Siri Shortcuts - v2.10.0

This update finally introduces Siri Shortcuts support for Downcast. You'll find a new button called "Siri Shortcuts" on the "More" tab. This view shows you a list of the available shortcuts you can setup within Downcast as well as any you've already configured here.

Built-in Media Shortcuts

You can also initiate playback using the standard media intent shortcuts without configuring anything in Downcast or in the "Siri Shortcuts" app. All you have to do is speak one of the following commands:

  • "Hey Siri, Play <podcast title> in Downcast"
  • or "Hey Siri, Play <playlist title> playlist in Downcast"
  • or "Hey Siri, Play my <playlist title> in Downcast"

For podcasts, this will start playback of the first episode in the podcast's local episodes list. For playlists, this will start playback of the first episode in the playlist. This logic will be updated soon to resume the most recently played, but not yet finished, episode. Or, if there are no partially played episodes, the most recent unplayed episode.

Siri doesn't always seem to recognize podcast and playlist titles, especially when they contain multiple words. If this becomes a problem you can just setup specific shortcuts for problematic podcasts or playlists within the "Siri Shortcuts" view on Downcast's "More" tab with a custom phrase.

Current Episode Information

There is another shortcut, not visible within the app, but configurable within the Siri Shortcuts app, called "Current Episode Information". This shortcut will return a data structure that contains information about the current episode in Downcast like title, play position, duration, the artwork, etc. This can be useful for building complex shortcuts that use information about the current episode.

Other Bits

The "Play" shortcut can be executed when Downcast is running or suspended. If it isn't running, it will be launched in the background. The other shortcuts require Downcast to be running.

Please contact support if you want to suggest any additional shortcuts.

Latest update - v2.9.62


This updates fixes a bug introduced in v2.9.61 that prevented the player view in the watchOS app from loading on Series 1, 2, and 3 devices. This was caused by a bizarre problem with Apple's Bitcode technology that can affect devices with 32-bit architectures, like the Series 1-3 Apple Watches. The bug still exists, but this update manages to work around it.

Downcast now supports basic keyboard shortcuts on the player view when using an external keyboard. Hold the CMD key while on the player view to see the supported shortcuts.

See the change log for the full list of changes.

Coming soon

Siri Shortcuts are still on the way. This feature will be available in the beta in the next few days!

Latest update - v2.9.61


This update contains a big improvement in Downcast's macOS app that reduces the chances of running into the dreaded 'inaccessible resource' issue. Per Apple's suggestion, Downcast stores security-scoped bookmarks for file system resources rather than absolute paths. Bookmarks are a more robust way to keep track of the content Downcast downloads like artwork, episode media files, etc. However, these bookmarks can become stale or invalid for a variety of reasons. When this happens, it's usually possible for the app to automatically refresh the bookmark and continue operating without issue. Unfortunately, Downcast wasn't handling a specific recoverable condition correctly prior to this build and that led to users experiencing this frustrating 'inaccessible resource' issue when they shouldn't have. This build addresses that issue and fixes several issues with the 'Resolve Inaccessible Resource Issues' dialog that was created to help you resolve these issues when Downcast can't do so automatically. The fixes and changes are mentioned in the change log.

Also fixed in this update is a syncing issue that could lead to the deletion of a podcast subscription after Downcast detected that it's feed URL was permanently changed. If you were affected by this, resubscribing to the podcast would appear to work but it would eventually be deleted again in the future. This affected the iOS and macOS apps and should be resolved

See the change log for the full list of changes.

Coming soon

The next release One of the next few releases will, finally, include support for Siri Shortcuts. More on that soon!

Latest update - v2.9.52 ⟶

Support for Dynamic Type in v2.9.51 was a big improvement but it did introduce some inconsistencies. This maintenance release resolves most of those. It also restores the medium weight that was applied to certain labels prior to adding Dynamic Type support. Overall, text should be more readable and consistent throughout the app now [more]

Latest update - v2.9.51 ⟶

Latest update - v2.9.42 ⟶

Available now for both apps. This update adds iOS 13 support, which includes support for Dark Mode, improves the in-list search experience and fixes a number of crashes and performance issues. This is a minor maintenance release for the macOS app. See the change log for more details. [more]

Latest update - v2.9.39 ⟶

Available now for both apps. This is a maintenance release that fixes a handful of bugs, crashes, and resolves a big memory leak while using CarPlay. Anyone experiencing crashing while using CarPlay was likely suffering from this issue. [more]

