Learning to Use Apple Podcasts for iOS

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In this podcast, Thomas Domville walks us through Apple's Podcast app for iOS, which has gained some significant changes and new features with the release of iOS 14.5. These include:

  • Podcasts Show Pages are redesigned to make it easier to start listening.
  • Option to save and download episodes, automatically adding them to your Library for quick access.
  • Download behavior and notification settings can be customized on a show-by-show basis.
  • Top Charts and popular categories in Search help you discover new shows.



Submitted by GraceUnderPressure on Monday, May 3, 2021

Hi, I've been struggling to use the latest episodes screen in the new podcast app in IOS 14.5. I can swipe down to the list, but when I swipe right the focus seems to flick randomly between an episode in the list. If I swipe right again, it seems to jump down to the mini player.

I thought this may be an issue with VO configuration as I have started to experience this behaviour more frequently since upgrading to an iPhone 12 Mini, but the list of episodes in the "listen now" tab seems to work OK.

Is anyone else having the same issue when using the list of latest episodes accessed through library -> Latest Episodes?

Any thoughts / suggestions would be gratefully received.

Thanks in advance.

Submitted by kool_turk on Monday, May 3, 2021

Not only that, sometimes podcasts won't even refresh, whereas iTunes doesn't have this problem.

And we all know how outdated iTunes is.

Submitted by Jo Billard on Monday, May 3, 2021

I tried using the chapters feature and it didn't work. I had to look for the mini player button, which is so small I could barely find it, and I always got the wrong one. I really hate this app. I wish they'd left it alone.

Submitted by Will on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

hi, I don't see the "recommendations" in the listen now tab and sometimes, I hear tab 2 is "podcasts"? so this isn't the same as this well put together podcast. thoughts?

Hi GraceUnderPressure,

This is one of those things that irks me to death. As like you in the past week Apple has made some changes to the Podcast app. Apparently, they were trying to resolve some problems to only have broken some accessibility along the way. Wouldn't you know that the week I put the podcast out it works as advertise to only with a few days they update the app to break things. Yes, you are not alone in some areas that swiping to the right just ends up going in circles or jumping to another place entirely. Sigh. Weirdly, if I were to tap something down the page a bit and work my way back by swiping left it seems to be just fine until we go right. Let’s hope that Apple will fix this very soon for us!

- AnonyMouse

Hi Jo,

The easiest way to get to the mini-player is to tap on the lower left corner of the screen. Where you will find the Listen Now tab. Now swipe left which you will hear the Fast Forward. Swipe again to the left is the Play button. Swipe once more to the left you should hear the name of the episode that you are listening to. Just double tap that and now towards the bottom of that screen is the Chapters. This process is identical to the Apple Music app where you can see more information on the song itself.

Hope that helps instead in having to hunt for it. :)

- AnonyMouse

Submitted by AnonyMouse on Saturday, May 8, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by Will

Hi Will,

As mention above. Wouldn't you know that Apple has made some changes to the Apple Podcast within days of my podcast. Sigh. One of those changes is you can guess it. Those items that I showed to you in the podcast. They have made the following changes to the Listen Now tab section.

Let me describe in what I have on my Listen Now tab. When I perform a four fingers tap towards the top of the screen. I will hear the "Listen Now". Now head down to the next heading. You should hear the "Up Next" if there are any new episode. The next heading should be "You Mike Like Based on my Listening" which are now the recommended episodes you may lie. Lastly is the "More to Discover Based on your Listening" are recommendation of shows that you may like.

I can only hope this helps.

- AnonyMouse

Hello, it’s very strange. I’m I listen out of all I have are the Up Next, and recently played headings. Can I not hide the recently played episodes heading, and just see what you have, the discovery area and the shows you might like.

Submitted by Damwysk on Sunday, May 9, 2021

Now it just tells me the day shows were updated, not as useful as I don’t know if I’ve already played that episode. Having all the problems with jumping around focus as well, just downloaded overcast to save me the hassle.

Hi Jo,

I completely understand where you are coming from. As Apple Podcasts isn't going to be for everyone. My go to podcast app that I use is Overcast. Be sure to check that one out. Its free to try and use. It also has a bit of a learning curve but I find the UI easier to navigate. I hope this will suit your needs better.

