Do you love listening to podcasts on your commute, or just as some background entertainment while at home? No matter who you are, there's a podcast out there for everyone — after all, they can be about anything! But how do you keep track of multiple subscriptions to the shows you like? What if you want to discover new podcasts?
While Apple has its own default Podcast app, it's fairly barebones compared to other options out there. So what are the best apps for podcast listening on iOS? Let's find out!
- Pocket Casts
- Stitcher for Podcasts
This one is my personal favorite. It's from Marco Arment, the creator of Instapaper, that popular read-it-later service that Betaworks bought a few years ago.
Overcast features a design that's both beautiful and practical. Everything's laid out and organized in a way that's easy to understand, and navigation's fast and responsive. While you can listen to your podcasts just by tapping on the show and episode you want, Overcast's support for custom playlists is exceptional and provides a seamless listening experience.
Discovery is also a big part of Overcast. You'll get recommendations from Twitter friends, or you can dive into the most recommended podcasts in each category. Searching is quick and easy too, in case you already know what you want. There's also support for chapters and sleep timers.
The standout features of Overcast are Smart Speed and Voice Boost. With Smart Speed, silent moments get reduced, saving you time without distorting the natural flow of the audio. Voice Boost provides full volume and enhances the voices, which is great for shows where someone may not be as loud as others.
Overcast has been a favorite for many due to the fantastic podcast listening experience it provides. It's also available on iPad.
If you prefer a podcast app just for your iPhone that's stunningly gorgeous but still packs in a good set of features, then Castro is a good contender.
I just went over the new features in the Castro 3 update this week, which brings it more up to line with Overcast. These new features include Trim Silence, chapter support, mix to mono, per-podcast controls, and more.
Trim Silence is the biggest addition for many, as it works just like Overcast's Smart Speed by trimming out unnecessary silence without distorting the natural flow of dialogue. It's great and it works well!
Castro 3 also brings a fresh new coat of paint to the player screen, which is now more streamlined and packs in a lot of information without being overly cluttered. And having per-podcast controls means you can fine-tune the settings for each podcast, rather than have a universal "one size fits all" type of setting for everything. After all, not all podcasts are the same.
Castro 3 does move over to a new subscription-based model that starts at $2.99 per quarter or $8.99 for a year.
Is a subscription-based podcast app not your thing? Then Pocket Casts would be more up your alley.
Pocket Casts is a powerful and premium podcast player. It comes with a clean and streamlined interface that's both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. Plus, there are themes to modify the appearance of the app to suit your personal style.
Like the other podcast apps mentioned, Pocket Casts also has a trim silence feature. It trims down the amount of silence there is in an episode, saving you time and getting to your next podcast faster than ever before. There's also variable speed for playback, in case some podcasts move too slow, and a voice boost enhancer makes it easier to hear those quieter voices on a show.
There's also great playlist creation and management with Pocket Casts, as you can easily make a new playlist just based on your favorite shows. Podcasts get downloaded directly on your device or streamed over an internet connection, filters help you organize, and there's a ton of show discovery in the app.
If you need a powerful all-in-one podcast app that looks good while bringing you all of the necessary features, then you can't go wrong. Plus, you just pay once and it's all yours, forever.
Looking for a reasonably priced podcast app that's jam-packed with features? Then iCatcher! Podcast Player is a good fit.
While iCatcher is pretty basic in terms of aesthetics, there's a lot of other reasons to love it. For one, the Now Playing screen is simple and clean with no frills, just showing you the necessary bits, like show notes and time elapsed. There's even a search function that's accessible from anywhere in the app so you can always find that exact show or episode you want.
Discovering and subscribing to new podcasts is easy with iCatcher. And when you find a podcast but just want to listen to one episode without subscribing, iCatcher lets you do that too. There's support for continuous playback, custom playlists, and much more. iCatcher is one of the most flexible podcast apps available, as you can even use your own images for podcasts. Everything is customizable to best fit your needs and wants.
If you get iCatcher and love it so much that you want to show your support for continued development, there's a tip jar where you can give a few extra bucks in the form of in-app purchases for the developer.
If power and functionality are things you're looking for in a podcast app, then Downcast could very well be your best friend. It's incredibly flexible to meet your podcast listening needs, but it won't be winning awards in aesthetics.
One of the great things about Downcast is the fact that it includes support for video podcasts (not all podcast apps do) and there's even a Mac app. If you choose to use Downcast on your Mac as well, all of your subscriptions, playlists, settings, and episode information get synced across all devices through iCloud.
Finding your favorite podcasts and discovering new ones in Downcast is a cinch. And for those private feeds, you can add them via a URL, even if they're protected with passwords. Downcast provides users with a lot of different options for creating smart and custom playlists, and you can have different settings for each podcast you're subscribed to or downloaded.
Even though Downcast doesn't have those cool features similar to Trim Silence or Voice Boost, there's still some great things about playback in the app. Playback can be up to 3x the normal speed, there's chapter support, playback control from external devices, the ability to view embedded images, and much more.
No matter what you're looking for in a podcast app, chances are Downcast has you covered. It's just not the prettiest thing to look at, but you'll mostly be listening instead of looking at it anyway, right?
If any of the above tried-and-true podcast apps don't pique your interest, then perhaps the recently released Procast app may be more of your speed.
