As podcasting grows in 2019, a common comment I hear is, “I don’t even know how to listen to podcasts.” Indeed, it’s not the most intuitive thing. There are lots of different ways to get shows, and each show could ostensibly do different things. It’s not like TV, where you buy a dedicated device and then can channel surf. And with Spotify promising exclusive podcast content, it could get a little more confusing. So…how can you listen to podcasts?
The truth is there are a few ways, and I’m going to break it down primarily by platform. But I will say that as more podcasts get added to Spotify, that’s an increasingly viable option for people – especially if you’re already listening to your music there. My show has been on there since October and is doing pretty well.
But if you’re not a Spotify user, there are a few clear ways to listen to podcasts. I’m going to provide one on each platform, and at the end, present my own favorite apps.
Listening to Podcasts on iOS
If you’re an iOS user (iPhone or iPad), you’re in luck! Your device came with an app called Podcasts (icon on the right).
From the Podcasts app, you can browse for shows, or search for one directly. Then you can subscribe and have episodes automatically downloaded.
Most podcasts will also have an easy way to subscribe right from your phone, either with a smart banner or a button.
Listening on Android
If you’re an Android / Google phone user (Samsung phones, Google Pixel phones) you can get the Google Podcasts app. depending on the version of Android you’re on, it might already be on you phone. Look for the icon to the right. Otherwise, go ahead and click this link: Download Google Podcasts.
Much like Apple’s Podcasts app, you can browse, search, and listen to shows.
A nice touch on Google’s part is if you search for podcasts through Google, they’ll also show you recent episodes, which you can then click through to listen on the app.
Listening on Your Computer
If you prefer to listen at your desk, there are several podcasting apps, depending on your preferences. Apple Podcast users can sync their podcasts with iTunes and listen there, either on Mac or PC.
There’s also Spotify, as we discussed earlier, but I would recommend using the browser. Everyone already has a browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or IE/Edge) and you can find most podcasts online through their websites. I will admit though, this isn’t as clear-cut as listening on your mobile device.
My Favorite Podcast Apps
If you’re happy with any of the options above, great! You can stop there. But if you want to hit the ground running with your podcast listening, there are some other options out there. In particular, there are 2 I really love: Overcast and Pocket Casts.
Both have pretty good feature parity: scrubbing, speed up listening, cut out long silences, searches, and more. They also both have web players, so you can listen and sync on your mobile devices and on the web.
Overcast is my preferred app. I think it looks a little nicer (though the web player is pretty plain) and I love the feature set, especially the themes and fantastic chapter support. It’s also free / ad-supported. You can upgrade to pro for $9.99/year, which disables ads, gives you a custom icon, and lets you load local files. It is iOS-only.
Pocket Casts has some big names behind it (like NPR), though it started off an an independent app. It’s cross-platform, so it works on iOS, and Android, along with a web player that’s a lot more polished than Overcast’s. I think there’s a lot going on in the app so the learning curve is a little higher, but it really lets you fine-tune the app to your liking. It’s $5.99, and the web player is a one time fee of $9.
Go Forth and Listen!
Now that you have this little primer, you can go forth and listen to podcasts. I recommend How I Built It. It’s very good 🙂