The ‘best’ podcast listening app just got better

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Pocket Casts
Pocket Casts gets a big user experience update.
Photo: Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts, the paid app with more than half a million podcasts, is retooling its listening experience. An update to the popular app adds Siri Shortcuts support, improved search and discovery features, and a browse-and-play option without having to subscribe to a show.

Netflix Smart Downloads manages TV shows for you

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Netflix iPhone
Want to watch the next episode of your favorite show on the subway? Netflix Smart Downloads makes it easy by automatically replacing each watched episode with the next one.
Photo: Netflix

A new feature in the Netflix app will automatically download episodes of your favorite shows. This means they’re waiting on your phone or tablet when you’re ready.

Netflix already allows users to download episodes to watch later. The improvement announced today just makes it easier.

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Project Planning Pro
Project Planning Pro is a great tool for keeping your projects on track.
Photo: i2e Consulting

Get 5 years of unlimited cloud backup for less than a dollar a month [Deals]

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G-Cloud
It's time to take control of your backups.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Losing or breaking a phone can be seriously upsetting, especially when it means losing all the stuff you forgot to back up. G-Cloud’s app for iOS and Android makes it easy to back up all your devices’ files on Amazon’s super-secure AWS Cloud under a single account. This is easy and reliable cloud storage, with unlimited space for five years, and you can get it now for $29 at Cult of Mac Deals.

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Veer is a free app that streamlines the way we interact with our contacts.
Quick-launch app Veer expands on iOS 9's Siri suggestions, putting your contacts and actions closer than ever.
Photo: Code Atlas

The secret messaging app getting millions of downloads

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SOMA Messenger is gaining popularity around the world for free and secure communication.
SOMA Messenger is gaining popularity around the world for free and secure communication.
Photo: Instanza Inc.

Harvard classmates Lei Guo and Oliver Hayen created what could have been just another messaging app. They knew they had something unique, as every app development team claims, so they put it in the hands of 2,000 people and hit launch.

Within 30 days, their app SOMA Messenger had 10 million users and has been growing since. They’d love to brag about who is using it, except they can’t because of security measures built into the app that prevents even them from knowing SOMA’s users.

The sun sets on Sunrise as Microsoft combines app with Outlook

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Microsoft has a new outlook on its email and calendar app.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac
outlook-mobile-app
Microsoft has a new outlook on its email and calendar app. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

Microsoft is merging two of its most popular mobile apps into one: Outlook email and Sunrise calendar. Outlook has always been a favorite among email users while Sunrise rose to fame for being both free and feature-packed. Combined as one, Microsoft is hoping the move enables users to more seamlessly glide between emailing and calendar tasks.

The result isn’t really a huge departure from what Microsoft currently offers in Outlook, since Outlook already has your calendars built in. Instead, it’s more about refining navigation within the app while additionally bringing in some features from Sunrise.

The biggest change is that the sun is setting on Sunrise. After Microsoft bought the calendar app just this year, the company is already pulling the plug on it.

Watch out, Slack and Google Docs: Pingpad might be the next big thing

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The desktop view of Pingpad.
The desktop view of Pingpad.
Photo: Pingpad

There are greats apps for groups to complete tasks and great apps for group communication. In Pingpad, the group has a single app that allows for both.

Pingpad is a stew of many different first generation apps for notes, lists, calendars and instant messaging. In one space, a group can work across platforms on documents, chat back and forth and post pertinent links all in real time. Think Google Docs meets Whatsapp.

Meet the messaging app that will save your ass

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reTXT lets you edit messages or photos after you've already sent them.
Photo: reTXT
reTXT lets you edit messages or photos after you've already sent them.
reTXT lets you edit messages or photos after you’ve already sent them. Photo: reTXT

reTXT is a radical new messaging app that wants to fix everything wrong with online communication as it exists now. It landed back in April and includes a number of unique features — like being able to edit a message you already sent — all of which are currently patent pending. The app just updated today for iOS and Android with support for voice calling with end-to-end encryption as well.

Sticking out from the crowd of third-party messaging apps, I decided to take a closer look.

Pocket now recommends stories you might have missed

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The app update wants to fill your pocket with recommended stories and videos.
Photo: Pocket
pocket-6-recommendations
The app update wants to fill your pocket with recommended stories and videos. Photo: Pocket

Pocket updated its apps for Android and iOS to version 6.0, which now tailors to your interests. The release brings a new Recommendations tab that scans your activity in Pocket and, armed with that knowledge, presents you with new stories and other content you might find interesting.