My Podcast Player Journey

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For several years I have been using the Apple iOS® app Downcast to listen to podcasts on my iPhone. That all changed towards the end of 2016. I was experiencing a number of crashes when using Downcast, and there had been no updates from the developer for some time. It got to the point where Downcast would crash even when I tried to play just one podcast episode. So at the end of 2016 I decided to look at other podcast player options.

I had heard several people in Applevis about Overcast, so I decided to give Overcast a try. I was very disappointed with Overcast. I could not find any setting to turn continuous playback off. I also could not find a manual feed refresh option. I also found a great big ad covering over half the screen, and I had to pay $4.99 per month to get rid of the app! I did not want to pay that, so I ditched Overcast pretty quickly.

I then heard Allison Sheridan on the NosillaCast rave about an app called PocketCast. I decided to give that app a try. It cost $5.49 in the Australian iOS App Store. I was initally happy with PocketCast… but then PocketCast’s developers pushed through an update… and PocketCast didn’t seem to work as well with Apple®’s screen reader, Voice Over. This left me a little frustrated by this point. I had to look for another option.

I had also tried Apple®’s own Podcasts app, but again, was pretty disappointed. I could not find a manual feed refresh option, and, once again, could not turn continuous playback off. I have been thinking of removing the Apple® Podcasts app, now that stock apps can be removed in iOS 10.

I do remember using InstaCast several years ago, but at the time I felt lost and cofused with the app’s navigation system. However, I gave InstaCast another try, considering it was free to download.

At this stage, I am quite happy with InstaCast. Automatic feed refreshing can be turned off, and I can listen to a single episode by tapping the play button next to the episode’s title. There is a refresh button in each podcast’s feed, but I can’t find an option to refresh all podcasts at once. The navigation system works pretty well with Voice Over, and it’s preety easy to search for new podcasts.

I really like Downcast for several reasons. It has always been in my opinion the best podcast player to work with Voice Over. Turning continuous playback off is a simple toggle switch in the settings, and manual feed refreshing is extremely simple. I double tap the title bar at the top of the podcast list to start manual feed refreshing. Really easy!

So, I’m sticking with InstaCast for now, until Downcast gets updated. I have seen a tweet saying that a new version of Downcast is coming. Until then, I’ll happily use InstaCast to listen to my podcasts.

Here is my rating for all these podcast player apps:

  • Downcast – five out of five stars
  • InstaCast – five out of five stars
  • PocketCast – four out of five stars
  • Apple® Podcasts – three out of five stars
  • Overcast – two out of five stars

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