Apple iOS12 Podcasts app and External Controls

1 minute read

I’ve been a huge fan of podcasts ever since I discovered them back when I had my first HP iPod Shuffle (who knew?). Sadly, the default Podcasts app on iOS has not kept up with the times, and most serious podcast listeners use other applications, such as Overcast or Pocket Casts. That said, there are some advantages to using the Apple Podcasts app, for example:

  1. It’s available on all their platforms, including Apple TV and the HomePod.
  2. Siri and Apple Watch support is baked into the OS.

Until now, even with these benefits, the shortcomings of the Podcasts app kept me using a 3rd party client. That is, until iOS 12. I have recently been testing the new version of the Podcasts app, and found Apple has made some significant updates, including:

  • Better sync support between devices
  • MP3 chapter support
  • Ability to adjust skip duration and external controls

With these changes, I’ve decided to try using the Podcasts app as my default podcast player for the next several weeks to see if it has finally caught up enough that I keep it permanently. One annoying default I have discovered is that the Forward and Back buttons on my headphones and car skip to the next or previous podcast. This is good when listening to music, but terrible when listening to a podcast or audiobook. To adjust this, open Settings on your iPhone and find the Podcasts settings. Change the External Controls setting to Skip Forward/Back. With this change, the Forward and Back buttons will now behave as expected. You can also adjust the amount of time skipped by adjusting the Skip Buttons settings, both shown below.

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