Overcast Podcast App Gains Standalone Apple Watch Playback Feature

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As of today, third-party podcast app Overcast lets users sync downloaded pods to their Apple Watch for standalone playback.

The latest 3.1 update brings the much-requested feature to the popular podcast app, which was designed by Instapaper developer Marco Arment.


To take advantage of the new feature, users should access the Queue Menu (⁺≡) and select the Send to Watch option. Pending transfers should appear in the Downloads screen.

Overcast recently received a design overhaul to bring it up to speed with visual changes introduced in iOS 10. The latest update also includes a new dark app icon option for premium members (a $9.99 in-app purchase).


Overcast 3.1 is available as a free ad-supported app for iPhone and iPad from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, watchOS 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

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43 months ago
I love this app - but I doubt I'll be using this feature. I have paid for the 'premium' membership though, so I can upload my own files to listen to. It's ideal for audiobooks in MP3 format, and always remembers where I got to (unlike Apple's offering).
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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43 months ago

That's about how I feel.

Overcast sounds the best for sure but not by a ton, especially with all the work he put into creating it and refining the audio engine. Most people simply won't notice the difference. Yes, I realize it enables him to do some fancy audio tricks and is more versatile. Pocketcasts has no issue doing similar and using Apple's engine.

Overcast is also the most hyped podcast player out there. The UI has always been just ok and the options slim but more functional than basic players.

The CarPlay integration has been embarrassing. Before this update it flat out refused to play anything for me and I listen to a bunch of major podcasts so it wasn't some funky format issue. With this update it actually plays and works as he intended. I haven't come across any bugs yet but the UI is even more basic than Apple's own. Pocketcasts kills it here and feels and looks native. Personally, I think they nailed the CarPlay integration and their iOS device UI is fantastic. Up next integration is super easy to use and it also makes great use of the podcast artwork. Plus the dev is very responsive. Not a knock on Marco as he's responsive in other ways but Overcast really isn't the best out there.

I mostly agree. I do think Pocketcasts can improve their CarPlay UI, though. For instance, there's no way to start playing from the Up Next list via CarPlay. Ideally, they should use a tabbed interface with separate tabs for Podcasts, Filters, and Up Next.

And speaking of Up Next, I really wish the iOS app allowed you to add to the top of the Up Next list instead of just to the bottom. The Android app has that functionality. Hopefully, it's coming to iOS very soon.

Pocketcasts uses their own audio engine for downloaded podcasts and Apple's engine for streamed. That's why you can use Volume Boost and Trim Silence for downloaded episodes but not for streamed ones. But, yes, Overcast does sound better and is a little more conservative when trimming silence.

Overall, I agree with you and prefer Pocketcasts. Little touches like being able to tap on the podcast name to go straight to that podcast when looking at episode info from a filter are great. In Overcast, there's no way to open a podcast directly from an episode in a playlist. You have to back all the way out and scroll the list for that specific instead.

And I love how responsive the devs are. They're fantastic and give real support when you have issues or suggestions.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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43 months ago

I mostly agree. I do think Pocketcasts can improve their CarPlay UI, though. For instance, there's no way to start playing from the Up Next list via CarPlay. Ideally, they should use a tabbed interface with separate tabs for Podcasts, Filters, and Up Next.

And speaking of Up Next, I really wish the iOS app allowed you to add to the top of the Up Next list instead of just to the bottom. The Android app has that functionality. Hopefully, it's coming to iOS very soon.

Pocketcasts uses their own audio engine for downloaded podcasts and Apple's engine for streamed. That's why you can use Volume Boost and Trim Silence for downloaded episodes but not for streamed ones. But, yes, Overcast does sound better and is a little more conservative when trimming silence.

Overall, I agree with you and prefer Pocketcasts. Little touches like being able to tap on the podcast name to go straight to that podcast when looking at episode info from a filter are great. In Overcast, there's no way to open a podcast directly from an episode in a playlist. You have to back all the way out and scroll the list for that specific instead.

And I love how responsive the devs are. They're fantastic and give real support when you have issues or suggestions.

I'm not too bothered by the up next functionality on the device as it's easy enough to drag the podcast to the top spot. However, in CarPlay I agree. They do have a lot of constraints as to what they can and can't do in that UI though. I'm apart of the beta and helped with testing CarPlay and things I'd love to see simply can't be done in the current version on 10.3. Apple wants it as hands off as possible so they limit it pretty severely. Heck, we practically had to beg them to allow Pocketcast in CarPlay to begin with.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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43 months ago

Such a great app. Quite excited to see the ability to sync podcasts to the watch now.

It’s a great app except for the dumpster fire of a UI. Marco tried to be clever and rethink the UI but missed the mark horribly and is too arrogant or stubborn to roll it back.

That said, the new Apple Watch integration is a very cool idea. The advertising platform is the best I’ve seen. I’m not a paid user. Sorry Marco. But I’m happy to view ads in the app as a result of not paying. They’re not horrible ED or “OMG, have you seen what <insert celeb name here> looks like now!?” ads. Much appreciate that! The playback tuning features are fantastic as well.

All in all, it is a good app. And I’d recommend it. I just hate hate hate hate the new crappy UI. Fix this Marco! It sucks!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago

It’s a great app except for the dumpster fire of a UI. Marco tried to be clever and rethink the UI but missed the mark horribly and is too arrogant or stubborn to roll it back.

That said, the new Apple Watch integration is a very cool idea. The advertising platform is the best I’ve seen. I’m not a paid user. Sorry Marco. But I’m happy to view ads in the app as a result of not paying. They’re not horrible ED or “OMG, have you seen what <insert celeb name here> looks like now!?” ads. Much appreciate that! The playback tuning features are fantastic as well.

All in all, it is a good app. And I’d recommend it. I just hate hate hate hate the new crappy UI. Fix this Marco! It sucks!

Yeah, I wish the UI/UX was as polished as Pocket Casts. Swipes just don't feel "right" in Overcast. I always feel like I have to be extra careful how I swipe. And there are drawing errors (highlighted table borders that don't go away when that cell is deselected) because of the use of hidden table cells. Pocket Casts UI/UX is far ahead -- but all the enhanced playback features are disabled for streaming. They're working on adding them to streaming, but it can't come soon enough.

But despite all the above, I'd start using Overcast again if CarPlay worked flawlessly, simply because SmartSpeed and Voice Boost work while streaming. Unfortunately, Overcast still has a lot of CarPlay bugs, while Pocket Casts has the most stable CarPlay implementation I've used so far. I don't want to use separate podcast apps when I'm listening in car vs. out of car.

At least there are a lot of good choices for iOS podcast apps!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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43 months ago
I completely agree with others about the love for overcast as an app and Marco as a developer… But I also agree that this latest UI tweak need some serious refinement.

I thought I would want something like the podcasts on the watch so I can finally have a reason to buy one, but when I go running I end up wearing a small pack with water, my keys and my iPhone SE which can be back there basically unnoticed and now that I use AirPods for wireless - it just isn't a big deal anymore.

I'm a lifelong Apple guy and I still can't find any reason whatsoever that I want that watch… Ha ha
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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