device with JRE 1.5 or higher. Java is preinstalled on Mac OS X, so you won’t have to worry about that part. JDownloader has support for (unlimited) multi-threaded, and scheduled downloads.

faster downloads

On top of these standard features, JDownloader has a few tricks up the sleeve. JDownloader is pre-configured to support over 100 premium file sharing sites. Just enter your account details in the Premium menu, and you’re good to go. If you want to expand upon the default package, there are a number of add-ons you can install – FlashGot integration, an unarchiving plugin, Growl integration and a web interface, to name a few.

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If you want to use JDownloader to download a large batch of files, you should take a look at Craig’s article on How To Extract Links For Mass Image Or File Downloads With JDownloader.

DownThemAll! (Firefox Add-on)

DownThemAll! is not exactly a Mac OS X application. However, this Firefox add-on is one of the reasons I often delegate my downloads to Firefox instead of my usual browser. With this add-on, Firefox becomes a download manager to rival the other applications mentioned in this article. If Firefox is your default browser, all the better!

speed up downloads

DownThemAll! is especially perfect for downloading large batches of files. If you open the ‘DownThemAll!’ window, you can scrape all the media from a currently opened webpage, or devise your own filters to scrape other files or URLs. In the manager window, which is shown in the screenshot above, you can add download links manually and manage your speed.

DownThemAll! supports multi-threaded downloads, the number of which you can choose in the settings.

Folx Download Manager

Folx, one of the most popular premium download managers for Mac OS X, has a little brother – a free version. Some of the features you’ll get in the Pro version (RSS support, torrent search) will be missing, but most of the downloading goodness is left intact with some small limitations.

Folx integrates with most popular Mac OS X browsers to catch your links, including Opera, Firefox, Flock and all WebKit browsers like Safari and Google Chrome. It’s one of the most extensive free download managers for Mac OS X.

faster downloads

Folx works like a charm for categorizing downloads using tags or smart groups. Using the free version, you can use up to two connections to the same server, whereas the Pro version supports up to ten. This is obviously the biggest limitation on the free version, but speeds are nevertheless very manageable; I was still able to reach speeds of up to 4 MB/s, which nears my connection’s maximum. You can still limit your download speeds manually, albeit with an old-fashioned upper bound of 1 MB/s.

Check out Jeffry’s full giveaway review from 2011, and his guide on how to Optimize Torrent Downloading on Your Mac with Folx.

What download manager makes the top of your list? Perhaps you even favor a wholly different application! Let us know in the comment what download manager gets your vote, and why.

Image credit: Pixomar / FreeDigitalPhotos

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