Sometimes you come across a file you want to download but all you've got is your smartphone. Perhaps it's a standard file, perhaps it's a torrent. Whatever the case may be, you can use your mobile to tell your home computer to do the work for you. Here's how.
Remotely Download Web-Hosted Files
If you want to download a file to your computer that's hosted somewhere on the web, this is the method you want to use. All you need is an account with Dropbox (our favourite file-syncing tool) and a web browser on your smartphone. To download that file to your home computer from the comfort of your phone, just follow these steps (or watch the video to the right):
- Grab the URL of the file you want to download on your smartphone.
- Open any web browser on your smartphone and head over to urldroplet.com.
- Enter the URL in URL Droplet's only text field and click the "Log In" button.
- Log into your Dropbox account and grant access to URL Droplet.
- When you're back on the main URL Droplet page, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and see if the file is listed as queued. If not, just add it again via URL Droplet and click the "Save" button.
- It'll take a few minutes for the file to show up in your Dropbox, but when it does it'll be in the root folder and you can use it when you get back to any computer that's syncing your Dropbox folder.
Pretty easy! If you want to see a walkthrough, watch the video above.
Alternatively, if you want to do this with a native iPhone app, download Drop It ($0.99). For another option, your could set If This Then That to add, for example, emailed file URLs to your Dropbox (learn how to use it with our guide).
Remotely Download Torrents
There are a few ways to remotely download torrents and we have a bunch of guides to help you do it. If you want to stick with the same basic method outlined above, you can send torrent files remotely to your Dropbox folder. For a little more control, though, you might prefer just using uTorrent's mobile interface to remotely schedule torrents instead:
- Grab a copy of uTorrent (if you don't have one already).
- Open up uTorrent and edit its Preferences/Settings.
- Go to the "Remote" tab and check the box next to "Enable uTorrent Remote".
- Enter a unique computer name and a password. If your computer name is accepted and isn't in use by anyone else, you'll be asked to answer a new security question. Fill in your answer and press OK.
- Go to remote.utorrent.com in your smartphone's web browser and log in with your computer's name and password.
- Press the + button to add a new torrent via its URL.
For a more detailed guide, see our recent article on monitoring your BitTorrent downloads from any computer or mobile device.
Remotely Download Files From Usenet
Using your smartphone to tell your home computer to remotely download files from Usenet is really easy to do. You just need an app called SABnzbd+ running on that home computer, and the port SABnzbd+ runs on (8080 by default) forwarded to that computer via your router's admin software. Then you can use the relevant app for your smartphone to remotely schedule downloads. That's the process in a nutshell. Here's the step-by-step:
- Presumably you've already got a Usenet account and SABnzbd+ set up, but if not you need to do that.
- Forward port 8080 (or whatever port you're using) to the IP address of the computer running SABnzbd+. If you don't know how to do this, read our port forwarding guide.
- Now you need an app for your smartphone. If you're using an iPhone, download myNZB ($2.99). For Android, download, NZBAir ($4.60), sabdroidplus (Free), NZBDroid (Free, $0.99), or one of the many other options.
- Once you've downloaded your NZB-adding app of choice, go into SABnzbd+ on your computer, grab your API key. You can find it by choosing Config -> General, then scrolling down the page to find the "API Key", and copy it. You can either do this directly on your phone or do it on your computer and send the API key to your phone via email (or whatever method you prefer).
- Go into the settings on the app you chose and enter your SABnzbd+ credentials. This will generally include your username, password and API key. On the iPhone, you'll find this in the myNZB settings in the Settings app — not in the myNZB app. On Android, the location will vary a little because we're not talking about a multiple apps, but you'll find the settings you're looking for by pressing the menu button on your device.
Now you're done! You can now use your SAB-compatible app to search for and schedule Usenet downloads with ease.
Got any other clever ways you start your home computer downloading files from afar? Let's hear about it in the comments.