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Load any audio file into Castro by dropping it into an iCloud folder

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Podcasting is like radio, only way better castro
Podcasting is like radio, only way better.
Photo: Tom Page/Flickr

Castro, one of our favorite podcast apps, just added two really great new features that aren’t yet available elsewhere. The first is the ability to load any audio file into the app, just by dropping it into a folder in your iCloud Drive. The second lets you preselect the podcast chapters you want to listen to.

How to save any audio file to iPhone without a Mac

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We can do better than this.
We can do better than this.
Photo: Guillaume Flament/Flickr CC

Did you ever download an audio file to your iPhone, and then wonder just how you are supposed to listen to it? Maybe you have a few recorded lectures you want to listen to on a plane, or you have some audiobooks you’d like to listen to on the beach. The bad news is a that you can’t add music or any other audio to your Music app library without a Mac or a PC.

Since iOS 11, you’ve been able to download and save audio files in the Files app, but good luck listening to them. It’s like listening to audio in the Finder on your Mac, with no way to save your place, or really control the playback much at all.

But there’s a better way. The Overcast podcast app, which is pretty excellent in general, also lets you upload your own audio files, and then it treats them as regular podcast episodes. We also have a more complex method that takes a bit of setup, but can be used with any podcast app, including Apple’s own. Here’s how to use them.

Newton, Bias Amp 2, Overcast privacy, and other amazing apps of the week

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Awesome Apps
'Appy weekend.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

This week we look at the amazing new Bias Amp 2 for guitarists, which looks just awful on the big-screen iPad Pro, we see how the Newton email app has banished the “sent” mail folder, we check out the new privacy features in the Overcast podcast app, and find out how to duplicate our entire Instagram history on our own microblog.

Take your podcast listening up a notch with Overcast [50 Essential iOS Apps #9]

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Overcast offers a simple interface and great features. It's the best podcast app around.
Overcast offers a simple interface and great features.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

50 Essential iOS Apps: Overcast best podcast app Podcasts are a great way to stay informed and entertained, or just to pass time. The number of podcasts is booming, and if you listen efficiently you can hear even more of them.

With the Overcast podcast app for iOS, you get a great podcast listening experience along with some awesome time-saving features.

How to load and play podcasts offline on Apple Watch

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Apple Watch
You can use third-party apps to load podcasts on your Apple Watch.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

A lot of people who enjoy listening to podcasts or music while jogging will agree that it’s inconvenient to carry an iPhone. While music lovers can sync playlists from their iPhone to their Apple Watch, Apple’s Podcast app doesn’t do the same for podcasts.

That’s unfortunate. However, it’s simple to send podcasts to Apple Watch using third-party apps.

Overcast app lets you send podcasts to Apple Watch

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Like podcasts? Like Apple Watch? Then this is the app for you!
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Superior iOS podcast app Overcast has issued a new 3.1 update, allowing users to send individual podcasts to their Apple Watch to listen to when they’re not in the immediate vicinity of their iPhone.

This is something that can’t be done with Apple’s official Podcasts app, even though users can send audio files from the iOS Music app.

How to use Overcast to maximize your podcast fun

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Overcast is the best podcast app for iOS.
Overcast is the best podcast app for iOS.
Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

The best podcast app for iOS — Overcast — got a huge update today, and best of all, its creator has decided to drop the in-app purchases and make it completely free for everyone.

The popular Overcast 2.0 app now includes streaming, chapters, storage management smart speed and tons of other optimizations. Even though there aren’t any in-app purchases, creator Marco Arment has included a patronage option where customers can support the app with a small monthly donation.

With all the free new features, there’s really no reason not to use Overcast over Apple’s Podcast. One of the app’s best features  is that it makes listening to podcasts a bit more social by allowing users to recommend podcast episodes to followers.

Here’s how to get the most out of Overcast recommendations:

Overcast, the best podcasting app, now works on iPad and CarPlay

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Overcast is now on iPad and Carplay. Photo: Cult of Mac
Overcast is now on iPad and Carplay. Photo: Cult of Mac

Of the many podcasting apps available for iOS, Overcast on iOS is one of our favorites. Programmed by Instapaper and The Magazine founder Marco Arment, it’s a slick podcasting app with some unique tricks up its sleeves, like smart speed, voice boost, and variable playback speed. We love it. There’s only one problem. It’s been iPhone-only. At least until now.

