Overcast Podcast App Gains Standalone Apple Watch Playback Feature

by

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 Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
46 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)
Avatar
46 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)
Avatar
46 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)
Avatar
46 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
46 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)
Avatar
46 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)

Top Stories

First iPhone 12 Mini Hands-On Video Surfaces [Update: Video Pulled]

Wednesday October 28, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max aren't set to be available until November 13, but a Romanian YouTuber got his hands on the iPhone 12 mini and showed it off today, offering a size comparison between the iPhone 12 and the 12 mini along with going over some of the device's features. The iPhone 12 mini is identical to the iPhone 12 in design and functionality, but it has a...

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

After Mocking Apple, Samsung May Remove Power Adapter From Galaxy S21 Box

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:29 pm PDT by
Samsung's Galaxy S21, coming in 2021, may not include a power adapter or headphones in the box, according to reports from Korean media sites highlighted by SamMobile. Rumors earlier this year also said that Samsung was considering removing these accessories from future smartphone models, but that didn't stop Samsung from mocking Apple for selling the iPhone 12 models without a power adapter...

Report: Apple Silicon iMac Featuring Desktop Class 'A14T' Chip Coming First Half of 2021

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
The first iMac powered by Apple Silicon is set to arrive in the first half of next year and will feature a desktop class "A14T" chip, according to Chinese-language newspaper The China Times. Codenamed "Mt. Jade," Apple's first custom-made desktop processor will be twinned with its first self-developed GPU, codenamed "Lifuka," both of which are being produced using TSMC's 5-nanometer process, ...

iPhone 12 Ceramic Shield Still 'Scratches at Level 6 With Deeper Grooves at Level 7' in Mohs Hardness Test

Wednesday October 28, 2020 7:10 am PDT by
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new Ceramic Shield front cover that is "tougher than any smartphone glass," according to Apple, but the displays on the devices still have similar scratch resistance as previous iPhones based on a new test. Zack Nelson today shared his much-anticipated iPhone 12 Pro durability test on his YouTube channel JerryRigEverything, and based on the Mohs...

2020 iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Hands-On Comparison

Tuesday October 27, 2020 3:03 pm PDT by
Apple announced the new 2020 fourth-generation iPad Air in September, but the new tablets just started shipping out to customers last Friday. We picked one up and thought we'd do a hands-on comparison with the iPad Pro, which was last updated in March, because both tablets are about as powerful and share many similarities. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design and ...

MagSafe Charger Only Charges at Full 15W Speeds With Apple's 20W Power Adapter [Updated]

Monday October 26, 2020 3:38 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models, Apple introduced a new MagSafe charger that attaches to the magnetic ring in the back of the devices, providing up to 15W of charging power, which is double the speed of the 7.5W Qi-based wireless charging maximum. Apple does not provide a power adapter with the $39 MagSafe charger, requiring users to supply their own USB-C compatible option. Apple...

Apple Files Mystery 'Personal Computer' With Placeholder 'B2002' Name in Bluetooth Product Database

Tuesday October 27, 2020 12:36 pm PDT by
Last week, a listing appeared in the Bluetooth product database for an Apple product with a placeholder name "B2002" and a model number of "TBD." MacRumors was alerted to the listing by health and fitness tech website MyHealthyApple. The product is filed under the "personal computer" category, which Apple has used for previous Mac and iPad listings in the database, so it is hard to pinpoint...

Apple Releases First macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 Beta to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday October 28, 2020 10:15 am PDT by
Apple today seeded a new macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 beta to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta replacing the existing macOS Big Sur 11 beta 10 update that was released two weeks ago. The macOS Big Sur beta can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center and once the appropriate profile is installed, subsequent betas will be available through the Software Update mechanism in...

iPhone 12 Models Might Support Reverse Charging of Future Apple Accessories According to FCC Filing

Tuesday October 27, 2020 6:25 pm PDT by
iPhone 12 models could have an inactive wireless charging feature for accessories, according to an FCC filing discovered by VentureBeat's Jeremy Horwitz. In the filing, Apple said that 2020 iPhones support a wireless charging function that will seemingly be enabled for at least one future Apple accessory:In addition to being able to be charged by a desktop WPT charger (puck), 2020 iPhones...