Yeah that Apple Podcasts thing was a weird detour. It’s Overcast time.

I got disenchanted with Pocket Casts last month after the incessant crashing in Car Play. And I figured, gosh, Apple Podcasts is still a super dominant app for listening to podcasts, maybe I should just switch to that. I’ve always been attracted to that idea of “running a stock machine” that is to say not being hyper customized with everything and just using technology as close to how it comes out of the box. Apple Podcasts is in that category, as a stock app on iOS.

But now I’m disenchanted again with Apple Podcasts. 😬. Obviously it works great for people based on how popular it is and it’s 4.5 star rating in the App Store, but I couldn’t do it.

Short story:

  • Too much discovery. 3 of the 4 main navigation items were for finding new podcasts, which is something I don’t care to do that often. The library tab doesn’t just show you a list of shows you “follow” (don’t love that verbiage), instead that’s another tap away under “Shows”. Library is the most useful tab and most of what you see there is not useful. “Saved” is not useful to me, fix the queueing. “Downloaded” is not useful to me (everything should be downloaded across the board with options on how to save what). “Latest Episodes” is good but that’s just a sorting option for Shows. Then it redundantly shows latest episodes below that anyway. So strange.
  • There is kind of a listening queue, but it doesn’t work well for me. It doesn’t exist at all if you aren’t playing a show. Once it exists, you can add to it only via Play Next and Play Last commands under a kebab menu. Getting there feels a little buried under Listen Now then a See All link tucked under the user avatar if you’re scrolled all the way up on that page. You can’t re-arrange the shows there, and you can’t swipe shows away.
  • I caught it AirPlaying to a weird location and couldn’t figure out how to turn that off in a moment of panic and it highly annoyed me.
  • I can subscribe to paid bonus stuff, but those paid-for shows can’t travel with me to other apps.

There is other little stuff, but enough was enough and I couldn’t take it anymore.

The obvious next choice is Overcast, and now I’m two weeks into that and really quite liking it. The customizable homepage is clever (and has smart defaults). It doesn’t crash. I really like the “In Progress” collection. I like the ability to essentially set “download all shows, keep at most 5 unplayed, delete them as I finish them, and let me swipe them away anywhere easily.” It’s taking some getting used to but it’s seeming like a winner.

Ya know what weirds me out though… on all three now (Pocket Casts, Apple Podcasts, and Overcast) whenever I drive into my parking garage at work, it stops playing the podcast. That would make sense if it was streaming the show (loses internet), but I always set my shows to download, not stream. All three apps, downloaded shows, always hiccups and stops playing the show when I drive into the garage. WHY GOD. It’s a downloaded audio file β€” just play it!



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5 responses to “Yeah that Apple Podcasts thing was a weird detour. It’s Overcast time.”

  1. Max Fenton says:

    Totally agree. I use the Podcast app for music-only β€œpodcasts” and Overcast for podcast podcasts.

  2. Literally two days ago I shared my frustration about Apple Podcast Syncing on my blog. I try it every ear for last five years, and I keep on coming back to Overcast.

  3. Todd D says:

    Up until a couple months ago, Apple Podcast had the speed adjust settings on the main playback screen. Not once did I ever adjust the playback speed intentionally, but every day or two I would need to restore things back to normal speed because it got bumped in my pocket or something.

    If you looked at my activity log, it would seem like I used the playback speed feature not infrequently, but it was 100% accidental. There is some UX/UI lesson in here.

    • Todd D says:

      Actually might have been speed adjust on the playback lock screen. I think that is where it used to be and was constantly getting bumped.

  4. Flimm says:

    I wouldn’t trust the 4.5 star rating that Apple App Store displays for Apple Podcasts. Apple misleads users into thinking they are rating a podcast, rather than rating the Apple Podcasts app, and that is why the rating for the app is so high. Have a look at this article:

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