Latest update - v2.9.32 ⟶

This release is mostly a performance + bug fix release. The iOS app should be noticeably more stable now. I was able to identify and fix a few really difficult to debug issues that would lead to random crashes, especially in the background. There are some general performance improvements as well as a couple changes to reduce memory consumption. [more]

watchOS 4 Update ⟶

Version 2.9.30 is now available in the iOS & macOS App Stores. [more]

On the way ⟶

Not going to bother apologizing for the long delay in blog posts, apologies get old for everyone. Just gonna say what's imminent, whats coming, and what's coming a bit later. [more]

v2.9.18 Update ⟶

v2.9.18 (iOS & macOS) has been submitted to the App Store for review. Assuming no arbitrary roadblocks are thrown in it's way, it should be available within the next two days. [more]

v2.x update, iPhone X, v3 screenshots ⟶

I never said I was fast. I really did intend to post updates more frequently, and I still do! It's been another crazy couple of months for me, but I'm still hard at work on v3 and still shooting for around the end of the year for releasing it. [more]

Localization ⟶

Just a quick note, as of today I'm officially full-time on Downcast. That means things will actually get done in a reasonable amount of time! That will include more frequent status updates, and hopefully a couple of minor bug fix updates for v2.9.x soon. [more]

JSON Feed ⟶

Parsing feeds has always been one of the more unpleasant parts of Downcast's codebase. Much of that is to blame on the fact that podcast feeds, RSS & Atom, are XML based. XML is incredibly powerful, but nearly all of that power is lost on simple podcast feeds. They could easily be expressed using JSON. [more]

Time ⟶

Time is a frustrating thing. There's never enough of it, it passes too quickly, too slowly, we have to waste it sleeping, there's daylight saving time, no one uses decimal time, etc. The last few years have been incredibly frustrating for me because of the lack of time I've had to devote to Downcast. I've been supplementing my income with contract work, then spending whatever time was left over, which hasn't been much, to work on Downcast. I also don't work well when I'm torn between multiple unrelated tasks, so the time I have had for Downcast has been distracted time at best. That's been frustrating, depressing, stressful, you name it. [more]

Still Here ⟶

First things first, I want to apologize for the lack of updates, responsiveness, and general silence for the last several months. It has been a struggle recently trying to find the necessary time to devote to Downcast and its users. That said, I'm still working on finishing V3, and Downcast is not dead. [more]

Mac Media Keys ⟶

As of version 2.9.17, Downcast for Mac can finally be controlled using an Apple keyboard's media keys. Since Apple still doesn't permit sandboxed apps to control the media keys, we have to do this with the help of a free 3rd party app called BeardedSpice. This app acts as a system wide controller for your media keys, passing media key press events to the appropriate application whether it's Downcast, Spotify, iTunes or some other app. [more]

Upcoming changes ⟶

Sorry for the long break, I've been busy working on the next major version of Downcast, v3.0. For the initial release of v3.0 my focus is modernizing the UI and underlying codebase changes that will reduce bugs, improve performance, and make adding features and making changes a far less time consuming process. Downcast has been playing catchup with iOS and macOS releases for a while now and v3.0 should help to break that cycle. After the initial release, the plan is to push out some other significant improvements as quickly as possible. [more]

iCloud Syncing Changes ⟶

A number of syncing improvements are being introduced in v2.9.13. Performance and reliability are the focus. Both the iOS and Mac apps are receiving the same treatment. [more]

Publishers and user-agents ⟶

When an application makes a request for a web resource, it includes a user-agent string in that request to identify itself to the server. The server may use this for any number of reasons like serving up mobile vs desktop versions of websites, analytics, etc. [more]

CarPlay ⟶

Downcast's CarPlay support is currently awaiting review now available in the App Store! This is an exciting addition for Downcast. You've been asking for this for a long time and it's finally here. [more]

A few notes on App Store reviews ⟶

App Store reviews affect sales, no doubt. That's why so many apps have a nag screen begging for ratings. Downcast won't do that in the app since it's annoying, but it doesn't mean I don't want your positive review or 5-star rating! [more]

Tips - A Way to Support Downcast ⟶

Downcast has always been one of the most inexpensive podcast clients available despite its long list of features. I’d like to keep it that way but it needs to generate more revenue in order to continue adding the features podcast listeners want and expand to other platforms. [more]

Downcast in 2016... ⟶

Downcast had its ups and downs in 2015. I took over development & support at the beginning of 2015 and it has been a learning experience. An Apple Watch app was introduced and our iOS player UI was overhauled. The player UI change brought with it some painful bugs but now that the worst of them are resolved, Downcast is in a much better position to be improved going forward. [more]