This American Life Entertainment App Review (iOS, $2.99)


Languages: English

Seller: PRX Inc

* Minor bug fixes

Customer Ratings

Current Version:
54 Ratings
All Versions:
3242 Ratings


This American Life is a hit public radio show and most weeks, the most popular podcast in the country.

This app gives you on-demand access to all episodes going back to the show's launch in 1995. In other words, you get the full archive of the series, at your fingertips. You can stream for free or (for 99 cents) download any episode, search by episode name or by a favorite contributor's name, or listen in order from the beginning.

This is a big deal, in both senses of the word. There's so much in here – hundreds of shows – you'd need 17 days and nights of listening to catch up. Every new episode is automatically added to the app. The app also connects you to all the episodes of the This American Life television show, which won three Emmys and aired on the Showtime network. (You have to pay 1.99 to download each full episodes from iTunes.)
*Never-before and rarely-before heard audio and video extras: including behind-the-scenes video with the show's producers, video outtakes from the TAL TV show, a video excerpt (of Mike Birbiglia) from TAL's live cinema event, Ira Glass interviews Terry Gross and vice versa, and some very old radio stories produced by host Ira Glass, including four Morning Edition stories by David Sedaris.

*Browse by show contributor (including Sedaris, Birbiglia, Sarah Vowell, John Hodgman, and more)

*Share episodes by email, Facebook, and Twitter

*Keep your own favorites list, and get staff favorites, too

*Station finder for listening to TAL on the radio in your area

*A blog with show news and events

*A countdown to the live weekly broadcast, which you can stream from the app.

This American Life is mostly true stories of everyday people, but it's also really hard to describe. Here's what it's not: It's not a news show or a talk show or a call-in show. Instead, it's stories that are like little movies for radio. There are funny moments and emotional moments and moments where the people in the story say interesting, surprising things about it all. It's a public radio show for people who don't necessarily like public radio. It's produced by Chicago Public Radio and distributed by Public Radio International.

Your purchase of this app helps fund This American Life.

Customer Reviews

  • steve9559

    by steve5995

    great content, always enjoy listening to it, but the App's user interface is a little odd.

  • Worth 10x the price

    by Neverwritesreviews

    These are treasures -- as you likely know. The app had evolved consistently and is nearly perfect.

  • Amazing

    by me666777999

    They fixed the app, now all episodes load. Works like a charm. The extras are great, everything is great. This is the absolute best in American media.

  • Ignore the complaints about new episodes

    by ataelier

    Whatever the issue was with the app "stopping" in March 2013 has been rectified. Fantastic app, great show!

  • Fixed

    by Bryce M Hicks

    The app is now back into complete working order and all the new broadcasts have updated and are working on the app.

  • This American Life

    by D. Hill

    For listeners of the critically acclaimed show this application is a must download. From the app users can access the entire archive which goes back to 1995. As a result users can listen to, download, share or favorite any episodes. With the app users can also access extras giving you more of a inside look and behind the scenes perspective of the production. The design is simple and easy to navigate. Users can also set push notifications so you know whenever a new episode is available. Add This American Life to your life.

  • Absolutely amazing!!!!

    by TheLightBringer

    I don't know what people are talking about, It works just fine for me. I listen to a new episode every week.

  • Updated!

    by Lilisez

    Radio segments updated to current month (Dec 2013).

  • All episodes available

    by Tron1138

    Some old reviews say episodes are not current. Not true. Great app. Great program. Great price.

  • All episodes!

    by llarkin

    All episodes are accessible, including the latest ones. Incredible show with a huge library. Worth the purchase.

  • Great App

    by OrangeCreamDream

    I'm the kind of person who needs constant alarms and reminders just to get through the day, so keeping up with my favorite shows is a hassle. When the voice of Ira Glass interrupted my music just to remind me that TAL was about to stream live, I was shocked, confused, and most of all very, very happy.

  • Great Content, Dismal Platform

    by RonaldDLR

    Undoubtedly the best Radio program, but the apps needs a new UI; it's painstaking discover new episodes & it doesn't look user-friendly!

  • No New Episodes

    by Curtis R. Shideler

    UPDATE: Episodes just randomly updated and now show through current date. Episodes stopped updating March 2013. Where are the latest episodes, huh?!

