Apps Podcast Downloads

mnsportsgeek

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Feb 24, 2009
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1,925
Does anyone else find podcast management extremely annoying on Apple Watch?

The “sync” features are so basic and I’d really like the ability to download a specific podcast to my watch before I go for a run so I don’t have to waste battery streaming over LTE.

Are there other apps that do podcasts better and any hints on if Apple is planning to revamp Podcast syncing/downloading in a future WatchOS update (and Music for that matter).
 
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sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
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Easy solution, use the iCatcher app. It runs on your iPhone and syncs podcasts (and, bonus, other audio files such as audiobooks) to the Watch as desired for autonomous, offline play. There's no annual fee for that functionality either, as there is with some others.
 

topbin

macrumors newbie
Mar 12, 2020
18
1
UK
OverCast used to be excellent for this, transferring them to the Watch via Bluetooth (though slowly!).

However they released an 'upgrade' a couple of weeks ago which now means they try and sync through WiFi and it has become a lot more haphazard as to what syncs or doesn't. If you have LTE then it will be perfect as you can just stream those that haven't downloaded (though this will affect your battery as mentioned).
 

ukbootlegs

macrumors regular
Sep 20, 2019
154
89
United Kingdom
OverCast used to be excellent for this, transferring them to the Watch via Bluetooth (though slowly!).

However they released an 'upgrade' a couple of weeks ago which now means they try and sync through WiFi and it has become a lot more haphazard as to what syncs or doesn't. If you have LTE then it will be perfect as you can just stream those that haven't downloaded (though this will affect your battery as mentioned).
I find myself having to uninstall overcast from my phone and reinstall it to get all my podcasts transferred
 

mk313

macrumors 65816
Feb 6, 2012
1,032
423
If it's a podcast that you normally listen to, I'd suggest changing your settings in the (apple) podcast app to download all episodes of everything (stations, podcasts, etc). I used to just do the default downloads, and would constantly be missing episodes when I headed out. Since the newer watch have a lot of memory, I changed my settings & haven't had an issue with downloaded podcasts since.
 

travisc555

macrumors newbie
Jul 6, 2019
19
1
I would definitely recommend iCatcher as well. It is a whole lot better than the Apple Podcasts app. It does cost $2.99 (as far as I know) but it is well worth it.
 

iAdamator

macrumors 6502
Sep 10, 2013
411
85
South San Francisco, CA
Was looking at this thread and decided to give iCatcher a try. Apparently I must have bought it before because instead of paying I just had the download icon. I don't recall when or why I last tried it or why I didn't keep using it but something must of changed because the app is great, especially on the Watch!

By FAR the most comprehensive controls I have seen ON WATCH for a Podcast app! Everything from adjusting speed to jumping to a specific section of a podcast to even reading album artwork can all be done on the watch.

From what I can tell though, you can't browse and download episodes FROM the watch correct? If so that's too bad but with all it can do, it's hard to complain.

I actually have a cellular apple watch but my plan is inactive. If I do have celllular, what, if anything, would I gain on the watch version of the app? Does it let me do anything like download episodes directly?

Thank you for the recommendation!
 

sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
2,198
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It’s a great app, and enjoying a torrid pace of development. The author is super responsive and does great work.

Like all podcast apps, it uses the iPhone to do the downloads, then transfers to the Watch are by low-energy Bluetooth. This makes sense considering the Watch’s puny size and tiny battery.

Accordingly, browsing/subscribing/downloading is done on the iPhone ...for now.

It’s great for audiobooks too! I have tutorials posted here on how to do that.

Enjoy!
 

travisc555

macrumors newbie
Jul 6, 2019
19
1
From what I can tell though, you can't browse and download episodes FROM the watch correct? If so that's too bad but with all it can do, it's hard to complain.

I actually have a cellular apple watch but my plan is inactive. If I do have celllular, what, if anything, would I gain on the watch version of the app? Does it let me do anything like download episodes directly?

