Thanks to the never-ending abuses and misuses, torrent is associated with outlaws and illegal sharing of copyrighted materials. But in truth, it’s a genius way to share files. Instead of relying on individual servers to host the files and taking the beating of download traffic, torrent makes use of the community of downloaders to share the traffic by dividing chunks of files among them to share.
This notorious reputation is also one of the reasons why iOS doesn’t support torrent. Jailbreaking used to be the only way for iOS users to download torrents directly to their devices.
But that was then. Now you can download torrents to your iPhone or iPad without having to resort to jailbreaking. Besides, with the current state of iOS and all the features, there’s almost no reason to jailbreak your device anyway.
So how do you do it? Here’s how.
Getting Your Torrent File or Magnet Link
From the downloader side, there are two components to a torrent process: the torrent client and the torrent files or magnet links. Legally, there’s no torrent downloader client available in the iOS AppStore, so we will work around the problem later on. But for now let’s discuss where you can get legal torrent files.
There are tons of illegal torrent sites but only a handful of the legal ones. Some of these rare species are Public Domain Torrents, Internet Archives, and Legit Torrents. You can find more by doing a simple research in Safari. Some desktop app developers also make their software available via torrent, even though you might not want to download the desktop app to your iPhone.
Both the torrent file and the magnet link serve the same purpose which is to connect the torrent client to the seeders who provide chunks of the files that you want. For iPhone users, the magnet link method is easier, but using torrent files is also possible.
Bypass the Limitation Using Online Torrent Clients
Armed with the torrent file or magnet link, you are ready to download your file to your iPhone or iPad. The question is, how do you do that if there’s no torrent client available? The answer is to use an online torrent client.
This genre of the web app is also a rare breed, and many of the existing ones are either going commercial or discontinued. One of the first and most popular ones is Zbigz. Examples of other alternatives are Bitport.io, Filestream.me, and Torrentsafe.
But my current personal favorite is Seedr.cc because it provides bigger file storage of 2GB for free compared to 1GB from other services. The service is mobile-friendly and lets you store as many files as you want as long as you don’t exceed the 2GB ceiling. It also gives you ways to earn free additional space up to 5GB. All you need to do is to register and log in.
Downloading Torrent on Your iPhone
First, go to the source of your torrent and obtain the magnet link or the torrent file. If you get the magnet link, copy the link and paste it to Seedr.cc and then wait.
For the torrent file, the step is trickier. First, you need to download the torrent file and save it somewhere in your iPhone. Choose the “More” link after you click the Download button, then choose “Save to Files” in the pop-up window. After that, you can choose where you want to save your file. The options might be different from the ones on the picture below depending on what apps that you have on your iPhone. To be on the safe side, I’ll just use “iCloud Drive.”
Note: the “Save to Files” feature is only available on iOS 11. If you are on the older iOS, you can choose one of the available icons above.
The next step is to upload that torrent file to Seedr.cc. To do that, click the “Plus (+)” icon on the main page and then choose the “Upload” button. After that choose the “Browse” option.
Then find the torrent file that you saved before.
Whether you are using magnet link or torrent file, Seedr.cc will start downloading your file to its server after the input. Since it happens in the background, there’s no user interference needed. You can close the browser window and do other things while waiting for the process to finish.
Please note that you can’t add another file if a file download is in progress. And while the process is usually very fast because we’re talking about the server-to-server transfer, it can also crawl since torrent download speed also depends on the number and quality of the seeders (people who share the files).
After the process is done, the file is stored in the Seedr.cc server. You can download it as a normal file by tapping on the downward arrow on the right of the file to open the options. Choose “Download” to save the files in your iPhone. Similar to downloading the torrent file, you can choose where you want to save it.
And after the file is ready, you can open it using the default app. Since I downloaded a movie, I’ll use the media player to play it.
Have you tried downloading torrents to your iPhone? What method do you use? What is your choice of the online torrent client? Share them using the comments below.
This article was first published in Jan 2014 and was updated in Oct 2017.