Saturday, 17 June 2017

Overcast - A Simple Podcast Player with Powerful Features

Many people listen to podcasts that cover a wide variety of subjects, from technology to comedy and everything in-between. Overcast is a podcast app for iOS that allows you to listen to your favourite podcasts offline or online on your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch.

Overcast is a great free podcast manager that allows you to listen to podcasts on your iOS devices. With features such as smart playlists, smart speed, voice boost and much more, Overcast really stands out from the crowd.

When opening Overcast, you'll be confronted with a simple interface that shows you podcasts that you are subscripted to, as well as your playlists and a section for all downloaded podcast episodes.


At the top of the app, there is the Overcast icon that allows you to edit all the settings for the app, a download manager where you can go in and see how many episodes are downloading and what episodes are in the queue. Then, there is a button that allows you to add playlists. You can connect Overcast to Twitter to get recommendations, and you can also search for podcasts or add them from a URL. Overcast offers two playlist types - a smart playlist, and a standard playlist. To set up a playlist, you simply select which podcasts you want to include into it, and then you can start listening. With smart playlists, you have more options such as priority podcasts and the ability to include or exclude certain episodes.

Suggested podcasts and Twitter recommendations

Playlists will really come in handy if you listen to a ton of different podcasts - for example, you could make a playlist for technology podcasts, comedy podcasts and so on.

Finally, there is the standard plus button that lets your browse and search podcasts to add to your listening list. Sites may also offer an 'Add to Overcast' button, which will directly open that podcast in Overcast.

Once you have added all your podcasts, you can simply tap on an episode to start playing it. Overcast offers buttons that allow you to skip 30 seconds forward and back really quickly, which is great. These buttons also show in the lock screen when you are listening to a podcast, and down in the control centre.


If you swipe left and right, you'll move of the podcast's logo screen to find podcast settings such as voice boost and smart silence when you swipe right, and when you swipe left you'll find the podcast notes and the table of contents for the podcast if it has one.

When you swipe right, you'll encounter the podcast settings. Voice boost is an option that Overcast has that enables you to increase the volume of the voices on the podcast that you are listening to. I have this on, as I find that it enables you to hear the voices better, but not to tone up the music volume, and it makes the podcast easier to listen to when you are near or road or something else loud. Smart silence shortens silences in podcasts, and also speeds up the podcast a little, enabling you to get through podcasts quicker. There is also the option to play the podcast at faster or slower speeds, and you can toggle a switch to allow you to apply this to either all podcasts or only the one you are listening too.

Swiping left will bring up the show notes, so you can read some more information about it, and will also enable you to star that podcast to keep it offline even when you have listened to it. If the podcast has a table of contents, this is also shown, and you can tap on the times to jump to them. When you are listening to a podcast, Overcast may also show you the current part of the podcast you are in, and it gets this from the table of contents.

Along with these larger features, Overcast has added a light-switch style dark mode feature. Swiping down with two fingers will enable dark mode, and swiping up with two fingers enables light mode.

Night mode
An Apple Watch app is also offered by Overcast, and Overcast has really been using the Apple Watch well. You can download podcasts to the Apple Watch, and then listen to them from the watch.

Overcast is a universal app, and it's also free. However, you can opt in to support Overcast and you get a few cool features with that. You can remove adverts from the app, upload your own files and even change the look of the app icon.

One thing I would like to see changed for Overcast is the ability to not download the podcast cover. These often take up a lot of space, and I don't really need them. I would love to be able to select whether I would or would not download this podcast cover, so I can save some space on my device. I also noticed that if you are listening to a podcast at the top of the list, and there are podcasts below it, Overcast will not autoplay to those podcasts below it. I'd like to see this changed too, where it just keeps playing your podcasts until you're out of them.

If your looking for a podcast player, Overcast is a great option. It's both simple, but then has a lot of customisable features underneath. I really like the voice boost option, and the dark mode is also a nice touch.

Overcast is available on the App Store for free.

Thanks for reading!

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