Google Podcasts Now Available on iOS

If you live in the Apple ecosystem and you listen to a lot of podcasts, chances are your go-to podcast app would be Apple Podcasts. There are also many other free and paid options out there if you so choose. Pocket Casts and Overcast both have great ratings. Today you get one more option. Google’s very own podcast app, called Google Podcasts, no surprise there, is now available on iOS.

Google Podcasts App Icon

If you are thinking you are finally able to ditch Apple Podcasts, here are a few quick facts about the iOS version of the Google Podcasts app that you’ll want to check out first.

Content

First of all, all your favorite podcasts will also be available on the Google platform. However, you will have to search for them and subscribe again one by one if you haven’t previously used the app in conjunction with your Google account.

User Interface

Compared to Apple Podcasts, the Google Podcasts app has a rather slick design.

You get three tabs at the bottom of the screen, Home, Search and Activity. The Home tab has all the shows you are subscribed to and the episodes available. The Search tab is where you can find new shows. In the Activity tab, you have your queue, downloads, history and a list of your subscriptions.

There is a button on the top left corner for streaming your podcasts to AirPlay and Bluetooth devices. You also have another button on the top right corner for your Google account.

In the Now Playing screen, you get all your usual playback controls – play, pause, fast forward, rewind, sleep timer, playback speed and such.

iOS Google Podcasts App Main Interface 

iOS Google Podcasts App Now Playing View 

Possible Deal Breaker?

The Google Podcasts app does not currently work with CarPlay. Although I don’t see any reason why Google would take too long to add CarPlay support. But then again, there is this thing called COVID-19 going on right now. Did you wash your hands enough today?

Rating

As of the time of this post (Sunday, March 29, 2020), the app has 4.2 stars with 112 ratings on the App Store.

iOS 13.4 Mail App Move and Compose Controls No Longer Tucked Away

iOS Mail App Icon

Mail App Move and Compose Controls in iOS 13.0 to 13.3.1

In Apple’s iOS 13 release, they decided to hide some of their Mail app controls. As a result, instead of using all the toolbar real estate at the bottom of an open email, Apple only puts two buttons there, one for Delete (Trash navigation bar and tab bar icon - iOS 13.4 Mail App Changes) and the other for Reply (Reply navigation bar and tab bar icon).

If you would like to perform other actions, say Move (Organize navigation bar and tab bar icon - iOS 13.4 Mail App Changes) or Compose (Compose navigation bar and tab bar icon), you’ll have to tap the Reply button to get to those actions. Obviously, this is very unintuitive.

We all get enough emails as it is. By hiding the frequently used controls, Apple is really getting on people’s nerves.

iOS 13 Mail App Toolbar

Then again, Apple likes to have us scratching our heads with design decisions like this from time to time. Think the hastily released Apple Maps, trashcan Mac Pro, Magic Mouse 2 charging port and MacBook butterfly keyboard. The list goes on.

My theory is someone on the iOS 13 software team really wanted to troll their Mail app users.

Changes to Mail App Controls in the Upcoming iOS 13.4

The good news is, users will get back control of their Mail app buttons in the next iOS 13 release which is iOS 13.4. Or to put it more precisely, Apple is going to give its users back control of the Mail app buttons.

In the latest iOS 13.4 public beta, Apple no longer tucks away the Move and Compose buttons in the Reply button. The Delete, Move, Reply and Compose buttons are now side-by-side on the toolbar. This makes it easier for you to go through your emails.

iOS 13.4 Public Beta Mail App Toolbar

Finally, if you are interested in trying out the iOS 13.4 public beta, you can sign up at beta.apple.com. Just remember to not do this with your primary daily driver.

If you are already using iOS 13.4 public beta, what are some of the changes that you like?

Silicone vs. Leather – Apple iPhone Cases Review and Comparison

iPhone 7 8 Plus Leather Case

iPhone 7 8 Plus Silicone Case

The iPhone is becoming more slippery year over year thanks to Apple’s increasing use of glass, front and back. Slapping a case on your iPhone to prevent it from flying out of your hand is a good idea and Apple knows there is money in that. The iPhone maker also makes a few types of their own iPhone cases.

This is our review and comparison of Apple’s silicone and leather cases from real-life use.

Silicone vs. Leather

Pricing

While you could get a perfectly good and adequate third-party case for as little as $3, cases made by Apple cost way more, which is no surprise.

Apple’s silicone and leather cases cost $39 and $49 a pop, respectively.

Want a case with a battery in it? Apple sells that too. It’s a silicone case with a big hump on the back that people love to hate, and it’s $99 to $129 depending on the size of your device.

Basics

The silicone and leather cases look the same unless you can tell the material without touching them. Other than what they are made from, the only major difference is that the leather case comes with machined aluminum buttons that are easier to press.

Both types of cases are lined with microfibre on the inside to protect the glass on the back and around the iPhone. 

Whichever you choose, you can keep the case on when you charge your device wirelessly. Weirdly, this is something Apple proudly points out in their product overview.

They also both come in a variety of colors.

Review and Comparison from Real-life Use

Over the years I’ve used a few Apple-made silicone cases and they generally feel grippier in the hand.

The silicone cases are prone to picking up stuff. If your desk needs dusting, you’ll definitely know when you pick up your iPhone in a silicone case.

I recently switched to a leather case. It did feel less grippy when I first tried it, however, getting used to the feel didn’t take long, and I wouldn’t worry it’d slip out of my hand.

I’ve also noticed the leather case does not pick up dust as much as the silicone case does.

The silicone case is more difficult to scrape. Putting it in the same pocket as your keys won’t do anything to it.

The leather case, on the other hand, is much easier to scrape. Even taking your fingernails to it very gently would leave a mark, but hey it’s leather and that’s what it does. Have you looked at leather seats in old cars?

Durability Tips

If you don’t get them on and off your iPhone regularly, the silicone and the leather cases would easily last your iPhone’s life span.

From my experience, the weak points of the cases are the corners at the bottom where you bend to put in or take out your iPhone, so being gentle with those corners would help your case last.

Feel the need to clean your case from time to time? Apple says to use a clean cloth with warm water and mild hand soap to gently do it. You can also use a mild cleaner along with a dry clean cloth.