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Why the latest iOS app is somewhat useless

I’ve had the new iOS app for a about a month now. The appearance is definitely nice, new and cool. That’s about it. For those of us who are confined to riding the iron horse and try to fill that void with language activities this app is trash compared to the prior one. The old iOS app you could download the lessons into the app. Meaning, if you go underground where there is no reception you still can listen ( in New York there is no connection in the train, yes Taipei beats us in that category). I’m speaking for those of us who have basic subscription, cause I see the option to download for premium users. I’ve attempted to stream before going on the train and as soon as you lose reception that’s it, lesson is on hold. Even YouTube streams ahead. Even lingq streams ahead. Is that some slick programming? Only stream up to where you have listened to so you can’t listen on the subway. Cool. I say this as my rate of listening to Chinese pod has declined since this new app. I’m sorry, I’m not paying double the price just to download, because I don’t need flashcards and excercises or special lessons to “say it right”. I prefer to say it wrong and let real people correct me.

It’s okay, I guess I’ll just download my lessons on my desktop and load them into my phone. Analogue style.

Thanks. Peace.

Does anyone know, if you do download the lessons into your app, will you still be able to play them after your subscription expires? In the old ChinesePod iOS app you could not. It would first connect and check your subscriber status, and then block you from accessing the content you had previously downloaded on your device if your subscription was out of date. It almost seemed like ransomware. CPod never disclosed that though. Maybe the new app is different. I would really want to know that before considering upgrading to premium. Right now I’m still burning lesson playlists to CDs.

Damn podster, they still make CDs?!?

Strange cause I actually had that going in the old app when I missed a payment for one month, but the then after a week I logged out wondering if it would stay and boom they were gone. And another thing that gets me is I can’t download just the dialogue as a basic subscriber, so pretty much, I just drag the whole lesson into protools and truncate the dialogue. But that gets boring pretty quickly. Earliet today when I went to hook my phone to my computer to manually get the file, I realized I can’t even do that at this moment because my new iPhone has the new iTunes and I have to upgrade my desktop os. Which I am reluctant to do because I have a old audio interface I still use, and my friend who had the same setup told me when he updated his os the thing stopped working. I guess for now I’m stuck listening to cpod above ground. Until I’m willing to drop some cash on a new interface. : /

Actually I just thought of a way around dragging the files from the computer or carrying around floppy discs, err, I mean compact discs. Lol.

If you have a smartphone you can use drop box and put the files in there. When your drop box on your computer and phone are synced then you can listen through dropbox.

Thanks for the tip. I do use dropbox. And you are the second person in the last 24 hours to make me feel that I might as well have said “wax cylinders” when referring to storing information on CDs. It does have some advantages though, especially in the car. For some reason I can’t get iTunes to add files to my phone anymore. Probably something obvious, but I’m stumped. Maybe I have accumulated too many different mobile devices and computers.

I actually enjoy the app. Then again, I only use the app for the vocabulary, expansion etc.

Maybe I’m a little old-school, but I’ve always downloaded lessons manually from my laptop and manually put them into iTunes, playlists then my iPhone. I bookmark those lessons then set the app to show bookmarked lessons only.

My laptop and iTunes is great for organising the audio.
Pleco for the flashcards.
Cpod app for sentence review, (the expansion is so useful).

I do miss the flashcards part of the app. I did enjoy using that.

All in all, I love the app. It looks good and runs smooth. One of the reasons o left cpod a year and a half ago was the broken app and lack of response from cpod in getting it sorted. I was paying for premium, but couldn’t even sign in to it. Now, the new ChinesePod team have completely upgraded it and are doing a fantastic job. I look forward to what’s in store over the coming years.

Update: Tried the RSS feed this morning on the iPhone. So simple. I don’t know why I haven’t been using it all these years. Also played around with the app audio download. Both methods are super convenient. Which I will end up using as my dominant method, not yet sure.

The app provides easy access to all lessons and the RSS feed in podcast keeps me up to date with everything new. Both have good uses. The app is far from useless. It’s one of the best apps out there.

RSS feed instructions Here

If anyone has any pros and cons of the RSS podcast method vs app audio I’d love to hear them.

Hey. Thanks for all your comments, they have been interesting to read.

Only, it seems you haven’t grasped my point. Useless for me, I’m not here speaking for you or anyone else. Useless for a basic subscriber like me. Who primarily listens to Chinese pod, underground, on the train, to and from work. Thanks , I know my way around this site quite well, been doing it for a year more or less. The point of this thread was to raise awareness of the downgrade of not being able to load the lesson prior to losing reception. You say you manually load the files in your phone as if suggesting that is the solution to my complaint. If you read the thread you would see why I can not do this at the moment without sacrificing something else. Thanks. Helped a bunch. Glad your enjoying yourself here. Add oil.

