The Apple Podcasts app is preinstalled on iOS devices, and the company plans to expand its original podcast library over time. Of course, other third-party podcast apps work as well as Apple podcasts, if not better. In this guide, we compare one of these apps (Castbox) with Apple’s native podcast app to see how they compare and which one is better.
The simplicity of the Apple Podcasts app is enough to get you started as a beginner or a podcast beginner. But as you deepen your podcast journey and your appetite for more content grows, you’ll need an app that offers advanced features that help you find, discover, and personalize reading. This is why it is important to choose a podcast application that offers the best features. If you’re caught between Apple Podcasts and Castbox, this comparison will help you make the right decision.
The Apple and Castbox podcasts do a fantastic job of making everything available to the user without much work, thanks to the sticky navigation bar at the bottom in both apps.
If you’re using Apple Music on your iPhone or iPad, the design, interface, and simplicity of the Apple Podcasts app should resonate.
By default, Apple and Castbox podcasts use a clear / white theme. They are also compatible with the dark mode of the Apple system. This means that when you activate dark mode on your iPhone or iPad. Both apps can automatically switch to a dark theme.
However, I like the fact that Castbox allows users to customize the app theme without using the system-wide device theme. There is no option to customize the application interface individually; you’re stuck with the system-wide theme.
Discover podcasts and shows
While you can discover new shows on Apple podcasts using the Search section, the content in the Browse section is mainly organized by your iTunes region and Apple ID. There is no option in the app to customize your content preferences. To get content recommendations from a particular region, you need to change your iTunes country and Apple ID.
I find it limiting and exhausting. And I’m not alone; other Apple Podcasts users who don’t find their local content interesting are struggling with the same.
Castbox, on the other hand, does a better job of discovering and recommending content. Like Apple podcasts, the Discover section of Castbox also offers a ton of content grouped into different categories based on your location. Castbox allows you to modify your region directly in the application (Personal> Settings> Region).
In addition, Castbox allows you to discover new interesting podcasts in the Community section. You can discover podcasts by following hashtags, browsing comments from other Castbox users, and following trending shows. You can also join conversations via the comments section.
Castbox also improves search for content discovery. In the search section of the app, you can discover new content based on what other podcast listeners / Castbox users are looking for. For each content category, Castbox also shows the popularity of search terms and their performance over time.
Another feature to like is the Castbox search history. This is a subsection of the app’s search functionality where you will find previously searched keywords. You can tap any term in the Search History section to search for them again. Saves you the stress of retyping.
Although the search function for Apple podcasts is functional and efficient, the Search section is bland and trite. You can’t get ideas or inspiration from other people’s research. Even worse, the Apple Podcasts app does not keep a record of your previous search.
And this is quite surprising because the Apple Music app has a recent section where the last 3 search terms are stored. Likewise, there is a Trends section to discover new music or artists based on what other Apple Music users are looking for in your area. Given that the Apple Music and Apple Podcasts apps provide a similar design experience, it’s surprising that the latter lacks these essential features.
Apple and Castbox podcasts have the basic playback controls necessary to listen to a podcast episode: Play / Pause button; front and back buttons; a search bar; and a menu button. You can also control the volume directly on the playback screen. For Castbox, you have to rely on the physical volume buttons.
That said, the Castbox playback dashboard comes with more advanced controls and functionality. For example, there is an additional menu that allows users to like / favorite, download or share a podcast episode. You can add an episode to a playlist or create a new playlist directly from the play screen.
One of my favorite things about the app is the Castbox Share feature. When you press the share button, Castbox gives you the opportunity to share:
- the whole episode that you play
- the show you are playing the episode
- the current episode with the exact position (minutes and seconds) played.
Castbox also has advanced playback features to enhance your podcast listening experience. Volume Boost will increase the volume of play beyond normal. Meanwhile, Trim Silence will shorten the playing time by removing unnecessary pauses and spaces at the start (or end) of podcast episodes.
Google Podcasts is now available on the iPhone. How does it compare to the native Podcasts app? Find out in the linked article below.
Last updated on June 9, 2020
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