  • Great, misunderstood

    by Sarah Bucknell

    I love this app and use it everyday! i started listening to the radio program well after it began, but i have now listened to every story up to date!! In response to the complaints about not getting up to date episodes, new stories are available on the app about a week after they air on the radio. This may seem inconvenient but there are hundreds of great past stories to listen to you won't notice the weeks wait for another.

  • Latest shows are there

    by Lllcat

    App works great. No problems with new shows not uploading. Perhaps the bug was fixed. So happy to support TAL and NPR!

  • Works great now

    by greymom1951

    I see comments that the app won't show episodes after March 2013. I bought it a few months back and it's now working great. Episodes all up to date. One of best apps I have.

  • Love this show

    by Sidney Gold

    I love this show and the app has worked for me. Nothing more to say except keep the amazing work coming!

  • The bug is fixed

    by Dmurrrrr

    The bug everyone was complaining about is fixed. Every episode is available! Please do not rate apps 1 star due to a temporary is not helpful!! This American Life is great and this app is awesome, 5 stars.

  • DOES update new episodes

    by salinda

    Wait a moment after launching. The it says updating episodes and they all appear. I can finally listen to old episodes. Perfect for road trips and even long runs.

  • Works great.

    by Bercoty

    People saying can't see new episodes but I have no problem seeing the newest ones. Last episode showing is from last week sept 13

  • Bad app

    by warrior58d

    Doesn't download the one show I want for offline use. I refuse to buy the episode because I already paid 2.99 for the app which obviously is buggy as heck and first do what it supposed to do. And we wonder why public radio is dwindling. Maybe they should embrace some newer technology as vehemently as they embrace putting out quality radio. Don't get this app since it first work and hasn't been updated or fixed in forever.

  • Best show on the radio, worst app on the Internet

    by Roger_Wills

    So terribly designed that when you email app support they have canned responses that address the very issues you're writing about, saying, basically, "yeah our app doesn't work."

  • Can't organize saved episodes

    by elliedoan

    I would love this app - access to this content is my dream! The only problem is I don't have workable access at all. It doesn't allow you to choose which episodes are available for offline listening at all- the only option is to replace the most recent one you've saved? But what if you're not done listening to that one? It's pretty hard to manage. :(

  • Wish I'd read reviews

    by CuteBee

    Just bought the app for quick access and listening to my favorite radio show but it does not have any new shows. Other reviewers say it used to work well, but hasn't updated since March 2013. I am very disappointed in app since I just paid $3 for it! Still love the show, but the app stinks!

  • Solid app but can't download

    by commyostrich

    The app is pretty good and I love TAL but I get failed download for my shows constantly. And the app loses where I left off in the app if I unplug my headphones all the time. This used to be fixed but now is back.

  • Hasn't updated in months

    by Miriam Watkins

    I don't have any current episodes, my last one shows March. I emailed the tech and they just suggested deleting and reinstalling it. I've tried it 3 times and nothing has changed.

  • Do not pay for this app!

    by Ixzo

    I love the show, but don't understand how somebody can mess up a simple app like a list of podcasts. The same episode loops over and over, you can't clear the 'now playing' episode without closing the app, updates are still glitchy... the list goes on and on. Don't waste your money!

  • Not what is once was.

    by Herffinator

    It no longer lets you download more than one episode for listening. I like to stock up and listen while I drive. Instead they make you buy it on iTunes. If that was the case you shouldn't have charged for the app. Also crashes pretty frequently. This needs some improvement unlike the wonderful show that is produced.

  • Minor bug fix update caused bug

    by Mr.Skyfish

    Love this app. I look forward to every new episode, but after this last update to fix minor bugs, a lot of folks, including myself, aren't being able to listen to episodes after ep.489 or so.

  • Didn't download

    by Goatfossil

    Didn't download but still charged me.

  • Needs a 1.5x and a 2.0x speed

    by Pestopopcorn

    The only podcast that needs the speed up feature in GENERAL is this American Life. I switched over to stitcher because it offers me that option, but it'd be really nice to have archives broadcast at a pace that didn't make me fall asleep

  • Not updating

    by LetDownTALFan

    Still wont update with episodes beyond March. The generic response from support was not helpful, it asked for info I'd already given and instructions on how to request a refund. I don't want a refund! I want this once great app to function!

  • Amazing app!

    by Zotomitch

    I'm working my way back in time and all of the shows are timeless!