Procast does all of the things you'd come to expect from a podcast app: discovery, subscriptions, and a gorgeous, easy-to-use interface. IT's friendly enough for the podcast novice while also giving power users a great set of features.
The Inbox is a main feature of Procast, where new episodes arrive daily for you to check out. There's a swiping gesture, similar to Tinder, so you can quickly decide what's worth listening to or not.
On the first launch, Procast asks you some questions to automatically get some podcasts for you to listen to based on your interests. Keep in mind that this is optional, but a great way to find something new to listen to.
The standout feature of Procast is definitely the ability to create snippets. With this, listeners are able to cut out any part of a podcast and store it on the device itself. This lets you share it with others, which is pretty darn cool! Plus, this is a great way to let your friends sample a show that you rave about, as long as that clip is amazing.
And for you night owl listeners, Procast comes with a dark theme, and it's all available for free, so why not give it a chance?
While you may think of Spotify as just a music streaming service, it is also a great app for finding and listening to podcasts, including some completely original ones you won't find anywhere else.
Spotify's podcast feature is available for everyone to use, whether you're on a free account or paid subscription. It will give you recommendations and featured shows, but you can also search for the ones you want as well. Once you save a podcast, new episodes are saved as they become available, so your favorites are always ready to go. If you have Spotify Premium ($10 a month), you are able to save podcasts offline, so you can still listen and enjoy without an Internet connection.
And if you aren't in the mood for a podcast, then just browse through Spotify's huge collection of music and listen to your heart's content! Spotify doubles as both your podcast and music player (free accounts are ad-supported and have limited features).
If you're a big fan of comedy podcasts, then Laughable is made for you.
Laughable allows you to find and subscribe to your favorite comedians' podcasts, from Bill Burr to Barack Obama, Joe Rogan to Jordan Peterson, Patton Oswalt to Oprah, and more. The app also makes it easy to find podcasts where your comedian is the host or even a guest, so you're always in-the-know with your favorites. Other features of Laughable include artist profiles, recommendations, search, multiple playback speeds, sleep timer, CarPlay, and offline listening. Laughable also has non-comedy podcasts and public figures, such as Elon Musk, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Shonda Rhimes, Sam Harris, J.K. Rowling, Richard Branson, and more.
Breaker is a unique podcast app because it brings in and puts emphasis on social networking combined with your podcasts. Whether you're new to the world of podcasts or a veteran, Breaker can work for everyone.
With Breaker, you can find and follow friends to see what they're listening to, which is a great way to discover new podcasts you may have otherwise never heard of. You can like, share, and even comment on your favorite episodes. Other features in Breaker include multiple playback speeds, Skip Silences, Dark and landscape modes, offline mode, and automatic downloading of new episodes. Breaker is great for podcast discovery among friends, and you can always discuss the shows that you're listening to, which is a nice feature.
Some distinctive bonuses of Breaker include the ability to purchase exclusive episodes from the podcasts you love and exclusive podcasts that are only available on Breaker.
Castbox is a great little app if you want an all-in-one podcast player with access to FM radio, audiobooks, and even sleeping ASMR.
In Castbox, users will find over 95 million different kinds of audio content, including a ton of podcasts on various topics. No matter what interests you, you'll find it in Castbox. You also get personalized recommendations based on what you listen to, powerful search, smart speaker support, daily top podcast list, one-click subscriptions, volume boost, trim silence, sleep timer, CarPlay support, and much more. There is also the Livecast feature, which lets you listen to live audio streams, and you can chat with other listeners too.
Stitcher for Podcasts
Fan of podcasts and radio? Then Stitcher is a must for your app collection.
With Stitcher, you're able to stream or download your favorite podcasts or just listen in on the radio for your talk shows or music. Stitcher's vast podcast database includes shows on a wide variety of topics, including news, comics, true crime, and more. There is also a rather extensive back catalog of episodes for Freakonomics, WTF with Marc Maron, True Crime Garage, Comedy Bang! Bang! and more. There is also ad-free, original content on Stitcher Premium, including Marvel comics based Wolverine: The Long Night.
Stitcher Premium starts at $5 a month or $35 a year.
If you download RadioPublic through a podcast's RadioPublic link, it automatically returns you to the show that referred you so you can listen or subscribe right away.
Otherwise, you can also browse through RadioPublic's catalog of over 500,000 popular podcasts, audiobooks, music podcasts, and shows from networks like BBC, Gimlet, Radiotopia, and more. These aren't just any podcasts either, as the librarians over at RadioPublic often highlight the award-winners on a regular basis, so you're getting high-quality content. If you're overwhelmed by choices, then just tune in to one of the podcast stations that cover a single topic, so it's a good starting point if you don't know what to look for.
RadioPublic also has the basic features you're looking for, such as downloadable or streaming shows, continuous playlists, sharing with friends and family, and more.
So there you have it. We've rounded up some of the best podcast apps out there on the market for you to get your fix on-the-go. The App Store is full of options, we consider these to be the crème de la crème if you will. These are all offered at various price points to fit any budget, and come packed with a great set of features to suit your needs.
Did we include yours in this roundup? Let me know what app you love using for your podcast listening!
July 2019: Removed Instacast Classic and added six new options. These are some of the best ways to listen to podcasts on your iPhone or iPad!
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