How to add and play podcasts using Overcast for the iPhone

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Apple does offer a Podcast app of its own for iOS devices, but for most people, a third-party app is probably where it's at. Here's how to use one of the more popular options, Overcast, on your iPhone.




Perhaps more so than most apps, it's important to delve into Overcast's settings from the get-go. You can find the Settings menu by tapping the radio tower icon in the upper-left corner of the home screen.

While you can choose to use a light or dark theme, and even set per-podcast notification settings, the critical thing here is deciding how you want shows to play. Choosing "Continuous Play," for example, will let the app play through multiple podcasts in a row.




By tapping "New Episodes," you can choose whether new episodes are streamed, or downloaded over Wi-Fi and/or cellular. If you do choose to let them download -- which we recommend, unless you'll be on Wi-Fi all the time -- it's also wise to pick "Delete" under the "Played Episodes" menu.

Even more important, under "Unlistened Episode Limits," be sure to set low figures unless you're riding around with vast storage space or a need to listen to dozens or hundreds of hours of podcasts. In fact, keeping the limit to 1 is probably best if you only want the latest and greatest of any given show.

Also be sure to visit the "Nitpicky Details" menu, which despite its name is actually important for options like whether or not to show icon badges for the number of unplayed episodes, or whether to play the topmost unplayed episode once the current one is finished. The latter is probably good to have on.

As of Overcast 3.x, windows can typically be dismissed in two ways -- by tapping the back/down button, or by swiping them down from the top, much like the cards in Apple's own Music app.

From the homenscreen, your next stop is building a library. Tap the + button in the upper-right, and you'll be taken to an interface for browsing podcasts by category or collection, as well as manual search and URL options.




Tapping on a show will bring up an episode list along with a "Subscribe" button. If you only care about a single episode, you can tap on its entry, which will reveal options to play or download it.

Once you've built up a sizable collection, it's probably time to create a playlist or two to theme your listening. Back at the home screen again, tap on the icon to the left of the + button -- you'll asked to be choose between a regular or a "smart" playlist. The first just lets you add individual episodes, but the second is immensely useful, since it focuses on shows.

You can add or exclude specific podcasts and episodes, pick "priority" shows, and choose sorting order. If you set things up correctly, you can automatically play the content you want to hear, as soon as it arrives, in the order you want to hear it.




Speaking of which, actual playback is a much more simple affair. From the homenscreen you can tap on an individual show and then on an episode, which will pop up a tray with a "Play" button among other options. Within a playlist, the tray will appear simply by tapping on a show name -- note that here you can also tap and hold "handles" on the right-hand side to rearrange podcast order.




Either way, hitting Play will start a show and bring up a card with larger artwork and playback controls. Audio will keep going if you back out of this, minimizing controls to yet another tray at the bottom. Tap the smaller album art to restore the bigger view.




While there's certainly more to Overcast, this should be enough to get you going. One last to tip to remember: if you want to delete a show, swipe right to left on an episode or podcast name in one of the list-based views. That will reveal a trash can icon you can tap to complete the process.


john.b

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    I love that Overcast lets me deffine what car controls will do. |<< & >>| can be set to jump back or forward a number of seconds. Unlike the Apple Podcast app which would just skip to the front of the podcast. :(
    edited March 2017
  • Reply 2 of 18
    sergiozsergioz Posts: 259member
    Someone likes Group Therapy ha ha, a great podcast by the way!
  • Reply 3 of 18
    I fail to see why I should use Overcast over the stock podcast app. I've tried quite a few and the stock one is still king for me. Especially with it syncing across all of my apple products.
    edited March 2017 brertechrandominternetpersonlolliver
  • Reply 4 of 18
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,288member
    I fail to see why I should use Overcast over the stock podcast app. I've tried quite a few and the stock one is still king for me. Especially with it syncing across all of my apple products.
    Agree. I had been considering Overcast for some time, but after reading the article, decided to stick with stock. Too many fiddly details. Maybe they should have included a feature by which you could just copy all of Apple's Podcast app settings and content directly into Overcast. 
  • Reply 5 of 18
    Agree with the others. Tried Overcast, but no thank you. Doesn't sync across my Apple platforms. And ad-based. Yuck. Plain old Apple Podcast > Overcast.
    lolliver
  • Reply 6 of 18
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,721member
    I don't get the love for Apple's Podcast app, it was bad when it was tied into the music app and the (now separate) app is literally the worst podcast app I've ever used. Missing even the most basic podcast features like smart speed playback (0.5x/1x/1.5x/2x? Really, that's it?), can't restrict downloads over cellular, no chapter marker support, it even insists on waiting 24 hours before deleting played episodes?

    It's like the company that made podcasts a thing completely forgot about them and left their app back in circa 2009.
    edited March 2017 Roger_Fingas
  • Reply 7 of 18
    SleepydocSleepydoc Posts: 6unconfirmed, member
    Overcast doesn't work with CarPlay
  • Reply 8 of 18
    john.b said:
    I don't get the love for Apple's Podcast app, it was bad when it was tied into the music app and the (now separate) app is literally the worst podcast app I've ever used. Missing even the most basic podcast features like smart speed playback (0.5x/1x/1.5x/2x? Really, that's it?), can't restrict downloads over cellular, no chapter marker support, it even insists on waiting 24 hours before deleting played episodes?

