Instacast for Podcasts

March 25, 2011 by Gabe | [mmd] |

I listen to a large number of Podcasts. My queue of podcasts has almost doubled since Dan's 5by5 really started pumping out quality material. While I love the increased variety, managing and sycning has become a mjor stumbling block to getting the latest content. Even if I charge my iPhone all night, I still need to connect it to Mac to sync with iTunes every morning before I leave for the office.


I heard about Instacast for iOS about two weeks ago. It sounded intriguing but I was skeptical. I tried using the Audible app for audio books, but I hated having them outside of my iPod app and having to manually select and download books. I figured I would have the same issue with Instacast.
After nearly two weeks of using Instacast for Podcasts, I have stopped syncing all but two podcasts with iTunes (I keep an archive of all This American Life podcasts and I subscribe to the Shawn Blanc podcast)

Instacast has a very easy workflow. Here's how I am using it. When I first launched it, I added podcasts that I already had on my iPod. This is very straight forward. Instacast reads the list of podcasts in your library and offers to add them to your streaming library of favorites. Unfortunately there is no "Add All" function, so it is a bit tedious at first. It is still a fairly easy process.

Once your podcasts have been added to your favorites, you can browse each podcast episode or browse at a higher level and view all of your podcast "shows." The number of un-listened to episodes is displayed next to the podcast name. There is also a smart list of all un-listened to podcast episodes for all shows. This is great if you want to just listen to all of the new podcast one after another.

I have only found one issue with Instacast and it is a weakness shared by all stream apps such as Pandora. If you lose network connectivity for any length of time the podcast playback ends and there is no indication of the problem. If you are familiar with streaming apps then it will not be a surprise, but I would not recommend it to inexperienced users.


Overall the application is a fine addition to any iOS device. It really is the kind of app that Apple should have embedded in the iPod app.