BitTorrent on the iPad and iPhone? It's possible using ProPopulo

How to use ProPopulo -- an app for finding public domain books -- as a BitTorrent tool for the iPad and iPhone.

bittorrent logo

An incredulous claim

Recently, I read a Google+ post by blogger Stefan Svartling about a technique he used to transform ProPopulo -- an app used to download public domain books -- into a BitTorrent client for the iPad or iPhone. I must admit I was initially skeptical, because I've read plenty of online claims that never delivered.

So, like the last incredulous claim I investigated, I decided to verify it myself. But as it turns out, Stefan wasn't exaggerating.

Testing and experimentation

In Stefan's YouTube video, he opened the ProPopulo app, selected Librivox from the Websites menu, and opened Librivox's Twitter link. He then searched for Google using Twitter's search feature, finding and opening a link to Google.com. Stefan then explained it would then be easy for a user to search for any BitTorrent site.

His technique proved successful, so building on Stefan's work, I opened ProPopulo and began experimenting with alternative methods and discovered a simpler technique using Archive.org:

Tap plus button then Archive.org

After Archive.org page opens, type "Google.com" or the URL of a BitTorrent site into the Browse History box. I chose to enter Slackware.com into this field -- I admit it's not the first page normally associated with BitTorrent -- but the official website supports BitTorrent as a legitimate way for users to acquire Slackware Linux.

Type a URL into the Browse History search field.

Next, tapping the link at the top of the results page is all that's needed:

Tap the link at the top of the results page.

From Slackware's torrent page, I selected an ISO torrent link, this prompted ProPopulo to start downloading the file:

ProPopulo torrent Downloads screen

Next, I tapped the torrent entry in the Downloads list -- this opened a Details screen containing technical information about the selected torrent.

ProPopulo torrent Details screen.

After the torrent finished downloading, I paused the torrent, connected the iPad to my Mac, then opened iTunes. In iTunes, I clicked Apps and the ProPopulo app. Found in the ProPopulo Documents section, the appropriately named Downloads folder contained the freshly torrented ISO file.

Using iTunes to copy the downloaded file.

Finally, after saving the download to a new folder and ejecting the iPad in iTunes, I deleted the torrent file and data from the iPad. This was accomplished by sliding the list item to the left and tapping the red Delete button.

Deleting torrent and data.

A useful tool

So, thanks to Stefan's discovery, we can all use ProPopulo on the iPad or iPhone to download open source tools, software and public domain books -- even an entire Linux distro -- all using the BitTorrent protocol.

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