Podcasts are amazing, and millions around the world listen to podcasts every single day. Podcasts provide free and valuable content that you can take with you anywhere thanks to podcast apps!
The accessibility, (you can listen to a podcast on-the-go on almost any device), makes it an attractive way to consume content. Whether it’s searching for a popular podcast or tuning in to new episodes from your long-time favorite podcast host, a podcasting app can help.
But if you’re a podcast listener, then you know it can be tough to find the best podcast app.
While one podcast app provides a very easy-to-use search function, it might not be so great with recommending other shows. Or perhaps a podcast app gives you great recommendations, but the free version has ads everywhere.
That’s why I created this post: to share the best podcast apps for iOS and Android so you can decide which of these podcast apps works best for you!
The Best Podcast Apps – You’ve Got Options
While very few podcast apps are only available on one platform (meaning, most apps you can download regardless of whether you are on iOS or Android), there are a couple of exceptions.
Let’s start with one of the apps you’re sure to have heard about before: Apple Podcasts.
The most well-known podcast app for iOS is Apple Podcasts (iTunes).
Apple Podcasts is a native app on your iOS devices, so no need to go searching for it – it’s already there! This means it’s also free.
But why is is so popular?
It used to be a part of iTunes, one of the top listening platforms in the world, and it was one of the first platforms to put a spotlight on podcasts.
Apple Podcasts Pros
Apple Podcasts has a lot of great features, including:
- Playback speed controls
- Easy search functions
- An “up next” list option
- It’s easy to subscribe to your favorite podcasts
- Notification options for new episodes
Apple Podcasts Cons
But of course, it’s not perfect. Some areas the app is lacking in include:
- “Episode not available” errors – regularly
- Difficult to find where to leave a rating & review
- You can’t actually see your “up next” list
- Recommended listening could be improved
While it’s not perfect, it is actually one of the best podcast apps I’ve tried.
Another perk? Well, if you own an Apple Watch, there are also some pretty cool features available on the app.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at the other podcast app options you have.
Overcast is another iOS-only app, so you won’t find it on Android.
The signup process is simple; once logged in you’ll be directed to a page to start adding podcasts to your feed.
Overcast lists out the main categories and shows the top recommendations in each category. However, it doesn’t list out subcategories, which is a negative in my opinion.
Listing out subcategories can be really helpful for listeners looking to discover podcasts on more niche topics. Essentially, without subcategories you could be searching for a needle in a haystack.
There are a good amount of options under “settings” for the overall app – like how many seconds you want your “seek back” and “seek forward” to be.
You also have the ability to speed up playback, turn on voice boost, and create multiple playlists (many of the other podcast apps don’t offer multiple playlists).
Overcast is one of the simplest podcasting apps I’ve used, so if you’re not looking for a lot of bells and whistles – and you’re on iOS – this might be the app for you.
Overcast is free, but they also offer a subscription for $9.99 per year, which allows you to control banner ads, upload your own files, and support their future development.
While Apple Podcasts and Overcast are only available on iOS, Podcast Addict is only available on Android.
Since I’m not an Android user, I made the ask in our exclusive podcasting community, Podcasters’ Paradise, to see what others thought about it.
Here’s what one of our members, John Newport, host of the Girls Ask Guys Show, had to say:
“Podcast Addict is very simple and easy to use. Signup was a breeze with Google Sign-In. Doing a review was very easy. The app walks you through the setup steps. If you miss one, it gives you a tip to make the selection.
The only con I saw is the ads that run at the bottom of the screen. They are annoying and you can’t get rid of them (unless you want to pay $2.99 per month to subscribe). They are small and run along the bottom 1/8th of the screen.
A major plus: if you tap the main show artwork, then you go directly to the website of the show. You can also select if you want to listen to a single episode or listen to all episodes.
I like it. Real simple and easy to use. I might actually switch my player.”
Stitcher Radio is a long-time go-to for Android users, and I’ve even switched back and forth between Stitcher Radio and Apple Podcasts a few times.
I keep Stitcher Radio as one of my podcast apps so I have the option.
There are some shows that are unique to Stitcher Premium – a paid version of the regularly free podcast app – but any podcast you’ll find on Apple, you’ll likely find on Stitcher Radio, too.
Stitcher Premium is $4.99 per month (or $2.92 per month if billed annually) and offers ad free listening, Stitcher Originals, bonus episodes, and more. If you want to try it out for free for one month, use our affiliate code DITCH at checkout!
Stitcher Radio is an easy app to use, but it can take some getting used to. There are several places to go to search shows, find new podcasts to listen to, and to get to your favorites and downloaded episodes.
Stitcher does allow you to easily subscribe and see a list of your favorite shows.
If you’re an Android user, I’d definitely recommend giving the Stitcher app a try; I do view it as one of the best podcast apps.
Google Podcasts, previously filed under Google Play – and at one point under Google Music – is trying to get to the top of the list for Android users. This app is only available for Android, so if you’re on iOS, you can skip over this one.
Given the many name changes and confusion around where you should actually go to find podcasts (Google Play, Google Music, … ok, Google Podcasts!), I believe they have a long way to go.
Before I started diving into research for this post, I hadn’t given Pocket Casts a fair try. But after playing around in the app for a while I did start to enjoy some of the added features that were very easy to access.
Some features include:
- Playback effects, (playback speed, trim silence, and voice boost)
- A sleep timer
- Sharing options for “podcast”, “episode”, and “current position”
After playing around in all of the apps listed in this post, I did find these features to be included in most; however, they aren’t always as easy to find as they were in Pocket Casts.
One thing I don’t like about Pocket Casts is their “discover” feature doesn’t allow you to browse podcasts by subcategory. Instead, you can only browse by main category.
