Castro on the Outstro?

Jason Snell:

Castro has been a popular iOS podcast app for many years, but right now things look grim.

The cloud database that backs the service is broken and needs to be replaced. As a result, the app has broken. (You can’t even export subscriptions out of it, because even that function apparently relies on the cloud database.) “The team is in the progress of setting up a database replacement, which might take some time. We aim to have this completed ASAP,” said an Xtweet from @CastroPodcasts.

What’s worse, according to former Castro team member Mohit Mamoria, “Castro is being shut down over the next two months.”

John Gruber:

I always appreciated Castro — it’s a well-designed, well-made app that embraced iOS design idioms. But as a user it just never quite fit my mental model for how a podcast client should work, in the way that Overcast does. I wanted to like Castro more than I actually liked it.

As a podcast listener, I’ve always been in the same boat, and like Gruber, I have nothing but respect for the people who have worked on Castro over the years. I respect opinionated indie apps, even if they aren’t for me.

As a podcast network owner, I’ve had a front-row seat to Castro’s entire history. It’s never accounted for a large number of downloads when it comes to shows on Relay, but I know users who love Castro really love it, despite the lack of an iPad app and other oddities.

Over the last few years, I’ve seen the number of support requests I’ve fielded for Castro users climb, and as some on Reddit have experienced, the wait time for hearing back from Castro staff has gotten longer and longer.

It looks like the app is slowly coming back to life now, but it took days for Castro to publicly acknowledge the issue, and of this writing, the team hasn’t updated their X thread in two days.

I honestly don’t know if the rumors of Castro’s demise are true, but an outage like this — coupled with poor communication — certainly doesn’t give me much hope for its longterm future. That really stinks.

Update: Castro now says everything is back online.