This American Life

This American Life download

Official app for the public radio program This American Life, giving you access to the show's full archive.

You can download an unlimited number of episodes for offline listening. You can also bookmark episodes to listen to later, and track your progress through our archive by marking stories as heard.

Browse and download episodes hand-picked by the show's host, Ira Glass, and our staff. Use our new search and filter functions to find your favorite stories by topic, contributor, and year.

This American Life is produced in collaboration with WBEZ Chicago and delivered to stations by PRX The Public Radio Exchange. This app was developed by Black Pixel.

This American Life App Description & Overview

The applications This American Life was published in the category Entertainment on 2010-02-01 and was developed by This American Life. The file size is 22.49 MB. The current version is 4.3.2 and works well on 11.0 and high ios versions.

Thanks to user feedback, this update includes basic CarPlay integration. It also has some minor bug fixes. Email us at [email protected] with any feedback or feature requests.

This American Life App Tips, Tricks and Rules

This American Life Reviews


App keeps losing my place in the middle of a show!  gaubro  3 star

I have owned this app for many years and have enjoyed, but lately I started listening again and the app keeps losing my place and starting the show over from the beginning every time. that’s a pretty big error. When it doesn’t start over from the beginning it will just stop in the middle of the story and I have to close it out and re-open it.


Needs improvement  LuceyLuce  2 star

App is very buggy and frustrating. Sometimes it will continue to play when I turn my screen off and other times, once I leave the screen to save battery the episode stops playing.


Stops for no reason  aqaqaqwaas  2 star

I really wanted to like this app because I love the show, however the episodes randomly pause and then I cannot get them to play again. This is really annoying especially because this is a paid app.


No Queue  Dan-49  2 star

I so wanted to listen to This American Life’s entire archives like I’ve done with Radiolab, but I would go mad having to scroll to my progress point and click play on each individual episode 660+ times! I made it through the frustration of having to buy your dedicated app, okay, you’ve made one of the great, most influential podcasts. But to leave out such a basic feature for an archive so large is really disappointing.


Don’t Waste Your Money  Acorntopper  1 star

App crashes any time you try to open the archives. Disappointing.


An average app, but an amazing show  brycemv  5 star

As much as I love the show, and I loooove This American Life, the app is only okay. It’s slow, and laggy, and sometimes set up a bit weirdly, but it definitely gets the job done. Still the best couple bucks I’ve ever spent 🙏❤️


Great reboot  lovesugarsync  5 star

I downloaded the TAL app because I wanted to binge listen after discovering what an amazing, awesome radio show it is. The app was not great, but if I recall correctly, I didn't pay for it; the iteration I first got was freemium and I didn't opt to pay. It was sort of buggy and just not very user friendly so I didn't have a strong inclination to use it, deleted it, in fact. Then TAL reduced its RSS feed to only the five most recent episodes so I looked into re-downloading the app. This time, it was pay only but not so great a price that I thought I'd feel ripped off if it was buggy. I was thoroughly surprised to see that they had totally revamped it and it was now pleasantly user friendly, with a beautiful UI to boot. I really don't understand the current bad reviews. I have an iPhone 6s with iOS 11 and it works flawlessly. It's EASY to navigate back to the "Home" page by tapping "Episodes" permanently at the bottom, where every episode is listed in chronological order from the most recent. You can download an episode from any page then tap the Downloads icon (permanently at the bottom) and it takes you to all your downloaded episodes. Yes, in the Recommended section, sometimes it's only one act of a whole episode—because the recommender wanted to recommend that single part. Go with the flow a little, people. Everything that people complain about in the dedicated app of my other favorite radio show, Radiolab, exists and works in the TAL app. You can mark episodes listened, read descriptions of the episodes, stay where you left off listening, and though I haven't used this function, you can snip audio bits directly out of an episode and embed it in other media—because they so strongly believe in the power of sharing their work that they grant you blanket copyright privileges. All this on top of having full, unfettered access to 600+ episodes of one of the greatest radio shows of the 20th and 21st centuries.


Good program, lousy app  mauzer66  2 star

I love this American Life but the app doesn’t function all that well. I can go into detail but I’m sure the apps creators know of the problems.....they should fix them.


Good, but not great.  aud_jones  3 star

This app serves its purpose which is easy access to all TAL podcasts. However, there are some listening glitches that I hope will be sorted out in the near future. I pause and play often when I’m using this app and the app sometimes won’t load or play the podcast I was on unless I close out of the app completely and reopen the app again. Sort of like turning it on and off. Then, today I encountered another listening glitch. If I press pause on the lock screen or the small listening bar at the bottom of the app, the podcast keeps playing. This is embarrassing because I unplugged my earphones and the podcast wouldn’t stop playing. Everyone in the quiet classroom I was in heard me listening to one of the crime scene episodes. My solution was turning my volume down all the way. This hasn’t been an isolated incident. I’m leaving this review because it has happened three times now in the same day. The most recent time I could only pause the podcast if I went into the app, opened up the podcast episode’s page and paused it there. Hoping the app developers can work this out soon because I paid money for this app!!!


Doesn’t work on the background  BobbyKang  2 star

If I doesn’t stay on the screen of the app, it doesn’t work. The show stops playing. A funny thing is it works sometimes lol Please fix this!


Great show, not great paid app  El6513  1 star

I love the show (even as a non-American) but having to listen to ads on a paid app pisses me off. Plus the app can be buggy, forgets where i’m up to if I have to pause and doesn’t always play. May as well just access the website through your browser.


Excellent show, useless app  awildr  1 star

App won’t play audio in the background, you have to have the app open on your screen. When the phone locks, it stops playing. Pretty simple thing, pretty amazed that it wasn’t designed to work that way.


