Alternative Podcast app for iOS 11?

Westside guy

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Original poster
Oct 15, 2003
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I listen to podcasts a lot during my commute. I don't really need a lot of features... but being able to listen to a series of individual episodes from a podcast with short episodes (e.g. Stardate, NPR Story of the Day) without having to manually trigger each one is a must for me.

I've stuck with the standard iOS podcast app until now - but, with iOS 11, they're removed even this simple feature. Sure I can put in work and build a manual playlist, and that will play in order... but that seems ridiculous when all I want to do is listen to the last five episodes of Stardate (or whatever).

So I'm looking for alternatives, and there appear to be a LOT of options. Being lazy, I thought I'd ask what people are using as their iOS podcast app nowadays.

Thanks!
 

Matyou98

macrumors newbie
Apr 10, 2012
13
8
My recommendation is Castro. Will play next podcast automatically when previous one ends. Will not overwhelm with tons of complex options either.
 
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pacorob

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Apr 8, 2010
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Great (paid once) options are:
I'm currently using iCatcher and love it with all of it's features. Pocket Casts is a bit simpler and easier to use though (I also bought that one as well). Previously I used Downcast for ages.
 
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Lapine Rider

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May 15, 2010
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I listen to podcasts a lot during my commute. I don't really need a lot of features... but being able to listen to a series of individual episodes from a podcast with short episodes (e.g. Stardate, NPR Story of the Day) without having to manually trigger each one is a must for me.

I've stuck with the standard iOS podcast app until now - but, with iOS 11, they're removed even this simple feature. Sure I can put in work and build a manual playlist, and that will play in order... but that seems ridiculous when all I want to do is listen to the last five episodes of Stardate (or whatever).

So I'm looking for alternatives, and there appear to be a LOT of options. Being lazy, I thought I'd ask what people are using as their iOS podcast app nowadays.

Thanks!
[doublepost=1506602797][/doublepost]Thank you for starting this thread. My routine morning series of short BBC news podcasts cut off after one episode while I was in the shower the AM after I upgraded, and when I discovered why I was more foaming-at-the-mouth enraged than I've been in years. Amazingly so, even-- I fear I've rather shocked myself. I mean, what idiot executive _approved_ this? It's going to be even worse in the car, on long drives. There, I seamlessly and effortlessly binge-listen to one ep after another for hours on end, and enjoy it greatly. Or, at least, I _used_ to enjoy it.

The worst news of all is that some of the apps listed above as potential replacements seem to have the same incredible shortcoming, and the only way to find out is to buy them. I'm seriously considering purchasing an old iPod to listen to podcasts on-- they don't make stupid software "upgrades" on those anymore.

Plus they have audio plugs, too.
 

BeeGood

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Sep 15, 2013
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Wow I was just coming to make this exact same thread about this exact same issue. It seems like every year Apple screws with the podcast app in a way that makes nothing better. This year they’ve managed to make it worse, so I’ve about had it.

Seriously? How does Apple not know that people want the option to binge-listen? They practically invented podcasts and they’ve been totally clueless on the UX for years.

I’m going to check out the alternatives listed above. Thanks to all who replied.
 

Westside guy

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Original poster
Oct 15, 2003
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The soggy side of the Pacific NW
One thing I discovered while trying Pocket Casts - the default behavior is to not play one after the other. However by using a “long press” on a podcast, you are given the option to “play all from here”.

It’s not intuitive, but once you know about it - it works pretty well.
 

pacorob

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Apr 8, 2010
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That well known Overcast app comes with a yearly 9.99 dollar subscription price though.
"Current price for the Season Pass is $9.99 USD per year, and may vary from country to country."

I would rather pay once for apps (as I did) as Pocket Casts, Castro 2 or iCatcher so that is why I didn't mention it in my previous post with some alternative podcast apps.
 
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Citizen Cook

macrumors member
May 29, 2017
67
5
I’m not sure where to put this, I’m sorry if it’s in the wrong place.

I’ve been happily using the podcast app that came installed on my ipad for about a year and a half now. It used to be that when a new episode appeared I would get a number superimposed over the podcast app icon. Since the recent system update these numbers no longer appear.

Is there anyway to get these handy reminders back?

Secondly, the app itself seems to obfuscate things somewhat. Am I the only one who feels this way?
 

Scottor

macrumors newbie
Oct 31, 2017
6
0
I'm coping temporarily with the lack of playlists by using my 8th gen iPod Nano to play podcast playlists. Is there any third party podcast apps that can access my playlists created in iTunes? All the ones I've seen operate independently from iTunes. I prefer to manage my playlists on iTunes using smart playlists and using an external hard drive attached to my mac to hold downloaded podcasts until i'm ready for them with taking up room on my iphone.
 

briansanderson

macrumors member
Sep 16, 2003
95
3
I’ve tried Pocket Casts, Castro, Downcast, and Overcast. I like Castro a lot but I keep coming back to Overcast. Overcast is just a great podcast app all-round.
 

pacorob

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Apr 8, 2010
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I’ve tried Pocket Casts, Castro, Downcast, and Overcast. I like Castro a lot but I keep coming back to Overcast. Overcast is just a great podcast app all-round.
May I ask why you think Overcast is you favorite all-round?

I've tried it as well but do love to use others like Pocket Casts, Downcast, iCatcher or Castro. My favorite is currently iCatcher and I would like to try again Downcast which became buggy after it wasn't updated in a while but was updated lately again. I especially like to smart playlists so in my case my main playlist is called 'Downloads' and all my existing downloads (partly listened, not listened) + newly downloads are added to that list. As soon as I listened to a podcast it gets automatically removed. The last time I tried to find this functionality in some other podcasts apps like Overcast I couldn't find it and ended up at Downcast and now iCatcher but I now also Pocket Casts supports this.
 

