Apple's Podcasts review: New features close the gap, but it's not perfect

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Podcasts (iOS)

(Part #: id525463029)


3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Podcasts for iOS is much more functional after a recent update. A simplified UI and playlist controls bring it closer to a full-featured podcast app.

The Bad The app is designed for podcasts that are already on the iTunes Store. If you want third-party podcasts, the process is incredibly unintuitive.

The Bottom Line Apple's solution is not the best app for listening to your favorite podcasts, but a few feature tweaks and the addition of playlists bring it closer to being a viable option for listening to podcasts from the iTunes Store.

7.4 Overall
  • Installation and Setup 8.0
  • Features and Support 7.0
  • Interface 8.0
  • Performance 7.0

Editors' note: This review was updated March 25, 2013, with information on how to subscribe to third-party podcasts.

Apple's Podcasts (for both iPhone and iPad) gives you a standalone app that lets you subscribe to, play, and discover podcasts from any category. The app got off to a very shaky start with several missing features, but a new update might give podcast fans some relief.

The Podcasts interface is easy to navigate. You have a Store button in the upper left where you can search the iTunes App Store for podcasts by category, most popular, and other criteria (the same way as if you were searching for podcasts in iTunes). But if you just want to see podcasts for audio or video, or just the most popular podcasts, you have buttons across the bottom to switch between each type. When you select a podcast, you can see the latest downloadable entries or subscribe to your choice, and either stream it or download it for later listening offline.

It's important to note Apple's Podcasts app is designed for finding what's available in the iTunes Store and not third-party offerings. In order to subscribe to podcasts from third-party sites, you're required to go to the My Podcasts screen and enter the link to the feed in the search bar, complete with the "http://," then the app will ask you if you want to subscribe to that podcast. This is clearly extremely unintuitive, as there is no way to know how to add third-party podcasts unless you know to take these steps. This is something that Apple definitely needs to fix.

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