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The best podcast app for iOS, Overcast, is now totally free

Overcast, The Verge's pick for best iPhone / iPad podcast app, received a big update today. Most notably, some features that previously required an in-app purchase are now free for everyone to use. "I’d rather have you using Overcast for free than not using it at all, and I want everyone to be using the good version of Overcast," developer Marco Arment wrote in a blog post. According to Arment, only about 20 percent of Overcast users opted for the in-app purchase that unlocked the app's best features like smart speed, voice boost, and cellular downloads.

Arment has done away with that model, and if you wish to support the app's continued development, you can chip in $1 per month. "If only 5 percent of customers become monthly patrons, Overcast will match its previous revenue," Arment wrote. In the future, patrons might get exclusive access to new app features, but for now it's simply a means of showing your appreciation for Arment's work.

Aside from spearheading Arment's new business model, Overcast 2 also introduces several new features and improvements. Chief among them is the ability to stream podcasts without downloading the entire episode first; before today, Overcast required shows be downloaded in full before you could listen. Smart speed and voice boost work regardless of whether you're listening to a downloaded file or streaming a podcast on the fly. Speaking of which, Arment says he's optimized both of those functions so they'll sound "a bit nicer" than the previous version of Overcast. Overcast also now supports chapters and pulls in recommendations from actual users when you're browsing around for new shows. And yes, there are 3D Touch shortcuts for iPhone 6S and 6S Plus owners out there. Overcast 2 is available now in the App Store and should appear as an update if you've already got the app installed.


Verge Video: The best podcast apps for iOS and Android