How to manage your podcast subscriptions on Android

Whether you're passionately devoted to a single podcaster or your tastes are widely diverse, it can be tough to keep track of your podcast subscriptions in Android. Some still download them to their home computer and sync them to their device, but Google offers a much better way with its Listen app.

Rob Lightner
Rob Lightner is a tech and gaming writer based in Seattle. He has reviewed games, gadgets, and technical manuals, written copy for space travel gear, and composed horoscopes for cats.
Rob Lightner
2 min read

Podcasts are great: they keep us informed, they enrage us, they make us laugh, and they make our time at the gym pass more quickly. Some Android users drift into iOS-envy when pondering Apple's easy integration of iTunes podcast subscriptions with their devices. Don't despair--Google's got your back. The Listen app makes it easy to subscribe and listen to podcasts on any Android device, and it integrates with Google Reader to make subscribing that much simpler. Here's how to get started: 

  1. Install the Listen app and fire it up. 
  2. While it's not too hard to subscribe to podcasts from your device, it's much easier to do so on a laptop or desktop computer. Even if you avoid Google Reader, open it up in a tab (signing in to your Google account if need be) while you browse the Web for your favorite podcasts. 
  3. When you've found something you want to hear regularly, find its RSS feed. This is usually a link that says "Subscribe" or features a white-on-orange icon (see below). Right-click and copy the link, then head back to the Google Reader tab. 
  4. Step 3: Copy the RSS feed.
    Step 3: Copy the RSS feed.
  5. Click "Add a subscription" (the big gray bar near the upper right of the screen), then paste the feed address into the text bar.
  6. Step 4: Add feed to Google Reader.
    Step 4: Add feed to Google Reader.
  7. As it opens up in the main Reader pane, make sure to click the "Feed settings" button just above the pane, then select "Listen Subscriptions" so Listen knows to watch out for it. If you don't see that option, it means your device hasn't synced with Google yet, so give it time. 
  8. Step 5: Add feed to "Listen subscriptions."
    Step 5: Add feed to "Listen subscriptions."
  9. Once you're happy with your subscriptions, head back to your device, open Listen, and select "My listen items." It should start to refresh automatically, but you can do it manually by pressing the round green arrow in the bottom right of the screen. 
  10. Step 6: List your podcasts.
    Step 6: List your podcasts.
  11. As each feed updates, you should see the most recent podcast appear under "Fresh items." Long-press any show to add it to your listen queue or mark it as already listened. It's easy to reorder your queue with more long presses. 
  12. Step 7: Reorder your queue.
    Step 7: Reorder your queue.

That covers the basics of Listen. You may want to browse around the settings to tune it more to your liking; there's a lot to like in this little app!