Password-protected podcasts on Android

One of the first things I wanted to do when I got my Android phone was get my podcasts available to me without having to sync with my computer (as was basically required on my iPod Touch). There are a number of choices for “podcatchers” on Android, but many of them don’t handle password-protected podcasts.

One of my favorite podcasts is the Bob and Tom podcast, which has a small subscription fee, and therefore requires authentication. Originally, the need to provide a password limited my choice in podcatchers. One of the most popular (and free) choices is Google Listen, which does not support authentication. Thankfully, I found a workaround.

Yahoo Pipes is a tool for manipulating RSS feeds and other web content. Since a podcast is basically just an RSS feed, Yahoo Pipes can solve this problem. All I did was create a new pipe and have it import the Bob and Tom feed. When I specified the feed URL for the original podcast, I put the username and password into the URL as follows:

Then, instead of pointing Google Listen at the original podcast feed URL, I pointed it at the feed for my new pipe. Since my Yahoo pipe isn’t password-protected, Google Listen has no problem with it. Note: don’t “publish” your pipe; keep it private. It has your username and password for the authenticated podcast associated with it.

Using this trick, basically any podcatcher available for Android should be able to handle a password-protected podcast. If this workaround is not your cup of tea, there are a few apps I’ve found that are capable of handling authenticated podcasts natively. Here, in brief, are the results of my tests.

  • DoggCatcher – a very attractive app, but it’s having problems with redownloading episodes every day due to the way this podcast is structured. It will get the job done.
  • ACast (free) – works just fine, but its interface is a bit confusing.
  • BeyondPodpowerful but simple, and is working great so far. In the past I had problems with duplicate episodes being downloaded, but the problem hasn’t reoccurred. This one is currently my favorite.

Any other good choices? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. That’s a great solution! Never used a pipe before, but had no trouble setting it up and getting the feed into my subscriptions. I’m using Google Listen, just because it’s easy to add the really-long pipe URL into my subscriptions list.


  2. Hey Korey,
    Any trouble using the pipes? I’m having trouble with getting the latest episodes, even when I know they’re available. Could it be the pipe website is slow in responding?

  3. Of course this will only work when the _feed_ is password protected while the _actual audio files_ are not.

    Unfortunately I have an audiofeed that I would like to subscribe to where the situation is exactly the other way round (and, strictly speaking, this latter approach is the more logical, because of course you’d want to protect the actual content, not the meta data).

  4. I have the same situation as fgdfgdfg (audio is protected, not feed itself). I used a slightly more advanced construct of Yahoo Pipes to search/replace each URL of the audio files with the same http://username:password@ trick.

    In theory it should work, but for some reason it does not. Don’t understand why not.

    Anybody with similar experience and a solution?

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