Whether you enjoy immersing yourself in gritty crime dramas or prefer to use your travel time to listen to self-help tips, podcasts have something for everyone. But where can you find these great podcasts? If you are an iOS user, you have a lot to choose from. From the classic Apple podcast app to the popular free podcast app, we’ve compiled a list of the best podcast apps for iOS users.
Want to step up your listening game? Check out our guides to the best music apps and best audiobook apps.
Sometimes classic is best. The native Apple Podcasts app comes pre-setup and is free to use, so you probably won’t need to look at other podcast apps. You get access to millions of podcasts, including some of the most popular podcasts like the Daily And stuff you should know, While the free version is more than enough, you can also purchase subscriptions for specific podcasts to enjoy additional benefits. Apple Podcasts hosts a number of subscriber-only shows such as podcasts by CNN, NPR and The Washington Post. Like Substack, some producers offer both free and paid content, so you can decide whether you enjoy their episodes before you subscribe.
Apple Podcasts also offers personalized recommendations based on your listening history so you can always find interesting episodes based on your interests. It works with Siri so you can ask Assistant to play any episode or playlist you like, so you can listen hands-free while working out or working out.
Overcast is a well-known name in the podcast industry. Users love its “Smart Speed” feature that dynamically removes the silence, so you can only hear the important stuff and no long pauses between answers. Plus, the filters are smart and customizable so you can design a custom playlist to suit your needs.
Overcast delivers excellent sound quality so you can hear clear-cut conversations from your favorite artists. Maintains sound quality even in noisy places, giving you great flexibility about where you listen. Giving you a sense of even greater control is its Downloads feature, which lets you download podcasts for offline use, so you can do it while traveling, during your workout, or even on vacation, without worrying about Internet access. But you can listen. Furthermore, the app is compatible with CarPlay and works on other iOS devices to provide a seamless experience.
Pocket Casts is one of the most popular podcast apps for a reason – it’s free! Along with saving you a lot of money, it also provides a convenient listening experience as it is beautifully designed, easy to navigate, and provides personalized recommendations right on your homepage. If you want to improve your experience, you can get a Pocket Casts Plus subscription (a little over $1 a month) that lets you listen to your favorite podcasts on the desktop app. The subscription also lets you upload external files, so you can use the Pocket Casts audio player to listen to third-party audiobooks, or downloaded podcasts. Members can also choose a unique theme and customize their experience.
To further improve your listening experience, the app lets you filter through your episodes so that you always listen to the right podcasts to suit your mood. It also syncs with smart speakers so you can enjoy episodes with your entire family or group of friends. The best part? Like the other options, it lets you trim the silence so you can skip awkward pauses and save time.
Stitcher is perfect for outfit lovers. It offers some great filtering and sorting tools so that you can design playlists that perfectly match your current needs. You can experiment with tons of settings to further personalize your experience, giving you maximum control over your listening experience. You can set a sleep timer, connect to external speakers, and get expert-curated recommendations for finding new podcasts based on your interests.
If you want to enjoy even more benefits, consider subscribing to Stitcher Premium. For just $5 per month, subscribers enjoy exclusive episodes and bonus content from their favorite creators. Like Apple Podcasts, some shows are only available via subscription, so if you want to enjoy the full library, you’ll have to pay. Along with exclusive content, subscribers also get ad-free listening and fun giveaways.
Castbox offers a little bit of everything. You get access to popular podcasts, audiobooks, FM radio, white noise and guided meditations. You can mix different types of content to create a playlist for the whole day. This is ideal for listeners who like to have something playing in the background during their day. Like other apps, Castbox also offers personalized recommendations, comprehensive playlists, and customizable playback settings.
Its compatibility with CarPlay sets it apart though. This way you can take your favorite podcasts with you wherever you go. Another great feature is the app’s ability to search for keywords within podcast audio so you can find niche podcast episodes, even if particular words aren’t mentioned in the title or description. We also love the social aspect of the app. Listeners can comment on the episodes they’re listening to and the hosts can choose to respond to build relationships.
Castbox also has a premium subscription that offers ad-free listening. Free users are limited to subscriptions for up to 100 shows, but subscribers can have an unlimited subscription. They also enjoy more advanced playback settings for the best possible listening experience.
Offering the Castbox experience with more variety is Spotify, an app that connects everything from the best music to the most popular audiobooks. It’s easy to create custom playlists and share them with friends, adding a nice social element to an otherwise lonely experience. The recommendation engine is powerful and the search feature also brings great results, so that you can always find what you are looking for. The sound quality is pretty impressive and you can customize each setting.
It’s free to use with an optional premium subscription, but you don’t need to pay anything to access the podcasts. At $10 per month, the paid subscription offers ad-free listening, the ability to download content for offline listening, and unlimited skips if you don’t like what you’re listening to. Spotify does have a range of subscription options though. You can also get a couple subscriptions (two premium accounts) to Spotify Duo for $13. Family membership offers six premium accounts for $16. This version lets you block explicit music and use Spotify Kids – specially designed for younger listeners. Students can enjoy a student-only membership for $5. This version also offers the Hulu (ad supported) plan and Showtimes.
Castro works on a “queue” system that creates a single playlist with all your episodes from different podcasts. It lets you scan, select, and prioritize certain episodes, while ignoring the rest because there’s only so much time in the day and you can’t possibly listen to every episode in one show. The interface is clean, intuitive and simple, with little to distract you from listening. The app also has a “Trim Silence” feature that lets you leave gaps in conversations.
To enjoy additional benefits, you can subscribe to Castro Plus. The paid subscription delivers a high audio quality with a dynamic audio boost that enhances the quiet sound while maintaining the loudness so you can enjoy a better listening experience. The premium version also lets you add external audio files to your queue so that you can listen to whatever you want without interruption. The paid subscription also offers a variety of advanced settings such as custom audio filters, skipping intros, and adjusting the playback speed for each podcast.
One of the newest additions to the podcasting world, Google Podcasts provides everything you need from the Podcasts app. It’s free, lets you queue up episodes, and offers great playback controls. It also tracks your listening history, downloads and subscriptions so you can stay on top of new episodes. Created by Google, it has a powerful search engine and provides great recommendations so you can discover new artists based on your interests.
What we love most about Google Podcasts is the flexibility it offers. You can use it through the iOS app, but it also has a desktop version, an Android app, and pairs with multiple wearable devices. It also provides a lot of convenience if you pair it with Google Assistant speakers. Just order Assistant to play an episode and you can enjoy hands-free listening. It doesn’t offer any paid subscription or subscriber-only shows, so you can enjoy all the content for free.