Shortcut not working to turn off Apple Podcasts via timer

I’m trying to create shortcut for my iPhone that opens the Apple Podcasts app and plays a random episode from a random podcast to which I have subscribed. I also want it to set the volume and turn off after 30 minutes.

I’ve adapted a shortcut I found online, but when the time runs out, even though the iPhone’s timer is set to “Stop playing,” it plays one if its chimes. This pauses the podcast, but when I dismiss the timer, the podcast resumes instead of stopping. Obviously, my “Start timer” action is working independently.

Is it possible for a shortcut to stop playing the podcast after a specified amount of time?

Have you considered switching to Overcast? It supports its sleep timer functionality via Shortcuts. In effect the running app then takes care of the timing natively rather than anything external.

It kind of feels to me like you might have hit a bump such that it makes sense to move on from the default app to a more fully featured third party one with easier to access options for more advanced users.

I normally use Overcast exclusively, but I didn’t see a way to have it pick random episodes from a specific podcast. A web search turned up this Shortcut for randomizing an Apple Podcast, but nothing for doing it with Overcast.

So what I’ve done is use the Apple Podcast app, but only subscribing to the one podcast from which I want random episodes.

I don’t see any “Get podcast” of “Get episode” in the Overcast actions. Is there a way I can work around that?


I see what you mean. I’ve just spent thirty minutes trying to figure out a way to try and get Overcast to play a specific episode from a back catalog without any luck.

Maybe it’s possible to redefine the problem into one there’s scope to solve?

Might it be viable to take an RSS feed for the podcast, randomise the order of entries (probably tweaking the publish date/time as well), publish it (without publicising it) as you own alternative feed, and subscribe to that RSS feed in Overcast? Then you play the episodes in the random order of the feed just by calling the action to play that podcast.

Caveat emptor: I’ve not looked at podcast RSS. I have not tested this in any way. It may be Overcast changes the order based on audio file meta data rather than just the details in the RSS, which would stop this approach dead as a viable alternative. But it might be worth a small scale test with say 3-5 episodes.

I think you’re right about re-defining the problem:

There’s a Buddhist “dharma talk” podcast I want to play for 30 minutes with a single touch when I can’t sleep. It’s just engaging enough to get my mind off whatever’s going through my head, and a very soothing, monotonous voice. Perfect.

To be engaging enough, I need some variety. I have plenty of space on m phone. Maybe just put about 30 episodes in the Music app as MP3s and have Shortcuts play that playlist.

I’ve got it working now. Put 60 MP3s on my phone, with their own playlist, and made a shortcut to set a low volume, play the playlist randomly, with a 30 min. timer set. The only problem is that I must have the timer set to “stop playing” instead of having an alarm set. Otherwise it’ll wake me up in 30 minutes!

Seems to be no way to have Shortcuts specify the “alarm” that the set timer action uses.