Marco Arment released an update to popular podcast player Overcast on iOS, with a focus on privacy:
Your personal data isn’t my business — it’s a liability. I want as little as possible. I don’t even log IP addresses anymore…
…If I don’t need your email address, I really don’t want it….
Overcast 4.2 provides a new way to sync podcasts without using an account, and Marco has made the option to not use an email address the new default. Users who already have an email address associated with Overcast will be promoted to choose whether or not they want to keep it, and this decision can be made or reversed at any time.
Version 4.2 also now blocks tracking pixels, which some publishers use via remote images to gather more data:
Big data ruined the web, and I’m not going to help bring it to podcasts. Publishers already get enough from Apple to inform ad rates and make content decisions — they don’t need more data from my customers. Podcasting has thrived, grown, and made tons of money for tons of people under the current model for over a decade. We already have all the data we need.
It’s great to see this focus on privacy and security, even in something like a podcast app where some users may not even think about these issues. Overcast has long been one of my favorite podcast players, and indeed one of my favorite apps in general, with a consistent focus on user experience and a well-thought out design. It will be interesting to see if any other players in this sector will take a cue from Marco in future updates.
Overcast 4.2 is available for free on the iOS App Store with an in-app subscription of $9.99, and is available for both iPad and iPhone. There is a web player as well.