My podcatcher of choice has been Overcast, a simple, iOS-only app. I have tried Apple’s Podcast app a few times, but it just doesn’t work for me.

Maybe these are small things, but in combination, they are frustrating enough to turn me off from Apple Podcasts (AP):

  1. AP uses the word “Station” instead of “Playlist”. Maybe this shouldn’t matter, but Apple Music uses “Stations” for algorithmically-generated lists, and “Playlists” for user-defined lists. When I see “Stations” in Podcasts, I immediately think “I don’t want to listen to what you think I want to listen to, I want to listen to my own dang podcats, thank you very much.”
  2. Just look at this popup. What is the difference between “Add To Library” and “Save Episode”? And why is there a “Remove Download” option? Why did you download it if I haven’t saved it or added it to my Library? Apple Podcasts Menu
  3. So. Much. Clicking. I guess, to see older episodes it’s the same amount of clicks, but AP uses text links in the middle of the screen, while Overcast uses headers at the top.
  4. The “Play at One and a Quarter Speed” option in AP doesn’t sound very good.

There are two key things that really make Overcast shine:

  1. The sound is great. I default to using Smart Speed, Voice Boost and running at 1.33 speed, and all the shows are still very understandable.
  2. Being able to set “Priority Pdocasts” in a playlist is wonderful. I have a single playlist (titled ‘Casts’), that includes everything. I have 20 Priority Podcasts (ten X-Wing, six news, two science and two miscellaneous) that will jump to the top of the queue as soon as they come in.

If you are an avid Podcast listener on an iPhone or iPad, you should give Overcast a try. Originally it was $4.99, but went to freemium / ads a few years ago. You can kill ads for $10/year. I know, it an era of free that seems like a ridiculous amount to pay. But Overcast — the app, the back-end — it is all managed by one person. Paying Marco $10 a year for an app that doesn’t track you and has a clean interface, that’s a bargain to me.