Streaming music is great, but how about some fiction, comedy, news or sport for a change? Use these audio apps to get a more balanced aural diet…
Although Auntie’s radio output mostly wants to fill your ears with music, the organisation has long pumped out audio news, drama and sport as well. BBC Sounds is dedicated to such material, from live shows to top-notch podcasts. The interface is swish and modern, and adds a smattering of personalisation by way of recommendations and subscriptions.
Whatever you’re into, chances are someone’s made a podcast about it, and even the bigger shows somehow feel like personal broadcasts – radio just for you. Pocket Casts is a good bet for listening to them: it’s usable, cross-platform and feature-rich (including video support). Hate spending money? Freebie app Stitcher is a solid alternative.
Free / iOS
If you’re resolutely pro-Apple, Overcast nudges ahead of the podcast-playing pack. Great for discovery and podcast management, it especially excels in playback: whatever magic it does with smart speed and voice boosting just comes off better than the competition. That it’s available for nothing (with unobtrusive ads) is frankly astounding.
If your radio tastes are a mite broader than the local FM stations, TuneIn provides access to a gargantuan 120 000 stations and countless podcasts from around the world. Go premium (for a monthly fee) to also gain access to a library of audiobooks, a ton of ad-free stations, and US sport. That should be more than enough to keep your lugholes topped up.
You like books, but rarely have time to read. So try Audible – it’s essentially Amazon for your ears. The app provides fast access to your audiobook library, and offline playback means it can squirt books into your brain wherever you are. As a bonus for bedtime readers, the sleep timer ensures you can doze off without the app blaring out the latest bestseller all night.
Given that Pocket is a ‘read later’ service, you might question it appearing in a list of audio apps. But tap the headphones button and the app will start reading back your saved articles. It’s a bit like ‘robot reads the news’ but nonetheless gives you a chance to hack through your queue while you’re driving, cooking or just face-down on the couch.