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Best Podcast Listening Apps for iOS & Android [2021]

Podcast listening apps are like a warehouse of digital audio content and RSS feeds; they exist to connect listeners with new podcasts and help creators get their content out to the world.

Most people are familiar with apps like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, etc., as these are some of the most popular listening applications.

But there are many more apps to choose from that let you customize your listening experience with subscriptions, add playlists, share content with friends, and help you discover new podcasts.

Before we dive into our favorite podcast apps, let's address a common question: why are there so many options?

Why are there so many podcast apps?

It might seem like Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts is all anyone really needs to stream digital audio content. 

And technically, that's true.

But podcast apps serve multiple purposes: they function as a podcast player, a directory of RSS feeds, a search tool, and sometimes an advertising platform. 

What people want from a podcast app varies; some listeners might prioritize robust search features to make it easier to find new content. 

Others might want a streamlined, beautiful interface or they might place a high value on an app with customizable sound features to enhance the listening experience (for all the audiophiles out there).

Whichever category you're in, there's an app for you. Below are our top recommendations that we think offer the best value and highest user ratings.

Learn how to get your podcast in the top podcast apps.

Best listening apps for iOS & Android

These podcast listening apps are compatible with iOS and Android operating systems, so you can use them no matter which mobile device you have!

Goodpods | The Social Podcasting App

• Price: Free
• Type of content: Podcasts only
• Exclusive podcast content: No
• Ads: No

Four back-to-back screenshots of Goodpods app within a smartphone, a yellow background, and black text.

Wondering what podcast to listen to next?

Brother and sister team JJ and Ken Ramberg designed Goodpods to act as a social podcast network.

It functions as a way for people to see what episodes their friends and family listen to, directly recommend episodes to those within their network, and even form Goodpods Groups (like a book club or Facebook group) around their favorites podcasts.

The app has an intuitive design, and users give it 4.8 stars for ease of use, robust social features, and helping out the indie podcast community.

Our Goodpods review and walkthrough can help you get a better feel for the app's interface and features!

Download Goodpods

Pocket Casts 

• Price: Free or $0.99/mo for Pocket Casts Plus
• Type of content: Podcasts only
• Exclusive podcast content: No
• Ads: Yes (podcast-related)

Pocket Casts and Overcast are known to trade awards for "best podcast app." Both platforms focus on the listener experience over jamming the app with features you'll likely never use.

Pocket Casts' intuitive design makes it simple to listen to, manage, and find new podcasts. It's also compatible with CarPlay AirPlay, Chromecast, and Sonos. 

Being a cross-platform app, you can also sync your favorite podcasts and playlists across multiple devices. So, if you have a Samsung Galaxy and an iPad, you can seamlessly switch back and forth. 

The app also has helpful audio customization features like auto download, volume/speed control, and trim silence.

Download Pocket Casts

Stitcher 

• Price: Free or $4.99 for Stitcher Premium subscription 
• Type of content: Podcasts only
• Exclusive podcast content: Yes—50+ original shows
• Ads: Yes (removable)

Stitcher is a great podcast player, especially if you value making playlists with your favorite podcast episodes. 

This app was one of the first-ever podcast players for Android and is now one of the largest third-party directories available.

Stitcher also has episode search, filtering, and sorting capability that lets you find, manage and sort through content.

You can also customize audio settings so you can listen to episodes how you like. Other features include:

  • Sleep Timer
  • Listen on Web
  • Connect via Bluetooth
  • Up Next Queue
  • Custom Seek Controls
  • Stitcher Premium

Download Stitcher 

TuneIn Radio

• Price: Free, or $9.99/mo
• Type of content: Music, radio, news, podcasts
• Exclusive podcast content: No
• Ads: Yes (removable)

If you're a sports, music, and podcasts fan, TuneIn Radio has you covered. 

While TuneIn offers all your favorite podcasts, it started as a radio-based app and includes 100,000+ stations plus access to live news channels and sports talk radio.

TuneIn Premium also has commercial-free music, podcasts, sports, and fewer ads on radio stations (but not completely ad-free).

You can use this app on Alexa or Google Home, CarPlay, Android Auto, as well as hundreds of portable devices.

Download TuneIn Radio 

PodBean

• Price: Free or several tiers starting at $9/mo
• Type of content: Podcasts, radio, audiobooks
• Exclusive podcast content: No
• Ads: Yes ((podcast-related)

Podbean's player gets 4.8 stars for ease of use and has several unique, built-in features for listeners.

You can search podcasts by title, episode, or author name and get customized recommendations based on your listening history.

The app also offers episode notifications, advanced playback features and audio effects, and Amazon Alexa and CarPlay Support integration.

Download PodBean

Castbox

• Price: Free or $0.99/mo
• Type of content: Podcasts only
• Exclusive podcast content: No 
• Ads: Yes (podcast-related)

Castbox started in 2016 to offer listeners a simple way to discover new content.

The app is an easy-to-use podcast player with a clean layout, intuitive interface, and even a unique social media element that lets users follow threads and contribute to the conversation around content.

Castbox is compatible across platforms and with Apple Watch, CarPlay, and Amazon Echo.

