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?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 45 comments. Add yours.

djstarion says:

I like the badge icon, even though I turned it off because I don't listen to podcasts right away

TheHostileGamer says:

Updated and now it just hangs telling me its "updating my library" SHEESh

claudiodaylac says:

Same here! Jailbreake maybe?

Ides of Buster says:

Love the new appearance and improved performance, but I do miss the RTR eye candy.

duoFurious says:

I used this a lot on my iOS devices and I am glad to see the update. Will be testing the waters.

iSRS says:

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.

LoSes says:

I'm intrigued enough to give this a try while I wait for the 4.0 Pocket Casts update.

LoSes says:

Too much to go through to get all podcasts in order oldest first, NEVERMIND.

MILE says:

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…! :-/

jman0829 says:

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.

JNGold says:

The answer is no. It's something Apple should do though.

jman0829 says:

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.

Smithy1783 says:

Agreed.

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.

asuperstarr says:

Much needed update. It keeps getting better.

theREALtechdaddy says:

Agreed. This was a nice update.

Robert Arghhh says:

Really like the app. But won't miss the RTR animation.

CrzyP says:

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

Tech News says:

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.

mcmillan27 says:

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.

ernbrdn says:

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. .

Jcoop9 says:

A big improvement with this update. Giving this a try again.

Dev from tipb says:

A very, *very* welcome update to an app that badly needed it.

Jason Childs says:

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?

Eindeutige says:

It isn't syncing on iCloud between my iPad 2 and iPhone 5.

johnraggio says:

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.

JNGold says:

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.

thatguykc says:

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.

robnaj says:

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

Dredd67 says:

How does it compare now to Downcast ?

GolfnCPA says:

Getting closer, but still Downcast for me.

Team George says:

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.

Team George says:

Ultimately it's about reliability and ease of use, not presentation.

RadicalxEdward says:

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)

Good OL MC says:

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.

ern741 says:

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

AdrianGabeChen says:

yes finally. icloud sync would be a great feature

shinuyuki says:

A very nice update. Finally I can ditch my third party apps. This is very enjoyable. Thanks for the update.

Tmil2000 says:

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

jkeitz says:

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.

elcoholic says:

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

Bcl1973 says:

Don't miss the reel to reel

J Bernard Jones says:

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

Sancho90 says:

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.

Finzor says:

Thank God!! This has been a longggg time coming! :-D