The design of 'sodes is incredibly minimalistic, and it almost feels like an app that Apple designed themselves due to the aesthetics. On the first launch, you'll be greeted with a simple message that explains how to navigate the app, which is pretty straightforward since there's basically only two screens: Home and Search. The Home screen has a large 'sodes header in the top left, and then you'll have your Favorites, In Progress, and Unplayed Episodes. The Search screen is full of podcast artwork tiles from top podcasts, and there's a search bar in case you don't see what you're looking for.
The default theme in 'sodes is Light, which features a white background and black text. But if you don't care for that, there are additional themes: Dark and Campfire. Dark is more of a steel blue background with light gray text, and Campfire features a burgundy-to-black gradient transition background with blood orange text. No matter which theme you end up sticking with, 'sodes retains the minimalist design and looks great doing so.
Since 'sodes is designed for the occasional podcast listener, don't expect a way to import your previous subscriptions in here. Instead, you'll need to make use of the Search screen in order to find new or current favorites. Just tap on a podcast tile to view details about the show, and view their episode list. You can also add a podcast to your Favorites for quick access. If the show you want isn't featured on the Search view, you can search by name or pasting in a URL.
Once you've picked out a few shows as favorites, you can see them all in the Home screen, as well as Unplayed Episodes. From the Home view, or even from a show's details page, you can tap on an episode and start listening, no subscribing required.
With 'sodes, there are no downloads for episodes. Instead, the app relies 100 percent on streaming the audio, which may raise concerns for those with limited cellular data plans. However, 'sodes intelligently manages data consumption by downloading the audio data in portions. This information is temporarily on the device to help restrict network data usage, but there's no offline playback since a data connection is always required.
During playback, 'sodes has some nice large buttons for play/pause, and rewinding or fast forwarding 15 seconds. You can also tap on the "..." button to adjust the playback speed, select audio output, stop playing, share the episode with others, or go directly to the episode website. The playback bar also displays the elapsed time in a small square that resembles an Apple Watch face, which I thought was a nice detail.
Options for 'sodes is in the iOS Settings, but the gear icon in 'sodes takes you directly to it. You can change the forward and backward intervals, switch themes, and toggle "Keep Screen Unlocked" when the device is connected to power and you're playing an episode.
Why we love it
Other features include:
● Convenient home screen. – The “home” screen of the app has convenient access to your most favorite shows, in-progress episodes, and a few of the most recent unplayed episodes.
● Multiple color themes. – Switch from the Light to the Dark theme with a two finger swipe, like flicking off a light switch. Do it again to switch to the Campfire theme for ultra-low-light goodness (useful for moms ’n dads up at 3am rocking babies to sleep).
● Big, tappable buttons. – The player screen has extra large buttons with ample spacing. This should help anyone who has trouble tapping the right button in a hurry (walking, jogging, cooking, etc).
● Keep Screen Unlocked – A special feature for commuters: if you keep your phone plugged into a dashboard mount on long road trips, and you don’t have or can’t use Bluetooth controls, try enabling the “Keep Screen Unlocked” option in settings. This keeps your screen unlocked as long ’sodes is open AND it is playing (not paused) AND the device is connected to a charger. Why? Because then you can quickly pause or skip without fumbling to unlock your phone.