Overcast: A Great Alternative to the Podcasts iOS App [Review]

If you love listening to podcasts on your iPhone, but have grown tired and frustrated (like myself) over Apple’s Podcasts iOS app, then Overcast may be the podcast player you’re looking for. It’s free to download and works great.

photo 1

photo 4

Like Apple’s Podcasts, Overcast has a simple interface

You can start subscribing to podcasts or adding individual episodes by tapping the + icon on the top right of the main page. Here you’ll find a small assortment of podcasts, organized by categories such as Tech and Apple Development. If you don’t see the podcast you’re looking for you can add it by copying and pasting the feed’s URL.

What makes Overcast standout though are its premium features that you can unlock with a $4.99 in-app purchase. Some of these features are Smart Speed, which speeds up playback to shorten silences, Voice Boost, which increases the volume and levels out voices, and a one-by-one playback option if you don’t want to continuously listen to all the unplayed episodes in a podcast. Also, you can try out Smart Speed and Voice Boost for 5 minutes at a time before you pay.

I like Overcast, but I’m not sure if I’ll start using it as my main podcast player. The main reason being, I like to manage my podcasts on my computer and using Overcast would mean managing podcasts solely within the app.

That said, it does tempt me. I was initially put off by the small selection of podcasts, but adding one by copying and pasting the URL worked perfectly. Also, the Voice Boost feature works really well and I listen to several podcasts where everyone’s voice is at a different volume. However, some of the other premium features like making playlists and a sleep timer are already in Podcasts, so I’ll have to decide if paying $4.99 is worth getting most of the functionality I already have available.

photo 2

photo 3

Above is the Add Podcast page and the list of premium features

Overcast looks and works great, but you’ll need to spend $4.99 to unlock the features that make it standout. You can download Overcast for free from the App Store or tell us about the podcast player you use.

iTunes

Enthusiast of Gaming, Apple and Canadian Music. Follow me on Twitter @_DanCurrie

  • It would have been nice to see the review mention the server-side feed refreshing with push notifications (similar to PocketCasts) or how it utilizies iOS7’s background updating to download new episodes of podcasts silently. Also, for at-computer use you can use the Overcast website to listen to your podcasts, which will sync your playing postition between devices.

    All that being said, I switched from Apple’s Podcasts app to Overcast and haven’t looked back. I was getting tired of always having to remember to update or sync before I left the house, tired of downloads hanging on “Processing”, tired of iCloud never reliably syncing my playback position.

    Overcast has all my episodes downloaded without me having to do anything, has a few features that allow me to enjoy podcasts more, and is developed by someone who I trust very much as a developer.

    It’s not the most feature-rich podcast app – although I do like that you can “float” podcasts to the top of a custom playlist, so if you always want to listen to the latest episode of a certain podcast first, it will automatically bring it to the top of your playlist.

    I also find that it performs much better than Apple’s app and loads quickly. The controls are nicer and I very much enjoy the simple swipe up on the playing screen to access the show notes.

    I’ve tried Podcasts, PodWrangler and Overcast, and for now I’m definitely sticking with Overcast. Also, in just a week and a half, Overcast’s Smart Speed feature has saved me 74 minutes without me even noticing. Fantastic.

  • I’m impressed with Overcast and the innovative features that it brings to this space. I gave it a thorough review and even paid the $4.99 to unlock the premium features to further my research and support their development. Though, my podcast app of choice remains Pocket Cast…for now at least. I find the UI is both functional and elegant and I like that Pocket Cast supports both audio and video podcasts on both iPhone and iPad.

    On a side note, I recently came across this video that does a great job of comparing the rich selection of podcast apps that are available on iOS: https://vimeo.com/101637178