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How to Download Podcasts: A Primer

- Daviles/Getty Images
Daviles/Getty Images

If you’re not already obsessed with the world of podcasts, you soon will be.

Let’s start with the basics. What’s a podcast? It’s an audio (or video) program—much like a radio show—that you can download or stream from the Internet and listen to at your leisure. There are podcasts on every subject under the sun: food, travel, politics, design, storytelling, science, true crime, books. The list is truly endless. There’s a podcast out there for every interest, and new episodes drop every day, which means there’s an infinite stream of entertainment just waiting for you to dive in. Let us help you take your first steps into this fantastic (and addictive) mode of programming with a quick and easy primer on podcasts.

Where do I find podcasts?

You can find podcasts in several places. If you know exactly which podcast you want to listen to, you can go to that podcast’s website and click play. This will stream a podcast episode to your device, which you can listen to as it streams. You can also download podcasts from apps, like the Apple Podcast app or Stitcher. This will save the podcast to your device so that you can listen to it later. (More info on that below.)

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How do I download podcasts?

You can listen to podcast episodes on your device of choice—phone, laptop, tablet, smartwatch, or desktop. Once you decide which device to use, you can begin to access and download episodes. If you have an iPhone or iPad, the Apple Podcast app is probably already downloaded and accessible on your device. If not, go to the iTunes App Store, search for the Apple Podcast app, and download it to your device. Tap the icon and start browsing. When you find a podcast that interests you, download the episodes and start listening.

If using an Android device, you can download a free podcast-playing app like Stitcher, Podbean, or Spreaker Podcast Radio from the Google Play Store. Once you download the app, you will be able to search for, download, save, and access podcasts within it.

When can I listen to podcasts?

Anytime. On your commute, on a run, while cooking dinner, while cross-stitching, while gardening. You’ll find that many moments in your day can be improved by a jaunt into a fascinating podcast. All you have to do is pop in your ear buds for unlimited entertainment and education.

How much do podcasts cost?

You can listen to them for free! (We know, we still can’t believe it either.) One caveat: Some platforms require a subscription and accompanying fee to access content, but there are plenty of free-access options out there too.

Where should I start?

What sparks your interest? Search, explore, listen, and you’ll find your favorite series in no time. We do have some recommendations for you, though, to get started on your podcast journey: Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell explores misunderstood and forgotten moments from the past. Start at the beginning of season one and prepare to be wowed. Stuff You Should Know gets into the inner workings of thousands of topics, including How Junk Food Works, How Reverse Psychology Works, and How Free Speech Works. There’s also This American Life. On Being with Krista Tippett. Freakonomics Radio. Food. Sports. Music. Love. Advice. Inspiration. There are even podcasts that will help you fall asleep. (Also be on the lookout for a Southern Living podcast to premiere soon!)

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If you listen to podcasts, what are your favorites? What subjects do you (or would you) enjoy listening to and learning about?

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