Let's Talk iOS on Podcasts app

I took a road trip last weekend and wanted to be able to access plenty of podcasts to keep me occupied during my long drive time. I thought about how there are a number of great third-party podcast apps out there. So many, it is hard to choose which one is my favorite.

Basically, the differences between most podcast apps are the user interface and features. It all depends on your personal taste. Check out our list of the best podcast apps for iPhone and see which one you think is tops.

Instacast 4

Instacast 4

This app allows you to manage and customize your podcast subscriptions, make smart lists, and bookmark favorites. The media player is designed to look great and make it easy for you to navigate the controls. If you are on a road trip, download episodes for offline listening. You can even create a playlist with different episodes so you don’t have to keep selecting something new to listen to. You can import your podcasts from iTunes, or add them from other podcast clients. This app is available for free.

Castro

Castro

This app makes it possible for you to check out new podcasts based on release date so you can always listen to the latest episodes. The continuous playback feature keeps the stream going while your hands are busy doing other stuff. You can view your podcast themes in full screen mode and control them using a smooth gesture-based interface. The notification feature lets you know when a new episode is out and the sleep timer lets you listen as you fall asleep. Castro boasts having the best voice-optimized playback algorithm for a super clear sound. This app is available for $3.99.

Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts

Do you have trouble remembering to download podcasts and find yourself having to hurry up and update before leaving work on Monday morning? This app downloads updates automatically so you don’t have to worry about remembering to. You can filter episodes by unplayed, downloaded, and even customized categories. You can control the podcasts via Control Center, Lock screen, and more. The discovery portion helps you find new podcasts that are based on popular and trending content, featured networks, and more. This app is available for $3.99.

Overcast

Overcast

In addition to offering easy-to-find content, this app makes it simple for you to download podcasts for offline listening, which is my favorite feature of any podcast app. You can search for and subscribe to podcasts, create custom playlists, and get notifications when new content is available. Additional features, like Voice Boost, Sleep Timer, and adjustable playback speed are available for $4.99 extra. This app is available for free.

Downcast

Downcast

This app makes it super easy for you to download podcasts that aren’t easy to search for. You can enter a direct URL so the podcast you are looking for can be quickly downloaded without searching. You can also customize when podcast feeds are updated based on your location or schedule. Create and edit playlists that include whatever episodes you want. You can also stream episodes without downloading them if you are one of the lucky ones that still has unlimited cellular data. This app is available for $2.99.

Pod Wrangler

Pod Wrangler

For fans of a simple interface, this app will win you over. You can subscribe to the podcasts you like and background syncs and downloads will happen automatically. On-the-Go mode adjusts the interface so you can easily access playback controls with big buttons. You can even customize On-the-Go to activate when you connect to your car or headphones. Motion detection on the iPhone 5s and higher will trigger automatic playback so you don’t have to fuss with controls while jogging. You can subscribe to five podcasts for free or upgrade to unlimited for $1.99. This app is available for free.

PodCruncher

PodCruncher

The incredibly simple interface of this app makes it easy for you to manage your massive podcast subscriptions, or start an obsession from now on. The app automatically downloads new episodes in the background and you can even play pre-downloaded content when offline. Create playlists and find episodes using filters and sorting options. Subscribe to a podcast feed using the URL. Import your iTunes subscriptions with one tap. This app is available for $2.99.

Podcasts

Podcasts

Apple’s Podcast app comes stock as of Sept. 17 with iOS 8. Some of my friends complain about it, but frankly, I think the app gets a bad rap. It works great and has all of the features I need for getting the most out of my podcast listening experience. You can listen and subscribe to podcasts, stream while online, or download to listen to offline. Have Siri play back specific episodes, adjust playback speeds, and use the sleep timer to automatically shut off at the end of an episode. Create custom stations, On-the-Go playlists, and pick up where you left off on any device. This app is available for free (and already on your device if you’ve downloaded iOS 8).

Subscribe to our podcast

Of course, this roundup of best apps for listening to podcasts wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t promote our two podcasts. If you’re not sure how to subscribe to them, click the links below:

Don’t forget to check out our previous best-of lists

  • Shawn

    Pocket casts is my app of choice. Allows me to chrome cast my pod casts to my TVs since I have 1 Apple TV and 2 chromecasts.

    • Why do you need 2 Chromecasts or are they for separate televisions?

      • Shawn

        Haha. Yeah it’s two separate televisions. The Apple TV is in the main room and chrome casts in the others. I’ll upgrade them one day.

  • Damian

    ICatcher is better than all of them except downcast

  • Tom

    I don’t listen to podcasts

    • Then you should start listening to podcasts

    • Arsanny Lintang

      Then you are missing to Jeff’s spider jokes…

      • Edvard Rølvaag

        And you DON’T want to miss them!

  • Fanboy 

    How about to delete the stupid Podcast app that I’m never going to use >:(

    • Agreed. There’s nothing bad about the Podcast app except for it has a poor OS X counterpart. If iTunes didn’t suck so badly I might be more inclined to use the Podcast app knowing everything would sync perfectly and play perfectly in iTunes. The only reason I use Downcast is literally because iTunes is so bad…

  • Gate

    I love Castro, the styling and functionality are perfect for me.
    Thanks for the detailed post Lory!

  • Edvard Rølvaag

    I use Overcast and the stock Podcasts app, but I might switch to Pocket Casts, because I hate when i forgot to download LTiOS before I went to school!

  • Joonyaboy

    I love the stock app. Only thing I wish for is a bigger pause button. Especially on the lockscreen/control center

  • QuarterSwede

    Overcast is the only app to use an alternate audio engine (not iOS decault engine) and it sounds much better for it. You wouldn’t notice the difference in earbuds or crappy speakers but in a good set it sure is a lot clearer.

    It still needs some missing features like playing while downloading (I still can’t understand why Marco left that out) and he refuses to add video podcast support but if you want an audio player that sounds great that is the only alternate you can try.

  • Decio Arruda

    I use the default app because it has chapters and since most of my podcasts are music podcasts, being able to skip a song I don’t like without having to scrub through it is a big deal for my needs.

  • Brian May

    The Maya Rudolph Show?!?! Really?!?!
    Gotta Make It Reeeeaaaaaalllllll. I use Downcast and the stock Podcast app

  • mrgerbik

    downcast. always works, no bugs, easy to use and icloud backup – what more do you need?

  • Ryan Lee

    You should do a list of podcast that iDB authors listens to since you do a great podcast based on what you think is great!

  • Renaldo Freire

    I recommend a brazilian app called WeCast.

  • Henry Zhang

    For several years I’ve looked of a great podcast app to replace Apple’s poor offering. The Podbean app is exactly what I’m looking for. Elegant design and brilliant playback features. Offering tons of interesting topics