Download Castbox

PlayerFM

• Price: Free or $3.99 for PlayerFM Premium 
• Type of content: Podcasts only
• Exclusive podcast content: No
• Ads: Yes (podcast-related)

Four screenshots of PlayerFM podcast app

If you feel frustrated at the process of finding new podcast content, PlayerFM is a great option.

This player is cloud-synced and has helpful built-in search features for tailored recommendations on niche topics. 

PlayerFM Premium offers unique features like a download space saver to help you conserve your data, custom themes, bookmarks and annotations, priority episode delivery, and even relaxing sleep soundscapes.

Download PlayerFM

Spotify

• Price: Free or $9.99/mo
• Type of content: Music and podcasts
• Exclusive podcast content: No
• Ads: Yes (removable)

Spotify had a big year in 2020 and recently outranked the Apple Podcasts app in number of downloads.

Spotify is primarily a music streaming service, but it added podcasts to its streamlined app in a practical and user-friendly way, especially for those who want their music and podcasts in the same place.

Being a music streaming service, Spotify does playlists well and makes it easy to share content. 

The main drawback to this platform is the Streaming Ad Insertion, which some users feel detracts from the podcast experience. 

Download Spotify 

Amazon Music 

• Price: Free 
• Type of content: Music and podcasts 
• Exclusive podcast content: No (unless you buy an Audible subscription)
• Ads: Yes

 

In the summer of 2020, Amazon Music added podcasts to its listener base of 41.8 million and even included podcasts alongside audiobooks within Audible. 

Now, anyone with an Amazon account can use Amazon Podcasts to stream content for free. 

Amazon is still growing as a podcast app and currently only accounts for .5% of all podcast listeners but will likely experience quick growth.

Amazon Music lets users follow a podcast, download to listen offline, and listen on iOS and Android devices. 

The app's interface is quite functional, very similar to Spotify, and is an excellent alternative to Spotify for people who want their digital audio and music all within one app.

Create an Amazon account to access Amazon Music

Audible Plus 

• Price: Free, and tiers starting at $7.95/mo
• Type of content: Podcasts and audiobooks
• Exclusive podcast content: Yes
• Ads: No 

If you decide you want an ad-free listening experience, plus tons of original podcast content and audiobooks, Audible is the way to go.

Audible offers free podcasts with an Amazon membership and an Audible Plus subscription includes unlimited access to thousands of audiobooks, Audible originals, and podcasts. 

If you upgrade to Audible Premium Plus ($14.95/mo), you also get one premium selection title per month (yours to keep). 

Download Audible

Best podcast apps for iOS only

According to a 2018 study, 45.1 percent of smartphones in the U.S. are iPhones. If you fall into that category, these apps are all compatible with your Apple devices, whether it's an iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, etc.

Apple Podcasts 

• Price: Free + Various paid subscriptions & channels (price set by creators) 
• Type of content: Podcasts only
• Exclusive podcast content: Yes
• Ads: No

Apple Podcasts is the number one podcast app for iOS and the second most popular podcast app overall. 

The latest iOS update came with a total redesign of episode pages, exclusive content, and the ability to follow content and share it with friends easily. 

While the rollout was a bit buggy and not everyone is happy about the changes, some were a definite improvement. 

For instance, while Apple doesn't have a playlists feature or a tailored search option, the Channels and Subscriptions features help listeners find their new favorite shows more easily and get access to exclusive content. The app also added a Smart Play feature that starts serial shows from the latest episode.

We think Apple Podcasts is more functional with the latest update, but our next favorite is an excellent alternative if you'd rather use a third-party app instead.

Overcast (Buzzsprout favorite)

• Price: Free or $9.99/year
• Type of content: Podcasts only
• Exclusive podcast content:
• Ads: Yes (podcast-related)

Overcast has a simple but efficient user interface that includes a podcast player, Smart Speed (variable speed), Voice Boost (volume boost for voices), and Smart Playlists to help you control your listening experience. 

This app also lets you download episodes on wifi so you can preserve cell data. While Overcast is ad-supported, but the ads are all podcast-related, paid for by podcasters, and tailored to help connect you with great content!

If you want to remove the ads, you can upgrade to Overcast Premium for $9.99/year (app purchases managed using your Apple ID).

Download Overcast

Castro

• Price: Free version or Castro Plus $8.99/year
• Type of content: Podcasts only
• Exclusive podcast content: No
• Ads: Yes (removable)

Castro released their upgraded podcast app (Castro 3) in 2018, and it came upgraded with an improved UI, similar in some ways to Overcast.

The app functions as a single playlist (called "the Queue") that gives you total control and lets you easily manage your content. Other features include:

  • Custom playback speeds
  • Adjust production value of low-quality podcasts
  • Advanced chapter support
  • Saved listening time
  • Beautiful artwork
  • Podcast sharing
  • Car Play + Apple Watch playback

Castro Plus subscription is slightly cheaper than Overcast and activates features like Trim Control, Sideloading, Mix to Mono, Chapter Support, Enhance Voices, custom app icons, and more.

One thing Castro doesn't have? Playlists. When you subscribe to a show, new episodes appear in your feed, and you can give them a quick scan to see which one interests you!

