Get timestamp of playing audio

I would love the ability for Drafts to get the current playing time of system audio as a script action or an actual action parameter.

I listen to podcasts 90% of the time when driving, and sometimes I’ll load audio into my podcast player that I’ve got to listen to for work or something (and want to get through while I’m driving and additionally enjoy Overcast’s playback improvements). Sometimes I’ll want to take a note on that audio, so I’d love to make an action that I can activate with a Siri shortcut to save the timestamp and then dictate the note I want to make. Maybe also a way to capture the audio title would be useful.

I think the podcast app you are using would have to build that in as something accessible to Shortcuts. In the same way the ‘Get Current Song’ works for the Music app. Then a shortcut could use the information from that to pass into Drafts through a Drafts action.

It may be there’s some way to query the OS for what’s playing, but I’ve simply not (yet) come across anything other than the ‘Get Current Song’ action in shortcuts.

Ah, you’re probably right for getting the currently playing track.

Still hopeful there might be a way to query the system for something else playing and get the current time off of it; Scriptable doesn’t seem to have a way to do this, though, so I have far less hope than I did a few hours ago.

Yes, that is not technically possible. Your podcast app would have to implement a Shortcut action to support it. (Which would not be hard to do. There may be some that already support that, I don’t know)

If I understand correctly you want to add a position of your running podcast episode to a draft note.

I looked at my podcast player of choice Castro and it is possible via manual process:

  • Press the share button in the player
  • select the Option from the menu (chapter or position)
  • select drafts from your action list
  • create a draft

I would have to check if Castro has this function in its callback api. But if not just ask.

I guess that the podcast player overcast should have this feature hence Mark the developer is closely related to many podcasters (from relay fm)

There is a way to get the Timestamp URL from Castro and write it to Drafts

BUT! The link seems not to be processed in Castro properly.
It opens the podcast but drops the time stamp information

Are you able to look deeper into it?


I threw something simple together for Overcast using the “get URL with timestamp” this’ll do the very simple thing that I wanted in most cases.

Unfortunately, the “podcasts” for which this is most useful are ones I upload myself, which naturally don’t have a URL. I’ll make a request over on the Overcast slack, but listening to ATP, it sounds like there’s a lot happening over there this summer.

That’d be something on Castro’s side entirely unfortunately.

If you were interested in just noting the timestamp down in your Draft (my personal goal, which Overcast can’t do currently because of how the URLs are formatted, but Castro can) you can use the “Replace Text” action with a simple regular expression to get that.

edit: should just be .+# and replace with nothing.

Yeah. As a note option on a podcast that is a really good idea. Skip the front stuff and just add the date - add a note and boom your done.
I will look at it.

Hence overcast is the more integrated and tech savvy player I prefer the Inbox feature of Castro that helps me to triage my podcasts better

I wrote a support Email to the Castro guys to get clarification on the op n at Timestamp

Do you know Sideload in Castro?

Or just publish your Audio as a podcast. If no one knows only you will find it.

On a official podcast it works in overcast manually

But it seems not to work via Shortcuts… strange.

Though that might interest you…

Private and password-protected feeds

Overcast specially handles feeds it recognizes as private:

  • URLs with HTTP Basic Auth credentials, e.g.…
  • Feeds containing the <itunes:block> element

Private feeds are given the following restrictions:

  • They are excluded from search and recommendations.
  • They do not display Share or Recommend buttons in the app.
  • Their pages on the Overcast website are only shown to logged-in users who have entered their exact URLs in the “Add URL” screen (and therefore know the username and password, if present).

I use the ‘upload’ feature of Overcast. My overall usage suits Overcast better personally and I’m not looking to change things up

Ultimately this flow would be a LOT more work though.

Now that you mention it, it seems like it’s cutting the timestamps despite using that action. Must be an Overcast bug in terms of shortcut integration. I hadn’t paid enough attention to how timestamped URLs for Overcast were supposed to behave in the past.

I’m getting the same behavior for private-password protected feeds and my own uploads (which is to be expected) in terms of not giving up a URL.

You might be correct. I did not check this.
Maybe a ausio player with good shortcut integration might do the trick if overcast is not updating