Whether you like to immerse yourself in grisly 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 cool podcasts? If you are an iOS user, you have a lot to choose from. From the classic Apple Podcasts app to popular free podcast apps, we’ve rounded up the list of the best podcast apps for iOS users.
Do you want to improve your listening game? Check out our guide to the best music apps and the best audiobook apps.
Sometimes the classic is the best. The native Apple Podcasts app is preset and free to use, so you probably don’t need to look at other podcast apps at all. You get access to millions of podcasts, including some of the most popular like the daily and Things you should know. While the free version is more than enough, you can also purchase subscriptions to specific podcasts to enjoy additional benefits. Apple Podcasts hosts several subscriber-only shows, such as podcasts from CNN, NPR, and The Washington Post. Like Subtstack, some creators offer both free and paid content, so you can decide whether to enjoy their episodes before subscribing.
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 all you have to do is ask the assistant to play an episode or playlist of your choice, so you can listen hands-free while exercising or doing chores.
Overcast is a well-known name in the podcast industry. Users love the “Smart Speed” feature that dynamically removes silences so you can only listen to the important stuff and no long pauses between answers. Plus, the filters are smart and customizable, so you can design a custom playlist that best suits your needs.
Overcast offers excellent sound quality so you can hear crystal clear conversations from your favorite artists. Sound quality is maintained even in noisy places, giving you a lot of flexibility over where you listen. The download function gives you even more control, allowing you to download podcasts for offline use, so you can listen on your commute, during your workouts or even on vacation without having to worry about internet access. In addition, 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! Besides saving you a lot of money, it also offers a convenient listening experience because it is beautifully designed, easy to navigate and offers personalized recommendations right on your homepage. If you want to enhance your experience, you can get the Pocket Casts Plus subscription (just over $1 per month), which lets you listen to your favorite podcasts through the desktop app. The subscription also allows you to upload external files so that you can use the Pocket Casts audio player to listen to third-party audiobooks or downloaded podcasts. Subscribers can also choose a unique theme and customize their experience.
To further enhance your listening experience, the app lets you filter through your episodes so you’re always listening to the right podcast to suit your mood. It also syncs with smart speakers so you can enjoy the episodes with your whole family or a group of friends. The best part? Like other options, you can shorten silence so you can skip the awkward pauses and save time.
Stitcher is perfect for organization enthusiasts. It offers some of the best filters and sorting tools so you can design playlists that perfectly suit your current needs. You can experiment with numerous 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 to find new podcasts based on your interests.
To enjoy even more benefits, consider subscribing to Stitcher Premium. For just $5 a month, subscribers enjoy exclusive episodes and bonus content from their favorite creators. Like Apple Podcasts, some shows are only accessible by subscription, so if you want to enjoy the full library, you’ll have to pay. In addition to 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 combine different content types to create an all-day playlist. This is ideal for listeners who like to play something in the background while they go about their day. Like other apps, Castbox also offers personalized recommendations, expanded playlists, and customizable playback settings.
What sets it apart, however, is its compatibility with CarPlay. 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 in podcast audio, so you can find niche podcast episodes even if the specific words aren’t mentioned in the title or description. We also like the social aspect of the app. Listeners can leave comments on the episodes they’re listening to, and hosts can choose to comment to build a relationship.
Castbox also has a premium subscription that offers ad-free listening. Free users are limited to subscriptions up to 100 shows, but subscribers can have unlimited subscriptions. They also enjoy more advanced playback settings for the best possible listening experience.
Spotify offers the Castbox experience with more variety, an app that combines everything from the best music to the most popular audiobooks. It’s easy to create custom playlists and share them with friends, adding a cool social element to an otherwise solitary experience. The recommendation engine is powerful and the search function also returns great results, so you can always find what you’re looking for. The sound quality is quite impressive and you can adjust every setting.
It’s free to use with an optional premium subscription, but you don’t have to pay anything to access the podcasts. For $10 a month, the paid plan offers ad-free listening, the ability to download content for offline listening, and unlimited skip if you don’t like what you’re listening to. However, Spotify has a range of subscription options. You can also get Spotify Duo, a couple’s subscription (two premium accounts) for $13. The family plan offers six premium accounts for $16. This version lets you block explicit music and use Spotify Kids – designed exclusively for younger listeners. Students can enjoy a student subscription for $5. This version also offers a Hulu (ad-supported) subscription and Showtime.
Castro works on a “queue” system that creates a single playlist of all your episodes from different podcasts. It helps you scan, pick and prioritize some episodes while ignoring the rest because there’s only so much time in the day and you can’t possibly listen to every episode a show puts on. The interface is clean, intuitive and minimalistic with little to distract you from your listening. This app also has “Trim Silence” feature so you can skip the gaps in conversations.
To enjoy additional benefits, subscribe to Castro Plus. The paid plan offers higher sound quality with a dynamic audio boost that enhances soft voices while preserving louder voices, so you can enjoy a better listening experience. The premium version also allows you to add external audio files to your queue so you can listen to whatever you want without interruption. The paid plan also offers a variety of advanced settings, such as custom audio filters, skip intros, and adjust playback speed for each podcast.
One of the newest additions to the podcasting world, Google Podcasts offers everything you need from a podcast app. It’s free, lets you create a queue of episodes, and offers great playback control. It also keeps track of your listening history, downloads and subscriptions so you can stay up to date on new episodes. Created by Google, it has a powerful search engine and offers great recommendations so you can discover new artists based on your interests.
What we like 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 goes well with many portable devices. It also offers a lot of convenience when you pair it with Google Assistant speakers. Just instruct the assistant to play an episode and you can listen hands-free. It doesn’t offer paid subscriptions or subscriber-only shows, so you can enjoy all the content for free.