Pocket Casts has long been our favourite way to find, subscribe and listen to podcasts. The app, available on Android, iPhones and the web, is simple enough for first-time listeners to get started, while still giving podcast power-users the ability to tweak every setting. For almost a decade, Pocket Casts charged a small fee for its apps, but starting from today those apps are free.

All the current features of the mobile apps, including variable playback speeds, smart filters and sync between devices are available for free, and Pocket Casts has even added a new feature for this release, the ability to sideload any audio or video files into the app, to take advantage of its smart playback controls.

At first, I thought I would have no use for sideloading, but after watching a particularly boring webinar at 2x speed, I’m a convert. I can see this feature becoming a hit with university students who need to get through online lectures, journalists listening back to interviews, or simply as a way to consolidate all your spoken word audio into a single app.

Alongside the free mobile apps is Pocket Casts Plus, a $US10-a-year subscription service that includes access to Windows, macOS and web players, and 10GB of cloud storage for sideloaded content.

Pocket Casts chief product officer Russell Ivanovic (centre) and his crew.

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