The Apple Podcasts app comes pre-installed on iOS devices, and the company plans to expand your original podcast library overtime. Of course, other third-party podcast apps work just as well as Apple Podcasts, if not better. In this guide, we compare one of these applications (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 new to podcasting. But as you get deeper into your podcast journey and your appetite for more content grows, you’ll need an app that offers advanced features that help you search, discover, and customize playback. That’s why it’s important to choose a podcast app that offers the best features. If you’re caught between Apple Podcasts and Castbox, this comparison will help you make the right decision.
Apple Podcasts and Castbox do a fantastic job of making everything available to the user without too much work, thanks to the sticky navigation bar at the bottom in both apps.
If you use Apple Music on your iPhone or iPad, the design, interface, and simplicity of the Apple Podcasts app should interest you.
By default, Apple Podcasts and Castbox use a light/white theme. They are also compatible with Apple’s system-wide dark mode. This means when you enable dark mode on your iPhone or iPad. Both apps can automatically switch to a dark theme.
However, I like that Castbox allows users to customize the app theme without using the device’s system theme. There is no option to customize the app 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 primarily organized by your iTunes region and Apple ID. There is no option in the app to customize your content preference. 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 struggle with the same.
Castbox, on the other hand, does a better job of discovering and recommending content. Like Apple Podcasts, Castbox’s Discover section also has a ton of content grouped into different categories based on your location. Castbox lets you change your region directly in the app (Personal > Settings > Region).
Plus, Castbox lets you discover new and 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 through the comments section.
Castbox also improves search when it comes to 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 displays the popularity of search terms and their performance over time.
Another feature to love is Castbox’s 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 them again. Saves you the stress of retyping.
While Apple Podcasts’ search function is functional and efficient, the Search section is bland and unremarkable. You can’t get ideas or inspiration from other people’s searches. Worse, the Apple Podcasts app doesn’t keep track 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 Trending 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 offer a similar design experience, it’s surprising that the latter lacks these vital features.
Both Apple Podcasts and Castbox have the basic playback controls needed to listen to a podcast episode: Play/Pause button; forward and back buttons; a search bar; and a menu button. You can also control the volume directly on the playback screen. For Castbox, you’ll have to rely on physical volume buttons.
That said, the Castbox playback dashboard comes with more advanced controls and features. 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 playback screen.
Castbox’s sharing feature is one of my favorite things about the app. When you press the share button, Castbox gives you the option to share:
- the whole episode you play
- the show whose episode you are playing
- the current episode with the exact position (minutes and seconds) of reading.
Castbox also offers advanced playback features to help enhance your podcast listening experience. Volume Boost will increase game volume beyond normal. Meanwhile, Trim Silence will reduce playback time by removing unnecessary pauses and gaps at the beginning (or end) of podcast episodes.
Ready to launch
Both podcast apps end up getting the job done. If you don’t care about fancy stuff or don’t want to clog up your device’s storage by downloading new apps, you should use Apple’s native podcast app. However, for heavy podcast listeners/lovers, Castbox is recommended. Compared to Apple Podcasts, Castbox’s advanced features ensure a better listening experience. Plus, Castbox’s recommendations are excellent. Plus, you can easily discover new content. You’ll also like the app’s multi-faceted sharing feature and the Community feature, which lets you interact with other podcast listeners.
Next : Google Podcasts is now available on iPhone. How does this compare to the native Podcasts app? Find out in the article linked below.