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One of the questions I get asked the most by podcast listeners is “What podcast app do you use?”
And here are similar questions that I see popping up in podcast groups on social media every day:
- What’s the best podcast player?
- What is the best alternative to Apple’s podcast app?
- What are some podcast apps for Android?
- How do you write podcast reviews outside of the Apple podcast app?
I’m not a super technical person, but I do listen to dozens of podcast episodes every week, so I have my favorite podcast apps, and good reasons for using them.
In this post, I’m sharing the podcast players I use, why I think these are the best podcast apps, and why I use different podcast apps for different purposes.
If you want to skip ahead and just learn the features and benefits of the top-rated podcast apps, go get my 1-page PDF of the best podcast apps for iPhone and Android.
Podcast Apps: What I Use
It should be said right up front that I’m an Apple girl; I use an iPhone, iPad and a desktop Mac (blame 1998, the year I entered college and Apple exploded in a big way.)
But hang in there with me, Android users! Two of the three podcast players that I use on a daily basis are compatible with both iOS and Android. Those apps are:
- Pocket Casts
You are thinking: You use THREE podcast players every day? WHY?
Not because I LIKE having to use multiple apps. And NOT because I’ve got a lot of storage on my iPhone (so far from true). I use three different podcast players because each has (or lacks) certain features. More on that in a minute.
Alternatives to iPhone’s Native Podcast Player
Like many podcast fans, I first discovered podcasts via Apple’s native podcast app on my desktop computer. I learned to love podcasts from that app, but I have since abandoned it on my mobile devices (as in, I deleted it from my iPhone & iPad).
I switched away from the Apple podcast app long before the latest updates to the player sent many iOS users into a frenzied search for a new podcast player. (I haven’t even seen those updates, but I’ve heard enough about them to know that Apple is losing a lot of its long-time users of the app.)
The only problem with deleting the native Apple player is that I cannot easily write reviews for podcasts. As many listeners know, this is a huge deal for podcast hosts, who are constantly requesting that you help in giving their podcast a review in iTunes.
There’s no way around it: Apple is still “King” in terms of podcast exposure. I don’t see that changing any time soon. So, I use the desktop version of iTunes to write reviews every month or so. I just do a quick search for the show title and write a review.
Pocket Casts Player for iPhone & Android
So, where did I turn when I first said “Adios” to the iOS podcast app? To Pocket Casts.
Pocket Casts works on both iPhone and Android, and I selected it because it has a ton of great features, has a solid podcast discovery tool, and allows me to stream and download a lot of podcasts without taking up a ton of space on my phone.
When I used the Apple podcasts app for iPhone, I was constantly getting messages that my phone storage was low. I would delete photos and emails and attachments, all to free up storage space on my phone. With Pocket Casts, I hardly ever get that message, and I have many more downloads sitting in my queue.
Pocket Casts is the only podcast player that I use on my phone. It’s my main podcast app, where I keep all my subscriptions and downloads of my must-listen shows. Here are some screenshots of the player on my phone:
But Pocket Casts has one (and really only one) major flaw: you can’t download a individual podcast episodes without subscribing to the show.
For most people, that’s not a huge deal. But I write a blog about podcasts, so I’m constantly exploring new shows.
Sometimes, I want to listen to just one episode of a show to test it out, but I can’t do that with Pocket Casts. I can’t even see the general show description without subscribing to it first.
That’s when I switch over to Overcast.
Want to learn more about Pocket Casts? I’ll send you my free 1-page PDF for a longer list of features for Pocket Casts and other top podcast players.
Overcast Podcast Player
Overcast works on Apple devices: iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch (yes, this is a podcast app for Apple Watch!)
I keep Overcasts on my iPad, and I use it primarily to download single episodes of a show. I do this when I’ve heard of a specific episode of a podcast that is new to me and I want to see if I like the show before subscribing.
Overcast is SOOO easy to use. It has a lot of great features packed into it, but you don’t have to set them all up right away. You can start using it and then customize as you go. (I suppose this is true of Pocket Casts as well, but it just seems more easy-breezy on Overcast.)
Although I listen to all podcasts at their normal speed, Overcast allows you to customize and save listening speeds for each podcast separately, which is a really fantastic feature. (If you’re not into the whole “increase listening speed” thing, you can ignore this!)
Here are a few screenshots of Overcast from my iPad (I like to use it in landscape view):
But Overcast also lacks something for me: podcast discovery.
Yes, Overcast has a huge database of podcasts, so when you search for a show, it’ll come up in the search results. But the types of shows highlighted just feels limiting to me. It seems like they’re the same shows I’ve seen everywhere else.
Here’s a screenshot of the podcast discovery feature in Overcast:
So when I want to find something completely different, I use the RadioPublic podcast app.
Learn more about Overcast’s features by downloading the Best Podcast Apps PDF.
RadioPublic Podcast Player for iOS & Android
RadioPublic’s free podcast app works on both Apple and Android devices.
I keep this app on my iPad, and the only thing that I REALLY dislike about it is that it doesn’t adjust to the iPad landscape view. So I can’t use my Bluetooth keyboard or hold my iPad differently when using the app.
Here’s a picture of the neck-breaking view I get:
Other than that, the RadioPublic app has a super easy-to-use interface. There are just 3 buttons on the bottom of the screen, a search icon/button, and really large images and text.
If you’re trying to get your mom or grandad into podcasts, this would be a great starter app for them.
RadioPublic has far more indie podcasts (podcasts that aren’t backed by large production companies) than any of the other podcast apps I’ve tried.
This is because RadioPublic has its own podcast librarian (seriously, we’ve sent each other PMs!). She and the RP team actively work to find new podcasts, promote the platform to podcasters, and encourage users of their platform to create themed playlists that are shared on the app and RadioPublic website.
Podcast Addict & Other Podcast Players
The last podcast player that I’ll mention here (it is also included in the free PDF download) is Podcast Addict. I know that a LOT of Android users love this app, but since I’m an Apple gal, I have zero experience with it.
From what I’ve read about Podcast Addict, it has a lot of other cool features for audio and video, not just for podcasts.
A quick Google search will help you find other alternatives to the Apple podcast app, or other sites and tools for finding new podcasts. I simply can’t cover them all here (without having to update this post every week!)
Choose The App That Suits Your Listening Style
I hope I’ve helped you with your search for the best podcast app. Once you decide to try one of these apps, be sure to explore all the different features and preference options. You’ll be amazed at how you can customize your listening experience!
If you still haven’t clicked to download the Best Podcast Apps PDF, do it now!
And don’t forget to check out my Gift Guide for Podcast Fans. I had a lot of fun putting this together and have to stop myself from buying everything!