Podcasts In My Pocket

Reasons I Love PocketCasts

I just switched over from Overcast to PocketCasts. Overcast was just crashing too often. There was also an issue that seemed related to the crashes that caused my ‘System’ storage to balloon until my entire device was full. I am loving PocketCasts so far. Let me tell you why.

  1. It boots the first time, every time. Fingers crossed here.
  2. It doesn’t crash 1000 times a day. Obviously (I hope) this is hyperbole, but in the spirit of honesty, PocketCasts has crashed once since I installed it two days ago.
  3. It doesn’t chew through battery like a woodchuck chucking wood.
  4. It still has Smart Speed (though it’s called “Trim Silence”) and Voice Boost (“Volume Boost”). These features were the main selling points of Overcast for me, and I was very concerned about losing them.
  5. “Episode Filters” in PocketCasts are Overcast’s Smart Playlists, but on steriods.
  6. The UI is extremely snappy and responsive. I can’t tell you how nice this is. For whatever reason (I suspect it was because I simply gave Overcast more unplayed episodes than it could handle), Overcast had grown increasingly laggy for me over time.
  7. Dark mode is beautiful. Plus, there’s a dark mode icon! It’s all so pretty.
  8. I’ve somehow accummulated a bit of cash via gift cards in my iTunes account, so even though it was $4 (which I still think would have been worth it, sans gift cards), it was free to me!
  9. Discovery is really nice. My one minor complaint here is that I wish I could see the list of all the episodes in a podcast’s feed before subscribing.
  10. “Start From” offers even more time saving! For example, if you know that a podcast always does a 30 second ad slot at the very beginning, you can tell PocketCasts to start playing episodes from that podcast at the 30-second mark. I am loving this.

My one serious complaint is I wish that I could bulk-edit the episodes of a particular podcast. What I mean here is the ability to mark a whole chunk of episodes as played/unplayed, or mark them for download, but not all the episodes in that podcast’s feed. PocketCasts already offers this for episode filters, which are sort of like playlists, but not quite. So, knowing absolutely nothing about the internal data model or application architecture, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this shouldn’t be too hard to add to individual podcast feeds.

Let Me Clear the Air

I feel a bit like I’m dragging Overcast here. And to some extent I am. I’ve grown increasingly frustrated with Overcast. I blame myself for putting up with the performance degradations way beyond the point where I should have started looking for alternatives.

I loved Overcast for the time I used it, and I still think it’s a great app. It just got unusable for me as (1) my podcast subscriptions grew and grew, and (2) iOS kept on upgrading, probably breaking APIs the app relied on. I obviously have no idea what the actual root causes of the issues I had were, but I suspect it was some confluence of those two. But for all I know, maybe I was just using it wrong. Extensive Google searching didn’t turn up any help for the issues I felt I had.

So, if Overcast works for you, great! Keep using it. I follow many of the podcasts that Marco is on (Top 4, Under the Radar, …), and while I’ve never met him, he seems like a stand-up guy. If, however, you’re looking for an alternative podcast player, I highly recommend PocketCasts.

Written on 13 October 2017