Apple Podcasts app updated with custom stations, on-the-go playlists, new design, more

Apple Podcasts app updated with custom stations, on-the-go playlists, new design, more

Apple has updated their Podcasts app. A lot. Version 1.2 now includes the ability to create custom stations that automagically update when new episodes become available. You can set your custom stations to start with the newest episode, so you always get the latest and the greatest, or the oldest, so you're less likely to miss a show. Stations get synced via iCloud across all devices, and playlists synced from iTunes on the desktop also now appear in the Podcasts app. Yeah.

The Now Playing interface has been updated, going from 2 screens down to 1, and forsaking the charming if controversial reel-to-reel animation of the original.

Podcasts also now badges the app icon to show unread count. Also, bug fixes and performance and stability enhancements have come along for the ride.

I'll have to try it out for a while to see how big these changes actually are in terms of usability. In the meantime, let me know what you think. Will you miss the reel-to-reel eye candy? How do the new custom station and playlist features work for you?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple Podcasts app updated with custom stations, on-the-go playlists, new design, more


Already created a station. Love that feature. This almost seems like a 2.0 release. Will put it through the paves in the next couple days.
Also, it may be a sign of things to come with iOS 7. And maybe, just maybe, there will be some 'trusted partner" that would allow automatic syncing/downloading so we don't have to launch the app first just because it is an App Store app.

Now if only it would actually delete the episodes that I've already listened to and only keep the new ones -- as is set in the preferences -- instead of keeping it all and filling up my iPhone…! :-/

Well the article says it will sync across devices. Is the Apple TV included in this? Lately when i check my podcasts on my atv i dont see the badge and sometimes it is not updated.

Yes they should do it because I feel like my Apple TV is a different device. It is not part of what I do or what I have with my iPhone and iPad.


I do like the new Podcasts app but then I didn't find too much wrong with the last iteration. Before anyone jumps all over this last statement... It may be down to my particular use case.

I am lucky to have a really fast broadband connection at home and unlimited internet on my iPhone. The result is that I almost never need to download anything to the device and I am able to stream. For that, the last iteration of Podcasts app worked just fine.

Regarding the Apple TV. I have a suggestion on why they don't sync... I have about 50 or so Podcasts that I subscribe to through my week. Some are audio and some are video. When I sit down in front of my TV and switch to Apple TV, I tend to want to watch the video podcasts and I don't really want the interface to be cluttered up with all of the audio podcasts.
As a result, if there were to be syncing across to the Apple TV, I would like it to be selective rather than my entire list.

Thank goodness the RTR skeuomorphism is gone. Hopefully this is a sign skeuomorphism will be leaving altogether.

There is nothing wrong with the RTR skeuomorphism icons. Those of us who grew up using reel to reel can appreciate how far technology has come.

So far I'm liking it. It syncs perfectly between my iPhone and iPad but I really did like the reel to reel thing. I'll move Downcast from my home screen to a folder a few pages back and keep using Podcasts for a while.

I like the direction this app is headed UI style. Just wish it would sync with iTunes via iCloud and apple tv via iCloud. Would also be sweet if show notes showed up on the screen as well. .

I can't figure out how to get a "Playlist / Station" to sort by oldest. My only options are "My Podcast Order, Most Recent, or Manual". What am I missing?

I can't see how to make it play the oldest first, which bugs me since every review says that it can. Makes me think people didn't actually try it.

Ok Apple lets put the nail in this one and get that podcast/playlist sync over to the ATV, you know, that other "hobby" device that's connected to iCloud.

I've been a Downcast app user for all my podcasts, but I might give Apple's another try. Wasn't a big fan of the first iteration. Too difficult to navigate and manage new/saved content.

And it doesn't suck they got the intern to go back to work the app. I say intern because it sucked before.

I think I'm going to like it but the key is whether a podcast can download in the background and be there to play when you are ready for it. Too often have I tried to play a two-day old podcast yet ended up having to wait for the download, despite setting it to automatic.

I really liked the eye candy. I've heard for a while now that the whole of iOS will be headed in this sort of direction with ive at the helm and its pretty dissappointing to me. Without the eye candy every app will just look like letterpress. (Clean, but boring for most apps)

Downloaded and enjoying so far. What I'm really eager for is the iCloud sync. It kinda sorta worked with iTunes on my PC before and hopefully this improves on it. And yes, I'm happy the R2R is gone.

I like the additional functionality. Still needs gesture controls. But I have to say, I do miss the retro tape reels

to help with podcst and thins i think it would be cool if they made something on your headphone that looks a lot like the 6th nano then you could do thing a lot faster and you wouldnt have to take out the headphones

It still limits you to the free podcasts in the iTunes Store, so it's still completely useless. Once they add the ability to manually subscribe to a feed, then I'll consider this over Downcast. Until then, still FAIL.

Got the Podcast update, got the iMore show, ready to go.
still having problems posting to iMore anyone else have trouble posting to iMore ?

I always thought the criticisms of the previous version of the Podcast app was overblown, but I dig the redesign and simpler interface.

I am VERY much digging the redesign. Where I personally had no problem with the previous versions of the podcast app, this is a huge step in the right direction.