  • Was good and is again

    by Dude The Mann

    But it's stopped updating. Last episode is from march. Avoid until fixed. Update, wrote them a letter and they responded quickly. Told me to uninstall then reinstall and that fixed the bug. Thank you TAL! 5 stars again.

  • Love it

    by Hk8605

    Thought provoking. Love having all the episodes easily accessible. Mine is updating current episodes and is working correctly, last one is September 13th on my app.

  • Shows not up-to-date!

    by Gilbro

    I've searched from prior episodes of the show before, and that was very helpful on this app. I usually listen to TAL on Downcast, but this week there was an error downloading it. Okay, I'll just listen to the show on the TAL app, I thought. But the most recent show listed is March 13, 2013, and it's 6 months later now! No matter what I do, I can't get the app to update any info from the last 6 moths! Very frustrating. What gives??

  • Love this app worth every penny

    by scanlon.jr

    Besides the current bug where I can't access the latest episodes (I'll update my review once fixed), I love this app.

  • What happened?

    by MNmom

    App used to be great, but now will not update to show new episodes. I've contacted support but no response. Don't buy until they fix the update problem.

  • No new episodes

    by aabjoern

    I feel horrible giving TAL a bad review, nevertheless the app has no episodes after #489, for some odd reason it isn't updating. For the momen't I am listening to new episodes on Soundcloud.

  • No new episodes

    by Spinky19

    Can not access any episodes past march 2013. Very dissatisfied and disappointed

  • No new episodes.

    by gmanicus

    The app doesn't have any episodes past #489. It's stopped updating. Please fix this - other than this hopefully soon fixed problem, the app is well worth the price.

  • Does not show new episodes

    by nicholle9

    Last available episodes are from march 2013.

  • Won't let me see new episodes

    by Secular Dan

    It has been wonderful to use this app over the years, but now you cannot access any episode the aired after March 2013.

  • Does not show new episodes

    by Prits723

    Does not show up to date episodes. The app used to work but not anymore, very disappointing since I paid 3 dollars.

  • Worth every penny.

    by Courtney Schofield

    If you're on the fence about getting this, get it. I have a lot of breaks between tasks where I'm just sitting around waiting and this has made these breaks infinitely more tolerable. I have never had any issues with the product and the interface is acceptable enough. Honestly, knowing what I know now, I would have paid a lot more than what I paid for this, but it was nice I didn't have to.

  • Amazing

    by FernContreras

    A great app. Love how it has all the shows!

  • Thanks for adding act markers!

    by YesNoCancel

    Thanks for adding the act markers! The one way it could be made better would be to have a description of the currently playing act. Or a list with the descriptions of all of them. But maybe that would require a UI change.

  • Great buy

    by SunkSubmarines

    So many hours of content. Very entertaining. I do have a problem when I disconnect my headphones the audio stops then a minute later it starts playing in my pocket, hope you can patch this soon. Otherwise a great app.

  • Great!!

    by JumaJuma

    This continues to be one of my absolute favorite apps... I'm still waiting to see speed control when scrolling on the scrubber bar with the playhead (as Apple calls it). That's would make the app....well, perfect! Crashes happen, but the overall value and enjoyment I get from this app and this program are worth a crash or two. And i'm sure its coming, but now that you can register on the website would be nice to link my app with my acct on And as a previous review stated, would be great to be able to sort by heard/ unheard....oh and to save more than one episode for offline listening (useful for long drives when going through bad coverage areas...I can only save one, listen to another before I hit the dead zone and hope the one I have saved last until I get a signal again). I'd be willing to pay another dollar to be able to save 2 or 3 episodes at a time.

  • Crashes Often

    by Agautumn04

    I love This American Life. Unfortunately, the application crashes every time I try to go past a certain point and I've listened to every episode that doesn't. Really wish this issue could be fixed. I always report the error, but it doesn't seem to do anything. Please fix quickly.

  • Awesome podcast, awesome value!

    by Aleks R.

    I'm a long-time fan of the This American Life program, and this app has brought me so much joy. It's an absolute steal. For $3.99, you get access to every episode ever. I recommend it for everyone, be they old fans or new to this radio series.

  • Hours & Hours of Entertainment!

    by MattReiner

    Best app I've ever bought! I love this for long car trips.

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