Listening to podcasts is quite easy. All you need is an internet connection on your devices and you can start listening to your favorite podcasts.
Podcasts are popular as there’s something for everyone. Podcasts cover a wide variety of topics such as culture, politics, interviews with influential people, comedy content, and more. You’ll be able to also find educational shows where you can learn new things.
There are quite a lot of ways to listen to podcasts such as on your desktop, laptop, mobile phone, smart home speakers, and even through your smartTV.
Different people like different platforms and devices, but I find that listening on my phone with mobile apps is the most convenient way. I find it’s the most convenient and flexible for me as my phone is always nearby, while my laptop might not be.
If you love that computer desk of yours, then the best way may be for you to listen on your computer. There might be a little advantage in using a computer though. Some podcasts will release episodes on their direct website before pushing episodes to podcast directories on mobile apps.
If you’re having trouble with figuring out what the best ways are, let’s get into the best podcast apps for different devices.
Listening on a Computer
Computers are the easiest way to because all you need to do is to download the Windows/Mac apps or search for a particular podcast’s website.
One drawback of listening on a computer is you can’t move from your desk. You can get wireless earphones or headphones to walk around, but it’ll depend on your Bluetooth range and how your home is set up with walls.
To listen from a podcast’s website, all you need to do is search online for the podcast, go to their website and navigate to the episode you want. On the episode page, you’ll most likely find a way to listen directly on the site through an embedded player from where they host the podcast.
For individual software programs on Windows and Macs, we’ll break it down next. Different platforms have different podcast apps to use.
Windows PC Apps
The following are the best podcast apps for Windows PC.
iTunes is probably the king of podcast apps on both Windows and Mac when it comes to podcasts. Take note that iTunes is not a podcast app itself, but it’s connected and synced with Apple Podcasts on iOS.
In the iTunes Store, you’ll get great podcasts to listen to depending on the categories you’re interested in. Don’t worry about the Store word either, because almost all the podcast content is free.
To get the list of podcasts, select the Podcasts from the Media selector and then you need to click the Store button from the navigation bar. After that, click the Subscribe button so that you can get all the updates notification about new podcast episodes. You can also go into the settings and set new episode downloads to automatic.
Cpod an easy to use software with split-screen where one screen displays playback controls and the other screen displays podcast contents. There is a navigation bar on the left side that allows you to access several options like Home, search, settings, etc.
You can search for new shows just by typing the name on the search bar. When you see your desired podcast, click on the +Subscribe button, which you’ll find on that page and there’s a Subscriptions tab where you’ll get all the podcasts you’ve subscribed to.
One of the most interesting facts about this podcast app is that it uses the search database of iTunes, which means you will have access to all the podcasts that are available on iTunes.
CPod is free and available on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Many people think Grover is the best podcast app on Windows PC. It’s a dedicated podcast player that can be used for both online and offline podcast listening. Grover is divided into two screens where the right side shows the podcast’s details and the left side gives access to different options to navigate.
This app will allow you to export or import a large number of podcasts using OPML. To use that function you need to go to the Settings option and then need to click on the Import OPML file. The most unique feature of this app is its Cast to device feature which allows you to cast it to other devices such as an Xbox One or Roku.
Here’s the list of the best podcast apps for macOS.
As mentioned earlier, iTunes is available on both Windows and macOS. Since it’s built-in and built by Apple themselves, this is the most popular podcast app for macOS users.
After starting the iTunes app you’ll find a navigation bar on the top left corner where you can click on the Podcasts to get the podcast window. Here you’ll find the podcast Store option which will let you browse new podcasts by category, such as news, sports, new & noteworthy, etc. You can also click on the Search button to find specific podcasts.
When you get your favorite podcast, select the episode you want to listen to. Then all you need is to click the Play button to start listening. All the playback controls will be at the top of the iTunes display.
Downcast is a great app for a Mac and iPhone.Unfortunately, this app is not free. You’ll need to pay a little amount to use it. But it’s a one-time fee for lifetime use, not a subscription fee.
You can easily subscribe to your favorite shows from this app and it’ll always notify you when any new episodes are available. It offers great settings that will let you control the episodes of your favorite show which includes skipping ads and long intros.
Downcast is available on iOS, Mac, Apple Watch, and CarPlay.
If you’re tired of using podcast apps with complex UIs, you should try Moon.FM on your macOS. It has an intuitive and simple interface that many people love. It has a modern feel and is filled with features that allow you to easily use the app for listening to shows. Good playback features and simple interface, these are the features that are appreciated by the users of this app.
Moon.FM is available on WIndows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android.
Listening on Smartphones
There are many podcast apps out there that allow you to listen to your favorite podcasts on your smartphones. This is a great way to listen on the go. All you need is a podcast app on your phone, an internet connection and a set of headphones.
Most apps nowadays have been built for both Android and iOS too, and we’ll list then in one or the other smartphone OS. We’ll make a note if they have an app for the other OS.
