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Steve McLendon, a product manager at Google, admits he’s sad to see Google Podcasts head toward the software graveyard. He suggests that the app’s simplicity, one of its core strengths, is what led to its downfall: “Podcast experiences can be improved for users in a way that I think Google Podcasts would never really be able to deliver.”

After launching the app in 2018, the company is winding down Google Podcasts in early April. YouTube Music will serve as Google’s new home for podcast listening. While some users crave the bare-bones experience of an RSS feed catcher for podcasts, McLendon is eyeing a future where algorithmic discovery and video podcast clips are more central to the user experience.

“Google may be notorious for having lots of different products that kind of do similar things,” he says. “So, which is actually the one that we’re invested in?” While McLendon wants to create a user experience where podcast-only listeners feel welcome, he’s excited by the multimedia possibilities as well. For example, if someone watches a bunch of clips from NBA games on YouTube, then their YouTube Music account could suggest some basketball podcasts.

How to Migrate From Google Podcasts to YouTube Music

McLendon’s team launched a tool to help Google Podcasts users transfer their show subscriptions to YouTube Music. The feature is currently just for users in the United States, but McLendon says the company eventually plans an international rollout. It’s worth noting that users have to complete this migration before Google makes the data unavailable in July.

Start by opening the app on your Android or iOS device and toggling to the Home tab. Since announcing that it would be shutting down its Podcasts app, Google has begun displaying a notification at the top of the app’s Home screen that offers a quick link to export your subscriptions. Look for this notification at the top and select Export subscriptions. (In a browser, the same option should appear under the Explore shows tab.) If you’d like to switch everything over to YouTube Music, choose the Export button. Tapping this on your phone will automatically open the YouTube Music app and confirm which account you want to use to complete the change. After you click the Transfer as… button, YouTube Music will double-check whether you want to add the RSS feeds for all of your podcasts to your library. Then the process begins.

The tool was able to migrate all 12 of my podcast subscriptions in under a minute. (If you’re a podcast fanatic with hundreds of subscriptions, it may take longer.) Afterward, you can listen to your favorite shows in YouTube Music by tapping Podcasts at the top of the Home or Library tab. If you don’t immediately see the Podcasts option, you may need to scroll through the gray buttons to the left. If you’ve used YouTube Music, you’ll know that a premium subscription is required if you want to listen to music while your phone screen is locked. Thankfully, this is not the case for podcasts; you can stream or play downloaded shows while the screen is locked, even if you don’t have a subscription.

Alternative Podcast Listening Options

Frustrated with this change and on the hunt for another minimalist podcast app? For iPhone owners, the Overcast app is a strong option that mirrors the streamlined nature of Google Podcasts. Pocket Casts is another well-designed app that might fit your preferences, and it’s available on both Android and Apple devices.

Luckily, if you decide against YouTube Music and you want to leave Google’s podcast ecosystem entirely, you can still take your show subscriptions with you. Follow the same steps listed in the section above; when you arrive at the YouTube Music export option, find the secondary option labeled Export for another app and press Download. This process will save an OPML file to your device.

In the Overcast app, you can upload this subscription list by going to Settings and scrolling down to Import OPML. The migration process from Google Podcasts to Pocket Casts is a little trickier, but still doable. Open the Files app on your smartphone and locate the downloaded OPML data file. Choose to share the file, and then send it over to Pocket Casts. This should transfer your show subscriptions to the new app.