Today Apple has updated the iOS app Podcasts to version 2.1 and one of the major accessibility-relevant changes is that Siri can now play podcasts for you. Podcasts 2.1 also adds a tab grouping together all your unplayed podcasts, supports CarPlay, and has other miscellaneous improvements.
To play the current podcast, say “play podcasts”. If there is no current podcast, this appears to pick a random episode in a random podcast to play.
To play a specific podcast or podcast station ask Siri to play it by name, for example “play This American Life” or “play All Things Considered podcast”.
You may need to add the word “podcast” at the end of your command if Siri is not correctly recognising the podcast name, or if you have a piece of music or audiobook that could fit the same command as the default is to play the music or audiobook. For example “play Welcome To Night Vale” will start playing the paid episode of Welcome To Night Vale that iTunes classes as an audiobook, but “play Welcome To Night Vale podcasts” will start the current episode of that podcast.
Some users have reported that the new version of Podcasts frequently crashes, but these problems can be solved by deleting and reinstalling the application. Podcasts 2.1 requires iOS 7 or higher and is compatible with any iOS device running version 7. You can download it for free from the iTunes store.