iOS 16 Has Arrived – Here’s How It Will Impact Podcasts

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It seems like an age ago that Apple started promising us a major iOS 16 update for our iPhones, right?

But now it’s September, so (hopefully) the wait is finally over. If you use an iPhone 8 or newer model, you’ll see the update in the next few days. For iPads and other types of devices, there’s a separate update that we’re due to see later in the year.

The iOS 16 release is all about customisation and user experience. And the good news is, it looks like there are some nice feature updates that will directly impact podcasting.

Here’s a run-through of how iOS 16 updates will improve how you and your listeners experience podcasts through an iPhone.

Podcast Preview Added to Lock Screen

One of the biggest changes everyone is talking about in relation to iOS 16 is the new-and-improved lock screen. Craig Federighi from Apple called it “the biggest update ever to the lock screen, completely reimagining how it works for you.”

For one thing, you can now edit your font, colours and even the positioning of elements on the lock screen.

But what we’re really interested in is the fact that podcast previews have been added to the lock screen too. Now, you just tap the podcast cover tile, and a preview will take over the screen without having to unlock your iPhone first.

This feature also works with third-party listening apps like Spotify and Google Podcasts too – not just the Apple Podcasts app.

iOS 16 CarPlay Improvements

podcast listeners in car

If you’re someone who listens to podcasts a lot in the car, you’ll be pleased to hear that iOS 16 brings updates to CarPlay too. Apple have said they’re intending to “reinvent the in-car experience” across driver’s screens. Linking iPhones up closely with car dashboard is all part of the big plan.

With this update, CarPlay now offers faster and easier access to the Apple Podcasts app library from the car dashboard.

It also makes it easier to find downloaded and saved episodes and see the latest episodes from your followed shows on the dashboard too. So essentially, you can easily (and safely!) switch between podcasts while driving without ever having to look at your phone.

More Accurate Listener Stats

Last year, PodNews ran a test that found Apple’s default user-agents were messing with podcast download stats on sites like Buzzsprout and Captivate.

By setting all episode user-agents as “AppleCoreMedia” this meant that any episodes downloading or streaming through Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts or Castro were appearing as Apple downloads. The test showed only 58% of them were actually from Apple Podcasts or iTunes.

For the iOS 16 update, Apple have made it possible to set a correct user-agent for your podcast app. This should mean you’ll start seeing more accurate listener stats for your show.

You might find that your listeners have different podcast listening habits than your stats have been telling you. Most likely, you’ll see a drop in Apple downloads and an increase in other third-party listening apps. This could have a big impact on where you focus your attention when looking to build new podcast subscribers.

People listening to podcasts on smartphones

SharePlay Through iMessage

During the pandemic, Apple launched SharePlay as a way to watch videos or listen to audio with friends in real-time.

Until now, the only way you could share content through SharePlay was on a FaceTime video call. During the call, you’d just hit the ‘share my screen button’ and it would start streaming.

But as lockdowns eased, SharePlay started to feel a bit obsolete. That’s probably why they’ve updated SharePlay for iOS 16 so you can share podcast content through iMessage now too. This means you can listen to a podcast episode in real-time with someone and comment along with it through messaging.

Personalized Spatial Audio

If you own a pair of AirPods (specifically AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max), you’ll also get access to a Personalized Spatial Audio with the iOS 16 update.

This update is said to massively improve sound quality in a way that will feel like you’re in the room with a presenter while you listen to a podcast.

Apparently, the feature uses the TrueDepth sensor of your iPhone camera to make a 3D map of your face and ears while your AirPods are activated. The technology sounds pretty mind-blowing, and it’ll be great to hear how it pans out – especially when it comes to enjoying immersive fiction podcasts.