Overcast, a popular podcast player for Apple devicesis getting an update that brings a major design overhaul to its home screen, as well as a new theme system that lets you choose the colors used throughout the app. For Overcast users like me, the update is a fresh coat of paint for a well-made app, and seasoned users will likely find plenty of new tweaks and settings they can use to make the app work better for their use case.
at Blog postThe 2022.2 update, available for download on Friday, is the “biggest redesign” of the app ever, said app developer Marco Arment, and promises some exciting future updates.
The changes are visible from the moment you open the app – there’s a new fresh circuit that lets you quickly resume the episodes you’ve been listening to and see which podcast episodes have new episodes (you can even long-press on the tiles for more options), and the interface is full of updated icons. Playlists, which appear at the top of the screen, have gotten an overhaul: they now appear as customizable colored bubbles with icons, instead of gray rectangles as before, and you can now create playlists that show you whatever’s in the queue, starred or Done episodes downloaded or in progress.
If you want any of the pre-made playlists, you can easily add them to your home screen through the add playlist menu – and if you don’t, you can just ignore them altogether. (The Add Playlist also includes the option to hide and show the last bar, if you’re not a fan.)
Below the Playlists and Recent section is your list of podcasts. In the previous design, the home page had sections for playlists, podcasts, and played podcasts. The last two modes have been replaced by a menu that allows you to switch between three modes: Unplayed, Active, and Inactive. Unplayed shows you podcasts with unplayed episodes, active shows for all followed podcasts, and inactive for “podcasts you don’t follow and don’t have episodes added, or appear to be inactive.” (These podcasts also get a cute little moon icon all over the UI.) You can also pin shows, which makes them at the top of the list.
In addition to the new functions, the application is also only look The most beautiful. I wouldn’t say the Overcast looked bad at all, but in my opinion, the update makes it look more modern. Arment mentions that it has updated the typography and spacing between the app, but perhaps the most exciting thing is the addition of a new theme system. You can keep the bright orange and dark blue in Overcast if you want to, but I imagine a lot of people will enjoy looking at the available color palette and choosing something different – and yes, you can have different colors for the time the app works in light or dark mode.
There are also some minor tweaks, like a redesign of the menu that pops up when you tap on a podcast episode in a playlist. Now there will be a button that will allow you to mark the episode as played, which Arment says is the most user-requested feature “by far”. You can also mark an episode as played by swiping up on it and clicking the icon.
The Friday update is primarily focused on making the experience of managing your podcast library even better — once you actually start playing one, the layout will be pretty much the same as the previous version, except the theme color you choose will be used all the time. Arment promises that now-playing podcast screens and individual podcast screens will get their own new coat of paint in a future update, though, so there’s something to look forward to.
After trying the update a bit, I was impressed. In a year or two I’ve been using Overcast, I’ve never clicked on a playlist or queue system, but the new design at least makes me want to shoot it.
And while I haven’t been able to use it long enough to see how much of a difference some of the bug fixes and background notification improvements will make, I did enjoy some small quality of life tweaks (fine details, because it’s labeled in the Overcast settings menu) as well. I’m excited to see what Arment has in store for the new launch screen, since this is the interface I end up using the most.
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