There are dozens of great podcast apps available for both iOS and Android, so we've put them through their paces and rounded up the very best.
The idea of traditional program scheduling has all but gone out of the window, and this is very neatly highlighted by the popularity of podcasts. These downloadable shows are available on demand, and there are now so many from both big-name broadcasters and amateur enthusiasts, it can be difficult to keep up with all of the podcasts you're interested in. But with the right app, managing your subscriptions, keeping up to date with the latest episodes, and discovery new content is made easy.
Whether you have an Android phone or tablet, an iPhone or an iPad, there is an app that will made your podcast experience as simple as possible, while making it a journey of discovery. We take a look at five of the best apps here, some of which also give you option of listening to podcasts via their websites when you are at your desktop or laptop. Let's take a look and see which is best for you.
Acast keeps things pretty simple without compromising on the features you expect and need in a podcast app. You can easily search for podcasts based on topic, host or keyword, or just browse through categories, trending shows and curated lists to find something you like the sound of.
As you would hope, there's everything from news and comedy, to sport and cultural content on offer, and you're free to listen to podcasts online, or download episodes for offline listening when you may not have a connection available. Acast will suggest podcasts you may be interested in based on your subscriptions and listening habits, making it a great way to discover new content – and when you find something you like, you can easily share links to shows on social networks from the app, and even share your favorite clips thanks to an embeddable player. As well as the mobile apps, you can also use the Acast website to listen to podcasts.
Plex is best known as a media server than you can use to stream music and video between your devices, but more recently it has also added podcast support to its repertoire. Surprisingly – and pleasingly – there is no need to be a paid Plex Pass subscriber in order to take advantage of the podcast option, it's something that is available to everyone free of charge.
As well as mobile apps, there are also Mac and Windows apps, as well as an online version of Plex, and the well-designed interface lets you access all of your music and movies in the same way as the podcasts you subscribe to. Plex will offer up suggestions for podcasts you may be interested in, and if you're migrating from another podcast app, you can easily import your existing subscriptions. Plex rarely fails to deliver, and as a podcast app it comes up trumps once again.
3. BBC Sounds
It should come as no surprise that BBC Sounds is a podcast app for content created by the BBC. As well as live radio, there are also hours upon hours of podcasts for you to choose from. You won't find third-party content here (so if your favorite podcast is by another publisher then you're out of luck), but the BBC offers an enormous variety on almost every topic you can think of.
You can also use BBC Sounds to listen to live radio broadcasts and music sessions, and to subscribe to the podcasts for your favorite BBC radio shows. Based on the content you listen to, BBC Sounds will suggest recommendations for more things you might like to hear, including music mixes. Think of the app as iPlayer for radio on steroids – in a good way!
4. Pocket Casts
Another podcast app that's available for iOS, Android and your web browser, Pocket Casts is not free, won't break the bank either. It's just a bit of a shame there is no free, limited version to give you a chance to try it out before buying the app.
There are the usual options of being able to search for specific podcasts and browse through suggestions, and there's also a handy trending section and charts that lets you see what other people are listening to; there are also human-curated recommendations. It is possible to listen to individual episodes of a podcast without subscribing to it, making it easier to test out new content. If you do subscribe, Pocket Casts will automatically download episodes for you, and the app includes neat options such as a sleep timer and customizable skipping back and forth.
One of the best features of Pocket Casts is synchronization. As well as your subscriptions and listening position, queued episodes are also synced between devices. Very handy.
Available free of charge, podcast app Castbox lets you listen on your mobile device or in your desktop web browser, as well as via Amazon Alexa and Google Home. There are heaps of podcasts to choose from – over 95 million – including famous names and more niche content, plus audiobooks that you can download.
Podcasts are available in a variety of languages, and your subscriptions can be synchronized between devices. Finding specific podcasts and discovery new content is a breeze, thanks in part to the in-audio search option. Castbox also offers some lovely extra features such as Zen Mode, a collecting of ambient soundscapes to help you to drift off to sleep.
As an added bonus, Castbox can also be used by podcasters to create, publish and share their own podcasts completely free of charge. Spend a little time with Castbox, and you'll soon understand why it's won so many awards and accolades over the years.
- Check out our ultimate guide to the best Android apps