Apple has announced that Apple Podcasts is getting a few new notable features with the launch of iOS 17 this fall. The feature drop includes an updated Now Playing interface and Queue, episode art, search filters and the ability to connect subscriptions to top apps from the App Store.
The new Now Playing interface features a dynamic background that displays a podcast’s art and provides controls for managing the queue. With iOS 17, listeners tap the Playing Next button to see the next episode. If you want to add an episode to the Queue, you can tap the “More” menu or press and hold on an episode, and then tap “Add to Queue.” After you add an episode, Playing Next will present a new Queue section, which is designed to make it easy to reorder and clear episodes. When you play all episodes that have been added, Apple Podcasts will continue playing episodes in Up Next.
You can access chapters in episodes from the “Playing Next” section. Apple notes that Chapters now display the duration of each chapter and the remaining time for the current chapter.
With iOS 17, users will also be able to more easily find the podcasts they’re searching for with new filters for “Top Results,” “Shows,” “Episodes” and “Channels.” Search results will also now present more information, such as how much time is remaining in an episode that has been started or whether an episode has been saved to your library. Plus, you can now double tap the Search tab to immediately bring the search bar into focus and begin typing.
Apple also announced that this fall, users will be able to connect eligible subscriptions to top apps on the App Store with Apple Podcasts to access new shows. This includes news apps, such as Bloomberg and The Washington Post; health and fitness apps, such as Calm; along with kids and family apps, like Lingokids. Apple Podcasts will automatically recognize these App Store subscriptions and add the corresponding channel or show to a listener’s Library.
Apple Music and Apple News will also launch new audio experiences on Apple Podcasts. Subscribers to Apple Music or Apple One will be able to listen to the entire catalog of Apple Music radio shows. New episodes of Apple Music Radio shows will stream live on Apple Music and be released on demand on Apple Music and Apple Podcasts simultaneously. Subscribers to Apple News+ or Apple One will be able to listen to narrated audio stories from magazines and newspapers. New audio stories will be released in Apple News and on Apple Podcasts simultaneously.
As for creators, Apple says it will support episode artwork for all shows that will allow listeners to learn more about the subject of each episode will an illustration, graphic or photograph.
“Creators will publish episode artwork via RSS using their hosting provider,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Episode artwork is encouraged for creators submitting requests to be featured on Apple Podcasts. When episode artwork is not supplied, Apple Podcasts will continue to display show artwork. Apple Podcasts will also default to show artwork when multiple shows are presented together. To further enrich the listening experience, creators can continue to add chapter-specific artwork, which is displayed in real time as listeners progress through an episode.”
The updates Podcasts app will also bring a new design for episodes, shows and channels that make it easier to preview, play and follow podcasts. The updates also include bug fixes and performance improvements, Apple says.