The 9 Best Podcast Apps for iPhone Users

A roundup of the best ways to listen to your favorite podcast

Young Woman Using Smart Phone at Bus Station

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Podcasts are a great source of information that can entertain us, make us smarter and feed our curiosity. Whether you're listening during your morning commute, during a long run, or to coach you as you cook in the kitchen, podcasts cover topics that can peak anyone's sense of wonder and interest. With a growing list of diverse podcast subscriptions available, it's easy to get hooked, and Podcasts can quickly take over your iPhone's storage.

If you're growing tired of managing and syncing your favorite podcasts by downloading them one-by-one on your iPhone, you might be ready to try a podcasting app. Some of the best Apple podcast apps for iOS do more than just play your podcasts but can help you organize and sort your playlists. Some help you manage your subscriptions and make the playback experience more efficient so that you won't miss a word of what is being said. Choosing the best podcast app will depend upon your listening style and goals. To help you decide which podcast app to choose, here's an overview of some of the best features available from the iPhone podcast apps.  

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Castro Podcast app with Education tab open
What We Like
  • The archive feature keeps track of the date you listened, and how much of the podcast you heard.

What We Don't Like
  • iPhone only. If you sometimes listen on an iPad, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Castro by Supertop puts all of your podcasts into an inbox so you can triage what you want to hear now or later (or maybe not at all).

In addition to trim silence, Castro also includes chapter support and a way to customize settings for each individual podcast.

Price: Free, Premium is $2.99 per quarter or $8.99 per year

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Overcast Podcast Player for iPhone
What We Like
  • Smart filters make it easy to organize your favorite episodes and customize playlists by categories and around your listening needs. For example, creating a list to listen to while driving, and another one while you're on the treadmill at the gym.

What We Don't Like
  • The search feature within the app is difficult to use. To find a specific podcast, you may have to copy the URL and paste it into Overcast to find what you're looking for.

Overcast from Overcast Radio, LLC is designed for the curious listener who wants to discover more podcasts. In addition to helping you manage playlist for the podcasts you already love, Overcast will help you discover new ones. Overcast also includes Smart Speed to cut through silent spots, and Voice Boost gives a consistent sound quality so that you can hear quieter voices.

Price: Free, Premium is a $9.99 per year subscription. 

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Pocket Casts

Pocket Cast for iPhone Podcast player
What We Like
  • Clean, simple, intuitive interface, with a desktop version that lets you listen on your iPhone, iPad, desktop or laptop.

What We Don't Like
  • To listen to an episode, you must subscribe to a podcast.

With its unique tiled design, Pocket Casts is designed for the podcast listener who wants to maximize their time. Designed by ShiftyJelly PTY LTD, Pocket Casts includes a trim silence feature that cuts out silent breaks in the episode so that you can get through your playlist faster. Variable speeds let you adjust the playback speed from .5 to 3x. Volume boost eliminates the background noise while enhancing the sound of voices.

Price: $5.99

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iPhone podcast player app Downcast
What We Like
  • Downcast has an iPad and Mac version so that you can sync all of your playlists and settings across the iCloud.

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to read screens because of the small text.

Downcast by Jamawkinaw Enterprises LLC is a no-frills old-school podcast player that provides powerful organization and customizing tools. In addition to supporting both audio and video podcasts, Downcast lets you decide which episodes to stream, and which to download, and includes play-back customization features such as starting the episode mid-stream to avoid ads.

Price: $2.99

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iPhone podcast app player, Stitcher
What We Like
  • Creates a totally unique podcast experience with continuous updates with a newsroom feel.  

What We Don't Like
  • Finding favorite podcasts in the archive is difficult, and requires hitting the back button to find specific podcasts.

As the name suggests, Stitcher gives you the ability to stitch your favorite podcasts together to create a custom playlist. With a personalized front page that notifies you of new podcasts as soon as they are available. Stitcher uses your listening history to suggest other shows you may find interesting.

Price: Free, ad-free version is $4.99 a month, or $34.99 per year

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Playing screen of iCatcher podcast player for iPhone
What We Like
  • Includes VoiceOver support, and controls to let you jump ahead or back. 

What We Don't Like
  • The sort feature only sorts from oldest to newest, leading to a lengthy scroll to find what you're looking for.

iCatcher by Joeisaner has plenty of features to allow you to build custom playlists, that suits both casual and power listeners. With automatic refreshes, you'll always have the latest episode available. Also has the ability to support video and files, and syncs subscriptions and playback positions between devices through iCloud.

Price: $2.99

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Castbox iPhone podcast player discover screen
What We Like
  • Is Car-Play and Amazon Echo compatible.

What We Don't Like
  • There is no way to mark episodes as played or to set the play order. 

With a clean, intuitive interface, Castbox, by Guru Network Limited, offers an efficient way to organize your podcasts. An in-audio search function uses keywords and phrases within audio files to help you discover more podcasts based on your likes.

Price: Free, Castbox Premium is $0.99 per month

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Pod Wrangler

iPhone podcast player app Pod Wrangler
What We Like
  • Without extra bells and whistles, there is minimal tweaking required so that you can get started listening right away. 

What We Don't Like
  • No smart playlist or smart folders to sort your podcasts. 

Pod Wrangler by Developing Perspective, LLC can simplify your podcast listening experience. Once you have loaded your list of favorites, Pod Wrangler will automatically sync the downloads to ensure your shows are ready whenever you are. Once you're finished listening, Pod Wrangler moves the episode off of your phone.

Price: Free, Premium is $1.99

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iPhone podcast player app Breaker, showing social comments
What We Like
  • Finding interesting topics and episodes from friends. 

What We Don't Like
  • Getting followed by people you barely know, who also offer recommendations. 

If you're driven by social media, you'll definitely want to try the Breaker podcast player app, which lets you follow your friends and see what they're listening to. Created by Breaker Inc., Breaker lets you add comments to episodes, share your listening history, and offers the ability to send messages and make suggestions to your Breaker social network.

Price: Free