App Watch: iOS apps that are minimal, slo-mo, vintage and bespoke

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FULLSCREEN

Movies, writing and photos. If you like any of these things, then you’re going to love this week’s App Watch. We have apps for slo-mo, retro, Drobo and to help you find that lost photo.

Studio Neat’s Slow Fast Slow is an iPhone video app that lets you shoot and edit short clips, then dicker with their speed. Record at up to 120 frames per second (when using an iPhone 5s) or 60 fps (everything else), then manipulate the playback speed by dragging the timeline (a literal line at the bottom of the screen) up and down, left and right. It also has pitch control (keeps the sound normal even as the picture changes) and can flip video and play it backward. As slick as you’d expect from Studio Neat, and just $2.

Prolost will whip you up your own set of vintage, retro-style photo-editing presets for Lightroom. It’s kind of a better version of Prolost’s own Plastic Bullet iOS app, where you can just keep tapping a button and cycle through almost infinite variations of filters. Only instead of infinite options, you set up 300 presets, specially generated for you when you order. I use the Prolost LR presets already, and find them excellent, so these should be worth a try. From $40

Draft Control will track changes for any app you write in. Run it alongside your text editor or word processor of choice and it saves versions and tracks changes. You can compare any two versions with a visual editor, and you can find them in a constantly updated timeline at the side of the main window. It’s free to try, and you can unlock it for just $20.

MacPhun’s Lost Photos does one thing: It connects to your email and dredges up all the photos that have slipped down the back of the virtual sofa. You probably have zillions of old, forgotten pictures in your Gmail or wherever, and Lost Photos will find them and show them to you, then let you share them straight from the app, via Twitter, Facebook or – in a fit of recursion – email. Free to try, $3 for unlimited photos.

Taxonomy makes moving files easy. The window has source folders on the left, target folders on the right and a giant file preview in the middle. Zip through your files and simply click a target folder to send files there. It’s great for wrangling a whole lot of files, sending them off to different places or doing routine filing operations. Get it on the Mac App Store for just $5.

Poof! With the wave of its software-update-generating wand, Drobo has added Time Machine support to its redundant multi-disk storage devices. Now you can specify how much of your storage you want to be given over to Time Machine, and your Drobo will make only that much available for your Mac’s incremental backups. Normally, Time Machine would totally take over the disk like a cancer, growing until it was completely full. The update is free.

EditReady claims to be the fastest video transcoder, like, ever. It will crunch your video into a different format in around half the time of rivals, and it does it with an ultrasimple, minimal interface. This interface belies the software's power, though, as you can do anything from editing a clip’s metadata to picking one of many pro-level destination formats, right from EditReady's main window. How much for this fast pro tool? Just $50.

Folia is an impressive collaboration app from the folks behind the iAnnotate PDF app. It comes on iOS, Mac, Windows and Android, and it’s a streamlined word processor that lets you mark up and annotate your documents. Better, these annotations live in the cloud, separate from but married to the document, so they persist even as you update the source files. You can also attach more documents to any section of your master file. To be honest, I can’t quite understand it yet, but it looks rad, and costs nothing.

Overcast (no, not that Overcast) is a beautiful B&W weather app for the iPhone. If you were to write the weather forecast in your favorite text editor, and then sprinkle it with some high-quality monochrome clip art to represent clouds, rain and sun, then you’d have Overcast. Except that unlike Overcast, your RTFD document wouldn’t offer hyperlocal forecasts from Forecast.io. Free.

Overcast is a hot new podcast app for the iPhone from Marco Arment

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Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 9.26.11 PM

About a month ago, I said on Twitter that I was looking for a new podcast app to try. I’ve been a user of Instacast on iOS and OS X for a long time, but recently the app’s cloud sync has become too unreliable and glitchy.

I got a lot of suggestions, but ended up settling with Apple’s own Podcasts app. It didn’t address several things I wanted out of a podcast client, but it was the most reliable and easy to use option from what I came across.

And now, lo and behold, the most highly-anticipated new podcast app in a long time has come out. Today Marco Arment released Overcast, a simple and yet powerful podcast app for the iPhone. I’ve given it a test run, and although there is plenty of room for improvement, I’m pretty impressed.