The Best Podcast Apps for iPhone

The podcast industry is witnessing a surge in usage for the last couple of years. Both Apple and Google have started offering a separate podcast app on iPhone and Android. Some of the news sites and even popular YouTubers such as MKBHD are exploring podcast industry to widen their reach. A good podcast listening app is also as equally important as a good podcast. In this post, we are going to list out the best podcast apps for iPhone in 2020.

A good podcast app will help you enjoy the podcasting experience on your iPhone. And while Apple’s own Podcast app is pretty good, it’s the third-party alternatives that deliver feature-rich, smooth, and clutter-free listening experience. So let’s get started.

The Best Podcast Apps for iPhone in 2020

1. Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts, a well-known name among podcast enthusiasts, offers a solid app experience on iOS. The app uses a standard iOS bottom-bar navigation UI to jump through menus and sections. The overall UI looks cleaner and straight-forward for a beginner.

Users can tap on the discover menu to find featured and trending podcasts. You can also find new podcasts by category and change the country content region for personalized suggestions.

Let’s talk about the now playing UI and experience. I like how the player UI adopts the background color from the podcast channel icon. You can jump through notes from the above section and forward (45 seconds) / backward (10 seconds) using a single tap.

One can change the playback speed, trim silence, and even use volume booster for louder output. A sleep timer is also there to auto-stop the podcast after a certain time.

Other features include native dark theme, Siri Shortcuts support, and my favorite – the stats section which shows interesting numbers based on one’s listening behavior.

Price and Cross-platform Availability

Pocket Casts is available on both iOS and Android. It recently started following the subscription model and costs $10/year.


2. Castro

Castro features a modern-looking UI with smooth animations throughout the menus. The discover menu is a long list of podcast suggestions based on categories. Sadly, the ability to change the country is buried into the settings menu. It should have been there in the discover menu itself.

I love how the inbox menu combines the list of upcoming podcasts with a little intro below it. The player UI is one of the best I have ever seen. It’s quick, intuitive, and feature-rich to use.

Simply swipe right to set a sleep timer, change playback speed, cut pauses, and enhance the voice. The customization options include the ability to change the app icon and theme. It also supports Siri Shortcuts, Apple Watch sync, iOS widget, and long-tap menu with several functions.


Price and Cross-platform Availability

Castro is Apple-exclusive. The basic functions are free, but the goodies do come with a $12/year price tag.


3. Overcast

Overcast has been around for years on the iOS platform. My biggest gripe with Overcast is its UI. It looks and feels outdated and all the major options are at the top, which is not convenient on tall smartphones.

Tap on the ‘+’ button to go into the discover menu. It’s a combination of suggestions and most recommended podcasts with other categories including Comedy, Technology, Business, Science, and more.

I appreciate how Overcasts lets you skip the intro and outro from the podcast channel settings. It can be useful to skip the unnecessary minute or two. The player UI consists of all the functions you can ask for. Swipe right to view notes and jump through the timeline. Swipe left to enable smart speed, voice boost, and change speed. The feature list includes Siri Shortcuts support, Apple Watch sync, dark theme, the ability to change font type, iCloud backup, iOS widgets, and more.

Price and Cross-platform Availability

Overcast is only available on the iOS App Store. The free version comes bearing ads and you can remove them and unlock other premium functions by paying $7/year. Bargain if you ask me.


4. Castbox

Castbox is geared towards podcast creators and listeners with social integration. The discover menu comes with categories, staff picks, regional suggestions, and more. You won’t have a hard time finding your favorite podcast.

The listening experience is the best among the rivals. It offers usual goodies such as volume booster, trim pauses, playback speed settings, and a sleep timer. What’s more, it also comes with social integration.

For any podcast, you can view comments by community members, engage in discussion, and leave your thoughts about the episode.

Castbox offers something called Zen mode. It’s a little meditation add-on inside the app. It helps you sleep and focus better with the combination of nature sounds and ambient background.

Other features include iOS dark theme support, Siri Shortcuts, Waze integration, personalized homepage, and more.

Price and Cross-platform Availability

Castbox is available on both iOS and Android. The app offers two types of subscriptions. The one with all the premium functions excluding Zen mode costs $20/year. The Zen mode takes the total price to $80/year.


5. Spotify

In a bid to speed up their podcast game, Spotify bought three podcast companies. Now, the Swedish company is offering podcast functionality right inside the music app.

Unlike other apps, the home screen is dominated by music recommendations. For podcasts, go to search and scroll down to the podcast section and look for categories.

There is a dedicated podcast section in your library menu. You can view downloads and manage shows from there. Overall, I think Spotify did a good job with podcast integration inside the app.

However, the listening experience isn’t as powerful as others. There is no way trim silences, customize playback speed or boost volume. You can only use the sleep timer function. Spotify has some catching up to do in terms of features. But it’s a nice start and the Spotify users will surely appreciate the podcast add-on on top music streaming.

Price and Cross-platform Availability

Needless to say, Spotify is available on iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. The podcast functionality is completely free to use. Meaning, the users on the basic plan can enjoy the podcast functions without a premium subscription.


Level Up Your Podcast Game

As you can see from the list above, all five iPhone apps can improve your podcast experience. Pocket Casts is feature-rich, Castro looks beautiful, Overcast is affordable compared to rivals, Castbox has an excellent social integration, and Spotify’s podcast add-on is a treat for music lovers.

We would love to know your favorite podcast apps for iPhone. If it is one of the podcast apps we’ve picked, then, we would love to know why it is your favorite. It is good to understand what readers look for in their favorite iPhone app. If your favorite Podcast app did not make our list, then please share it in the comments below, along with your reasons so we can review it.