How To Enjoy Podcasts on Your Smartphone or Tablet

We are all used to listening to music on our smartphones and tablets and many of us now watch TV shows and movies as well. However, there is another broadcast medium that is ideally suited to mobile devices but which has yet to enjoy the popularity of more traditional entertainment platforms – and that is the podcast.

A podcast is a show – much like a TV or radio show – which can either be a single, stand-alone episode or part of a series. A podcast can be audio only or it can include video and other presentation material. There are podcasts on any subject imaginable, including news, current affairs, sports, science, how to topics, and much, much more.

How you get podcasts onto your smartphone or tablet depends on what device and operating system you are using. Here are the different ways you can enjoy podcasts for iOS and Android:

iOS

Apple has its own custom Podcasts app, which can be downloaded for free from the App Store in iTunes. With Podcasts you can browse hundreds of thousands of free podcasts organized by topic, by popularity, or by several other categories. Episodes can be streamed or they can be downloaded  and listened to offline. If the podcast is part of a series, then you can subscribe to the series and automatically get new episodes as they become available.

Other non-Apple podcast apps include iCatcher and Downcast (both $2.29). Both apps allow you to search and subscribe to podcasts, as well as download for offline listening.

If you don’t want to use a custom podcast app, then you can browse and download podcasts direct from iTunes. Just visit the iTunes Store and select Podcasts from the main menu. Again, you can browse by topic or popularity, or sample “iTunes Essentials” or one of the other custom lists. If you download podcasts on your Mac, then you can sync your iPhone or iPad in the normal way. Your podcasts will appear under a separate heading in your iTunes library. They can also be automatically synced across multiple devices using iCloud.

Android

Perhaps surprisingly Google Play doesn’t yet have a dedicated section for podcasts, which explains why they remain one of the mobile world’s best kept secrets. However, there are plenty of top-rated apps for browsing and downloading podcasts. Perhaps the best known is Podkicker (free), with a searchable database of over 110,000 podcasts. Podkicker supports audio and video, and allows both streaming and downloading. There is also a recommendation feature based on your existing subscriptions.

Other Android podcast apps include Pocket Casts ($3.99) and DoggCatcher ($2.99). The latter features continuously updated feeds, editors’ choice podcasts, and a comprehensive search tool that seeks out new podcasts in a wide range of listings and directories.

Whatever device or operating system you use, enjoying podcasts on-the-go adds a new and exciting dimension to your mobile world!

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