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Overcast 2.0 adds streaming, podcast chapter marks, Split View, more

Overcast 3D TouchOvercast 2.0 is out today and adds several nice updates to the popular podcast client. The app now includes streaming, so you don’t have to download episodes to listen to them: just stream the file contents as you go. This comes in handy for people with low-storage phones but also just helps everyone listen to shows faster, without having to wait for a 50-100MB episode to finishing downloading.

Overcast 2

Overcast 2 also includes support for podcast chapter marks. When podcast authors include this metadata, Overcast will now show this information in its detail view. Tapping on a chapter title jumps to that point in the show. The app also displays the current chapter title at the bottom of the screen, which provides some nice context if you are picking up in the middle of show from where you left off.

Moreover, all features of Overcast are now free. The previous ‘freemium’ model has been dropped as Overcast has moved to a donation ‘Patreon’-esque model where you can optionally subscribe for $2.99 for 3 months. However, it is completely optional and there are currently no features exclusively available to paying users.

Overcast Split View

Although streaming is the headline addition, there are a lot of smaller changes including support for iOS 9 iPad Split View and Slide Over multitasking plus Smart Speed optimizations. You can download Overcast from the App Store for free.

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  1. Great, so we finally have streaming. This is great for those of us who have limited storage (not a day goes by without regretting my choice for a 16gb phone).

    However, what about those of us who have limited storage AND a limited data plan?

    Well it looks like Marc didn’t consider this (rather large) demographic. There’s no option to turn off streaming over cellular, so if you don’t want Overcast accidentally eating up your data plan, you either have to be careful to download everything in advance of leaving your wifi connection, or disable cellular data entirely in system settings. But this also disables sharing, feed refresh, web links, etc. And also causes Overcast to stall as it attempts to stream an episode but is denied access to cellular (Downcast handles this scenario by skipping non-downloaded episodes until it reaches one that is available offline).

    The problem is confounded by an inability to filter a playlist to only show downloaded episodes.

    So it’s a step forward and a step backward. I’ll stick with Downcast for the time being, though I’ve been wanting to move to Overcast as I always found its interface more attractive (though with those Emoji cloud and star icons, I am starting to wonder…)

    • Patrick he did considered it, on The Talk Show, he explained how it works, basically if you hit play and are on Cellular it will just work, cause he assumes that you want to listen to it right now regardless of wether or not your on cellular, but it won’t download from cellular in the background unless you enable it, hope this helps.

      • Will definitely check out that episode of The Talk Show. My concern is that when I’m listening to a downloaded episode when I’m away from WIFI, and then the player automatically advances to the next episode, it will start streaming that over cellular, thereby eating into my data plan. That seems to be what’s happening from my initial tests, but I’d be delighted to be proven wrong (again, Downcasts solution to skip on to the next downloaded episode is a nice solution).

    • Anthony Casaldi - 7 years ago

      You can turn off data streaming by app in the system settings of iOS. It would have been redundant to include it in Overcats’s settings as well.

      • Yes, that was my initial thought too. But unfortunately disabling cellular access has a number of drawbacks as mentioned in my first comment: no sharing, no feed refresh, model popups from iOS reminding me that cellular is disabled for the app, the app just stalling when it reaches the next (offline) episode in a playlist.

        Quite surprised though that visiting web links from the show notes still works – I guess Safari View Controller bypasses the app specific cellular setting.

    • Rolf Haug (@rolfhaug) - 7 years ago

      limited storage AND limited data is definitely unfortunate – I was in your situation with the 6, I ended up buying a 64 on eBay then selling mine to cover the cost. I’m loving this update though. Earlier this week I got frustrated with the Apple Podcasts app, it was telling me certain podcasts were “unavailable at this time” and then if I tried a few minutes later it would play, but sometimes not. This is literally with podcasts I may have been playing already, got in the car, and then tried to start again, and it said it was unavailable. I discovered Overcast and found the volume boost feature alone was enough for me to pay to upgrade. I was literally going to buy it today. So glad I waited!

      • Yes, I get that message from the Apple Podcasts app pretty often. I assumed it was when the mp3/m4a was no longer being hosted but was still listed in the podcast feed. Best thing about that app is the search functionality – it seems to be the only podcast app to do a decent job of searching within podcast descriptions and show notes. So I tend to use it for single episodes that I add from the search results. All my subscriptions are in Downcast (and soon Overcast if it gets any better at managing cellular data).

    • Scott Douglas Edwards - 7 years ago

      You can turn off cellular data on any app by going to settings–>cellular and turning off cellular data access to any app that you want.

  2. It’s a dollar a month, not $2.99 per month…

    The tiers are:
    $2.99 – 3 months
    $5.99 – 6 months
    $11.99 – 12 months

  3. kensation - 7 years ago

    Has anyone run into the issue, when using Overcast, where podcasts no longer update? I can go directly to iTunes and see all new episodes, but when I check my subscription in Overcast or try to resubscribe using the iTunes podcast URL, it only shows old episodes.

  4. Nice Marco, nice.

  5. Still doesn’t support authenticated (paid subscription) podcasts. Too bad; it’s pretty.

  6. Bob Cassidy - 7 years ago

    By far my favorite app for listening to podcasts because of the Smart Speed feature, but it doesn’t refresh well with Huffduffer which is something I use daily and is a deal breaker. I think it has something to do with the way it refreshes on the server side.


Avatar for Benjamin Mayo Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.