Dukat

macrumors 6502
Mar 9, 2012
293
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Longtime and happy user of Downcast but looking for something fresh/new/better for no good reason.

Pocket Casts and Castro look good for different reasons. Haven't been able to find a good review/video review of either and don't fee like buying both only to not use one.

Opinions on the latest versions of each?
 

pacorob

macrumors 68000
Apr 8, 2010
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the Netherlands
Longtime and happy user of Downcast but looking for something fresh/new/better for no good reason.

Pocket Casts and Castro look good for different reasons. Haven't been able to find a good review/video review of either and don't fee like buying both only to not use one.

Opinions on the latest versions of each?
Castro 2 was reviewed last year by MacStories and they also mentioned it recently when the app got an update.
I also used Downcast but at this moment I'm using iCatcher which is also really great as far as setting goes and stability. The only downside is the UI I think.
 

Scottor

macrumors newbie
Oct 31, 2017
6
0
My question still remains: which of these can read iTunes generated and synced playlists? I prefer to use iTunes to manage and archive my extensive podcast collection.
 

pacorob

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Apr 8, 2010
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the Netherlands
My question still remains: which of these can read iTunes generated and synced playlists? I prefer to use iTunes to manage and archive my extensive podcast collection.
I've looked into the App Store description of the earlier mentioned podcast apps (Overcast, Castro 2, iCatcher, Pocket Casts and Downcast). If I get what you are saying I think that the below three apps might have the functionality which you are looking for but definitely check with the developers first before you might want to buy. I'm also a user of iCatcher (I bought all three though) and that seems to have the functionality you are looking for. The other two might not have it.

iCatcher! Podcast Player [link app / website]
• Import Podcast subscriptions for episodes that are already in your device from iTunes
• Import your OPML file from iTunes or other iOS podcast app
Import media by using iTunes File Sharing feature
Add your existing audiobooks (non-password protected ones) using iTunes File Sharing feature
Add previously downloaded podcasts from your computer using iTunes file sharing feature (see settings and import media for details).

Downcast [link app / website]
• Import and export podcast feeds via OPML
• Import supported audio/video media files

Pocket Casts [link app / website]
OPML: Jump on board without any hassle with OPML import. Export your collection at any time.
 

Scottor

macrumors newbie
Oct 31, 2017
6
0
Thanks pacorob but importing doesn't solve my problem with all the third party podcast apps. The podcast files are already on the iPhone. I just need the apps to be able to see them as well as the playlist order I set in iTunes.

I bought Overcast a year ago and I don't use it because I don't want to download via the iPhone. I bought Downcast yesterday thinking maybe I could sync the files with it's Mac app but then found out the syncing doesn't move the files, just the metadata. That's $3 wasted.

All I want to do is download, archive and manage my podcasts in iTunes (which works very well for my complicated smart playlist system) and play them with an app that can see the playlists. I also want to keep managing the podcasts in iTunes because sometimes I listen via my iPod Classic, Nano or even my old shuffle (when I'm doing some messy job under the car) all using iTunes to manage the same playlists.
 

pacorob

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Apr 8, 2010
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the Netherlands
Thanks pacorob but importing doesn't solve my problem with all the third party podcast apps. The podcast files are already on the iPhone. I just need the apps to be able to see them as well as the playlist order I set in iTunes.

I bought Overcast a year ago and I don't use it because I don't want to download via the iPhone. I bought Downcast yesterday thinking maybe I could sync the files with it's Mac app but then found out the syncing doesn't move the files, just the metadata. That's $3 wasted.
I'm sorry to read none of the podcasts apps which are around supports it.
Maybe reach out to the developers to see if the can develop such a thing. Especially since you now bought Downcast you might want to reach out to that developer first but it ofcourse couldn't harm to reach out to all developers of these previously mentioned apps which are updated a lot.

You know that you can also get a refund from Apple in some countries if you don't think the app is what you think it is.
See also:
https://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/iosapps/how-get-refund-from-app-store-3628182/
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204084
https://www.imore.com/how-to-get-refund-itunes-app-store
 

840quadra

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Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
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Twin Cities Minnesota
That well known Overcast app comes with a yearly 9.99 dollar subscription price though.
"Current price for the Season Pass is $9.99 USD per year, and may vary from country to country."

I would rather pay once for apps (as I did) as Pocket Casts, Castro 2 or iCatcher so that is why I didn't mention it in my previous post with some alternative podcast apps.
I use it on all of my devices and it works fine. Subscription is not required for this app, and it will sync all of your devices without such a subscription. I also don’t really ever notice ads in the application, it doesn’t put in imposing banner ads within the application

Overcast Premium is an optional subscription to control ads, upload your own files, and support future development”

Basic Overcast has some awesome features, and syncs playback across all of your connected devices. It also has a dark mode, which is a nice function when using an OLED screen, or using the app in low light situations.
 
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Dukat

macrumors 6502
Mar 9, 2012
293
71
Picked up Pocket Casts after being a long time Downcast user, like it a lot.
Feature wise not much different than Downcast but the UI feels more updated.

I love that it registers my steering wheel forward/backward buttons as the 30 second forward/rewind function.

It also seems to have access to a larger podcast history than other apps.
One of my Podcasts showed 700 episodes in Downcast, 500 in Castro 2 and over 1,000 in Pocket Casts.
 
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