If it was still 2007, I’d say, “Podcasts are the next big thing.”
But, well, I kind of missed the prediction boat, so I’m going to hop on the podcasts-are-amazing bandwagon instead.
One of my favorite things about our current world is that we have unlimited choices.
I choose not to listen to terrestrial radio1. I have no control over the song selection or content. The ads are rarely relevant. There are far more interesting things by lesser-known people who have more to say.
Instead, I mostly listen to podcasts.
I’ve mentioned a few of my favorite podcasts before, and we’ve even started a podcast, but I haven’t shared my favorite way to listen to them.
I nearly exclusively listen to podcasts on my iPhone. Some people listen on their laptop, but I’m often walking around, washing dishes, or commuting when I’m listening, making a phone the perfect solution. It’s loud enough that I don’t need headphones, convenient enough to pop in my pocket if I’m on the move, and portable and able to connect to a car stereo for my commutes.
So what’s the best way to listen to podcasts on your iPhone? My choice is Pocket Casts.
This app is beautiful–completely stunning in every way. The design is what first wooed me away from Downcast.
Pocket Casts incorporates the colors of the podcast artwork into the buttons and player for each show, which is a tiny but awesome design touch.
When you’re perusing your other podcasts but already have a ’cast playing, there’s a nice little bar at the bottom that enables you to return to your currently playing podcast, which is handy and convenient.
You can also create playlists or just click play next when you want to line up multiple podcasts in a row.
The app has syncing if you’re using it across multiple iOS devices, and the iPad version is just as slick.
This is the podcast app Apple should have created.
You can skip the intro music on podcasts and configure them in two-second increments. I don’t care about the show title or intro music, which is how most podcasts start, and most podcasts have the same amount of time in the beginning of a show. That means I can get right to the meat of things instead of hearing the fluff.
You can configure the skip forward and skip backward buttons to whatever time you want–I personally like 30 seconds for going forward and 15 seconds for going backward. That allows me to skip any topics or parts of the show I don’t care about, but also to flip back a bit in case I missed something.
You can rearrange podcasts to show up in any way you’d like–or have it set to arrange based on podcasts with the newest episode.
You can choose which podcasts download automatically, when episodes should be deleted, and you can make the settings apply to all of your podcasts or tweak them individually.
There’s even more than that, but I can’t imagine you’ll find that Pocket Casts left out a feature you were hoping for.
Find New Podcasts
From the main screen, there’s a “+” in the upper right corner that with a simple tap enables you to find and add new podcasts. You can search, view top charts, browse categories and podcast networks.
It’s easy to add new podcasts and search the iTunes directory. You can copy and paste a podcast feed link and it automagically asks if you want to add to add that to your podcast list.
I’ve found a number of new podcasts by cruising through the beautiful podcast discovery interface in Pocket Casts, and it’s much easier to find new shows here than it is in the traditional Podcasts app.
Check Out Show Notes
Most (good) podcasts also include links, pictures and more information in show notes. If a podcaster is doing things correctly, those show notes are accessible through Pocket Casts.
All you need to do is click on the title (not the play button) of a podcast episode you have in your directory and you can see the show notes for that episode. That’s much easier than going to the website to view them.
Overall, Pocket Casts makes listening to podcasts on your iOS device an absolute dream. I’m ruined from using any apps on my Mac because the listening experience is so darn convenient.
Pony up the $4 and snag Pocket Casts, which is a universal app for all of your iOS devices.
If you ever decide to make a switch from Pocket Casts, the app gives you the ability to export all of your podcast subscriptions and bring them over to another player. Convenience is at this apps core.
If you’re looking for a podcast to test out Pocket Casts with, I heartily recommend The Unpacked Podcast.
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