Apple updates Podcasts app with browsing improvements, Siri support

Apple updates Podcasts app with browsing improvements, Siri support

Apple has updated their Podcasts app to version 2.1 today, adding several enhancements to browsing and playback, along with CarPlay support. Many of the changes are focused on making it easier to find something to listen to.

Browsing is the major focus of Podcasts 2.1. The app now includes an Unplayed tab that lets you quickly find episodes you haven't listened to yet. You can also find new episodes to download and stream in the new Feed feature. You can save your favorite episodes to play later, offline, and you can choose to delete episodes automatically after you've played them. Podcasts also lets you tap links found in episode notes and descriptions and open them in Safari.

The new version of Podcasts adds support for Siri. You can now play podcasts using Siri, with support for a couple of different commands. You could simply say "Play podcasts," and an episode from one of your subscibed shows will start playing. However, you can also ask Siri to play a specific show. You can say, for instance, "Play podcast iMore show," or "Play iMore show" to get the latest episode of the iMore show to play.

Smaller improvements have also been made to the app. You can now start playing a station right from the stations list by tapping the Play button next to the station's name. Additionally, you can now share links for podcasts with others via AirDrop. Podcasts 2.1 also contains a fix for a playback issue when syncing with iTunes, as well as a improved stability when downloading episodes.

You can download Podcasts for free from the App Store right now. What do you think of the update, and what features would you like Apple to add in the future? Let us know in the comments.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is a news reporter for iMore. He's also chilling out and having a sandwich.

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There are 20 comments. Add yours.

iOS Gravity says:

I was just about to send this as a tip...

Antron says:

Apple podcast want: The ability to enter in a podcast URL for subscriptions.

andtechgroup says:

try to enter the subscription URL into the search field in the "My Podcasts" section of the Podcast app.(pull down to access the search bar)

Antron says:

Awesome!! It works!! Thanks!

andtechgroup says:

Cool. You're welcome... if you like to be "in the know" with all these tips and tech gems, (shameless plug forthcoming) download the free iPhone app I developed, TipCards. ( https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tipcards-by-andrews-technology/id8345147... )

Peter000 says:

I would like the ability to download podcast episodes oldest to newest, on a podcast by podcast basis. There are some serial drama podcasts out there that are a pain to listen to because this can't be done.

So far I haven't found any player that allows this as an option.

Derek Bolander says:

Not sure if I understood what you're looking to do but you can definitely set podcasts to play oldest to newest both as standalone subscriptions and also playlists. Simply tap on a subscription and pull down. Then tap Settings and change the play order.

Peter000 says:

Thanks for the reply. I'm listening to a radio drama podcast that needs to be listened to in order, so I want the podcast app to download the oldest unplayed episodes. And then display and play them continuously oldest to newest.

There's nearly 150 episodes so I really didn't want to download them all. But that's what I ended up doing in the Downcast app.

I love the fact that Apple's podcast app has Siri compatibility though, for driving playback.

Ron-F says:

As a Downcast user, I never spent much time Podcasts after a short trial just after it's release. Is there any compelling reason to use it?

moroboshi says:

I'm a Downcast user too but have flirted with the Apple Podcasts app from time to time. The only advantages I see with it are that it looks prettier than Downcast, and the podcast store is streets ahead of the very limited store in Downcast. It makes discovering new podcasts much easier.

Generally I find Downcast's syncing between devices far superior to Apple's, although both have their issues. Sync it seems, it still something that remains unsolved.

odaiwai says:

This app is constantly crashing on me - won't stay open for long - about 35 seconds. iPhone 4, 8GB, iOS 7.1.1. Time to dig out Downcast again.

odaiwai says:

OK - fixed it. For the record, I just deleted it and re-downloaded it from the App Store, and then all was right again.

aforty says:

Same issue, although it was crashing every 10 seconds for me on an iPhone 5.

Re-downloading fixed it, but still annoying.

Sent from the iMore App

gtmako says:

I had the same problem and reloading it got the app to work, but it keeps putting every podcast I have on my iphone 4. I hate this app right now and I'm thinking about going back to an earlier app

ggore says:

I stopped using the Podcasts app a few months ago because it began deleting podcasts I had not listened to, wouldn't download new podcasts, and my subscription listings were completely messed up in iTunes, sometimes ones I had listened to could not be deleted no matter what settings changes I made. There was no rhyme or reason to any of it. This went on for several iTunes revisions, so I just dumped the app and got Pocket Casts, which works great. I might try out this new version of the Podcasts app.

gtmako says:

It's clear apple is going the wrong way for both of us, I had the same problems. Some how I got it to start working again. May be I'll try Pocket cast as well. Thx

Derek Bolander says:

The new version auto-deletes downloaded episodes 24 hours after they've been played unless you mark them as saved.

juzzle says:

Apple did a great job centralising the settings for podcasts to Settings (like autodownload and most recent to keep), however, they messed up big time by not keeping the SORT ORDER and PLAY OLDEST/NEWEST options.

Apple! bring them back please