The best Podcast applications for iPhone and iPad (2021)

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Photo: (Shutterstock) – We promise that these applications are better than Podcasts from Apple. Apple Podcasts is the default podcast app for many iOS users, but new iOS 14 updates make it a mess. Bugs, lost subscriptions, delayed availability for the episode and bad performance for months were addressed by users, and every patch seems to break as many things. The platform has also made it hard for podcast creators, in particular those who rely on new paying subscription features from Apple Podcast to generate revenues.

Much of these problems are indicated by reports that once iOS 15 is live, but stable construction is months away. Fortunately, if you’re fed up with recent headaches, you don’t have to stick to Apple Podcasts—podcasts are becoming even more popular, so there are more podcast managers on the App Store than ever before.

We have been in this position for a while and have a couple of definite recommendations for the best apps to handle podcasts on iPhones and/or iPads (and perhaps even Android or desktops too) as well as some backup suggestions for those wanting to listen to a novel podcast.

Pocket Casts is the beating podcast app

Image: Pocket Casts

Platforms: iOS and Android free platforms; plus subscriptions for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows or web ($1 a month or $25 a year).

Pocket Casts combines almost any useful feature found there in virtually any other Podcast Manager plus lots of unique features. The app also provides them through a slick, easy-to-use interface — and, best of all, free.

Some of the outstanding features include options for audio improvement: The incorporated Volume Boost makes it easier to hear people’s voices while reducing background music or noise. The ‘trim quiet’ cuts out long pauses (and doing so does not affect voice pitch).

Screenshot: Mike Epstein

The Pocket Casts user has robust options, including episode-searching for all the podcasts that spoke to you about one particular topic—and can look at your history of listening. You can sync their subscriptions and playback position across multiple devices and find new podcasting options. You can also play media files stored on your device by third parties and set sleep timers which stop your podcast when you listen to them before bed.

It’s not perfect while the free version is packed with features. The playlist and filter options, for example, could be stronger. You can either place a playlist in a whim or filter your podcast subscriptions and episode list using a small selection of pre-established categories, but your subscriptions cannot be sorted by topic or your own self-updating playlists. Since the Pocket Casts packages have so many features, it seems strange that there is no such customization.

Despite that awkward problem, we want the look and feel of Pocket Casts. The app not only covers everything, but has a number of customizable gesture options (for example, setting a left swipe to archive episodes).

The Pocket Casts free version is available for Android and iOS and covers all the features discussed so far, however, if you want more features and broader device support, a Premium Pocket Casts Plus feature is available. For $1 a month or $10 a year, plus subscribers will receive Pocket Casts Mac, Web, Windows and independent Apple Watch versions, plus 10 GB of cloud storage accessible on all of your connected devices. Click here for more information.

Overcast is a great alternative, but it could be better to explore options

Screenshot: Mike Epstein

Platforms: iOS (Apple Watch included) (Free)

Overcast has been our top choice for podcast managers before it came out of Pocket Casts. To be sure, it is still an excellent alternative for Pocket Casts and an ideal Podcast app out there (let alone the official Apple app).

Overcast has everything you need—you can slow down or speed episodes up, the app holds your spot automatically when you stop listen, and create a playlist on the flight in a few taps, or listen to every podcast that you downloaded over an ongoing stream. These are all intuitive and simple to use, more importantly.

Screenshot: Mike Epstein

Even data that normally get buried is easily accessible with one simple tap, like an episode’s display notes— often including time codes and other useful information. Overcast has the same volume and silence adjustment as Pocket Casts and some great quality of life choices, such as the ability to add Siri Shortcuts to your headphone, remote and car dashboard controls and to customize them.

It’s simple and robust playlist creation tools which distinguish Overcast—and its main benefit over Pocket Casts. You can collect individual episodes, cluster podcasts in length, or simply combine subscriptions in any way that makes sense.

On the negative side of the page, Overcast is advertised, but I find its ads discreet and I’m very alert. Hear me out: if one aspect of Overcast could actively improve, the app’s lack of finding options is limited to repackaging the Apple Podcast diagrams and skinning some other Podcast publishing hubs.

The ads of Overcast relate almost only to podcast and are therefore the only way to exposition via an app to a show that is not already a hit even if they don’t have any quality guarantee.

There’s a premium version of Overcast, like Pocket Casts. You can delete ads for a price of $9.99 a year, get an alternate logo and get files that are not provided on iTunes or RSS for upload.

The best of all

Although it is difficult to recommend any other app than the two above, it is a few applications that are worthy of recognition for their new features — and that are more reliable than anything Apple does to Apple Podcasts.


Procast, a relative newcomer, is a great option if your preferred shows are tweeted or shared by you—a built in clip feature allows you to put a few podcast in order to add a text or a tweet. It also includes a clean swipe into the inbox, allowing you to add episodes with a simple swipe to your queue. For iOS, Procast is a strong choice, but Android users can also check it out.


Breaker is a relatively basic onset podcast player, but its built-in timed commentary (like the commentary from Soundcloud) allows users to talk to other fans about podcasts. It is an innovative concept for a podcast app that allows listeners to chat and discuss their favorite shows outside Twitter and Reddit. Breaker on iOS and Android is available.


Finally, iCatcher is our newest selection. Unlike Procast and Breaker, iCatcher does not “new” in the space of the Podcast app; it’s a strong, reliable podcast player with many of PS Casts and Overcast’s features when in a slightly smart package. About every core playback feature that you think can be provided is easy, and you can sync subscriptions and playlists via iCloud via several iPhones or iPads. And we wouldn’t overlook the unique and personalized gesture controls of iCatcher!—including the ability to skip a full two-minute walk through the image of the L form. It is also the product of an individual developer who is easy to contact with bug reports and regularly publishes bug squashing updates that improve performance.