Overcast vs Apple Podcast?

I have been using Overcast for many years and I am happy with it. I have no compelling reason to change. However, I’ve been pairing down the number of my applications. I am wondering if there are any advantages to using Apple Podcast over Overcast. I will be buying a new car for my wife in March and whatever I buy will have Car Play. In addition, I have a MBP, iPad Pro 12.9, iPhone X, Air Pods, Apple Watch S4, two HomePods, and two Apple TVs. I also have four Amazon Echos. I listen to Podcasts most days during my evening runs (Air Pods paired to my iPhone X)-I don’t download Podcasts to my Apple Watch (should I?) and on long road trips.

I am assuming (may be wrong) that there is tighter integration with Apple Podcast and all of my Apple devices vs Overcast. Is there enough difference to make a meaningful difference or provide a reason to switch to Apple’s Podcast app? Any downsides to Apple Podcast vs Overcast?

I think that at the moment the main advantage Apple Podcasts has over Overcast is it’s integration with Siri. You can ask Siri to play an arbitrary episode of any podcast and it will work. However, iOS 13 brings this capability to developers. So, it may be coming in the future. The other way around, Overcast’s main advantages are: smart speed, over 2x speed (Apple podcasts only goes to 2x) and password protected feeds.

Edit: the watch should definitely be a better experience with Apple podcasts (I haven’t tried it) but Marco has mentioned it is something he is working on.

I use both as a matter of fact. I think Apple has better integration though I haven’t tested it hard. Though Overcast works as well as I need a podcast app to work. Since iTunes is going to be drastically altered with Catalina, I would wait to see how it works later in the Fall. Air pods work well with both I found, about the same. If would find it hard to make a choice between the two. I did think of doing so several times and ended up keeping both.

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I use a few Overcast features that I don’t think Apple Podcasts has:

  • more fine grained speed controls.
  • voice boost
  • smart speed (clean silence truncation)
  • both default speed/boost settings and saved settings by podcast
  • “Hey Siri Overcast next chapter”
  • disabling image loading in description
  • sleep timer
  • more control over Watch synced episodes
  • number of recent episodes to keep when subscribed
  • custom mp3s (I convert YouTube videos to audio and listen to them in Overcast. Though, I did do this with a Huffduffer RSS feed before Overcast)
  • light/dark icon :slight_smile:
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Overcast has Siri integration through shortcuts. It works well for me.

I really eny using overcast vs Apple podcasts. The intelligent speed playback beats most anything out there and customization is so much better than Apple podcasts. Overcast is worth it.

I use both, and mostly listen to podcasts using CarPlay. I can change the speed on Apple Podcasts in CarPlay, from between 0.5,1,1.5 and 2. Overcast speed can’t be changed via CarPlay but can be changed on the phone and has much finer settings as well as smartspeed etc. I listen to some podcasts on one and some on the other. I got used to 1.5x on Apple and 1.2x with smartspeed on Overcast. If I try going back to 1x now, people sound drunk! Sorry Podcast hosts! However, if I’m listening with other people, I have to go back to 1x.

Seems like I’ve been using Overcast on & off for 3 or 4 years. It’s a great program.

But I keep going back to Apple’s podcast app because it keeps everything synced to my Mac, iPhone, iPad, and AppleTV. And it can play the occasional video podcast. Apple’s Podcast app is one of those “good enough” programs that is everything I need.

I use Overcast in the car (a permanently connected iPhone SE) and on my iPhone Xs (when I am not in the car). The nice thing about Overcast is that it syncs your listening episodes. I am not sure if Apple Podcast does it.

The sync engine in overcast is more efficient. Maybe it’s the length of my subscription list, but Apple podcasts is dirt slow to sync and update. I also heard Overcast got a new sync query system recently too. Apple podcast is a little more integrated with the watch though.

Your topic and thoughts are very timely. I recently switched back to the Apple Podcast app myself. I found that Overcast did a great job of getting the podcasts in when they were published. With the Apple Podcast app, it comes in at set intervals.

I found that using the variable speed and silence reduction on Overcast seemed to cause more battery drain compared to listening at normal speed. It wasn’t set to anything crazy, but even at 1.13 or 1.25 speed, the battery took a hit somehow. While I am probably an outlier, I started to think about why I was listening and trying to reduce the time to listen. I think it was to get in more podcasts originally, but now I decided to slow it down a little and just reduce the number of podcasts in my que. We’ll see how that goes…:slight_smile:

I have missed syncing with all my devices using Overcast. Since I work from home a good amount of time, I wanted to listen through the AppleTV and use the phone for phone calls. While the sync placement is still not perfect (when I start on one device and move to another), I have enjoyed the flexibility if listening on the AppleTV, iPad, iPhone, and alternative iPhone.

Lastly, with Overcast, I was missing having a video option. This is the reason I kept Apple Podcasts around in the first place. While I don’t always watch, it is nice to put a face with a voice or actually be able to see what the hosts are referencing if they offer a video version and are showing things more technical or specific.

While I’ll probably switch again, I am hoping that Apple is able to keep my attention a little longer this time to help minimize the extra app and cost or any other option. One thing that I have noticed is that when I switch back to the Apple Podcast app, it was best for me to unsubscribe from the shows I had in my list and resubscribe so that the AppleTV did not have too many back episodes as unplayed. There was probably a better way, but it helped me filter through shows that I did not really intent to listen to going forward.

Best wishes on the transition. I look forward to reading what others post as well.

I listen to a lot of podcasts, with Pocket Casts, and it has those same capabilities, and it too eats up a bit more battery when clipping silences and speeding up podcasts. To me, it’s worth it, since most podcast hosts are not pros, and since their speech tends to be unpremeditated and filled with gaps tightening up the audio can result in a better experience, while saving a not-inconsiderable amount of time.

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That’s fascinating! Just don’t skip MPU commercials, they help support @MacSparky’s excellent work! :slight_smile:


I hear you. Usually podcasts are on in the background while I am working. I admit that I have narrowed down the list of podcast to the people I like hearing, pauses, stutters, and other random speech patterns included. It makes them more of a person to me. Now, if you could give me the silencing and speed control in real life, I wouldn’t mind using it across some meetings…:slight_smile:


I would love for Overcast to get Pocket Casts’ skip intros feature (and those more detailed statistics.)

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Plus Pocket Casts does video podcasts. Maybe Overcast does too now but I remember a couple of years ago Marco said he was not interested in having the app handle video (same for his Instapaper app, one of the reasons I switched to Pocket).

The only thing I miss in Pocket Casts is the ability to sort a playlist by episode length - when I just have a few minutes, I’d love to be able to easily find a short podcast that I can listen to in its entirety. For some reason the devs haven’t implemented that specific sort-type, even though apps like Downcast have had it for at least 5 years.

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Holy moly that’s a lot of time saved, lol. I was feeling good about my 200+ saved hours on Overcast :rofl:

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