Overcast works with the open, standard world of podcasts. It’s the kind of podcast app that used to be the only kind.
There’s no terms to agree to, no rights to give up, and no loss of control over your podcast or its distribution. Overcast parses your RSS feed, downloads episodes directly from your servers to each listener, and doesn’t interfere with your stats or content at all.
There’s no separate submission process to be included in Overcast. Simply submit your podcast to Apple Podcasts, and it will typically show up in Overcast’s search within 1–2 days.
Overcast listeners can always subscribe to any public podcast feed by entering its feed URL, but URLs not known to be in Apple Podcasts won’t be included in search or recommendations.
Since Overcast is a one-person company that can’t possibly review and monitor all known podcasts for spam, adult content, hate speech, and other problematic, controversial, or illegal material, Overcast uses the human-reviewed Apple Podcasts directory as its filter for what should be included in search results and recommendations.
In rare cases, a show may be included in Apple Podcasts that does not comply with its content requirements. If I’m notified that Apple’s guidelines are being significantly violated by a show that is (but should not be) in their Podcasts directory, I may manually remove it from Overcast’s search results and recommendations.
Regardless of whether a podcast is included in Overcast’s search or recommendations, listeners can always subscribe to any podcast with a public feed URL using the “Add URL” button in the app’s Add Podcast screen.
Overcast does not feature podcasts via human curation or editorial selections.
Overcast lets users “recommend” episodes with a star button. The categories in the Add Podcast screen show the top-recommended podcasts recently for each category.
If you’d like to rank higher in these, feel free to encourage your listeners to recommend your show in Overcast at a reasonable time, such as when asking for ratings or reviews in other apps.
Overcast offers display ads for podcasts on the Now Playing screen and in the top “Ad” slot in each directory category.
Overcast’s web URLs for known shows in Apple Podcasts always take the form:
…where “123456789” is the iTunes ID for your podcast. Simply look for the corresponding number in your iTunes/Apple Podcasts URL to construct your Overcast URL.
On iOS, for customers who already have Overcast installed, you can link directly to a Subscribe prompt to any RSS URL (useful for paid private feeds) using this URL scheme:
url(required, URL-encoded): The podcast’s RSS feed URL.
x-success(optional, URL-encoded): A URL that the app should open after successfully subscribing.
Overcast displays MP3 and M4A chapter markers with titles, images, and/or link URLs.
You can easily add chapter markers to your podcasts with Forecast.
Overcast specially handles feeds it recognizes as private:
Private feeds are given the following restrictions:
Overcast’s iOS app uses the following HTTP User-Agent string for its episode downloads:
Overcast/3.0 (+http://overcast.fm/; iOS podcast app)
The Apple Watch app uses the following User-Agent for its episode downloads:
Overcast (+http://overcast.fm/; Apple Watch podcast app)
Keep in mind that a listener may download an episode from multiple devices.
These User-Agents only apply to audio-file downloads, not requests to your feed (see the next section).
Overcast uses server-side crawling, centrally fetching your RSS feed for all Overcast listeners to deliver new episodes faster and save bandwidth.
Each listener still downloads your audio directly from your servers. Overcast does not cache, re-host, or re-serve audio to listeners, but you may see Overcast’s servers download episodes to collect metadata.
Please ensure that these servers are not blocked:
They update feeds at varying intervals from a few minutes to 24 hours, depending on their popularity. Standard HTTP caching headers are obeyed.
Subscriber counts are reported in the HTTP User-Agent string, e.g.:
Overcast/1.0 Podcast Sync (123 subscribers; feed-id=456789; +http://overcast.fm/)
To protect privacy, no other statistics, analytics, or usage data are provided.
The “ping” API triggers Overcast’s crawlers to update a podcast’s RSS feed immediately, rather than waiting the 5–30 minutes it might typically take before it’s crawled next. This is intended for podcast publishing services and CMSes to trigger an Overcast update immediately after a new episode of a podcast is published.
POST request to
https://overcast.fm/ping with these parameters in the query-string or request body:
urlprefix(required, URL-encoded): Update any known feed URLs that begin with this prefix.
urlcontains(optional): Also require URLs to contain this substring anywhere after the prefix.
For instance, a
urlprefix value of
https://example.com/bestshow/rss could match:
This is especially useful for per-user private feeds. For instance, a premium podcast may generate individual feeds for each paying member:
Submitting a ping with
urlprefix set to
https://example.com/bestshowpremium/ whenever a new episode is published would rapidly update all of the private feeds.
Be as specific as possible to avoid crawling more feeds than necessary. When a new episode is published, submit a request that covers only the single podcast that has a new episode, not every podcast on your platform.
When integrating this API into a CMS using caching, please ensure that it’s called after any relevant caches are updated so Overcast’s feed request includes the newly published episode.
This API is heavily rate-limited by design. Ping requests that exceed the rate limit are ignored.
Feeds using HTTP Basic Auth (username and password) are not supported for ping requests.