Pocket Casts has led the podcast mobile app market for a long time. It is one of the most long-time favorite podcast apps as it comes with great features such as cross-platform syncing, cleanup, and auto-downloading of episodes. The best part of Pocket Casts is that you can get it for free.
They do have a Pocket Casts Plus version of their app that gives you access to desktop apps, uploading audio files to their cloud so you can listen to them later, and the ability to customize the way that the app looks on your phone.
Pocket Casts is available on Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS.
Google Podcasts is Google’s very own app in their name. If you have a Google Home Speaker then you’ll also be able to play podcasts through Google Assistant.
The app features adjustable playback speed, adding podcasts directly from searches of Google, and the integration of Google Assistant. In the future, Google will also integrate AI features to make it more convenient and easy to use.
The Google Podcasts app is available on Android, Google Assistant, and iOS.
Podcast Addict is a popular, free Android app. You’re able to play podcasts, audiobooks, music radio, YouTube, SoundCloud channels, and more on it. The podcast app is supported by ads, but you can also pay in-app to hide the apps.
The app has a good number of playback options, so it’s also rich with features like volume normalizations and boostings. You’re able to create multiple playlists from public and private RSS feeds.
The Podcast Republic app is one of the better Android podcast apps. It offers a rich set of features. It’s an all-in-one app that “allows you to manage your Podcasts, Radios, Audiobooks, YouTube channels, SoundCloud channels and RSS news/blog feeds.”
The free version has all these features available, but it contains ads that may be a little annoying while listing to your podcast. You can pay in-app to remove the ads.
Whenever you think of podcasts, Spotify is probably one of the Top 3 apps that come to mind along with the Apple Podcasts app and Google Podcasts. It’s one of the best podcast apps that’s available on both Android and iOS, and it’s free.
The podcast section of this app is organized by categories like Sports & Recreation, Comedy, News, and Storytellers so that you can easily find new shows.
The podcasts you’re subscribed to can be downloaded and also be shared on social media.
Spotify is available on macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, Windows Mobile, and Chromebook.
Overcast is a favorite for many and they consider it the best podcast app due to its easy-to-use UI design. You’ll get tons of features including podcast management and powerful audio features. You can save and download episodes to play later in case you won’t have internet access.
Streaming is probably still the best option to play podcast episodes as it’ll save space on your phone. Voice Boost is a cool feature of this app that can boost and normalize the volume, so you can hear the voices clearly.
The app is free but is supported by ads. You can pay to get rid of the ads if you want.
Overcast is available on iOS and Apple Watch.
Castro is a great iOS app that’s easy to use and has a simple UI. Give Castro a try if you’re finding others complicated to use.
A nice feature is, you’re able to simultaneously play a show while downloading another one in the background.
They do have a premium subscription that gives you access to advanced playback features like, trimming silences to save you from listening to nothing, enhancing voices to listen more clearly, chapter support, night mode to save your phone’s battery, and more.
Castro is available on iOS, CarPlay, and Apple Watch.
Listening on Smart Home Speakers
Most of us listen to our favorite shows at home and use either the computer or our phones, but did you know you can also use your smart home speakers like the Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod?
Smart Speakers have quickly become popular and come from the biggest tech names, such as Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Home. Though these smart speakers need to be improved, if you’re an audiophile, they’re still good options for listening to shows.
Accessibility and ease of use are the two best features of these smart speakers. You can easily search and download your favorite podcast episode without touching the speaker. For example, using voice command you can ask Alexa just by saying “play Motive for Murder Episode 1” and it will play the episode. Isn’t that much simpler than using other devices to search for your favorite podcast episode by typing?
You can do all your household chores at the time of enjoying podcast using any of these Smart Speakers like Google Home or Echo by Amazon. You don’t have to keep any part of your body to engage with the smart speakers to operate them.
I hope that the article has helped you with figuring out the best place to listen to podcast apps. You have many choices when it comes to finding the best way to listen to podcasts for you.
For me, I’ve been going with iTunes on my MacBook Pro laptop and the Apple Podcasts app on my iPhone. The podcast apps are free and they sync cross-platform.
One thing I don’t like about using iTunes on my computer is that I can’t adjust the playback speed. On the Apple Podcasts iOS app, I can play at 1.25x-1.5x if I wanted to. On iTunes, it’s only 1x.
That’s ok though because I’ll often go straight to a podcast’s website for new episodes when I’m on my computer. I like that flexibility and for the shows I follow, they often have better descriptions and show notes about what each episode is about.
If you’re podcasting yourself and looking for listeners, you might want to try getting your podcast onto these apps. Most of the hosting sites will have direct submissions to the best podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, but that won’t hit all the free and paid apps listed here.
The good thing is that some of the apps here will allow you to submit your RSS feed link and that’s how you’ll be able to get listed on their platform fairly quickly.