Chasing the ideal podcast listening experience

I’ve had so much trouble getting the podcast experience I want on iOS and macOS. I listen to shows on my phone while commuting to work, and then transfer to the machine on my desk for quick access to the media keys so I can play and pause the episode I’m listening to or switch to watching a video or song in another app.

Because of my heavy reliance on sync, Pocket Casts has been my go-to for years but has been having a ton of issues as of late. Often my progress on a show or the episodes in my queue won’t be saved so I’ll have to grab my phone and manually figure out where I was, assuming the desktop app doesn’t synced the old progress over to iOS, which happens more often than I’d like.

Because of this, I’ve been exploring other options as of late and determined that the ideal podcast experience — at least for myself — might not actually exist.

I’ve tried Apple’s first-party podcast app. To be blunt, it’s a nightmare to navigate and plagued with sync issues. How people have exclusively used this app for years is completely beyond me. I’ve also thought about using Overcast again but I’ve never been a big fan of the overall UI. This, combined with the fact that there is no desktop app available, makes Overcast a non-starter for me.

For now, I’m using Castro. I love the trim silence and enhance voice functions and the app is pretty well designed. I do have some issues with how the whole inbox/queue system is presented, but it’s far from unusable. That said — much like Overcast — Castro does not offer any sort of synced desktop experience.

Needless to say, I’m already contemplating a return to Pocket Casts.