Podcasts cover a world of hilarious, thought-provoking, fascinating, and even silly programs on topics such as politics, sports, pop culture and more. If you’re new to the fad, you’ll probably notice the challenge of keeping track of the multiple podcast subscriptions, including those that you discover along the way. Thankfully, there are podcast apps for different platforms, as with other on-demand content.
The native Apple podcast app is mostly barebones, but there are some great podcast apps for iOS that you can use to scroll through the endless library of audio content available.
In no particular order, here’s a roundup of the best apps to use with your iOS device to listen to your favorite podcast.
Overcast is a beautifully-organized podcast app for iOS only, which is designed for curious listeners that seek new podcast discoveries. Its design is practical and laid out in an organized, easy-to-understand way, with a fast and responsive navigation system.
You can manage your podcast playlists or create Smart Playlists, discover new ones, and share clips with others to tell them about your favorite podcasts, with exceptional support for custom playlists. It also has the Smart Speed feature that allows you to cut through silent spots and enjoy consistent sound quality thanks to its Voice Boost feature.
It also handles downloads and playbacks of episodes well, plays offline or via streaming, sends you new episode notifications, and the most recent update has interface enhancements for managing your podcasts.
The app offers free and paid versions, with the free one being full of ads and having fewer features than the premium version. You don’t get a trial period, though. Not only that, you also can’t find a specific podcast using the search feature, as you have to copy the podcast’s URL and paste into the app to find it.
Overcast is also compatible with Apple Watch.
Castro is another podcast app built for ease of use and simplicity. Through its dynamic storage management, Castro puts podcasts in an inbox so you can organize them by what you want to listen to now and later, or what you don’t want to listen to. It also has chapter support for podcasts, and you can customize each podcast individually.
It packs a good set of features such as Trim Silence that trims out dead air without distorting the podcast’s flow and per-podcast controls for fine tuning individual podcast settings. It can also mix stereo podcasts to mono and has a new player screen that is more streamlined with much more information.
Castro app is available for free, or you can upgrade and pay for the premium version on a quarterly or annual basis. The annual plan offers the Sideload feature you can use to upload any content like audiobooks or conference talks to the player.
It has dark mode and a voice booster, and you can customize show settings for each podcast in your feed.
The downside is it only works with iPhones and not so well on iPads.
Downcast is a no-frills podcast app that offers powerful customization and organization features. It supports video and audio podcasts, plus you can stream or download the episodes you want. It offers playback customization that allows you to pick the point at which you want to start the episode.
It’s a flexible app that may not be aesthetically pretty, but it’ll meet your podcast listening needs. You can use it on your iPad and Mac, too, as it has an app for that, but it means all your playlists, subscriptions, episode information and settings will be synced via iCloud across devices.
You can discover new podcasts or find your favorite ones, plus use different settings for individual podcasts or create smart and custom playlists. It doesn’t have all the nifty features like other apps on this list, but it does have chapter support, the ability to view embedded images, and playback control from other devices.
It also works with Apple Watch and CarPlay.
With Breaker, you can find interesting podcast episodes and topics from your friends, as it lets you follow them via social media and see what they’re listening to. You can also share your listening history with them, comment on episodes, and send messages or suggestions to your social network.
Its feature-set includes a silence-skipping feature, multiple playback speeds, offline mode, dark and landscape mode, and you can automatically download new podcast episodes. You can also purchase exclusive episodes from your favorite shows and Breaker-exclusive podcasts, too. This helps podcast creators sell content to listeners directly.
Breaker is a free app for iOS, with no upsells.
5. Pocket Casts
A podcast app list isn’t complete without Pocket Casts. This app combines function and style in a beautifully designed platform that displays podcasts in a tiled format. You can simply tap on a tile and open episode lists from your favorite podcast show plus options for downloading the files.
It has a smart playlist feature you can use to manage your downloaded episodes, which also makes for easier listening. You can also automatically download using the app and clean up episodes, which helps you save on space. Other features include video podcast support, playback features, a sleep timer and time intervals.
Perhaps the best and most important aspect of Pocket Casts is the fact that it can sync between OSes and devices, so it’s not just built for iOS like other apps mentioned here. You can use it on Windows, Mac, and on the Web, or connect to play your podcasts through an Echo speaker by linking it to Amazon Alexa.
It doesn’t have offline support for Apple Watch, but you can switch between devices without too much suffering. Plus, it supports CarPlay and AirPlay, but you don’t get to listen to new podcast episode samples, unless you’re subscribed to them.
A free trial is available with Pocket Casts, so if you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe before committing to a plan.
There are many other podcast apps available for iOS, but you can play around with any of these mentioned here and find one that suits your needs.