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One of the best podcast apps just got an Alexa skill so you can listen on mobile and at home

One of the best podcast apps just got an Alexa skill so you can listen on mobile and at home

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Amazon Echo Dot

When listening in on podcasts, there are a host of options for how to tune in — Spotify, Apple Music, the website of a podcast. One of the most popular and best podcast apps, though, is Pocket Casts, which supports more platforms than many of its rival apps, and has more features to boot. Now Pocket Casts also has an Alexa skill, making it easier to listen in at home.

To get started, add the Pocket Casts skill within your Alexa app and connect your Pocket Casts account to Amazon by logging in. Then say, “Alexa, open Pocket Casts.” From there, if you’re just getting started with Pocket Casts, Alexa will note that you’ve got nothing in the queue and no subscriptions so you’ll need to get your Pocket Casts account up to speed with subscriptions to your favorite podcasts. Unfortunately, there’s no way to browse podcasts through the Alexa skill.

You’ll have to queue up more podcasts to get a smoother experience

To ensure you’re not misheard, you can start commands by saying “Alexa, tell Pocket Casts.” But commands that don’t specify Pocket Casts can still work. You can say things like, “Alexa, play the latest episode” of a particular podcast, and Alexa will pull up the correct audio.

When starting a new podcast, Alexa plays the latest episode. That can be a real headache if you’re picking up a narrative podcast like Serial, where hearing episodes out of order ruins the surprise and can be just plain confusing, too.

The fix though is to keep your Pocket Casts up-to-date with exactly what you want to listen to, and have it queued up in your Up Next as well. Then you can ask Alexa to resume the latest podcast you were last listening to, whether that be the first episode of The Vergecast or NPR’s Code Switch.

One main perk of enabling this skill is that you’ll be able to play podcasts on mobile while podcasts continue playing on your Alexa-enabled device, so this could be a way to share Pocket Casts in the household. The app costs $3.99 on iOS or Android and has support for AirPlay, Chromecast, and Apple Watch.