    It's like the company that made podcasts a thing completely forgot about them and left their app back in circa 2009.
    Perhaps because many (most) users don't care about any of those features.
  • Reply 9 of 18
    sergiozsergioz Posts: 259member
    Overcast has Smart Speed which dynamically shortens silences in talk shows I have saved at least one hour a week from not having to listen to silence :) 
    Also, Overcast has a Voice Boost wich normalize volume so every show is loud, clear, and at the same volume. It's a great alternative Apple's podcast app it works very well for me. Overcast is being updated often and very responsive. Also, you can sync your podcasts by importing your OPML file!



    edited March 2017 john.b
  • Reply 10 of 18

    I use Overcast in conjunction with the default Podcasts app. There are podcasts I listen to on Overcast that I simply cannot find in the default app, like WTF with Marc Maron, or Criterion Cast: Main Episodes. Either Apple's Podcast app offers region-based availability like the iTMS does, or the search function on the app isn't too slick.

    It is only recently that Apple began offering explicit songs on iTMS here in India. Probably the Podcast app will also remove restrictions and make everything available.

  • Reply 11 of 18
    john.b said:
    I don't get the love for Apple's Podcast app, it was bad when it was tied into the music app and the (now separate) app is literally the worst podcast app I've ever used. Missing even the most basic podcast features like smart speed playback (0.5x/1x/1.5x/2x? Really, that's it?), can't restrict downloads over cellular, no chapter marker support, it even insists on waiting 24 hours before deleting played episodes?

    It's like the company that made podcasts a thing completely forgot about them and left their app back in circa 2009.
    I am not sure what you mean by smart, but on my iOS 10.2.1 iPhone 6S, I can change the playback speed through the same increments you provided (e.e.: 0.5x, 1x, 1.5x, 2x): the command to do so is located toward the left of the playback controls when the app is on front (i.e.: not through Control Center). Also, I can restrict the downloads over cellular in the settings (i.e.: the Podcast section in the phone settings). I guess you are right concerning the 24h period before auto deleting episodes but I am too lazy to check.  ;)
    lolliver
  • Reply 12 of 18
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,721member
    I am not sure what you mean by smart, but on my iOS 10.2.1 iPhone 6S, I can change the playback speed through the same increments you provided (e.e.: 0.5x, 1x, 1.5x, 2x): the command to do so is located toward the left of the playback controls when the app is on front (i.e.: not through Control Center). Also, I can restrict the downloads over cellular in the settings (i.e.: the Podcast section in the phone settings). I guess you are right concerning the 24h period before auto deleting episodes but I am too lazy to check.  ;)
    Sorry if I wasn't clear, but my point was that none of those increments (.5x, 1.5x, 2x) in the stock app is even remotely useful to me.

    Smart Speed scans through the .MP3 file (podcasts are almost always .MP3s) to identify dead space in the podcast, and intelligently skips over the silence without otherwise changing the pace of the conversation. Overcast can also speed up the podcast pace in more granular (I hate when I use that word) increments, with our without Smart Speed.
    willcropoint
  • Reply 13 of 18
    xbitxbit Posts: 244member
    Overcast's greatest feature is its smart playlists. I set the priority order of podcasts, new episodes are downloaded automatically and, when I press play, Overcast plays the episodes in priority order. 

    The ad-free version is well worth the money if you're a big podcast listener. I'm sure those who only listen to a few podcasts will be fine with the stock podcast app though.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    What bothers me about Overcast is I can't auto-delete specific podcasts like I do in the stock Podcasts app. I listen to a lot of podcasts, and some of them I'd like to keep indefinitely so I set those to keep after playing, and other podcasts I listen to once and delete, so those are on auto-delete. In Overcast, I can only auto-delete everything after it's played, or keep everything. Is there a way around this? Overcast offers some interesting features I'd love to try out but without this, it's not worth it for me. Maybe I listen to podcasts differently than most others, as no one else seems to complain about this..
  • Reply 15 of 18
    The new iOS 11 won't allow the Apple podcast app to play continuously.   I use a sleep podcast with sleepphones, and when I wake at night, it helps me go back to sleep. Now I have to fiddle with the app, and I totally wake up.  So, I am switching to using Overcast.  I do not know what Apple was thinking. I am sure many other people would like the podcasts to play continuously for various reasons.  I was told Apple won't fix it until many people complain about it by going to their feedback site.  So, I did do this. Meanwhile I am finding Overcast to be very very nice.
  • Reply 16 of 18
    I went through the steps to have the podcasts downloaded but are they?  It's quite confusing to know if there all downloaded to use when off line. Also sorry i'm not tech savvy. 
  • Reply 17 of 18
    I just tried the airplane mode. it won't go to next episode????? where do I look to find how to download?????
  • Reply 18 of 18
    mbfoxmbfox Posts: 1member
    Like Zip42 above, I am trying to download episodes on iphone X,latest OS. It says downloading but then i look in downloaded and there are no episodes. i have tried on several episodes from different podcasts with same ruesult. sometimes it just switches to trashcan icon, but it is still not downloaded .
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