Download Castro

ListenApp 

• Price: Free
• Type of content: Podcasts only
• Exclusive podcast content: No
• Ads: No

ListenApp is an innovative new podcast player already backed by creators like Pat Flynn and Jordan Harbinger.

This app is greats for connecting listeners to niche content by independent creators and closing the communication gap between listeners and podcasters.

Although this app is new, it has huge promise for the podcasting community.

Download ListenApp

PodCruncher

• Price: $3.99 
• Type of content: Podcasts and radio
• Exclusive podcast content: No
• Ads: No

PodCruncher offers a complete iTunes podcast catalog along with the best of news, sports, tech, and comedy talk radio.

The app features robust playback control, organization tools like playlists, auto-download, and easy sharing via email, Twitter, or Facebook.

Users generally rate this app generously for its ease of navigation, several saying it's more intuitive than Apple Podcasts. 

Download PodCruncher

iCatcher!

• Price: $2.99 + in-app purchases 
• Type of content: Podcasts only
• Exclusive podcast content: No
• Ads: No

iCatcher! boasts an impressive array of settings that you can either leave on default or customize to fit your preferences.

Playlists are entirely customizable, there are an extensive set of playback features, including Gesture Support, and you find new podcasts by searching title, keyword, or author.

Listeners give this app 4.7 stars for usability and its rich feature set.

Download iCatcher 

Castaway 2 

• Price: Free 
• Type of content: Podcasts only
• Exclusive podcast content: No
• Ads: No

 

This app is a straightforward player with minimal features. It offers episode timelines for browsing unplayed episodes, a fairly basic search function, and an adjustable playback rate.

Users give it 4.3 stars, loosing points for some bugs the app is working through.

Download Castaway 2

Best podcast apps for Android only

Android is still one of the most popular operating systems in the world, and there's no shortage of excellent podcast apps for its users. Here are our top picks with the highest ratings in the Google Play app store.

Google Podcasts

• Price: Free
• Type of content: Podcasts only
• Exclusive podcast content: No
• Ads: No

Google released their podcast app in 2018 and recently phased out Google Play Music to Google Podcasts. 

Even though this app isn't as popular as Apple Podcasts or Spotify, it's got a secure spot in the top three most popular podcast apps. 

Similar to other apps, you can download content on wifi to listen while offline, subscribe to content.

While Google Podcasts does not have playlists, you can set up a queue to listen to podcasts in a particular order.

This app does feature an "explore topics" section that uses Google's search technology to pull podcast content based on your keywords.

Google Podcasts is also an ad-free platform, making it an excellent option for people who want a simple podcast player without much fuss. 

Podcast Addict (Buzzsprout favorite)

• Price: Free or $0.99/mo
• Type of content: Podcasts only
• Exclusive podcast content:
• Ads: Yes (podcast-related)

Podcast Addict is the #1 podcast app for Android, with more than 500K reviews and average ratings of 4.7 out of 5 stars. 

This listening app is highly customizable, includes cloud backup via Google Drive and access to podcasts and audiobooks, YouTube channels, etc.

And if you enjoy having more control over your audio, you can use the audio effects to manage Playback speed, Skip Silence, add Volume boost, Mono audio, etc.

Another bonus of this app: a reviews section. Not many podcast apps have a place for listeners to rate and review their favorite content (except Apple Podcasts and hubs like Podchaser).

Download Podcast Addict 

Podcast Republic

• Price: Free 
• Type of content: Podcasts + major public radio networks
• Exclusive podcast content: No
• Ads: Yes (podcast-related)

Podcast Republic shares a lot of the same features as Podcast Addict and a similar user experience. 

Both apps manage podcasts, radio, audiobooks, YouTube, and SoundCloud channels. One way these apps differ from each other: Podcast Republic's "Gesture-Operated Car Mode."

This mode allows you to control playback without the screen controls using simple gestures (like gently shaking your phone).

Podcast Republic gets a slightly lower rating than Podcast Addict at four out of five stars. Some users say it's clunky, but most give it high praise as one of the best podcast apps for Android.

Download Podcast Republic

Podkicker

• Price: Free + in-app purchases
• Type of content: Podcasts only
• Exclusive podcast content: No
• Ads: Yes 

Podkicker gets 4.4 stars on Google Play and for being one of Android's best third-party podcast players. 

Users can subscribe to shows, create playlists, add their RSS feeds of choice, select a theme to customize the layout visually, and browse an extensive catalog available for online and offline listening. 

Download Podkicker 

AntennaPod

• Price: Free
• Type of content: Podcasts only
• Exclusive podcast content: No 
• Ads: No

AntennaPod is a simple, open-source podcast player built by volunteers with no financial interests; the creators just wanted to make an app that supports podcasters and keeps the podcasting ecosystem healthy.

The non-commercial nature of this app makes it a community effort and gives the listener complete control over their listening experience.

If you have ideas on improving the app, you can discuss them on the AntennaPod community forum.

Download AntennaPod

Let us know your favorite podcast app!

If you have a favorite podcast app we didn't list, email us at [email protected] so we can include it in this post!