I’ve been frustrated by Apple’s Podcasts app on my iPhone, so I decided to try InstaCast on the recommendation of a friend on twitter.  Initial impressions:

  • The first thing I noticed was that when you launch it for the first time, it doesn’t ask if you want to import Podcast subscriptions from iTunes or the Podcasts app.  There is a way to do this but it only imports the subscription URLs, not which episodes have already been played or not.
  • The app has a new UI optimized for iOS7… which means that the online docs don’t seem to show screenshots that match the app
  • Some podcasts only show the most recent episode. Not clear if I can get the old ones
  • I hate having podcasts in the cloud. This is one of my two main frustrations with the PodCasts app (the other is it deferring to the Music App). I do not want my data plan sucked dry pulling podcasts over the cellular network when part of the reason I got the 32G iPhone in the first place is so that I could download podcasts and listen to them when out of range of wifi. InstaCast can download episodes, but the UI to download them is a bit cryptic. Comparephotophoto
    Clicking on the cloud icon in Podcasts seems intuitive by comparison. In InstaCast, you have to click on the menu in the bottom right, select podcasts, and then click the download icon that appears in the bottom bar after you’ve selected the menu icon. What is worse it that the top item that shows as ready to play has not actually been downloaded yet!
  • If you want to see which podcasts have actually been downloaded, I think you have to go to Lists > Downloaded… which you can’t filter by source. You can’t tell by selecting an item in the subscription list and looking at the download icon. It doesn’t gray out even if that podcast was already downloaded.
  • When you click on the menu icon, you get a Select All option. But as soon as you select one, the option to select all goes away. It doesn’t change to Unselect All. So if you select half of a list and then change your mind, you have to cancel and then come back to Select All.

So far, I’m not impressed.