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I’ve re-read your message, and can only assume that this is a local problem, as the app at my end, (Kunming), works ok wherever there is a signal.

Regarding paying for premium, it’s not for you, then ok. But I see the the exercises, review, expansion and so on to be highly useful. Always have done.

Sorry the app isn’t working our for you though. Works for me.

It works fine. My point was where there is no signal it doesn’t, where the old one it did, because it let you load the lesson into the app. It’s fine, I’ve figured a way to get around it for the time being.

I was premium once upon a time, but didn’t find myself using those features. I just use the text and the audio. All my other studying is done on lingq, conversing with people, writing on paper or reading books. Thanks again for your concern.

Hi @KnowledgeAllah, we’re sorry the app isn’t working well for you offline. The app is only for premium subscribers I’m afraid.

If you want the easiest way to listen to lessons offline, the RSS method is the simplest and most robust (it’s actually how I listen most often since I use a lot of podcasts). You can set an app like Overcast or the podcast player to auto download new lessons so they are always offline.

You can find your Self Study feed RSS here:

cool, I’ll check those recommendations out. For now, Im just downloading on my computer and putting them in drop box. Thanks.

Hi @KnowledgeAllah, I have exactly the same problem, and after mentioning it before when on the new ios beta and mentioning it again, and trying it on Android and mentioning it again I’ve finally given up and stopped my subscription renewal, it just wasn’t suitable for using on a commute where I was wanting to do my learning.

Peace Guzzibar, sorry to hear that. I just did what Gwilym suggested and copied the rss feed into the apple podcast app and it worked perfectly. I tested it out and you can download the audio/dialogue/transcript into the app, set my phone on airplane mode and they are still accessible. That just fixed all my problems with the app. Now I don’t even know why anyone needed the app in the first place? Its probably funny that I just caught on now… You should definitely do that if you want to continue using this site. Chinesepod isn’t my end all be all for language study but having a few lessons a week prepared for me definitely makes things easier, especially when I get lazy or am too busy to really do anything else.

You might like Overcast. It’s free, has a nicer UI, and you get push notifications when a new lesson comes out. There is also a useful boost sound button for noisy trains etc.

Another user recommends iCatcher:

An alternate payed app that is excellent for language study is iCatcher! It has all of the features of Overcast, like 3/4 speed and a 5 second rewind, plus some nice additional ones, like the ability to bookmark locations within a podcast so that you can return to them later, a great internal browser that enables access to all the premium content of ChinesePod, including a PDF reader for reviewing the lesson, and some convenient gestures for play/stop/rewind. Plus, it can do split screen, so you can work side by side with Pleco for example, if you have a capable device. The developer is extremely responsive, and the settings are deep and allow a lot of customization. I’ve tried all the other popular podcast apps in the App Store, and iCatcher is the only one that enabled access to all the supplemental material in ChinesePod.

I started using Overcast, and it seems pretty good so far. Today I was using the CPod app and when I switched to airplane mode on the iPhone the audio halted after about 5 seconds. I thought maybe it was downloading the podcast, so I turned airplane mode off and listened to the podcast all the way through. I then switched airplane mode back on and it again stopped playing after a few seconds. Is the app streaming off the CPod server, or does it required constant contact with the server to enable playing podcasts even if they have already been downloaded?

Hi there,
I prefer the previous version of the app because the new version is so clunky, i.e. it has slower response times:

  • Slow buttons -“downloaded only”, the back arrow symbol, the eye symbol for getting the English version of the dialogue and vocab; the symbol with 3 buttons
  • Scrolling through the lessons is painfully slow

Also, previously downloaded lessons which I subsequently delete still show up when the “downloaded only” option is activated. This means I have to scroll down an increasingly longer list and as mentioned above, scrolling through lessons is painfully slow.

It would be great if these could be fixed!

Thanks Gwilym for your suggestion about Overcast. I’m a basic subscriber and have found this really useful to be able to listen to my lessons (even works in Airplane mode), without any fuss!

CPod team,
I see other user are also complaining about the same problem with the Chinese Pod app. So, is it a bug that you plan to fix? A legacy ransomware to force authentication every time one’s own content is accessed? Or nobody knows or cares as future iOS app development has been taken off the table?

Nobody cares.
That’s the only answer

No, seriously, I’m thinking but it is just my personnal opinion, there is two major problem now:
1°/ Lack of answer from the team on the forum. It seems they are gambling on roulette: who lose who have to answer on the forum. The problem is, still from my point of view, the community around something (a game, a serie or something else) is starting to be really important. that’s why there is community manager. And that is missing here. In order to keep calm people, to give some news etc…

2°/ Lack of programmer for iOS. They already said currently there is no programmer and they are looking for one. I guess it is still not done. But it’s starting to be really urgent 'cz this app is really bllsht.

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