While most of the spoken audio we want to listen to comes in the form of a podcast delivered via a feed to which we subscribe or from which we select episodes to download, there’s plenty of other audio out there—spoken, musical, and otherwise. Several iPhone/iPad podcast apps let you play those files, too, via sideloading.
Sideloading is copying a file to a device or app outside of its preferred or normal method of accessing files. For instance, you’ve long been able to load non-Amazon ebooks onto a Kindle through USB sideloading: plug the Kindle into a computer and then transfer files into a special folder.
Three of the most popular independent podcast apps offer sideloading features, all slightly different in how they work. Only Castro offers one form without a subscription. Here’s how they work and where to find them:
Castro:Castro’s free and subscription versions let you copy audio files to a Castro folder in your iCloud Drive; they appear almost immediately in the Castro app.
Castro Plus:Castro Plus ($18.99 per year) offers another form of sideloading. On any web page, tap the Share button and tap Sideload to Castro. Castro extracts any audio files on the page, including ripping audio from video files, and loads that as an item you can play in the app.
Overcast: While the feature isn’t documented at the Overcast site, Overcast Premium ($9.99 per year) includes sideloading. Log in via the website and then click Uploads to select audio files to sideload.
Pocket Casts:Pocket Casts Plus ($9.99 per year) provides 10GB of cloud storage into which you can upload files for playback in the app.
Ask Mac 911
We’ve compiled a list of the questions we get asked most frequently, along with answers and links to columns: read our super FAQ to see if your question is covered. If not, we’re always looking for new problems to solve! Email yours to firstname.lastname@example.org, including screen captures as appropriate and whether you want your full name used. Not every question will be answered, we don’t reply to email, and we cannot provide direct troubleshooting advice.
Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read ouraffiliate link policyfor more details.