Overcast and Apple’s Podcasts Make the Apple Watch a Decent Podcast Player

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2018/10/15/overcast-and-apples-podcasts-make-the-apple-watch-a-decent-podcast-player/

With watchOS 5 and new apps, the Apple Watch comes into its own as a standalone podcast player. Apple has released an Apple Watch version of its Podcasts app, and developer Marco Arment has followed suit with Overcast.

Nice article. When I run, I typically always have my phone with me, but I did decide once to try out Overcast on the watch only after watchOS 5 was released. I had similar issues as well. At first, syncing did not work at all, but that finally started working. I found that playback worked great - if there was a reduction in audio quality on the watch, I couldn’t tell - but I did have one minor issue. Playback position did not sync from the watch back to Overcast on the iPhone, so I had to manually update things on the phone’s app.

I think it unlikely that I will use watch playback again, but for those that do want to listen on the watch without carrying a phone, I’d say it’s much better than it was before watchOS 5. Hopefully all of the minor issues will work out shortly; hopefully other apps like Pocket Casts and Castro will also deliver watch-based apps; and maybe Apple will let third party apps stream over LTE/cellular for those with the LTE watches.

I love running outside without a phone, and finally having podcasts officially supported on the Apple Watch is great. The workflow I used before watchOS 5 to get podcasts to sync to the watch’s music app was horrendous. It was some real dark ages iTunes manual file management hell.

I haven’t tried Overcast yet, but I agree with Julio on a pain point when using Apple’s Podcast app: the dreaded “you aren’t connected to WiFi” alert. It’s quite annoying, as I often don’t know which podcasts have had time to sync yet.

I hope Apple can address this issue. They could either add a playlist for “On this watch”, or just hide any episodes that can’t currently be played because there’s no connectivity. Those enhancements both seem simple enough, and I’m hoping this gets addressed soon, while Apple is still focused on it.