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BitTorrent Client: New Features Reviewed

BitTorrent announced yesterday on their blog that they’re doing a new update to their client, both the BitTorrent client and their uTorrent client, which aims to get people to share more …when they file share. Did anyone else just hear Xzibit say something like “Yo dawg, I heard you like file sharing, so we…”

The feature is interesting, so let’s look at it a bit deeper to see what it all means.

BitTorrent client’s new feature: Altruistic Mode

First off, BitTorrent has not changed very much about it’s client. It still ranks well in our 5 best Torrent Clients article. And it remains fundamentally unchanged.

But remember when file sharing placed a huge emphasis on the sharing aspect? That has gone by the wayside lately. This can be partly blamed on the fact that you can get caught for uploading just as easily as downloading …if you’re ignorant enough to not choose a great VPN for torrenting!

This tendency has shift towards many closing their torrent client as soon as downloading finishes. It’s awfully hard to share files when no one is sharing. BitTorrent has introduced Altruism Mode to:

  • Force users to share at a 2:1 ratio for all torrents.
  • Upload more than they download.
  • Help out swarms with few seeders.

The tool has to first be unlocked before it can be chosen. Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those ‘we decided you wanted to use this for you’ features. You have to actually go into your preferences and check it:


It toggles off and on whenever you want, and is only available on uTorrent 3.4.9 and BitTorrent 7.9.9.

How does Altruistic Mode work?

BitTorrent explain how it works like this:

“…it initially downloads two pieces and after that every time it uploads two pieces worth of data it downloads one more. This is a simple and reliable strategy for making sure that you never get much worse than a 2:1 ratio.”

Let’s say you are downloading something you find in one of our recent Most Downloaded Movies lists. Once you upload 2 pieces of that movie, you can then download 1 piece. The whole goal is to help shift their client user’s more towards sharing than taking. It’s basically a test bed to see if they want to roll this feature out further, and see how to shape downloads in the future.

How are people reacting to the new BitTorrent client feature?

Since this is an optional feature, where you choose to use it, people have been quiet. It’s only been a day since it launched, so we’ll see if there’s some more comments soon:

Nothing too brutal, but if I had to make a suggestion it would be that you could choose different ratios. 2:1 is a bit steep, perhaps working in percentages would have helped break it down a bit more so that you’re not locked into that ratio which can, and uTorrent admit this, make it so your files never download. File sharing is great and all, but actually get the shared file on your computer is the goal.

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