Apple Podcasts App Lets Users 'Follow' New Content Instead of 'Subscribe' in iOS 14.5

Apple is making a small but notable change to the way listeners can sign up to get updates on new podcast content, with the company changing the word "Subscribe" to "Follow" in the Podcasts app in iOS 14.5.

ios 14 5 podcasts
The wording shift in the Podcasts app was highlighted by podnews, with the site pointing out that the word "Subscribe" could have misled Podcasts users into thinking that the podcasts cost money to listen to.

In the current iOS 14.5 beta, tapping on the three dot menu item when viewing a podcast allows users to opt to "Follow" a podcast rather than to "Subscribe" to a podcast. The large "Subscribe" button has also been eliminated in a design changes introduced to the Podcasts app in the iOS 14.5 update, in favor of a "Latest Episode" button.

podcast app ios 14 4

Podcast app interface in iOS 14.4

When you tap on "Latest Episode," the app now alerts you that you have "Followed" a podcast instead of "Subscribed" to it.

podcast app ios 14 5

Podcast app interface in iOS 14.5

Other apps like Spotify, Audible, Amazon Music, and Stitcher also use "Follow" wording instead of "Subscribe." Edison Research's Tom Webster told podnews that Apple's shift from subscribe to follow could have an impact on the rest of the podcast industry.

"Today, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube are the three most widely used services to play podcasts, and now the word Subscribe means 'automatically download for free' in exactly none of them. Podcasters will have no choice but to adapt their language accordingly or risk confusing listeners."

Right now, the Podcasts app is free and Apple has no paid podcast content, but rumors have suggested that Apple is working on a paid podcast subscription service that would charge people to listen to podcasts.

With a paid subscription service, Apple could potentially lure high-profile creators with the promise of more money, stealing them away from other platforms like Spotify. The change in language facilitates the later introduction of a podcasting subscription service and will prevent confusion in the future.

Apple has made small wording changes in the past to clarify how purchases and downloads work. In the App Store, for example, the "Free" label was replaced with "Get" in 2014 to make it clear that apps with no-upfront purchase costs could have in-app purchase options.

Related Forum: iOS 14

Popular Stories

Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
M4 Real Feature Red

M4 MacBook Pro Models Expected to Launch in Late 2024

Tuesday June 18, 2024 10:50 am PDT by
MacBook Pro models with an M4 chip are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2024, according to display analyst Ross Young. In a tweet for subscribers, Young said that panel shipments for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are set to begin in the third quarter of 2024, which suggests a launch toward the end of the year. Apple started its M4 chip refresh in May with the launch...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....
iOS 18 Calendar Feature

iOS 18: Calendar App Design Changes and Reminders Integration

Tuesday June 18, 2024 6:16 am PDT by
Apple in iOS 18 has given the Calendar app a major update, adding some welcome interface design changes, not to mention long-awaited integration with Reminders. In the month-by-month calendar view, the month now appears in large bold font in the top left, while the Events list toggle has been replaced by a new button that lets you choose between Compact, Stacked, Details, and List views. ...
watchOS 11 Thumb 2 1

watchOS 11 Supports Automatic Nap Detection

Monday June 17, 2024 4:05 pm PDT by
watchOS 11 appears to include a new feature that allows an Apple Watch to automatically detect and record when you're taking a nap. As shared on Reddit, an Apple Watch owner took a nap and was able to see the sleep data recorded in the Health app, despite not putting the device in Sleep Mode. Right now, the Apple Watch only tracks and records sleep when it is in Sleep Mode, and there is no...

Top Rated Comments

DerHexer Avatar
43 months ago
As dumb as this change may sound for us tech-people. We are not the only users and I have to clarify for my grandma multiple times when she was afraid about the „subscribe“-buttons in apps like YouTube when following certain channels on her iPad. She is indeed afraid that it could cost money. This naming of subscribe has a totally different meaning for older people then us - and I am not only talking bout grandmother-old!
So makes sense for podcast as well to change this naming.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shapesinaframe Avatar
43 months ago

Subscribers and followers are the same thing.
Not when one of them has a subscription payment attached to it. They’re setting up the mechanisms for paid content in the podcasts app.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johnmacward Avatar
43 months ago
I hope they fix more than just that, such as a the overall navigation of the app which I find to be a nightmare. Trying to re-listen to an already heard episode means an enormous scroll to the bottom of the podcast list to both “Previously Played” and “See All Episodes” - why is this so hidden and far away?

Secondly, searching in the podcasts app is a travesty. Keywords are clearly in the description or title and STILL the search engine doesn’t show the correct results.

Podcasts needs a major upgrade.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
43 months ago
Sweet! Awesome feature. IOS 14.5 cannot come soon enough!!!
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jamalien Avatar
43 months ago

There's no difference between this. Subscribers and followers are synonyms. So there is really no point to this.
Podcast’s ‘subscribe’ in this new world of subscriptions can be misconstrued to mean payment. ‘Follow’ is universally known as the generic social media term, which usually doesn’t incur payment.

It’s a logical change
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
coffeemadmanUK Avatar
43 months ago

Sweet! Awesome feature. IOS 14.5 cannot come soon enough!!!
Excited much? ?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)