Tired of streaming podcasts via Wi-Fi? If you have unlimited Wi-Fi data or you’re on a public connection, that’s fine, but what happens when you leave the house and don’t want to burn through your data?
You can still listen to podcasts without having Wi-Fi. You just have to get creative with it. In this guide, we’ll talk about all the ways you can listen to your favorite podcasts without using Wi-Fi. Just be sure you have space and/or data that you can use sparingly.
Is it Possible to Listen to Podcasts Without Wi-Fi?
Yes, it’s 100% possible. However, it has to get onto your phone somehow. There are two main ways you can do it.
- Download: Using a stable Wi-Fi connection, you can use your smartphone or laptop and download a podcast. This stores it in your local memory. It won’t be impacted once you’re offline in any way. You can listen to it similarly to how you listen to internal music. Download on your PC or laptop and transfer it to your phone via USB.
- Data Stream: Mobile data doesn’t come in high supply on most phone plans, but it’s still a resource you can use if you don’t have access to Wi-Fi. Bear in mind that using data adds up quickly, to as much as 700 MB per hour if you’re streaming SD video. This is a big drain on your data and can result in
Those are basically your only two options to listen to a podcast without using Wi-Fi, and even then, you need to use Wi-Fi or a lan connection to your PC or laptop to download it in the first place.
How to Download Podcasts
First of all, you should only download podcasts on a Wi-Fi connection or hardwired connection. Otherwise it will eat most of your data just to download a single podcast. Now let’s look at how you download them in the first place.
- Google Podcasts: Go to your Google Podcasts homepage in the app, and go to your favorite podcast under the “Your Subscriptions” tab. Tap on an episode, and you’ll see a download button instantly. Just tap on that and you’re good to go.
- WordPress Sites: Some independent podcasts (or those with NSFW content) may host their podcasts on a personally operated WordPress site through various plugins. This way there’s no restrictions on what they can say. To download these, visit the site and find the download icon within the media player.
- Spotify: Arguably one of the largest podcast platforms, you just have to go to your app, browse a podcast, and find the triple-dot icon on the specific episode. From there, you’ll see a download option. Easy as can be.
- YouTube Premium: You can download YouTube videos for offline viewing with YouTube Premium. This is just on mobile devices, but it works beautifully for video podcasts.
The good thing is that most podcasting platforms know that people prefer to download them, so they make it easy.
Is There a Difference in Quality?
Yes, unfortunately there is a big difference in quality. When you download anything, it comes through a compressed source. That means the original audio, which may be a large uncompressed file, has to squeeze through a bandwidth “pipe” in order to reach you.
Streaming data is expensive and consumes electricity. When you download something, a server is hosting it and sends it through to you, and that costs power and money to run.
If streaming and download services let you have completely uncompressed video and audio, it would be insane. There would be nothing stopping people from downloading TB of data that could otherwise fit in smaller increments.
Data comes through compressed, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Spotify, for example, will not compress every single podcast down to the same bandwidth. This is for a few reasons:
You can record a podcast at various bitrates and values. These impact quality. After a certain level (high kHz and bitrate settings on recording equipment), we don’t really hear a big difference.
That’s why it’s okay to not record your podcast at the highest possible settings; they’re a bit lost on people at that level anyway.
However, recording at a somewhat high quality and then rendering at a lower quality is advised for podcasters, because it allows you to mix and master sound levels without losing quality when it renders at a lower audio level.
More datas equals more bandwidth. It’s as simple as that.
For the host, being a platform like Spotify, YouTube, or someone’s WordPress blog, that means more data streaming at once. That can increase server load and therefore increase their costs. Plus, it ends up costing more data if you’re not using Wi-Fi, and if your Wi-Fi has a data cap on it, you’d reach it much faster.
Lower bandwidth means they have to send data in a lower, compressed quality to make sure it doesn’t take ages to reach you completely. Yes, you’re downloading this podcast, but because of bandwidth constrictions, nowhere is going to let you download ultra high quality podcasts.
Your device can only hold so much. We talk about how big some files can get at a higher kHz, and it adds up much faster than you’d think. Most people don’t store podcasts on their PC, since it’s a device that needs Wi-Fi or a stable internet connection to operate.
They’ll just stream it from the source. Because of this, tablets and smartphones (which have much less storage) may additionally compress data on the device to save room.
It’s Possible to Listen to Podcasts Without Wi-Fi
You don’t need Wi-Fi to listen to podcasts. It helps, sure, but downloading one to your device works out extremely well. You’ll also experience the entire podcast without interruptions in Wi-Fi signals ruining the immersion.
Micro SD cards are extremely cheap, even if you get one with 128 GB worth of space. Be sure that your smartphone supports whichever micro SD card you buy. Worst-case scenario, you meet the maximum and then just delete older podcasts after you’ve listened to them to make room.