Great podcast great app  Hailos90  5 star

Being a late comer to This American Life, I found it cumbersome to listen to old episodes with the standard podcast apps or browsers. I really love the story telling of this show - it’s unlike any other - and didn’t want to miss out. This app makes it so simple.

Some Nitwit

Great stories, glitchy playback  Some Nitwit  4 star

Brilliantly told and produced stories. Tech-wise, though, the app often starts playback of its own accord at random times.


Not to happy  frank3514  1 star

Excellent podcasts but app is a waste. Bought it to access archives and listen to older casts but that does not seem to work. 5$ wasted for what I can get in iTunes

Warren Harding

Love the content dislike the app  Warren Harding  3 star

My rating is purely for the app as the content is exceptional. I’m let down by the app as it feels very clunky, slow and unresponsive to input. Through the last few episodes I’ve had to force quit the app after pausing as it just locks up.


THE BEST.  anniethebrave  5 star


Classy Giraffe

No 2017 podcasts  Classy Giraffe  1 star

They have stopped updating this app and it has no podcasts from 2017


Amazing  EllaSteyn  5 star

So interesting and very well done.

Mama Daniela

Best driving companion  Mama Daniela  5 star

I love you this American life. Now if only you could pass me my water bottle while I'm driving and open the crisps packet I would no longer need a co pilot!


can't download or access archived episodes  Calren24  1 star

I paid $2.99 and can't download episodes or search for archived ones

Jim Landrith

Impressive...  Jim Landrith  1 star

how bad this app is. I’m not even going to bother listing all the things wrong since it would take me longer than the developers spent trying to make a quality app. I don’t think you could design an app that functioned worse if you set out to do so. I’ve gone through several versions since it’s release and all have had some amount of totally unacceptable bugs. Such a shame since TAL is a great broadcast. I’ll just rely on the podcast and forego access to all episodes. Not worth the headache.


Keep the Updates Coming...  Infinityfinder  4 star

Update: I was stoked when I saw the redesign, and it is definitely better, but it is still a very buggy experience. Downloading apps don’t stay downloaded and it has difficulty handling which ones are already listened to. It also loses my place in the episode. Usable but frustrating. The only hope I have is that they keep updating. Update: THANK YOU FOR THE UPDATE! Original review: TAL is one of my favorite podcasts, and so I jumped at the chance to get a $3 app to hear them all. I was disappointed to find that after owning it for over two years, and several updates, it's still full of bugs. 1. New episodes are missing the thumbnail. It sounds small, but it affects the experience more than I would have thought. [This seems to have been fixed] 2. You can only do the "10-second rewind" inside the app, not on the lock screen or from the control center. 3. There is no "10-second fast-forward". I find it needful from time to time. It's hard to scrub 60 minutes of content on a phone. 4. Some episodes won't play at all after downloaded. I have found some issues can get resolved by deleting and redownloading, but, of course, all of the "heard it" progress is lost. I am reticent to do that. I feel like I have encountered more issues than this, but these are the main ones. Please fix! Brand New Issue: 01/17 After backing up and restoring my iPhone from a 6 to a 7, the downloaded episodes I had previously would not play at all, and when attempting to delete, would strangely remind me that I could only download 5 episodes and needed to delete before downloading more. I eventually decided to delete and redownload, but upon opening, found that no episodes would display newer than May 2014, and the "Recently Aired" seems to also date from this time. It does seem that the newer episodes can be searched, though. Another update: 08/17 I can't even keep up with the issues I have anymore. Updates are few and far between and the app is more unstable than anything. Somebody needs to do a radio show about this app.


Audio stops if phone falls asleep  oboemily  2 star

With this most recent update (I think) you now have to have the app open and the phone awake to listen to episodes. If I switch to another app to do something else or my phone falls asleep, the playback stops.

idaho jason

App barely functions  idaho jason  1 star

Just updated the app. I choose an episode, tap play, and hear only 20 seconds or so because as soon as the screen darkens, the sound fades away. If I wake up the phone and go back to the app, the episode starts again. Same thing happens if I minimize the app to check email or something. The sound just fades out. Worst podcast app ever.


Trouble getting episodes to play  Kjoug  2 star

I like the access and have used this app for years and years, but I frequently can’t get the episodes to play on the redesigned app.


Crashes galore  CharlotteMeow  1 star

Love this podcast and the idea of this app BUT it doesn’t work well/consistently. For no reason it will just pause or crash completely. I have to restart the app and figure out where I left off a lot. Also, it doesn’t sync with other devices. So if you listen to an episode of a show on your phone and mark is as listen-to, it doesn’t do so on other devices so not great for multiple devices. Fix these issues and it’s golden. Otherwise, not worth the purchase. Just listen using other podcast streaming apps because this one is beyond frustrating. Still getting annoyed with crashed in May 2018. Wish you would do something about this!


FULL OF BUGS  Maekar_I  1 star

I love This American Life and I look forward to hearing it every week so I bought this app. The programs and episode are still awesome but this app is so full of bugs that it’s infuriating!


Mistakes Were Made  Bafflef  1 star

Consider the money you spend on this app a donation to public radio, I guess. Otherwise you just wasted $2.99. I bought it because I wanted to download old episodes for offline listening. The download player is very buggy. You can't play episodes more than once. The player freezes or seems to get stuck, or seems to be trying to play multiple episodes. I don't know, because I'm not a coder, and apparently neither are the people who developed this app.


New update caused more bugs!  Fell_in_a_hole  3 star

The latest update didn’t seem to do anything but cause more bugs. New episodes don’t show up on the main page and I can’t download any episodes!

This American Life Comments

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