I’ve written dozens of articles on 9to5Mac about podcast apps like Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts, and Overcast. One of the challenges I’ve had during a period where I am getting out of the house less (no commutes to work, less travel, etc.) is keeping up with all of the podcasts I normally listen to in a given week. It has created a slight amount of stress in my life as new shows just keep showing up without the time to listen to them. A few weeks ago, I imported all of my podcasts into Castro to see if its Queue/Inbox functionality could help me “reclaim” my podcast inbox.
The entire podcast subscription process works where once you subscribe to a show, you get every new episode downloaded. Of the nearly hundred shows I subscribe to, there are probably ten that are “must listen” for me, meaning that I won’t go on to the next episode until I listen to the current one. The vast majority of the shows I listen to are ones that I might listen to one out of every five depending on the topic or guest. With most podcast apps, every episode is downloaded, and then I have to decide if I want to listen to it. I would wake every morning with at least ten new podcasts to choose to delete or keep. I would have to remove the episodes I didn’t want on a one-by-one basis.
The way that Castro works is the exact opposite of how most podcast apps work. Once you subscribe to a show, new episodes go into the Inbox. Then you can choose to add the ones you want to your Queue and clear the rest with one tap. If you have shows you know that you’ll listen to, you can set every episode of that show to go straight to the Queue and bypass the Inbox.
For the ten shows that I know will get listened to, I have them set to go straight to the top of my Queue. For the other shows (which is the bulk of my subscription list), I can browse the Inbox a few times a day, grab the episodes that look interesting to me, and then clear the rest. I know this sounds like a super simple approach, but it’s been a breath of fresh air for me as I was becoming overwhelmed with the number of shows I had subscribed to over the years. I love podcasts. The main problem I have is that I need more time in the day to listen to all of the great shows.
Should other apps copy this functionality?
What I love about Castro’s implementation is that it takes something standard with all podcast apps then builds on top of it. It’s not trying to change the way podcasts work, nor do podcast providers have to implement something new on their end. It took an existing problem and rethought how an app could handle it for the user.
Castro has all of the functionality that you’d expect from a podcast app with variable playback, smart speed, voice boost, a robust directory, and much more. Castro Plus ($18.99/year) is required for some of its features, but it’s well worth the premium upgrade for how much I use the app. I applaud the Castro team for thinking outside the box to solve a problem I was having with my day-to-day podcast experience.
Castro is a free download on the App Store.
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