Apple's Podcasts app is a fairly barebones podcasting app that does the basics. You can search for your favorite shows, subscribe to them, download them to your device for offline listening, and adjust playback speed and settings to your liking. The interface for Podcasts is rather simple and clean, fitting in with the rest of the modern iOS aesthetics.
Why we love it
We like it because it's the barebones default option for those who just want something simple. It does the job and it is simple enough for anyone.
For those who want a powerful and feature-rich podcast listening experience.
First introduced in 2015, Overcast continues to offer some of the best playback features available to podcast listeners. With the 4.1 app update, three more tools have been added.
Overcast's new Smart Resume feature allows you to jump back a podcast by a few seconds whenever you hit pause. This is a great way to catch up on a conversation before hearing something new.
The Smart Resume feature is on by default. To turn it off, visit the Nitpicky Details section under the app's Settings page.
The app also has a new option to auto-delete episodes 24 hours after completion. This means less clutter in your favorite podcast app and less space being used on your iOS device.
Why we love it
Finally, the new update now supports password-protected podcasts. On the Add URL screen, you'll find a "Use Password" option. Click on this to add the username and password for a password-protected podcast
The rest of the Overcast 4.1 update offers bug fixes and other changes, as mentioned in the app's What's New page:
- Fixed bugs related to glitchy audio, stalled playback, failed downloads, and disappearing play controls
- Extremely large playlists now only show the most/least-recent 500 episodes to improve app performance for users with very high subscription counts
- Rotation support is now iPad-only; iPhone rotation has proven too costly to maintain for its extremely low usage. My apologies to the few people who did use it.
For someone who wants a great podcast listening experience and doesn't care about how the app looks.
Downcast is an incredibly powerful and completely customizable podcast app for those who consider themselves power-listeners. The app's inteface is not the prettiest, but that doesn't matter for the listener. Downcast includes great options like autodownloading, marking new episodes for streaming or download, import or export feeds, sending entire media files to Dropbox, toggling "Priority Play" for specific episodes or shows, and individual settings for each show you listen to regularly.
Why we love it
There is pretty much nothing you can't do in Downcast. It's the Swiss Army knife of podcast players.
For anyone who wants an easier way to manage their podcast subscriptions.
Most importantly, in the Discovery section of the app, you can find featured podcasts on category charts along with curated recommendations. There will be new collections of curated podcasts added weekly.
When searching for a specific podcast, that will happen live as you type and should feature more accurate results. And you can even subscribe directly to a podcast from the search results instead of needing to opening the podcast information.
The most recent update also brings a number of bug fixes and other small changes.
Back in 2018, Castro was updated with an Apple Watch app that allows users to control podcast playback and choose new episodes from the queue to play.
Castro is designed for the iPhone and all iPad models. It can be downloaded now on the App Store for free.
You can take advantage of a one-week free trial of Castro Plus. After that, it will cost $3 for a three-month subscription or $9 for a year.
That subscription offers a number of more advanced features. Some of those include the ability to trim silence, set a start position for episodes of each podcast, and to skip or select chapters in certain podcasts.
For those who want some power in their podcast player but don't particularly care for looks.
iCatcher is another flexible and powerful podcast player that is similar to Downcast but has a somewhat better interface design. Users can easily find the shows that they are looking for, subscribe or download individual episodes, create playlists and set custom rules so that they don't have to do much work when it comes to listenng to what they want when they want it, and more. It's another app that is fantastic for power users, but not particularly useful for those who prefer a simple listening experience.
Why we love it
While it may not look the prettiest, it has solid functionality and features that any power user would appreciate.