Apple Podcasts on the Amazon Echo

Apple's announcement of Apple Podcasts in the iOS App Store with the Alexa App icon
Apple’s announcement of Apple Podcasts in the iOS App Store

Apple recently highlighted in their iOS App Store that you can now play your Apple Podcasts on your Amazon Echo unit. You might be like me, thinking this is a new announcement, but this was actually added to the Echo as a skill around the end of 2019. It’s likely that this has been highlighted partially because of recent anti-trust scrutiny that Apple and Amazon, along with Google and Facebook, have been facing recently. While podcasts can be played on any devices, Apple Podcasts has generally been on of the largest houses for podcast downloads, though there has been competition from vendors like Spotify with exclusive podcasts or from other apps like Overcast. And while Apple would likely prefer that you buy and an Apple device, particularly their HomePod, to listed to podcasts, it’s clear that Amazon’s Alexa is the leader in smart speakers. And in this new world of bringing Apple services to other devices, it only makes sense that they bring their Podcasts app as a skill to the Alexa. Alexa lets you listen to podcasts on their devices, but I’ve never found it as fully filled as Apple’s. Likewise anything listened to through Amazon’s player won’t be synced to your existing to your Apple Podcasts lists. With the new Apple Podcasts skill, you can now enjoy listening to your Apple Podcasts on Amazon AND your listening progress can be synced with the Apple Podcasts service.

So how to you set it up? I’m going to assume you already have an Alexa and the Alexa app. Make sure both are updated to the latest version.

The Apple Podcasts Skill in the Alexa Skill Store, with the name "Apple Podcasts" at the top, the logo on the right, and the enable button near the center.
The Apple Podcasts skill

Open the Alexa and tap the “More” button in the bottom right corner. Then hit “Skills and Games”. A new screen should pop up, so hit the magnifying glass to bring up search and look for “Apple Podcasts”. Once you find it, click to enable the skill. You can also go directly to the skill from this link.

The account linking page in the Apple Podcasts skills setting.
Account linking page

Now that it’s enabled, we need to sign into Apple Podcasts, then set it as your default Podcast player. Go back to the “More” section, and hit “Settings” toward the bottom of the screen. Once you’re in Settings, scroll down and click on “Music and Podcasts” under the Alexa Preferences section. To sign in, select “Apple Podcasts” under the Services section. The Apple Podcasts page will open, and you’ll hit the “Settings” button in the upper half of that window. A new window will pop up directing you to link your account. Hit the “Link Account”. You’ll be prompted to type in your credentials or to sign in with your existing Apple ID via TouchID or FaceID if you’re logging on from your iOS device. Either way you choose, authenticate your Apple ID, and then hit the “Allow button” at the Access Request page. Once you’ve successfully signed in, tap the X icon in the upper right corner.

Now to make it your default services. Go back to the “Music and Podcasts” and click on “Default Services”. Under the podcasts section towards the bottom of the page, tap either “Select Default Service” or “Change” button if you already have a podcast player set. Then select Apple Podcasts.

And that’s it your done. Now if you ask it to play a podcast, it will default to playing from Apple music. Just make sure you say “in Apple Podcasts” or something similar, e.g. “Play Planet Money on Apple Podcasts”.

And that’s all there is to it. Do you think you’ll use this feature on an Alexa? Do you even want to use it on Alexa? Let us know in the comments and on Social media

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