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Experimenting With Changing Podcast Apps

Ever since I discovered podcasts, I haven’t been able to get enough. I’ve been using Breaker to listen to my podcasts for a couple of years now, but I’m now trying out some other apps. I’ve found that it’s become buggier as time’s gone on:

  • Most episodes will not download anymore, which is a problem as most of my listening is offline while I travel.
  • It will regularly fail to mark episodes as listened to, especially episodes listened to offline.
  • External controls like the Control Center, bluetooth radios and headphones don’t update the playback position inside the app. If you pause and start listening again, you’ll often go back to where you started at.
  • The app can be quite laggy at times.

As you can probably tell, some of these can be quite challenging with my listening habits. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Breaker but I’m not content with the user experience for the past little while.

I’ve been experimenting with a few different podcasting apps over the last few days, and I’ve finally kinda settled on Pocket Casts. Pocket Casts seems to work really well offline, which is great for me, and makes a distinction between episodes listened to and archived unlike many of the popular apps. There are a couple of little things, such as some podcasts missing a lot of their older episodes and no web login without a paid plan, but the offline listening experience is great which is the main thing for me. One of the other things I really love aboutb Pocket Casts is the sleep timer, as I like to listen to Welcome To Night Vale as I go to sleep and appreciate it not playing all my regular podcast episodes while I’m sleeping.

Possibly the most painful part of the transition has been marking past episodes as listened to. I’ve listened to almost 2,000 episodes on Breaker and going through and marking episodes as listened to on Pocket Casts has been a chore. I can import my shows with OPML files, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to import which episodes have already been listened to. I’ve already had several instances of thinking “this is familiar” because Breaker hadn’t marked an episode as played, let alone the episodes that aren’t marked as played. Is there a service out there for tracking podcast episodes similar to Last.fm or IMDb? Maybe I should build one…

That said, I’m not totally committed to Pocket Casts just yet. I’d love to try your favourite app so let me know what you use in the comments.

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