Instacast

I've been using Downcast to feed my podcast consuming habit for some time and I've really enjoyed the apps on both the iPhone and iPad.

However, it didn't have a Mac app, and that's something I was looking for. Coming to my rescue is Instacast V1 for the Mac. It also has companion apps for iOS (it's a Universal app, so one price for both the iPhone and the iPad).

One of the main reasons I decided to buy Instacast was the promise of syncing across all devices, which is something I was very keen to have.

Unfortunately, in that regard, it was a fairly painful process to set up, involving a large amount of guesswork to get it going.

Initially, I had imported my feeds via OPML to the Mac client. This worked fine and my podcasts started downloading, at which point I enabled syncing.

I then installed the iPhone version (another purchase). Upon starting the app, I was invited to either add subscriptions, import an OPML, or enable sync. I enabled sync, and the app informed me it was uploading and downloading stuff. It then let me know that it had found some cloud data and would I like to keep that data, or the data on my iPhone. I went for the former, and, well, that was about it. No sync took place, and the app was basically stuck at that loading page, but now without the option of setting up the sync.

At this point, I thought I'd try it on the iPad, hoping to have better luck. Unfortunately, I had exactly the same result.

I went back to the Mac client and forced a sync. Occassionally, the iOS clients would do some uploading and downloading, but they never got any of any of my feed data (or, if they did, they weren't showing it to me).

I searched online and couldn't see any suggestions to fix this, so I uninstalled both iOS clients, disabled sync on the Mac, re-enabled sync on the Mac, reinstalled it on the iPhone and, lo and behold, now it decides to work. Installed the iPad app, and now that works, too.

Now I've got that all set up, it's time to do some listenning.

I'm really enjoying the app on the Mac. I spend a lot of time at my MacBook Air, so it's nice to have access to my podcasts when at that machine. Equally, it's nice to be able to listen at the Mac, then, when it's time to leave the house, grab the iPhone and pick up where I left off.

The Mac app has a nice little mini-player, too, which is a nice touch.

If I'm honest, I prefer the Downcast iOS apps, but maybe that's just from habit. However, the sync across all platforms is the killer feature that will keep me using Instacast for now.

The apps aren't free. The Mac client is just over a tenner (that's a UK tenner) for a single user license, or around £15 for a family license. The iOS app was about £3. That's not a bad combined price now all the syncing is resolved. The current Mac price is an "early bird" one, so it might be an idea to grab it now if you're interested.

I'm just scratching the surface of all the apps at the moment, but I am enjoying them, in particular the Mac app.