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Podcasts Toolkit: the best iPhone apps and tips for enjoying and making podcasts

Get great podcasts in your life – and even try creating some yourself

Time was you’d need a radio show to broadcast your thoughts to the world – and a radio to listen to other people do the same. Now, all you need is an iPhone, due to the magic of podcasts.

In this Toolkit, we outline how to get into listening and making podcasts, along with recommending the best apps and accessories for doing so.

Get started listening to podcasts

Podcasts app

Try new things: There are a lot of podcasts out there, covering even the tiniest niches. So try out one-off episodes on subjects that take your fancy rather than focusing solely on the biggest names.

Optimize playback: An awful lot of podcasts feature people talking. Explore your player’s options to boost spoken word, and to increase playback speed/skip pauses, so you can get through shows more rapidly.

Take it offline: Because podcasts are audio files, they don’t take long to download. That makes them ideal for keeping you entertained when you’re away from internet connectivity, be that on a plane or in the wilderness.

Don’t get locked in: Only rarely are podcasts exclusive to a service. The vast majority can be played in any player. But favor players with OPML import/export, so your subscriptions aren’t locked up should you choose to switch.

Get started making podcasts

The latest version of Ferrite, on iPhone.

Find a niche: Because there are so many podcasts out there, try to stand out. Think of something you are passionate about and cover angles that other podcasts don’t.

Prize clarity: Work with your setup and your voice until your words come across cleanly and clearly. Listeners won’t stick with even the best material if it sounds like it’s being mumbled from another room.

Edit judiciously: A criticism leveled at many podcasts is they’re too long. Learn to edit yours down to the really good bits. Ideally, keep episodes to 30 minutes. If needed, split deep-dives into several parts.

Share your work: Doing art for yourself is valid. But if you want other people to hear your podcast, don’t rely on them discovering it in their player. Use social media and a blog to spread the word.

Download these apps


Overcast (free): Apple’s Podcasts app is fine, but Overcast is better. It has industry-leading per-podcast playback settings, excellent playlist and queuing options, and a host of other handy features.

Hark Audio (free): We used to love Moonbeam’s endless feed of podcast clips – ideal for discovery. Hark isn’t quite that, but it does give you curated bite-sized chunks to see if you’ll like the whole thing.

Shortcast Club (free): This is the place for very short podcasts – creating and listening. It in part feels like a social network based around audio, but it’s useful for finding new (and short) podcasts to subscribe to.

Ferrite Recording Studio (free + IAP): On the surface, a voice recording app. Underneath, a full-featured multi-track editor, geared specifically toward podcast creation. For free, you get the basics. Pay and you could run a pro-grade podcast with the thing.

Connect this hardware

AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro ($249/£229): Perfect for listening to talky podcasts – even if you only use one AirPod while walking around, to leave your other ear free to track the world around you.

Logitech Yeti ($129.99/£119.99): An excellent and versatile microphone that has great sound quality. It also offers modes geared towards different recording types, one of which is suited to two-person chats.

Shure MV88+ Video Kit ($249.95/£249.95): Should you want to capture video and audio (podcasts are increasingly common on YouTube), this all-in-one set-up gives you everything you need.

Apple Pencil (from $79/£79): The larger iPad display is a boon when working on podcasts. Get yourself Apple’s scribbling stick if you want to efficiently edit with precision.