Podcasts are huge right now, with millions of listeners tuning in day in, day out, and are the perfect way to improve your daily commute.
But what are the best options to download and listen to podcasts? Discover the very best podcasts apps currently available on either iOS or Android below, and get ready to hit download.
A brand-new app by Google, Google Podcasts was released on June 19th, 2018. And while it hasn’t been out there for long, we can happily say it deserves a spot on our list of top podcast apps.
For now, only Android users can download the app. With a clean, easy-to-use interface, you can find new podcasts directly from the Google Search app or discover tailored recommendations under the For You section. Here, you can discover new episodes from your current subscriptions (all of which are free), find podcasts that are in progress so you can pick up where you left off or browse recent downloads.
You can also easily view top and trending podcasts by scrolling down. With over 2 million available on launch day, there's certainly a lot to choose from. Of course, Google has made sure its new podcast app is fully integrated with Google Assistant. Search via the assistant on your phone or with the smart speaker Google Home for hands-free listening.
Recommended for Android users who are looking for a minimalistic app with tons of free podcasts.
Many serious Podcast fans often turn to Overcast. Available only on iOS through the App Store, it was first released in 2014. Receiving plenty of updates over the years to add even more features, it's a popular choice for good reason.
While remaining simple in its design, Overcast offers benefits like Smart Speed and Voice Boost that other apps lack. Smart Speed helps to remove any silent moments in your podcast by intelligently skipping through them, while ensuring the rest of the episode remains at a steady, enjoyable pace.
In a similar fashion, Voice Boost is a clever feature that automatically adjusts volume levels for clear listening. Podcasts that are produced by amateurs (which are common and often popular) may have varying sound levels - e.g. when someone speaks, you may suddenly need to crank up the volume to hear them clearly. Voice Boost detects this issue and adjusts automatically, so you don't need to change the volume manually throughout.
A major perk of Overcast is the ability to create your own playlists. You'll also receive recommendations from people you follow on Twitter, and have the option to listen even when you're offline.
Recommended for: Podcast lovers who are looking to create playlists, discover new podcasts and want a bunch of extra features.
Pocket Casts is available on Android and iOS, and is the only app in our list that isn't free. For those using Apple's App Store, you'll need to pay a one-time fee of £3.99. And for Android users downloading via Google Play, it'll cost £2.99 to download.
What can you do with Pocket Casts that you can't with most podcast apps? Alongside being able to use the app with a huge range of devices and platforms (including Chromecast, CarPlay, Airplay and with the Sonos app), you can also adjust the speed of playback between 0.5 and 3, boost the volume of voices on the podcast to help you hear more clearly, cut out silences automatically in episodes so you can get to the important stuff even quicker and skip episode introductions with ease.
Pocket Casts will automatically download episodes for you to listen to offline if you enable the setting, and smartly organise your storage so the app doesn't overuse your precious smartphone space. This, alongside new episode notifications and a huge library makes it a great choice for any listener!
Recommended for: Heavy podcast users who like to listen across multiple devices (especially those who have CarPlay).
Of course, if you have an iPhone you'll already have a brilliant podcast app pre-installed on your phone. Perfect for those who are just discovering the world of podcasts, Apple Podcasts is a straightforward app with all those must-have features.
Thanks to its straightforward design, you'll be able to find a podcast that interests you easily. View what's popular by hitting Browse > Top Charts or narrow down your search via Categories.
Once you've found your favourite, you can choose to subscribe to the podcast so you'll always be informed when a new episode has been released. Alternatively, you can create your own playlist in iTunes, as long as the podcast is over 40 minutes long.
Ready to listen? Press play, or hit download to ensure you can enjoy your favourite podcasts even when you're not connected to Wi-Fi. Need to speed things up or slow them down? Adjust the playback rate to your liking - you'll find the speed indicator on the bottom left. New podcast listeners may also enjoy the Spoken Word feature, which is an EQ setting designed to reduce bass frequencies. Thanks to this, you're less likely to jump at any unexpecting popping noises from pesky microphones.
Recommended for: iPhone users who are just getting into podcasts.
If you prefer you audio a little more literary, why not also check out out Top 5 Audiobook Services.
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