Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Up until now, the easiest way to listen to podcasts on an Amazon Echo was to connect using Bluetooth and play the podcast using your favorite app. But a new Alexa skill called AnyPod has made listening even easier.
How to Set Up AnyPod
You can enable the AnyPod skill from a browser or the Android/iOS Alexa app:
- In the app, tap the hamburger menu button and go to Skills. If you prefer to do this step in a browser, go to your Alexa account page and click on Skills in the sidebar on the left.
- Search for “AnyPod” and tap the Enable button.
How to Use AnyPod
You don’t have to create an account or do any sort of extensive setup to use AnyPod. You can instantly start listening to podcasts without subscribing, add podcasts to your subscribe list, unsubscribe from podcasts, and more, all with just voice commands.
Here’s a list of the voice commands AnyPod provides for playback:
- “Alexa, ask AnyPod to play How I Built This.”
- “Alexa, ask AnyPod to fast forward 2 minutes.”
- “Alexa, ask AnyPod to rewind 30 seconds.”
- “Alexa, ask AnyPod to start playing at 12 minutes and 25 seconds.”
- “Alexa, ask AnyPod to play my podcasts.”
And commands to manage your subscriptions:
- “Alexa, ask AnyPod to subscribe to How I Built This.”
- “Alexa, ask AnyPod to unsubscribe to How I Built This.”
- “Alexa, ask AnyPod what are my subscriptions?”
When listening to a specific podcast, you can ask Alexa to play the oldest or newest episode. If nothing is playing, you can specify which podcast you want to listen to:
- “Alexa, ask AnyPod for the newest episode (of How I Built This).”
- “Alexa, ask AnyPod for the oldest episode (of How I Built This).”
Perks and Downsides to AnyPod
AnyPod has some features that are key to a good podcast listening experience.
If you stop in the middle of a podcast, AnyPod will remember where you stopped and will resume playback. (You can ask it to start over by saying “Alexa, ask AnyPod to restart.”) And if you’re listening to podcasts exclusively through the Amazon Echo, this is one of the best options out there.
But if you’re like most podcast listeners and prefer to take your episodes with you on your commute or listen on your phone, AnyPod can be a bit disruptive. Since the skill does not have a corresponding mobile app, your podcast listening won’t be synced, and it will take more of an effort to keep track of what you’ve already listened to.
Another challenge is getting AnyPod to play a particular episode. With some podcasts (e.g. S-Town), you can ask it to play a particular chapter or episode. Example commands you can use include:
- “Alexa, ask AnyPod to play S-Town Chapter 3.”
- “Alexa, ask AnyPod to play Serial Season 2 Episode 6.”
If you’re already listening to a podcast, you can ask for a specific episode with this command:
- “Alexa, ask AnyPod to play episode 12.”
But it doesn’t always work. You’ll have to test this feature out with your favorite podcasts to see if they support chapter, season, and episode playback.
What’s your favorite way to listen to podcasts using the Amazon Echo? What do you think of AnyPod? Let us know in the comments.