App Review: Downloads

By on December 12, 2010
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An excellent download manager for the iPhone 4.

How many times have you meant to download something on your iPhone 4 before realizing Apple doesn’t allow you to do that? For me that’s always been the case. I tend to prefer downloading video game trailers than watching them on YouTube or Gametrailers since they present better quality, so out of habit, whenever I see a download link to a trailer, I must click it. On the iPhone 4, doing that usually fetches me an error or an ‘open in…’ message for the zip files I just downloaded with no application to support it.

But leave it to the app world to provide what Apple normally wouldn’t support, even if it’s a basic feature such as this. Hian Zing Jong’s ‘Downloads’ for the iPhone 4 is just the perfect tool for my, and your, downloading needs. Downloads is basically a download manager that provides desktop-like downloading functionality in a simple, easy to use interface. It supports all major protocols such as from HTTP, FTP to even Javascript executes, and even from sharing sites like Megaupload and Dropbox.

The app includes a basic built-in browser through which you can navigate to your favorite download sites. It also supports bookmarks and history. Downloading is as easy as clicking on the link, upon which you can choose to either open the downloaded file directly, download the file to the file manager or copy the link. Downloads can be paused and resumed at anytime (providing the server supports it), with full support for iOS 4’s multitasking.

The file manager provides a host of features, the prominent one being its ability to extract .rar and .zip files, a boon if you are downloading massive video or data files. The extracted files can then be viewed in either the app itself or through a supported installed app. Downloads is capable of viewing PDFs, Microsoft Word and Excel documents, HTML and text files; music format such as MP3, WAV, AAC, etc.; and video file formats like .mp4 and .mov.  The app does not support .avi or .mkv files, which is disappointing, however, the files can be easily opened via the freely available VLC media player. The file manager is also capable of creating and managing folders for the ‘sorters’ in all of us.

Downloads also supports transferring files back and forth to your desktop PC. The app can be connected through an IP address which allows you to fetch files you have downloaded through the app to your desktop (make sure you have turned off your browser’s proxy, otherwise the IP address won’t connect). If your PC and desktop are connected on the same network, the files transfer over reasonably quickly at about 1MB per second, which should be fast enough for most files.

For $1.99 (there is also a free version available), Downloads is a fantastic app that provides all-round functionality to your iPhone 4 so you may never leave a link unclicked. Highly recommended!


Mufaddal Fakhruddin is the Editor for IGN ME and thinks writing in third person about himself in an about me section is weird.

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