How Apple's Podcast.app made me switch back to the Music.app for Podcasts
First off, I am not a heavy poster but am a heavy iPhone and iPad user and also love my Podcasts more than any other form of audio entertainment so I thought I would share my experiences and preferences these days for Podcast apps.
I have bought a ton of the Podcast apps in search of the perfect companion because, you see, I include a personal podcast from recording radio shows on my Mac in my library and needed an app that would allow me to import a non-iTunes feed. So I have tried the following apps (plus others I probably forgot):
Instacast (current favorite for purchased apps)
Downcast (previous favorite)
Podcaster (4 and 5)
and other probably
I was loving Instacasts latest update but all of the third party apps had the same problem. After a while, they would shut down so I had to reopen the app to start playing again which was nothing more than annoying but always wanted to use the Music.app but hated the fact I had to be around my laptop to sync new Podcasts (wired or wirelessly) and that just wasn't acceptable in this new world of untethered entertainment and joy.
Then enters the Apple newly released Podcast.app. I remember where I was, sitting in an Italian restaurant travelling on business when the iMore feed came into my Reeder app that Apple had released a Podcast app. It was like Christmas in June (almost exactly 6 months until actual Christmas as the date was June 26, so more like Boxing Day in June). I immediately downloaded the app and starting tinkering with it to become increasingly disappointed because I could not manually add a Podcast from a URL. So I learned the ins and outs of the app and when I got home, I had prayed the night before that a manual sync of my personal Podcast feed would then allow me to "Subscribe" to the Podcast....well the Gods were smiling on me that day as it worked like a charm. Then, as most kids toys on Christmas, the excitement of my new toy faded as I learned the app suffered the same timeout/shut down issue as all my other great Podcast apps but Apples lacked many of the features that I loved in Instacast such as Push Notifications, ability to only show Unplayed episodes, sorting and other features such as changing the forward/backward skip intervals.
Then I had a epiphany while getting ready for work one day. I knew that adding a Podcast manually into the Music.app from iTunes automagically transferred to the Podcast.app but what if the Podcast.app downloads from subscribed Podcasts automagically did the same for the Music.app. I had a few of my personal Podcast feed episoded downloaded that I knew I did not sync from iTunes so like a scientist that just solved the Human Genome Project, I rushed to my iPhone, cracked open my Podcast.app to validate that I had not deleted all my downloaded episodes and then opened the Music.app to find that, again, the Gods had smiled on me and the Music.app did indeed get the updates from the Podcast.app. Just because I wanted to be 100% sure, I downloaded another episode and added few other Podcasts to my Podcast.app and validated that they were indeed available in the Music.app Podcast list. And now we are in business. The Music.app rarely ever crashes or shuts down and I again have a single source, with iTunes Match and Podcast.app to listen to all audio entertainment.
So with all that drama and feeling like I had should receive a Nobel Prize for most innovative Podcast management solutions, I thought I would share my experience with this group that I have learned so much from to become the power user that I am today.
To recap, here is how I manage and listen to Podcasts on my iPhone and iPad:
- Subscribe to Podcasts in Apples Podcast.app (for manual URLs, sync a single episode from iTunes to the Music app and it will appear in Podcast.app for subscribing)
- Download the episodes you want to listen to on your iDevice
- Open Music.app and select the Podcasts option (iPhone/iPod users can move this to one of the four available slots)
- Start listening to the Podcast of your choice without fear of the app crashing or having to restart if you stop listening for a few hours
Now, that being said, these are the basics. This solution still lacks a few options which I would like to see included in future updates including the following:
Push Notifications (I am still using Instacast to notify me when there is a new episode)
Forward/backward interval options (Music.app only includes a 30 second backward skip interval, I live with this one for now and just Scrobble if I need to move around)
Single app that does everything perfectly (well, my Gods don't smile on my that often so I will take what I've got)
I hope this helps others in some small way to resolve any Podcast enjoyment issues you may encounter and let me know if you have any questions about my use and configuration.