How to Download RSS Content Automatically in Mac

One of the internet activities that I love most is downloading. The feeling of about to get something new from the Internet reminds me of the nostalgic feeling of waiting for the postman to deliver a package from my overseas penpal.

Thanks to the RSS technology, you could get automatic notifications of some regular downloads that you do – such as TV shows, manga series, podcast and other kinds of casts – if the provider of the content support RSS, that is.

Automate the RSS Content Download

And then I found Automatic. This small application for Mac which reside in the preference pane takes the pleasure of using RSS one step further by allowing users to automatically download the content in the background.

The installation is a snap. Just double click on the installer and choose whether you want to install the app for that active user only or for all users of the computer. Unless there’re more than one user who uses the machine, choose all users.

automatic install prefpane

After the installation, Automatic Preferences Pane will be opened in the “General” tab. The first thing to do is to start the app by clicking on the “Start” button. The next step is to decide where should the download be saved.

automatic prefpane general

Note: Users can set individual saved location for every specific download group if they want to and overwrite this general setting.

To add RSS content download groups, choose the “Subscriptions” tab and click on the “+” (plus) sign on the bottom of the window.

automatic prefpane subscriptions

Put the name of the download group in the “Description” field. Give check mark on the “TV Options” box if you are downloading TV shows episodes. Then add the RSS feeds by clicking the “+” (plus) sign on the bottom.

automatic selecting group of feeds

Paste down the RSS URL address and give description. You can add keywords in the filter field if the feed’s content contains unwanted items and you want to include only specific items. But if you prefer to filter out unwanted items, give check mark to the “Invert” button.

automatic selecting feed

If you want to know more about the filtering rules and the regular expressions that you can use, there’s a quick-start guide available at the downloaded package.

After adding all the download groups and all their feeds, you can sit back and let Automatic do the dirty job for you. Every time a new item appears on the list, it will be downloaded automatically and saved in the preferred location(s).

Sidenotes on the story

Automatic keeps record of all downloaded items. You can access it by going to the Subscriptions tab and click on the “Complete History” button.

automatic history

If you want to see more elaborate logs of all activities, go to the General tab and click on the “Log” button.

automatic logs

Automatic really makes the process of downloading RSS content easier. But upon using it, please keep several things in your mind.

First, downloading large files (like TV show episodes) using regular Internet connection will take a long time and consume parts of your bandwidth. So, at the times when you are wondering why it takes so long just to connect to Google home page, remember that you have Automatic running in the background.

Second, there are tons of free files out there available for download, but not all files on the net are legal. Please download only the legal files and remember that you are fully responsible for all of your actions.

Have you used Automatic? Do you have other alternatives? Please share using the comment below.