Ever since the Amazon Echo smart speaker arrived back in 2014, playing podcasts was more difficult than it should have been. There was no native way to ask Alexa to play a podcast from the Apple and Spotify libraries.
Instead, Echo owners had to use the TuneIn or PocketCasts skills to have Alexa play their podcasts, which was a far from seamless experience.
- How to create a home theater system with Amazon Fire TV and Echo speakers
- Alexa now requires far less energy, can work on many more devices
- How to wipe and factory reset your Amazon Echo before selling
Now, finally, both Apple and Spotify have made it easy to play podcasts from their libraries on an Amazon Echo smart speaker. Once set up, all you have to do is say: "Alexa, play [podcast name] on Apple Podcasts/Spotify."
Here is how to get everything set up:
- Head to the Amazon website or open the Alexa smartphone app
- Log in if you aren't already, then enable the Apple Podcasts skill
- If you also want to use Spotify, head here and enable that skill too
- Next, open the Alexa smartphone app
- Tap the menu icon in the top-left corner, then tap on Settings
- Scroll down to Music and Podcasts
- Tap on 'Link New Service'
- Select Apple Podcasts or Spotify and follow the steps to log into your account
Once you have done this, you'll want to return to the Music and Podcasts page, then select either Apple or Spotify as your default podcast provider. We should also point out that these skills only work in the US for now.
Now, you can simply ask Alexa to play a new podcast, or even carry on from where you left off.
Listening to your favorite podcasters is now easier with an Echo Getty Images
This also works if you were previously listening on a different device. For example, if you had listened to an episode for 20 minutes using the Apple Podcasts app on your iPhone; if you pause, then say: "Alexa, resume playing [podcast name] on Apple Podcasts", then that episode will carry on right from where you left off.
This is all great news for Echo owners, as it gives them easy access to a huge range of podcasts from Apple and Spotify, some of which are exclusive to the latter.
There's no way to browse for new podcasts with Alexa, so you can't ask the assistant to play a random podcast from a certain category, for example. But we think searching like that is better suited to devices with screens anyway.
Don't forget to check out GearBrain's Podcasts too. They are available on Spotify. Apple Music and other top Podcast platforms.