Whether you enjoy immersing yourself in gritty crime dramas or prefer to use your time at work to listen to self-help tips, podcasts have something for everyone. But where do you find these cool podcasts? If you are an iOS user, you have a lot of choices. From the classic Apple Podcasts app to popular free podcast apps, we have compiled the list of the best podcast apps for iOS users.
Would you like to improve your radio play? 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 comes pre-installed and is free to use, so you probably won’t need to look at any other podcast apps at all. You get access to millions of podcasts including some of the most popular ones like The daily and things you should know. While the free version is more than enough, you can also buy subscriptions to specific podcasts to enjoy additional benefits. Apple Podcasts hosts several subscriber-only shows, including podcasts from CNN, NPR, and The Washington Post. Like Substack, some creators offer both free and paid content, so you can decide if you 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 you simply ask Assistant to play any episode or playlist of your choice for hands-free listening while you work out or do chores around the house.
Overcast is a household name in the podcast industry. Users love the “Smart Speed” feature, which dynamically removes silence so you only hear the important things and don’t have long pauses between responses. Also, the filters are smart and customizable, so you can create 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 plenty of flexibility where you listen. The download feature gives you even more control, allowing you to download podcasts for offline use, so you can listen to them on your commute, workout, or even on vacation without worrying about internet access. Additionally, 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! Not only does it save you tons of money, but it also offers a convenient listening experience as it’s beautifully designed, easy to navigate, and offers personalized recommendations right on your home page. If you want to enhance your experience, you can purchase the Pocket Casts Plus subscription (just a little over $1 a month) which allows you to listen to your favorite podcasts on the desktop app. The subscription also allows you to upload external files, so you can use 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 your episodes so you’re always listening to the right podcast that suits 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? As with other options, you can trim silence to skip awkward pauses and save time.
Stitcher is perfect for organization lovers. It offers some of the best filtering and sorting tools, so you can design playlists that perfectly suit what you need at the moment. You can experiment with countless settings to further personalize your experience and give 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.
If you want to enjoy even more benefits, consider subscribing to Stitcher Premium. For just $5 a month, subscribers can enjoy exclusive episodes and bonus content from their favorite creators. As with Apple Podcasts, some shows are only accessible through a subscription. So if you want to enjoy the full library, you have to pay. Along with exclusive content, subscribers also get ad-free listening and fun freebies.
Castbox offers a bit of everything. You get access to popular podcasts, audio books, 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 have something play in the background while they go about their day. Like other apps, Castbox offers personalized recommendations, comprehensive playlists, and customizable playback settings.
However, what sets it apart is its compatibility with CarPlay. This way you can take your favorite podcasts with you wherever you go. Another fantastic feature is the app’s ability to search for keywords within podcast audio, allowing you to find niche podcast episodes even if those words aren’t mentioned in the title or description. We also love the social aspect of the app. Listeners can leave comments about the episodes they’re listening to, and hosts can respond to build a relationship.
Castbox also has a premium subscription that offers ad-free listening. Free users are limited to subscriptions of up to 100 shows, but subscribers can have unlimited subscriptions. You’ll also enjoy advanced playback settings for the best possible listening experience.
Spotify, an app that combines everything from the best music to the most popular audiobooks, offers the Castbox experience with more variety. 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 are looking for. The sound quality is pretty impressive and you can customize 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 subscription offers ad-free listening, the ability to download content for offline listening, and unlimited skips if you don’t like what you’re hearing. However, Spotify has a number of subscription options. You can also get Spotify Duo, a couple subscription (two premium accounts) for $13. The family subscription offers six premium accounts for $16. With this version you can block explicit music and use Spotify Kids – exclusively for younger listeners. Students can enjoy a student-only subscription for $5. This version also features the (ad-supported) Hulu plan and Showtime.
Castro works on a “queuing” system that creates a single playlist of all your episodes from different podcasts. It helps you scan, select, and prioritize a few episodes while ignoring the rest, since there’s only a limited time in the day and there’s no way you’d be able to hear every episode a show releases. The user interface is clean, intuitive and minimalistic, so there are hardly any distractions from listening. This app also has the “Trim Silence” feature that allows you to skip the gaps in conversations.
To enjoy additional benefits, you can subscribe to Castro Plus. The paid subscription offers higher audio quality with Dynamic Audio Boost, which boosts soft voices while preserving louder voices so you can enjoy a better listening experience. The premium version also lets you add external audio files to your queue so you can listen to whatever you want without interruptions. The paid subscription also offers a variety of advanced settings like custom audio filters, skipping intros, and adjusting the playback speed for each podcast.
One of the newest additions to the podcasting world, Google Podcasts offers everything you could want in a podcast app. It’s free, lets you create a queue of episodes, and has great playback controls. It also tracks your listening history, downloads, and subscriptions so you can keep up to date with 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 love 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 pairs well with many portable devices. It also offers great convenience when you pair it with Google Assistant speakers. Just command the assistant to play an episode and you can listen hands-free. This one does not offer paid subscriptions or subscriber-only shows, so you can enjoy all the content for free.