Castro, one of the most excellent podcasting apps available on iOS, has just received a major update that not only brings new and noteworthy features, but also introduces a new pricing scheme.
New iOS 9 features
The latest update to Castro includes a couple of enhancements made possible with the release of iOS 9 a couple of months ago.
One of those is support for deep-link searching in Spotlight. Now, you can use Spotlight to quickly search Castro for your subscribed podcasts and their episodes and go directly to them right from the home screen.
The other is support for Safari View Controller. This lets you follow links from show notes without leaving Castro by opening the in-app browser. If you’d like to open links in Safari instead, just opt out of the in-app browser in Castro’s settings.
New iPhone 6 features
The new version of Castro also features support for 3D Touch, giving iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus users more intuitive ways to interact with the app.
On your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, you can press down on Castro’s app icon on the home screen to access quick shortcuts to: play or pause the current episode, start the sleep timer, search with your clipboard content, or take a “Lucky Dip” and play a random episode from your subscriptions.
You can also “Peek and Pop” throughout Castro to manage your podcasts without leaving the app’s main screens. Swipe up to pop and perform quick actions such as play, download/delete or mark listened when peeking an episode, or unsubscribe when peeking a podcast.
New pricing model
Perhaps most interestingly, the new version of Castro introduces a new pricing model. Formerly priced at $3.99, Castro is now a free app with all features unlocked right out of the box.
But admittedly following in the footsteps of its chief third-party podcast app competitor, Overcast, Castro now offers optional patronage.
Right off the bat, though, know that patronage doesn’t unlock any additional features at all (except for that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you extend your help for something worthwhile). But if you enjoy using Castro, you might want to consider supporting its continuous development by contributing just a dollar a month.
That’s right: just $1 a month. You can voluntarily give your share by choosing from the three patronage options available via in-app purchase: $2.99 for three months, $5.99 for six months, and $11.99 for 12 months.
To reiterate: Patronage is optional. Castro doesn’t even nag you to be a patron with notifications and the like. There’s just a small note at the bottom of the two main screens and a button in the settings menu inviting you to become a patron.
Designed for iPhone and iPod touch running iOS 9.0 or later, the new version of Castro is available now on the App Store.
As mentioned, Castro is now free to download, with all features already unlocked but with optional patronage options.
Patronage from loyal backers has proved successful with a number of other services and projects. And we hope it works with Castro as well.