One of the biggest gripes I’ve heard from iPhone users in the past is the inability to download files from the web and save them to the device’s memory. While saving images from the web is as simple as press and hold, other file types aren’t so simple. Through jailbreak tweaks, Apple’s mobile browser has had downloading enabled to system memory, but the lack of iOS 6 jailbreak leaves us begging for an alternative. Rocket Downloader provides true download and file management features in a simple and fully capable iOS browser.
Rocket Downloader ($0.99 for iPhone) is a full-featured iOS web browser with a stack of features that are hard to find in a single app. In it’s simplest form, Rocket provides two browser tabs, a quick bookmark bar (called the “Magic Bar”), folder organized favorites/bookmarks, and more than a few tricks up it’s sleeve.
Rocket Downloaders primary focus is it’s impressive file downloading capability. A simple press-and-hold on nearly any element of a webpage provides an option to download the file. This includes downloadable zip files, MP3s, PDFs, iPhone compatible video files (*.mp4/*.m4v), and more. Not only can it download the many file types, it is also capable of extracting *.zip files within the built-in file manager.
Rocket Downloader’s heap of features doesn’t stop there, either. Firefox users will be delighted to see that Rocket’s browser includes tab and book synchronizing, which allows you to find what you’re looking for on your PC, walk away, and download it on your iPhone without having to transfer the file via iTunes or Dropbox.
Dropbox sync is also available in Rocket’s file manager, allowing you to upload files downloaded within the app to your Dropbox for future reference and access on other devices. Unlike Dropbox, which requires a network connection, Rocket’s file manager stores media and other content within your iPhone’s internal memory so you have offline access, which can also be handy, especially when traveling.
The Rocket Downloader file manager also includes playlist feature, with builtin playback controls, for creating song lists of your non-iTunes media. This means that the mysterious *.zip of Justin Bieber music can be turned into a full-fledged playlist (without appearing in your Music library).
Verdict: [rating: 4.5]
As a complete browser replacement for Safari, Rocket is a fair option for users who limit their tabbed browsing to one or two tabs. The built-in sharing, AirPrint, favorites/bookmark list, and syncing with Firefox can go head-to-head with Apple’s in-house solution. For downloading files, Rocket is an excellent option, and the full-featured file manager means that when you forget to download that presentation for work, you can save it to your computer by the time you make it to the office, all thanks to the multi-file type support and dropbox uploading.
- Wide range of supported file types
- Ability to extract *.zip files
- Playlist support
- Dropbox and Firefox syncing
- Browser mimicking (display mobile or non-mobile version)
- Transfer to/from desktop via iTunes or browser-based file sharing
- Browser only supports 2 tabs
- URL/Search bar don’t disappear when scrolling (like Safari)
For a full-featured browser with true file downloading and syncing support, check out Rocket Downloader for iPhone ($0.99 in the App Store)