iOS: Downcast

While I have phone apps on the brain, I decided to bang out a quick note about Downcast. Downcast is a podcast management tool for iOS (iPhones, iPods, and iPads). Unlike it’s not free, but if you own an iOS device and are even remotely into listening to podcasts, you should buy this app.

Downcast is a complete podcast management tool that operates independently of iTunes. If you’re like me and rarely (if at all) use iTunes, Downcast is a lifesaver. By entering in the iTunes or RSS feeds of your favorite podcasts, Downcast will (when launched) automatically download the latest episodes. Among other options, you can configure how many episodes of each podcast you with the app to download and/or save. I have mine to save the five latest episodes of each one on my phone. If you want to listen to older episodes that are no longer on your phone, or brand new episodes that you haven’t downloaded yet, Downcast supports streaming.

Downcast has a built in search feature that links to the iTunes podcast category. You can search by title or genre or keyword and find podcasts to listen to. The app handles both audio and video podcasts, and also supports simply listening to the audio of video podcasts if bandwidth is an issue.

Where Downcast absolutely excels is in its settings. You can set the app to only download when connected to wi-fi, to take it easy on your data plan. You can schedule when you want the app to check for updates by time or location. You can configure it to retain a set number of podcasts, or a set number of unlistened to podcasts. You can set up playlists. You can set it to play back audio at a higher rate of speed. One feature I love is, if you use iCloud, you can configure the app to share your podcast lists with other iOS devices — that means the podcasts I subscribe to on my phone will also appear on my iPad. Too cool.

Downcast costs $1.99 in the App Store and is worth 10x that to anyone on the go who likes listening to podcasts.

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