Again, I find that this makes it difficult to discover podcasts based on a niche, since typing in keywords that I would have expected to result in a podcast I was looking for didn’t work.
From what I can tell, Pocket Casts does not have a subscription or paid option – it’s 100% free!
Castbox was pretty simple to sign up for. Once I downloaded the app on my iPhone it allowed me to connect with my Apple account. I simply had to choose a username and whether I wanted my email address to be public or not. This is required to actually start listening.
Unlike Pocket Casts, Castbox does allow you to “discover” podcasts by subcategory, which I really appreciate as a listener. It helps narrow down results given a specific interest, which is great for the listener – and for the podcast host.
Castbox also features audiobooks, which is a cool added option (although it doesn’t appear there are a ton of great options here).
Castbox’s “community” feature is one that I haven’t seen within many podcasts apps, and it allows you to comment on specific episodes – at specific time stamps. While I don’t see myself personally using it, it is a unique feature.
Similar to Pocket Casts, Castbox offers many of the same features, like:
- Playback effects, (playback speed, trim silence, and volume boost)
- Sleep timer
- Sharing options for “episode”, “show”, and “episode with position”
PodBean’s signup process was pretty simple, and like many of the other apps, it’s free. I just downloaded the app on my iPhone, and once installed it asked if I wanted to sign up with Facebook, Google, my email, or if I wanted to just “try as a guest”.
I chose to sign up with Facebook.
Once inside the app, I noticed a simple menu bar of icons near the top for:
- Top 100
Like Castbox, PodBean also allows you to “discover” podcasts using categories and subcategories to help filter.
PodBean also has a “comments” feature within the player, so if you’re listening to a show or an episode you can leave a comment. Again, this isn’t likely a feature I would use as a listener (similar to Castbox’s Community feature). Just quickly combing through some of the comments I didn’t find anything really valuable being shared – more just criticism.
The huge downside to PodBean is I couldn’t figure out how to open up any playback features. There didn’t appear to be a playback speed controller, and this is one of the most important features to me in a podcast app.
PodBean does have a Golden Member option for $9.99 per year and includes unlimited playlists, priority input on features, and no display ads.
Spotify is one of the newest apps to feature podcasts, and as I’m sure you know, it isn’t fully dedicated to just podcasts.
It’s actually a music app first, and they’ve recently added podcasts to the platform.
One thing I really love about Spotify is that it makes it easy to share episodes to your Instagram Stories. I know it sounds random, but it just so happens to be my favorite way to share podcast episodes, so it’s a huge plus for me!
As a podcast producer I love this option, because it makes it super simple for someone to click the link in my Instagram Story and be taken directly to that episode.
If you already use Spotify to listen to music and audiobooks, then using it as your podcast listening app makes sense. However, even though I do use Spotify to listen to music (I think it’s the best app for music), I haven’t fully made the switch when it comes to my podcast listening habits.
For one, it doesn’t have an “up next” list that I can add to, which is a huge plus for me in Apple Podcasts. Although I suppose you could create a playlist with the episodes you want to listen to…
The “up next” list on Apple (also available on many other podcast apps) automatically deletes episodes once played, and allows me to load multiple podcast episodes from different shows into a list, then have them play automatically. This feature is great for long runs or drives so you don’t have to be messing with your podcast app.
Spotify is free to use, but they do have a subscription offer called Spotify Premium. This is one of the pricier options at $9.99 per month, but because you have access to so much, it might be worth it if you’re using the app a lot.
Spotify Premium gives you access to unlimited music downloads, no ad interruptions, and unlimited skips.
Like Spotify, TuneIn wasn’t specifically built for podcasts, but it does feature them.
When you open the app for the first time it asks if you want to do a 7-day free trial. They conveniently make the “close” x in the top right hand corner very hard to see. TuneIn is a free listening app, so don’t be fooled into subscribing (unless you want to).
TuneIn is a radio platform first, so when you enter the app you’ll see radio stations across the top.
I don’t listen to radio anymore if I can at all avoid it, so already I’m not crazy about TuneIn.
Below that you have the option to select what you like to listen to:
After clicking on Podcasts it will take you to an “explore” page where you can click on different categories, and unfortunately they do not include subcategories in this feature.
I’d also be curious to learn more about their algorithm for listing shows. When I clicked the “Education Podcasts” category I didn’t recognize ANY of the podcasts there except for WOW in The World: a podcast for kids.
This is probably my least favorite podcast app of any of those reviewed in this post.
A newer podcast app, and one I believe could very quickly become one of the best apps for podcasts, is Listen App.
As a disclaimer, we are early investors and an advisor for Listen.
Listen App aims to help podcast hosts connect with their listeners through a powerful community platform. And that connection between podcast host and listener is something we talk about often as a critical part of a successful podcast.
Wish you had direct access to your listeners, to ask for feedback and to engage with them while they’re listening to your show? That’s exactly what Listen provides!
As the post host, you create specific hangout rooms for your listeners based on the type of feedback or engagement you’re looking for. Below, you’ll see a Podcast Hangout group that John created for Entrepreneurs On Fire:
Then, just ask your listeners to join and get the conversation rolling!
Engaging with your audience is how you learn and offers opportunities for improvement along your journey, and Listen provides a platform for you to do just that.
Listen is free for both podcast hosts and listeners, and is currently only available on iOS. The Android app coming soon!
The Best Podcast App
What is the best podcast app for iOS and Android?
The answer is: it depends! It really does depend on your personal preferences and what you consider to be the most important features for your listening habits.
Podcast listening is on the rise, and there are brand new podcast apps coming to market every month. We hope this post is helpful for you when deciding between the best podcast apps, regardless of whether you use an iOS or Android device.
Great news is, every one of these apps is free for you to use, so there’s no harm in testing a few apps out before determining which is best for you!