It’s not just you—the Apple podcast app is a disaster

By no means earlier than has a telephone replace felt extra like a blatant act of hostility.

As I’d final left my Apple podcasting app, on pause after catching up on You’re Incorrect About whereas washing the dishes final evening, all my audio information had been in a pristine, simply accessible queue. I woke as much as discover them decimated to a smoldering rubble. Nothing is in its proper place, many podcasts have just plain vanished, and the harm wasn’t even the results of a glitch, however quite an ostensible enchancment. (You understand how, in a Dadaist sense, completely destroying one thing can rely as bettering it?)

I wasn’t the one sufferer crying foul within the wake of the iOS 14.5 replace both. The truth is, I used to be late, having resisted the overhaul out of sheer laziness. It seems individuals have been upset about it since late April.

Complaining about an app replace is a routine a part of Twenty first-century dwelling. Any change to at least one’s valuable telephone settings invitations a rigmarole of concern. Beneath all of it, although, the true criticism is virtually all the time primarily in regards to the nature of change itself. Having to place in a little additional effort to navigate an app that has turn out to be second nature provides a tiny additional edge to at least one’s day. Principally, it may be a chore to relearn an interface you already know. However after some preliminary grumbling, most individuals merely adapt till, earlier than they realize it, the method begins once more with the arrival of the following replace.

This time, it’s totally different. The Apple podcasts replace is legit horrible.

On the plus facet, the redesigned present pages are quite smooth, and curated collections on the Search tab assist with discoverability. However whereas previous bugs within the app have included skipping playback, inaccurate time stamps, skewed UI components, and unresponsive scrolling, the issues with this replace are, confoundingly, by design.

The podcast library, now structured just like Apple’s Music app, is comprised of 5 sections: Lately Up to date, which is the touchdown web page; Newest Episodes; Reveals; Downloaded; and Saved. None of those looks like a great default podcast storage unit.

It was once that merely downloading one episode of a podcast lodged the present in your library, like a sesame seed in your gumline, till you had been able to floss it out. You would click on a cloud icon and earmark the episode in your library. It wasn’t downloaded but and taking on information storage; it was just there, able to go, within the occasion you had a Wi-Fi connection and had been within the temper. Put up-update, nonetheless, downloading an episode places it within the Downloaded part; getting it into Reveals or Lately Up to date, nonetheless, is achieved solely by subscribing.

That implies that any podcast episodes that customers might need earmarked however hadn’t but subscribed to had been robotically wiped off of their telephones with the replace. If the whole lot in that purgatorial area between Shopping and Downloaded had robotically rolled over into Saved within the new model, the change might need been virtually comprehensible. However it didn’t. Now, tons of of podcast episodes I’d meant to hearken to, painstakingly curated over time, typically by combing via a 500-episode present library, are just mud within the pod-wind. Eliminating a lot private effort feels downright disrespectful.

Now, it definitely helps creators for the app to steer individuals towards subscriptions. Nonetheless, generally one wants a few test-drives to resolve whether or not to carry a present house. As somebody who is perennially, concurrently taking a number of test-drives with a number of reveals, my Reveals and Newest Episodes sections now appear like victims of Thanos’s Snap. It’s kind of good to have an excuse to start out constructing a podcast library once more, however I’d want it’s my option to make, quite than an end result thrust upon me by Apple.

As I attempted to rebuild my library, I bumped into different difficulties. As an illustration, there’s no strategy to soar from reveals in Downloaded to the web page the place that present lives as a way to subscribe to it. Customers have to maneuver over to the Browse operate, making the restoration chore much more tedious. It’s a tiny gripe, however irksome nonetheless—particularly since different replace options appear to railroad customers into subscribing extra. It’s such an simply preventable oversight! The shortage of care put into this replace is frankly flabbergasting.

As for the reveals to which customers do find yourself subscribing, each the Lately Up to date and Reveals sections now home their complete again catalog. The one straightforward strategy to soar to the episode you truly wish to hearken to if it’s not the newest is by going to Downloaded. And upon eradicating an episode from that part, it nonetheless stays lurking in each Lately Up to date and Reveals. That satisfying, itch-scratched feeling of deleting a completed podcast, like crossing off one thing from one’s to-do checklist, is now sophisticated by the truth that customers will possible scroll previous that episode once more many occasions.

The entire expertise of curating and listening to reveals is now utterly depersonalized. This new replace makes it all the time appear as if you’ve got borrowed another person’s telephone to hearken to a podcast on it. I really can not bear in mind another occasion when an replace made an app’s person expertise this incomprehensibly horrible. Who may have presumably thought these adjustments can be embraced?

With this replace, Apple is virtually daring customers to leap ship and make a new podcasting go of it at Overcast or Spotify. If solely the identical digital laziness that saved me from updating my iOS for six weeks didn’t additionally make switching podcast apps appear so laborious, that’s precisely what I might do, too.