Castro has been a popular iOS podcast app for many years,
but right now things look grim.
The cloud database that backs the service is broken and needs to
be replaced. As a result, the app has broken. (You can’t
even export subscriptions out of it, because even that function
apparently relies on the cloud database.) “The team is in the
progress of setting up a database replacement, which might take
some time. We aim to have this completed ASAP,” said an Xtweet
What’s worse, according to former Castro team member Mohit
Mamoria, “Castro is being shut down over the next two months.”
I always appreciated Castro — it’s a well-designed, well-made app that embraced iOS design idioms. But as a user it just never quite fit my mental model for how a podcast client should work, in the way that Overcast does. I wanted to like Castro more than I actually liked it.
As a publisher, Castro was the 4th or 5th most popular client for The Talk Show for a while, but in recent years has slipped. Right now it’s 10th — but in a logarithmic curve. Overcast remains 1st; Apple Podcasts 2nd. The truth is, if not for Overcast, Castro would likely be in that top position, not shutting down. But Overcast does exist, and it’s the app where most people with exquisite taste in UI are listening to podcasts. There aren’t many markets where listeners of The Talk Show are in the core demographic, but iOS podcast apps are one. I can’t say why or precisely when, but somewhere along the line Castro lost its mojo.
I salute everyone who’s worked on it, though, because it really is a splendid app.
★ Wednesday, 29 November 2023