When it comes to listening to podcasts on iPhone, you have quite a few options that we’ll detail in full below, as well as a bunch of tips and tricks for those new to the world of podcasts…
Podcasts are now massively popular. As a means of getting information, hearing new ideas, and exploring new topics, a podcast is more or less unrivaled. You can find podcasts for just about everything – from pets and music to conspiracies and ceremonial magick.
It’s all there, ready and waiting for you.
All you’ve got to do is find a means of finding and listening to these podcasts, and for that, you’ll need a decent podcasts app. Apple makes its own podcasts app, which you can download via the App Store, and there are plenty of good, third-party alternatives as well.
As of right now, these are the #1 most popular podcast apps for iPhone:
- Pocket Casts – Pocket Casts is easily the #1 third-party podcasts app on the planet. Used by millions of people, Pocket Casts is available for both Android and iOS and it works great on both. Pocket Casts is 100% free, so you can simply download and start listening. The interface is beautifully designed, so finding and organizing your content is a cinch. For 99.9% of people, Pocket Casts is all you’ll ever need.
- Overcast – Coming in a close second is Overcast, one of the most popular iPhone podcast apps on the planet. Overcast is packed with useful features like the ability to upload your own shows, twitter recommendations, voice boost, so you get better audio performance, and smart speed, which lets you speed up or slow down the recording. Overcast is a brilliant app that works great and is a definite must-have for all podcast aficionados.
- Google Podcasts – Google Podcasts is available for Android and iOS, as well as macOS and Windows, so you can get to your podcasts regardless of what device you’re using. Like all Google software, it follows a tight, material design that is easy to navigate around and features great controls. It’s not as feature-packed as Pocket Casts or Overcast, but it is still definitely worth a look if you’re just starting to get into podcasts.
- RadioPublic – RadioPublic is a free podcast app that does A LOT. Available on both Android and iOS, RadioPublic is designed for both consumers and producers of podcasts. You can upload your own, as well as curate and easily organize podcasts produced by others. All major podcasts are readily available and the layout and design of the app are superb. You can even download podcasts and listen to them later.
And if you need some inspiration on where to start your podcast journey, these are the most popular podcasts on the planet right now:
- THE DAILY
- THE JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE
- STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW
- FRESH AIR
- THE DAVE RAMSEY SHOW
- MY FAVORITE MURDER
- TED TALKS DAILY
- UP FIRST
- THE BEN SHAPIRO SHOW
- POD SAVE AMERICA
With any of the above podcast apps installed on your phone, you’ll be able to browse podcast shows, subscribe to your favorite channels and get updates when new podcasts land. You can also watch podcasts on YouTube; this is how I first found and got into Joe Rogan back in the day.
And if you’re a Spotify user, you can use the app to listen to podcasts too, although, for the more-hardcore podcast user, you’ll probably want to get a third-party, proper podcast app. Spotify is OK as a podcast app, but it lacks many of the features you get as standard on the podcast apps listed at the top of this post.
Frequently Asked Podcast Questions (Things You Need To Know)
If you’ve never listened to a podcast before, or you’re unsure how they work and whether or not they cost money, read on and we’ll cover all the most common podcast-related questions new users tend to have.
Are Podcasts Free?
Yes. Podcasts are free. The vast majority of 100% completely free. There are exceptions, however, as some podcasts will charge you to listen to older episodes (Hardcore History, for instance, does this) although it is very rare. For the most part, listening to podcasts will not cost you a dime.
How to Listen to Podcasts on iPhone Without Using Data
Most podcast apps, including the official Apple Podcasts app, will let you download and save podcasts to your iPhone. If you do this, the podcast is stored on your iPhone and will not require any data to listen to it when you’re out and about, away from your home network.
Just make sure you download ALL the episodes you want at home on your WiFi network. Once you’ve done this, you can listen to any podcast – provided it’s downloaded onto your phone – offline like when you’re traveling on a plane or don’t want to use your mobile data.
How to Download Podcasts on iPhone
Whatever podcast app you use will let you subscribe to an unlimited amount of podcasts. Once you’re subscribed to a podcast, say, The Joe Rogan Experience, for instance, you will then be able to browse through epodes, past and present, and there will be a small icon next to the episode where you can download the episode to your phone.
The exact mechanisms of downloading podcast episodes vary, each app has its own specific method. But it usually looks something like this: open the podcasts app, subscribe to a particular podcast app, browse and then download the episode you want (hit the download symbol next to the episode title).
How To Listen to Apple Podcasts on Computer
Again, this depends largely on the podcast app that you use. However, all of the podcasts apps recommended in this post have a desktop version of their iPhone app.
If you’re on your PC, simply search Google for your podcast app, sign in, and then start browsing podcasts on your PC. If you use Apple’s Podcasts app, Apple actually has a proper desktop app that you can use for listing to podcasts on your iMac and/or MacBook.
All you need is the app which you can get here (for free).
How To Listen to Podcasts in Car
If you have Bluetooth in your car, the easiest way to listen to podcasts in your car is to pair your phone and then play the podcast app through your phone and into the car’s speaker system.
If you don’t have Bluetooth in your car, you can either:
A) Get yourself an inexpensive Bluetooth receiver for your car, and then pair your phone and send the audio through your car’s stereo system.
B) Get yourself a 3.5mm cable and plug your phone into your car’s AUX port. Obviously, you’ll need a phone with a headphone jack to do this. If you don’t have a phone with a headphone jack, use method A.
If your car has Apple’s CarPlay or Android Auto, just pair it with your phone and run your podcasts through these solutions.
I think we’ve just about covered everything you could possibly want to know about podcasts. As noted in the opening paragraph of this post, podcasts are a great way of learning new information or finding out more about subjects you’re interested in – without having to read.
In this respect, they’re a bit like audiobooks; only with Audiobook apps like Audible, you’ll have to pay a fee per month, as well as pay to download audiobook titles if you go over your one free credit per month. I use both because I’m an information junky and I find audiobooks, like books in general, more focussed and to the point.
Nevertheless, podcasts are a brilliant way to find new topics of interest, learn more about the things you love, or just listen to things for a laugh – there are tons of comedy podcasts. I think podcasts are essential tools for anyone that wants to learn more about the world around them. You can listen to them everywhere and, unlike a book, you can work whilst consuming them.
What’s not to like!?
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.