Pocket Casts, one of Android's best podcast apps, is now free

Pocket Casts Hero 2019
Pocket Casts Hero 2019 (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Popular podcast app Pocket Casts is now free to download.
  • All of the app's existing features remain, and new ones will continue to be added.
  • Pocket Casts Plus is available for 99 cents a month and offers access to the desktop app.

Pocket Casts has long been one of the most popular podcast apps for Android and iOS, offering a clean UI and powerful playback features. However, its $4 asking price has likely held some people back from pulling the trigger on it. As of Sept. 18, Pocket Casts can be downloaded for free.

Despite the shift to a free model, all of Pocket Casts' existing features will remain — including things like playback speed controls, easy podcast discovery, downloads for offline listening, and three app themes (Light, Dark, and Extra Dark). Furthermore, Pocket Casts reassures that it'll continue to add new features to the free version of the app for everyone to enjoy.

Commenting on the news, Pocket Casts CEO Owen Grover said:

Pocket Casts is built for podcast fans, by podcasts fans. Since we launched in 2010, we've been obsessed with the user experience and have consistently delivered powerful and intuitive features to the medium's most passionate fans. In today's rapidly evolving audio landscape, it's important we stand for free and open access -- not walled gardens -- to grow the medium while delivering the world's best listening experience.

Pocket Casts is still aiming to make money with its app, so with the core experience now free, Pocket Casts Plus is being introduced as a monthly or yearly subscription. Pocket Casts Plus subscribers will get access to the desktop app (macOS, Windows, and web), cloud storage, and exclusive app icons and themes.

You'll need to pay 99 cents a month or $10 a year for Pocket Casts Plus, and if you previously purchased the desktop app, you'll get three free years of Pocket Casts Plus. Considering the desktop app used to cost $9, that's a pretty generous offer.

The idea of having yet another app subscription to keep track of might sound like a step in the wrong direction, but I think this is a smart move for Pocket Casts. It now has the potential to get its app in the hands of substantially more users, and for those superfans out there, they'll get a better experience than what was previously offered while Pocket Casts secures monthly and yearly income.

So long as Pocket Casts stays committed to keeping the free version as feature-rich as possible, this should be a win for everyone.

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.