Top 10 Podcast Apps for iPhone and iPad

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There is an overwhelming variety of podcasts to choose from that cover all your favorite interests, pastimes, and hobbies. Whenever you are commuting on a train, or waiting for a bus, or cooking in the kitchen, or jogging around your local park, these podcast apps offer a wonderful way of exploring your favorite areas of interest, and if you want to manage them through your iPhone or iPad you have come to the right place because we have the list of the best 10 podcast apps currently available on iTunes.

Podcasts

Price: free

iTunes download link: Podcasts

Podcasts Apple

If you are the first-timer in podcasts, Apple’s native podcast app is a decent choice for the beginners. Podcasts is free to download, but you usually have it pre-installed on you iPhones and iPads.

The design is up with Apple’s iOS 7 general looks, offering white background, purple button toggles and menus. Users can search Podcasts store for their favorite shows, or simply hit the Top Charts or the section for the Featured Shows to find something new.

Podcasts allows you to subscribe to as many shows as you like and tweak the settings to choose if you want to download new episodes automatically, the number of episodes you would like to store off-line, and the order of episodes for playback and browsing. The application is quite straightforward with the support of different playback speeds in the audio player and even a sleep timer.

Pod Wrangler

Price: free, offers optional upgrades.

iTunes download link: Pod Wrangler

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Pod Wrangler is yet another creation from David Smith, the author of the RSS synchronizing platform Feed Wrangler. The app comes with a simple, yet intuitive design and a few options on the home screen – Unheard, Downloaded and All Episodes listed with the logos of a simplistic design.

If you tap the “add” button, you can search for new podcasts. While the vertical list is nothing new, it turns out to be quite straightforward and convenient to let users quickly find exactly what they want. You can browse categories displaying a number of podcasts relevant to a particular hobby or a topic, as well as browse popular shows suggested by other people. If you should be interested in a specific producer, such as CNN, BBC, or NPR, you will be able to find them under the Providers menu.

Once you start subscribing to channels of your choice, you will see them listed under the three original buttons on your homepage. The app is very stable in performance and easy to use, but has a catch – free version only allows you to subscribe to as little as five shows. If you want to subscribe to more shows, remove advertisement and turn on push notifications, you will have to either have a Feed Wrangler account or buy a one-time upgrade that will cost you $2.00, which isn’t overly expensive, if compared to other applications in this category.

SoundCloud

Price: free

iTunes download link: SoundCloud

SoundCloud

This app is somewhat difficult to categorize because it covers so many different audio formats, such as music, audiobooks and documentaries and does to music what YouTube has done to the video. The application manages podcasts in a seamless manner, which makes it quite an outstanding candidate on our list.

The downside of SoundCloud is if you are using SoundCloud iOS app exclusively, you won’t be able to find any new podcast if you don’t already know its name. The application does have a search tab which works just fine, but the tabs Tracks, Playlists and People do not fit in this particular audio format. The solution is to head straight to the SoundCloud website, find the Explore tab and, using the categories (sports, technology, science, music, etc.), find the new channels. Once you subscribe to different shows, you will be able to see new episodes in your feed.

The best part of SoundCloud app is the commenting system, which allows you to tag your feedback to particular timestamps; that way other users and the creator of the particular podcast will know exactly what you mean. The feature is very useful when you want to contribute to a particular discussion, or pinpoint technical issues.

Stitcher Radio

Price: free

iTunes download link: Stitcher Radio

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Stitcher Radio stands apart on this list because it refers to your podcasts as “stations,” which is somewhat reminiscent of the good old radio epoch. In this application, stations are bundled into playlists, which you will need to learn how to use if you want to access your subscriptions. The podcasts you’ve already signed up for will be displayed in the “favorites” playlist by default, although you are free to set up a new list if you like.

Stitcher Radio has its own Smart Station, which offers a wonderful selection of shows based on your preferences. The app determines your preferences from the things you’ve been listening to, sharing and “liking.” This feature may be a dealbreaker for many users who are tired of searching for new shows through the tiresome method of trial and error. Another nifty feature of Stitcher Radio is the “listen later” option that allows you to bookmark episodes you want to check out later.

Stitcher Radio supports off-line listening, although be aware that the app will download the latest episodes from each station you have subscribed to if you turn on this mode. You do not get to customize the download options here, except for simply enabling the download for specific playlists. Another valuable addition to this app is live radio, especially if you’re keen on the American stations.

iCatcher!

Price: $1.99

iTunes download link: iCatcher!

