The best podcasting apps on iOS in 2020



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With so many podcasts out there, how can anyone manage them all? Luckily, there are a number of great iOS apps out there to help in that department. 

I’ll break down some of the best podcast apps available on iOS. To be honest, the podcasting game is still begging to be reinvented, so while the apps listed are all great in their own right, there’s no single standout platform. However, each recommended app does have its own unique style and set of features. Let’s get started.

For many years, Apple iTunes was the reigning king of the podcast platforms. But despite being the leader in the industry, Apple stopped innovating in the podcast space as it focused more on music, movies, mobile apps, and other digital media.

Apple made some attempt to center podcasts again when it cut podcasting out of iTunes and launched Apple Podcasts in 2012. Did Apple reinvent the wheel when it did this? No, but giving the medium its own dedicated app was certainly an important step. Whether an Apple customer is a podcast aficionado or not, every Apple device comes with the built in Podcasts app.

Apple Podcasts is still the de facto directory most podcasts aim to be listed in. Apple Podcasts’ top show and episode rankings are also the most common way podcasters gauge the popularity of particular programs. Getting on the platform’s “New and Noteworthy” section, a human curated list of upcoming podcasts put together by Apple, is considered a big accomplishment.

Earlier this year, Apple announced that it had hit one million podcasts in its library. That’s not individual episodes. We’re talking entirely about full shows. On top of that, many of the apps on this list aggregate Apple’s podcast directory to power their podcast search features. So, if you’re looking for a show, it’ll certainly be listed in Apple Podcasts. 

Still, at its heart, Apple Podcasts is just a list of podcast feeds (even if it has a ton of them), a fairly simple library to sync the shows you’re subscribed to, and a barebones podcast player. It’s basic, but it gets the job done.

The most popular third-party podcast application is probably Overcast. It’s different from the other apps on this list as its focus is more its audio player than any sort of show discoverability options. And, honestly, that’s where it excels.

The app is devoid of content when you first download it. It really requires that you know what shows you want to listen to. Once you fill up your library, though, you probably have the best iOS podcast player. 

Overcast has a number of listening features you won’t find anywhere else like “Smart Speed.” Basically, this feature speeds up the podcast whenever there are silences or long pauses in order to maximize your podcast listening time without altering the actual content. Overcast also has a “Voice Boost” feature which gives your podcast volume a boost if you’re listening in a particularly noisy atmosphere.

Overcast is available for free download or with a $10 a year subscription to remove ads.

If there was ever a platform to threaten Apple’s perch on the podcast throne, it’s Spotify. Interestingly enough, as Apple looks to separate podcasts from its music offerings, Spotify is looking to take over the podcasting world by bringing podcasts to its popular music streaming app. Not too long after Apple, Spotify also announced it had reached a million podcasts on its platform — an impressive feat when you consider iTunes’ head start.

However, Spotify is looking to go much further. It’s immersing itself in the growing podcast industry. Last year, the company acquired the podcast creation platform, Anchor, and Gimlet Media, the production company behind popular podcasts like Reply All and Crimetown. The company is also signing deals to bring exclusive podcasts to the platform. For example, the most popular podcast in the U.S., The Joe Rogan Experience, is now only available on Spotify. 

Spotify is really trying to provide a premium experience to go along with its premium music subscription service, which costs $9.99 a month. 

Unlike most other podcasting platforms, a podcast listener can’t simply add the feed of their favorite podcast to the app. The podcast owner must apply directly to Spotify to be added to the platform. Of course, this could be a positive to some users looking for more than just what’s featured on every other podcasting app.

Mashable