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Overcast 2 goes free, adds streaming, chapters and 3D Touch controls

Developer Marco Arment on Friday released Overcast 2, an update to the popular iOS podcast app that makes it completely free to use and adds several significant improvements, such as streaming and early 3D Touch support.

Under the new pricing model, all Overcast features are free, instead of some being locked behind a $5 in-app purchase. Arment is asking regular users to donate $1 per month, with the possibility of patrons getting special features if he can't afford to offer upgrades to everyone.

The streaming technology lets users listen to an episode immediately, rather than wait for it to finish downloading. The app can also be set to stream-only, saving local storage space at the expense of bandwidth. An added storage manager lets users check how much space each podcast is consuming however, and can purge downloads to regain room.

Under the hood Overcast has a faster, more efficient audio engine, communicates better with the Apple Watch, and sports a new database layer eliminating numerous bugs.

Other feature improvements include chapter support, swipe actions, and a Play Next By Priority option for playlists. 3D Touch controls are currently limited to launch shortcuts, but these should expand in the near future. Lastly, the app has ditched editorial show recommendations for a system driven by users.

Overcast 2 runs on iPhones, iPads, and the iPod touch, but now requires iOS 9 or later.