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Even though this application doesn’t boast of an outstanding design or UI, it makes up for the lack of good looks by the availability of advanced features and extensive tweaking options. iCatcher! offers you to set the length of time between feed refreshing, set approved Wi-Fi networks to download new episodes, as well as display related artwork on your lock screen. You will be amazed at the volume of customization options offered in this application, so if you are into personalization and mingling with preferences and settings, you will enjoy this nifty app.

iCatcher! supports different multi-touch gestures, which make it easy to control the playback and the playlist. For example, horizontal two-finger swipe launches a quick rewind or fast-forward. You can customize multi-touch gestures from the settings. In addition, this application has “The Leo Jump” that allows you to fast-forward by two minutes, if you draw a quick “L.”

Advanced users will love the custom playlists with a staggering number of customizations, rules, parameters and the option to sort the download queue order manually.

iCatcher is one of the most advanced applications on this list, and when the developer rolls out an update to enhance the design, we will move this app to the number one position.

Instacast 4

Price: $3.99

iTunes download link: Instacast 4

instacast1

Instacast 4 is very similar to Apple’s Podcasts app, following the iOS 7 aesthetics with minimalistic design, which is also innovative to some extent, as well as offering advanced features that excel Apple’s native application.

If you swipe in from the edge of the display to launch a slick sidebar with multiple shortcuts for a variety of menus, you will also access various listening modes. Menus include “Unplayed” with a list of episodes you haven’t listened to yet, as well as imported subscriptions and playback queues for the episodes that you want to listen later. The latter is especially useful because it means that if you have your hands busy with something, you can set up the application to playback new episodes from your subscriptions automatically.

Users can add custom defined bookmarks to easily return to the place in the episode where they left off; the app also offers user control and some other playback settings. Settings can be configured for particular subscriptions, too, for example, you can slow down the playback speed and set up longer skipped intervals on individual subscriptions.

Downcast

Price: $2.99

iTunes download link: Downcast

downcast1

Downcast is quite a lightweight alternative if compared to other suggestions on the list. The menu has a horizontal layout and quite a minimalistic design similar to that of Apple’s Podcasts app, but if you download it, you will quickly notice that the overall user experience and the tabs are very different. For example, the application offers “Discover” options under the “Add” button, even search, top charts and manual imports.

You can access episodes from the tab “Podcasts,” and the app uses sub-headers to display if your subscriptions offer any new or unplayed episodes. The layout allows prominence to the user’s download queue, which is quite smart for the times when you’re impatiently waiting for the new episode to get downloaded.

Downcast audio player is styled in the dark theme with a focus on notes instead of the creator’s artwork. It may not be the most attractive design, but it makes you read the show notes in the first place. In terms of playback, you have four skip buttons, which allow you to move 15 and 30 seconds back, or 30 seconds, and two minutes forward.

Pockets Casts

Price: $3.99

iTunes download link: Pocket Casts

pocketcasts1

From an outsider’s point of view, Pockets Casts looks like a polished newsreader because its sophisticated design puts prominence on podcast artwork, which results in a vibrant mosaic in both sections – the directory and your personal library. It looks dazzling and smart, which makes it one of the favorite podcast apps for those who put design and visual attraction of the app as a priority.

The home menu gives you quick access to your subscriptions, download queue and unplayed episodes with a simple, easy to use UI, which makes it incredibly easy to bounce between menus at supersonic speed. You have options to customize each subscription’s new episodes download preferences, and you can also start listening to a podcast while you are still downloading it, a delightful feature for the impatient folks.

The only downside of the app is the audio player that lacks some customization options, which are limited to fast-forward and rewind buttons. One of the useful features is the “Episode Filter” option that gives you the opportunity to create automated playlists, and customize their designs based on user-defined criteria.

Castro

Price: $2.99

iTunes download link: Castro

Castro1

Castro probably beats the competition in minimalistic design. As you first launch the app, you will note the scarce UI almost immediately. The app itself is a single button for adding new subscriptions with two options – search, or add a supported URL from the clipboard. There are no categories or top charts, but Castro makes up for that with the gorgeous slick looks and smooth animations.

The main window has two tabs – episodes and podcasts, with push notifications about new subscriptions and downloads’ status, which will appear from the top of the screen. Castro offers only a few options for customization of the playback speed and documenting downloads. However, the app is quite powerful for podcast devotees that appreciate beautiful design.

Aural

Price: $0.99

iTunes download link: Aural

Aural

This one is a simple podcast app with a sleek design and straightforward user interface, which gives you a simple way to choose your favorite shows and listen to them whenever you like. The only downside is that it doesn’t support video podcasts. You can customize playback rate, filter your feed list, use your headphones to skip forward, search inside your feed, customize download queues, create custom playlists.

In fact, playlists are very customizable, and you can create playlists on the go, queue episodes for listening in order defined by you. Sleep timer and customizable playlist make about all tweaks of the app; other than that, Aural is very basic in settings. Most importantly, it does not do any background streaming without user consent.

There you go, hope this helps. Let me know your feedback on the list and app suggestions in the comments below. Make sure you stay updated to PocketMeta’s news and reviews, so subscribe to our feed via Facebook, Twitter or Google +.