Overcast 5.0 Review

This year I was fortunate enough to get onto the Overcast TestFlight this year and wow, Marco is using those watchOS features that everyone got excited about at WWDC!

 Standalone Watch Playback

I never thought I would use my watch to play music or podcasts without my iPhone, but I’ve recently discovered that our apartment is just long enough that my headphones or watch are out of range of my iPhone when I’m at one end at it’s at the other. I put some music on my watch and paired my Bose QC35s, and then immediately wished I had podcasts on there. The standalone watch playback in Overcast is great. Sync can be a little fiddly due to watchOS limitations, and I had the best success by putting Overcast in my dock on my watch, opening it, putting it and my iPhone on charge and leaving them to it – and now I’m by the pool listening to podcasts on my watch with my iPhone back in my hotel room!

Now Playing Screen

The Now Playing Screen in Overcast has been revamped to use a cards style, with show notes and chapters being split onto separate screens – this is going to be useful as then I will be able to see which chapter I’m currently listening to but still preserve my place in the show notes.

Shortcuts Support

This is why I was excited about getting into the beta, and I was not disappointed! Here’s a quick list of shortcuts:

  • Play
  • Pause
  • Previous Podcast
  • Next Podcast
  • Seek Back
  • Seek Foward
  • Previous Chapter
  • Next Chapter
  • Set Speed To 1X
  • Set Speed
  • Turn on Smart Speed
  • Turn Off Smart Speed
  • Turn on Voice Boost
  • Turn Off Voice Boost
  • Recommend
  • Play All Episodes
  • Play All Podcasts
  • Play Favourites

Other shortcuts will also be present based on the playlists you have, and podcasts you listen to as well. For those you may have to play the playlist or podcast to have them appear as options. You can use these shortcuts either in the Shortcuts app, or by adding them to Siri in either the Overcast App under ‘Siri Shortcuts’, or in Settings > Siri & Search > All Shortcuts.

Search

Search is another new feature in Overcast 5, there’s a search bar at the top of each podcast’s page which lets you search through the episodes for it, and on the main page of the app where you can see all of your podcasts – which lets you search for episodes or podcasts.

Overcast 5 requires watchOS 5 and iOS 12.


Backing Up Your Workflows/Shortcuts

It’s almost time for the iOS 12 release and while I think that Shortcuts is going to be a separate app in the App Store to update to from Workflow, backups are a good idea. Of course backing up your device is a good idea, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to do a separate backup of your Workflows or Shortcuts that you’ve created – and maybe it’s time to clear out your collection and start afresh (speaking as someone with over 800 Shortcuts, it’s definitely time!).

I’ve created both Workflows and Shortcuts to do this for you, the Shortcuts shortcut is designed to be run on each of your devices – while iCloud Sync should be working now, some of us with extremely large libraries have had the syncing get a little stuck.

Essentially all this does is grab all of your Workflows and create a zip of them in iCloud Drive, the date and time you run the automation is included in the file name, and the Shortcuts variation also includes your device name.

Backups are good, and even if everything goes perfectly on Monday, which I’m sure they will, you won’t regret it!

Keep on automating.

Download the Workflow

Download the Shortcut