Overcast, favored by many of us as an alternative to Apple’s own Podcasts app, has begun providing podcast privacy alerts for shows in the latest beta version …

There’s a new Privacy and Tracking link on the main show page, next to the graphic. Tap this, and you are taken to a privacy page. The NYT show The Daily, for example, two alerts are shown.

DAI (Dynamic ad insertion): May insert custom ads in each download, which may include local ads for your region or other personally targeted ads.

Tracking: May follow individual-listener behavior across multiple shows or the web, often to track responses to ads.

It also notes that other aggregated data may be collected.

Stats: Provides basic measurements such as total listeners, listener count by region, etc.

Hosting: Serves feeds or files, and may include basic measurements.

Developer Simon Støvring spotted the feature in the beta.

We outlined back in 2018 five benefits Overcast offered over Apple Podcasts at the time.

Apple is boosting privacy significantly in iOS 14. One of the headline features alerts users when an app reads the clipboard. In many cases, this will be perfectly innocent – an app anticipating that you copied something in order to paste it into the app – but it has thrown up concerns where there appeared to be no good reason for the app to do it.

The same applies to ad-tracking. I personally have no problem with an app, website, or podcast dropping a cookie to see whether I’ve been exposed to a particular ad or visited a webpage belonging to an advertiser in order to serve me more relevant ads. But I do absolutely support disclosure of this, and offering users the choice of whether or not they want to allow it. Podcasts privacy alerts seem a worthwhile option.

Overcast is a free download from the App Store, and the feature will hopefully make it over from the beta soon.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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