How To Use Spotify To Manage All Your Podcasts

How To Use Spotify To Manage All Your Podcasts
Spotify keeps pushing its podcast playing capabilities. (Image: Spotify)

As you may have noticed, Spotify wants to manage all of your podcasts as well as your music. If you’ve never tried out Spotify as a podcast player — or you’ve just dipped into the functionality without really taking a full look at what’s on offer — here’s how to use the mobile and desktop apps to manage your podcasts.

For some, having podcasts right alongside their music is going to be an advantage; for others, having separate apps for each type of media is going to feel far more logical. What’s clear is that Spotify is very keen on locking users into its podcast experience — and that extends to exclusive shows that aren’t available in other podcast players.

Getting started

The podcast part of Spotify is hard to miss: You may have a few podcast recommendations showing up as soon as you open the home screen of the app. Tap or click the Search button and among the options available, you should see a Podcasts category, which is one way of discovering new content.

Unfortunately at the time of writing there’s no way to import a list of podcasts you’re already listening to into the Spotify app. Not only do you have to manually find all the podcasts you currently listen to, you also have to figure out which episode you’re currently up to. Use the Search page to find specific podcasts to listen to, and select Follow from the podcast listing page to subscribe.

Spotify can request personalised podcasts for you. (Screenshot: Spotify)Spotify can request personalised podcasts for you. (Screenshot: Spotify)

You’ll also see a cog icon on each podcast listing page in the mobile app: Tap this and then Mark as played, and you can check off episodes that you’ve already listened to. As soon as you subscribe, recent episodes and new episodes appear under New Episodes in the Your Library section on mobile, and you can also tap Your Library and Podcasts & Shows to see everything at once. Strangely enough, there’s no New Episodes shortcut on the desktop, which seems like something of an oversight.

If you’re completely new to this whole podcasting party, you can browse through podcasts from the Search page, or you can try this discovery tool that Spotify has put together on the web. Answer a few questions on your podcast listening habits and tastes, and you’ll be given a personalised recommendation to try out.

Managing your podcasts

We’ve already mentioned the New Episodes playlist that gets created for you once you start following one or more podcasts, but you can also find your subscriptions by going to Your Library and Podcasts & Shows on mobile, or Your Library and Podcasts in the desktop app. Select any podcast and episode to start listening.

In various places in the Spotify apps — such as when you drill down into a podcast’s list of episodes — you’ll see two buttons next to individual episodes. The add button (a plus icon) adds an episode to a playlist called Your Episodes, which you can find in your library on desktop and mobile. The download icon (an arrow icon) performs the same function but also downloads the episode, so you can listen to it offline. As with music, downloading podcasts requires a premium subscription.

New Episodes and Your Episodes are the places to find your podcasts. (Screenshot: Spotify)New Episodes and Your Episodes are the places to find your podcasts. (Screenshot: Spotify)

You don’t have to save podcasts to the Your Episodes playlist, but that’s the default. Tap or click the three dots next to a podcast episode to add it to a different playlist in your library, or (on mobile) to add it to the current queue. You can combine podcasts and songs together in the same playlists if you’d like to.

Individual podcast episodes can be added to playlists and added to the queue without you having to commit to following the podcast — just use whichever buttons are relevant as before. This is handy if you want to try out a podcast without subscribing to it, or there’s only one particular episode of a podcast you’re interested in.

Playing your podcasts

Start playing a podcast and the artwork appears just as it would as if you were listening to music. Some of the options are available — you can use the progress bar to search for a specific point in time for example, but there are also podcast-specific functions too. To see the show notes on mobile, tap the three dots (top right) and Go to episode; on desktop, click on the episode title in the bottom left corner.

Tap or click the 1x button to change the playback speed of your podcast. You’ll also notice buttons for jumping backwards or skipping forwards 15 seconds. On mobile, there’s a lunar crescent icon on the right: Tap on this and you can start a sleep timer, which will stop playback automatically after a certain time. The available times range from five minutes to an hour, or you can go to the end of the episode.

A sleep timer is one of the features in Spotify's podcast player. (Screenshot: Spotify)A sleep timer is one of the features in Spotify’s podcast player. (Screenshot: Spotify)

As with music, you can tap or click the little devices icon (it looks like a miniature speaker) to beam podcast playback to another piece of hardware where you’ve got Spotify installed and you’re signed into your account. If you’ve just got home from a walk, for example, you can open up your laptop and restart podcast playback on that device.

The final option on the playback screen on mobile is the share option — you can use this to send someone else the same podcast (on Spotify) via whatever app you choose, and you can include a timestamp to start from as well if you want. Another way to share a podcast is to tap the three dots (top right), which brings up its special Spotify QR-like code: The person you’re sharing with then has to tap Search and the camera icon in their own Spotify app so the episode can be shared.