As one of our readers discovered, keeping your podcasts synced between your various gadgets can be difficult, depending on how you choose to consume them. If you've run into similar trouble, we'll see if we can help out.
As a user of both Android and iOS, is there a way to have my podcast feed synced between both iOS and Android and be able to just start listening where I left off on either device? I think Stitcher might be the only option for this, but having Amazon Echo as well, it would be nice to ask my Echo to play where I left off as well.
Thanks for the great work and any help you can provide!
Hi, Darrell! As an avid podcast listener and owner of both iOS and Android devices, I feel your pain. Starting your favourite podcast on one device and finishing it up on another shouldn't feel like rocket science. And while I've got a Google Home, I also use my voice assistant to play the latest episodes of my favourite shows.
Here's how you can, too.
Try Pocket Casts for Cross-Platform Syncing
Some podcast apps allow you to listen on either iOS or Android, as well as the web. Luckily, you can easily sync your podcasts between the two mobile operating systems if you use the right app. There aren't many options to choose from, but you've already named one. Stitcher is indeed useful for multi-platform listening, and syncs your podcasts and listening position across devices.
Podcasts have become one of the best forms of entertainment around, but it's tough keeping track of the ones you like, ditching episodes you're not interested in, or even managing what you want to hear. Pocket Casts is one of the best apps for helping you organise your podcasts, but you'll need to experiment with it a bit to get it to work for you.
That being said, I find podcast app Pocket Casts more user-friendly and reliable than Stitcher. The cross-platform app can sync your podcasts between your iOS and Android devices, supports controls via Android Wear and Apple Watch wearables, and even offers a web-friendly experience (after a one-time $US9 ($13) fee).
What's more, you can schedule your podcast updates to happen either over Wi-Fi or overnight, adjust playback speed, and build your own playlists either manually or using filters. Unfortunately, while it supports playback via Google Home, there's no support for Amazon Echo yet.
Podcast Listening via Voice Assistants
Now, about your listening to podcasts through your Amazon Echo. It's pretty easy to get your Echo to start playing the latest episode of your favourite show — perfect for news podcasts — but a bit more complicated to listen to a show's back catalogue. Echo gets its podcast list from TuneIn, which features over five million podcasts in its repertoire.
You can use the Alexa app to control TuneIn podcasts on your phone, but the interface is terribly organised and features obscure categories mixed in with more traditional podcast genres. It's not exactly a joy to use, but you can search for podcasts by name and pick the episode from there.
Want to listen to your favourite fictional community radio podcast? Just say "Alexa, play 'Welcome to Night Vale' podcast" to play it on your Echo. If you need to go back you can ask it to play the previous episode, but you can only advance (or rewind) one episode at a time. It won't remember your place or sync with your other devices, however, so if you decide to revisit your podcast listening at a later date you'll be back to where you started.
Bluetooth Is Always an Option (Unless it's Not)
Alexa still hasn't been officially released in Australia. (Hurry up Amazon!) But for those who went down the import route, the original and arguably best smart home assistant just added a neat new feature - you can now ask it to set the mood for you.
Of course, you might want to listen to an episode released a few weeks back. If you want more control you can use your own podcast app, in this case Stitcher or Pocket Casts. How do you get it to play on your Echo? Simple: pair your phone and Echo via Bluetooth.
Tell your Echo to "pair Bluetooth" to have it connect to your smartphone. From there you can treat your Echo like a normal speaker. You won't be able to control playback with your voice, but at least your podcasts are booming through your living room.
While Google Home doesn't support Bluetooth playback (yet), you can also play your podcasts by asking your virtual assistant. You can also play podcasts using supported podcast apps like Pocket Casts.
Just say "Hey Google, play Kotaku Splitscreen from Pocket Casts" to enjoy some riveting conversation about Final Fantasy XII (I assume you're a fan of Final Fantasy XII).
Yeah, there's much to be done when it comes to syncing podcasts on every audio-friendly device, but right now a combination of the right voice assistant plus the right podcast app should solve your podcast syncing woes.