Thank you for the recommendation!
iCatcher! got an update yesterday that added this functionality. Now their is a download button in the top right corner of all your podcast episodes in your playlists. Just tap that button and it will start downloading to your watch. It is a bit tricky at first as tapping plays that episode, you just gotta tap the download button fast (best I can describe how to do it), just play around with it for a few minutes and you'll figure it out.

Tip: To speed up downloading turn off bluetooth on your iphone (I did it from the control center, then re-enabled it when it finished downloading). Make sure your iphone is connected to a 2.4ghz wifi network (I don't think the watch can use 5ghz networks, I have a S3 maybe the S4 or S5 can I don't know) and your download will go much faster as it is using wifi instead of bluetooth to download.

You can download episodes over cellular (however your watch has to be connected to your iphone for this to work), I can't think of anything else you could do with a cellular connection other than that (but I would love to be proved wrong! :))
 
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iAdamator

macrumors 6502
Sep 10, 2013
411
85
South San Francisco, CA
iCatcher! got an update yesterday that added this functionality. Now their is a download button in the top right corner of all your podcast episodes in your playlists. Just tap that button and it will start downloading to your watch. It is a bit tricky at first as tapping plays that episode, you just gotta tap the download button fast (best I can describe how to do it), just play around with it for a few minutes and you'll figure it out.

Tip: To speed up downloading turn off bluetooth on your iphone (I did it from the control center, then re-enabled it when it finished downloading). Make sure your iphone is connected to a 2.4ghz wifi network (I don't think the watch can use 5ghz networks, I have a S3 maybe the S4 or S5 can I don't know) and your download will go much faster as it is using wifi instead of bluetooth to download.

You can download episodes over cellular (however your watch has to be connected to your iphone for this to work), I can't think of anything else you could do with a cellular connection other than that (but I would love to be proved wrong! :))

Wanted to take a few moments to reply to your post. Thank you for the info. Maybe that very recent update is why I love this app so much but in any case, I keep finding more to like about it. The on-watch features and level of control are second to none. Amazing what a small developer of probably one guy can do vs Apple. Imagine wanting to send a podcast episode to your watch and 2 taps later it's transferring! As simple as that!

If there is one minor complaint I have, it's the lack of ability to FULLY browse your on-phone library on your watch. For this, you are limited to using Playlists and that only shows the episodes you have downloaded, vs, say, the entire feed of a podcast which you actually can do on Apple's Podcast app. However, since episodes downloaded to the watch are so complete and controllable, I don't really see why I will need to browse my phone's Podcasts from the watch. I'll just use the phone if I am listening directly off the phone.

Regarding being able to trigger downloads as you mentioned above, that is an option I noticed but that is one of the things that only works if you use the playlists so you can actually browse downloaded podcasts on your phone and want to send them to you watch. However, if you disconnect your watch from Bluetooth, the playlists disappears, as does the ability to see that little download button.

You had mentioned disconnecting your watch from your phone by shutting off Bluetooth in control center (On the phone) but what you may not realize is doing this does not sever the connection between the watch/phone. It disconnects everything else Bluetooth related but not that connection. So basically you're watch was still downloaded from the phone. But having said that, the app is by far the fastest I've ever seen at transferring episodes to the watch. It could be because I have a series 4 watch which I think has newer (faster) Bluetooth.

I can't get the triple tap on play time to show chapters to work on the apple watch. But other than that, I couldn't love it more. I have not been this excited about an app in awhile.
 
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sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
2,198
516
Wanted to take a few moments to reply to your post. Thank you for the info. Maybe that very recent update is why I love this app so much but in any case, I keep finding more to like about it... I have not been this excited about an app in awhile.
Yah, it's a great app! Tip the developer!-- he is indeed a solo act and does this because he loves it. (I've had a few chats with him.)

And, clearly, he's quite good at it. Things like side-loading (getting audio files and DRM-free audiobooks onto the Watch) require annual subscriptions for all the other apps I've tried. And iCatcher works better and more reliably.

I'm a huge, huge fan.

The developer is also responsive. For the features you want or the features you can't figure out, ping him on Twitter or use the in-app feedback form. His contact info is on his website: https://icatcher.app
 
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