‎Overcast on the App Store

- AnonyMouse

Submitted by Blee Blat on Sunday, May 9, 2021

Is there some reason to prefer overcast over downcast? I just ask because I see overcast gets recommended a lot, but it seems Downcast still gets updates and tends to work quite well. I just leave all the podcasts on the phone or tablet because it seems iTunes is terrible at handling feeds.

Hi Will,

Unfortunately, you are not able to configure how the Listen Now screen appears. I do wish I knew why you are not able to see the various heading that I have on my device. Just all so very strange indeed. As mentioned in the podcast this app won't be for everyone but I least wanted to cover this app for those that are interested. Here is for hoping that some fixes are in the works.

- AnonyMouse

Submitted by AnonyMouse on Monday, May 10, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by Blee Blat

Hi Blee Blat,

As a previous user of Castro and Downcast. Both offer different features from each other. Fit definitely comes down to a personal preference. In my case Overcast is completely free with great set of features. Although there are a tip jar that you could sign up for more features if you wish. I also think my view that the voice boost, normalization and removing silence in a podcast is better. It seems to smooth and doesn't sound shopped up when you use similar effects on Downcast. I think Downcast may offer more advanced features but it also has in-app purchases if you want even more of the cast. Downcast is my second favorite for sure. I would recommend to beginners or novice users that Overcast would be something they should take a look at. If they ever feel that they would like more customization that I would then highly recommend Downcast. I do know users that simply love Downcast and like it better than Overcast. I think they are both very similar with a bit different UI but again it comes down the eye of the beholder.

- AnonyMouse

Cool, it was more a curiosity than anything else. And definitely something like Downcast is not helpful unless you listen to a lot of podcasts. Interesting about the overcast effects being better though. I hadn't checked in a while, so I had no idea that Downcast had purchases. I can't imagine what more you could want to pay for? But it's good there are a lot of options.

Submitted by Tasha on Tuesday, May 11, 2021

I used to really like the library tab, but now the default is to arrange podcasts by when I followed a show, which makes no sense. When I go to latest episodes, it doesn't tell me the name of the show, just the episode titles. The listen now tab is slightly better, but there's no easy way to hear the description of episodes without playing them. AM I missing something or is the accessibility really this bad?

Not that I can see. I think the accessibility is this bad, really. They'll probably fix it in 14.6 or the next iOS update. I think VoiceOver seems to only get updates at the beginning of major release cycles.

Submitted by Gary c on Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The all episodes page is a mess. I would expect swiping through the episodes to move through all of the episodes. For me it reads a couple and then hits the pages percent control and then seems to repeat the episodes on the page. The best way I've found to browse them is to explore down the left side of the screen then 3 finger swipe up to get the next page. I then try to remember which page has one I'm interested in. You also need to remember the number of the current page in case you accidentally hit something else and lose your place. I've been encouraging a new user to use this app instead of his victor so he can see show notes and share particular episodes that he has questions on with me, which either can't be done on the Victor, or he doesn't know how to do. I'm sure going to stop that!

Submitted by kool_turk on Wednesday, May 26, 2021

I actually prefer the library to the now playing tab.

There is an option in the rotor called more content which makes it easier to read the episode summary.

What I find odd is you can now mark all episodes as played, but not the opposite.

If you want to do that, you have to do it individually or do it through iTunes.

Another nice thing would be manually refreshing your podcasts, yet another thing that iTunes still does by simply pressing F5.

You can do the three finger swipe down to refresh, but I'm not sure if it even works.

Submitted by Gary c on Thursday, May 27, 2021

In reply to by Gary c

I neglected To Mention That my previous comment referenced iOS 14.5.1. I just downloaded iOS 14.6. It is now easier to swipe through The all episodes list. I find that it works best if you wait until it says “actions available“ before swiping. Otherwise you will probably move into the mini player. If after “actions available“ it says “downloaded dimmed“, you are practically guaranteed to swipe into the mini player. I seem to be able to recover by exploring for the item swiped from, which isn’t always the last item on the screen, and then resume swiping.
(As a sidenote, I am finding it next to impossible to insert by dictation in this field from the Podcasts app. I wrote my previous comment with BSI, so I don’t know if that was true in 14.5.1 or not. I am dictating this into a note, which seems to work fine.)