Listening to podcasts on the Apple Watch: this is how it works (2022)

Apple Watch: this is how you listen to podcasts

With the Apple Watch you can listen to music via the speaker or via wireless earbuds. But did you know that you can also listen to podcasts via the Apple Watch? In this tip we explain how you can do that. In addition to the official app from Apple, there are also numerous third-party apps. Think of apps like Overcast, Castro and Pocket Casts. Enough options!

Listen to Podcasts with the Official Podcasts App for Apple Watch

Since watchOS 5, there has been an official Podcasts app for the Apple Watch, which works closely with the iPhone app of the same name. As a result, you can access all the shows you have subscribed to and stream them over Wi-Fi or your iPhone’s cellular connection. You play the podcasts in the background, so you can continue to use your Watch. You do need wireless earplugs or headphones, because playback doesn’t go through the speaker.

If you listen to podcasts via your iPhone, you can use the Podcasts app on your Apple Watch as a kind of remote control, just like with Apple Music. Options to skip forward and backward by 30 seconds or to play podcasts at a faster speed can also be found in the app. This makes the Podcasts app on the Apple Watch really complete in terms of functionality.

Listening to podcasts on the Apple Watch: this is how it works (1)

You can download new episodes in the Watch app on the iPhone. Here you will find a setting for podcasts, with which you can indicate which episodes are sent to the watch. You can use other apps on your watch while listening, while you’re listening through the paired earphones or headphones.

Listening to podcasts on the Apple Watch: this is how it works (2)

To then play the podcast, open the app on your Apple Watch. You can scroll through all your subscriptions with the Digital Crown. Tap an album cover to listen. Want to hear another episode? Then tap the three lines at the bottom of your screen and select another episode.

Listening to podcasts on the Apple Watch: this is how it works (3)

Pocket Casts voor Apple Watch

Pocket Casts is a popular podcast app on the iPhone that also features a great Apple Watch app. For example, you can automatically shorten silences, set filters to organize episodes, and sync the playlist between your devices (iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.). In addition, it works with CarPlay, AirPlay, Chromecast and more. The downside is that you need the Pocket Casts Plus premium bundle to get the most out of the Apple Watch app. If you prefer free, then you are better off with Overcast.

Overcast

Overcast has won many awards and is a favorite app of many podcast listeners. The app is made by Marco Arment, an authoritative developer who is always at the forefront with commentary on new developments around the App Store. The app has a clear design and you can see that in the Apple Watch app. On the Apple Watch, you can browse all shows, view the episode waiting list, build a playlist, or even create a smart playlist that automatically fills. Overcast has all the features you expect in such an app, such as a sleep timer and playback speed control. You can save episodes offline so you can listen on your Apple Watch even when there’s no internet connection. All features are available in the free version, but if you become a premium subscriber you will not see any ads. The ads are only visible in the iPhone app, at the bottom of the screen. They are not very disturbing.

Spotify

You may not immediately think that you can listen to podcasts via Spotify, but the music service has been working on podcasts for quite some time. They therefore plan to overthrow Apple at this point, including with exclusive content. If you already have a Spotify Premium account, you can effortlessly continue listening on your Apple Watch. You listen without commercials and can also save the songs offline.

Outcast

Outcast was one of the first specialized Apple Watch apps that let you listen to podcasts. The app succeeded quite well, despite the limitations that Apple imposed. Even now, Outcast is completely focused on the Apple Watch. So you can leave your iPhone at home and browse, download (via a trusted WiFi network) and play podcasts on the go. Instantly search for podcasts on your Apple Watch, create a playlist, and view chapters within an episode. With the complication for your watch face, you can also see what’s going on while telling the time. You can import and export your list of existing podcasts in the OPML format.

Downcast

Downcast is available for a one-time fee. However, if you want to use the Mac app with it, it will cost you a few euros extra. Downcast automatically downloads the latest episodes to your iPhone and Apple Watch, but you can also stream them if you have an internet connection. The home screen of the app is very clear with three options:

Castro

If you want to organize your podcasts well, Castro is a great app. You can sort by release date so you can listen to episodes from different shows at the same time. You choose which episodes you listen to and skip. The app on the Apple Watch has been kept fairly simple, with playback controls, the option to rewind and fast forward, and an indicator of time remaining. The Up Next list shows you which episodes will be played next. You can shorten silences, improve sound quality, and import episodes from iCloud Drive.

TuneIn

You know TuneIn as an app to listen to radio. But as with many other audio apps, TuneIn has also dived into podcasts. You can listen to live news, sports, music, radio stations and podcasts. The app shows a player with large buttons. At the top of the screen you can see which episode is playing on the Apple Watch. The app is free to use. As a premium subscriber, you get access to major sports channels such as MLB, NFL, and others. This costs a few euros per month but is not necessary if you only want to listen to podcasts (or are not waiting for sports coverage).

Castbox

If you are looking for an app that contains all kinds of audio content, then you can go to Castbox in addition to TuneIn. This app offers podcasts, radio stations, audiobooks and meditation sessions. It is easy to use and also works with smart speakers. On the Apple Watch, you have a list of Now Playing, History, Playlist, and Downloads. The playback screen is kept pretty simple with buttons to play and skip forward and back. Castbox is free to download. As a paying subscriber you have no advertisements and you have some more personal settings. You can try this for 1 week, after that it costs 1 euro per month.

Workout++ for podcasts on Apple Watch

If you want to listen to podcasts while exercising, Workout++ might be a better option. This app has a special tab in the iPhone app that allows you to subscribe to all kinds of podcasts. If you tap an episode, you can transfer it to the Apple Watch. It will take a while for the episode to appear on your watch. Buttons in the app let you control playback and skip forward and back for 30 minutes to 1 minute.

When you start a workout on your Apple Watch, swipe left to view the podcast episodes, which you can play right away. You can also stream episodes to your Apple Watch, although you do have to deal with some waiting times due to buffering.

Would you rather listen to podcasts on the iPhone and iPad? We have separate tips and guides for that too:

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