Apple Podcasts is removing the 'subscribe' button

Apple Podcasts app showing off iMore Show with AirPods on red tablecloth
Apple Podcasts app showing off iMore Show with AirPods on red tablecloth (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is removing the "Subscribe" button from the Apple Podcasts app in iOS 14.5.
  • It is being replaced with a "Follow" button instead.

The "Subscribe" button will soon be erased from Apple Podcasts.

As reported by PodNews, Apple has made a small but notable change to the Podcasts app in iOS 14.5. Rather than subscribing to a podcast, users will now have the option to "Follow" the shows that they want.

Apple Podcasts will no longer use the word "subscribe" in a few weeks. Listeners will be invited to "follow" their favourite podcasts instead. The new wording will be in iOS 14.5, which should be released later this month (and is available in beta). We expect Apple to communicate further with creators, and listeners, when this version of iOS is released.

Apple Podcasts Follow Button Ios 14

Apple Podcasts Follow Button Ios 14 (Image credit: PodNews)

While Apple has not said why it is making the change, the report speculates that the wording change could result in more podcast subscriptions. Apparently, some users are weary to hit the "Subscribe" button, thinking that it will cost them money.

This seemingly small change could dramatically affect the industry. Tom Webster from Edison Research says 47% of people who don't currently listen to podcasts think that 'subscribing' to a podcast will cost money, describing it as a stone in the shoe of podcasting's growth run. He tells Podnews: "Today, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube are the three most widely used services to play podcasts, and now the word Subscribe means 'automatically download for free' in exactly none of them. Podcasters will have no choice but to adapt their language accordingly or risk confusing listeners."

Apple Podcasts is also not the only one to already make this change. Spotify, Audible, Amazon Music, and Stitcher are already using a "Follow" button instead of "Subscribe".

Other larger podcast apps have already changed: Spotify and Audible use "follow", Stitcher uses "+ follow", and Amazon Music uses "♡ follow". Meanwhile, Google Podcasts and Castbox use "+ Subscribe", and Overcast and Castro uses "Subscribe".

It is currently unclear when iOS 14.5 will be available to the public. The new version of iOS is still in the third stage of its developer beta.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.