15 Best audiobook apps for iPhone and iPad in 2021

Best audiobook apps for iPhone and iPad

There’s an audio revolution happening in the entertainment world, and audiobooks were the first to carve the way forward. Moreover, when it comes to the best audiobook apps for iPhone and iPad, you’re spoilt for choice as they’re so many great options with handy features for easy listening.

What I love about audiobooks is how they make “reading” so convenient. You can tune into books while doing other things like driving or chores. If that sounds appealing, check out my list of the best apps for listening to audiobooks on your iPhone. 

  1. Apple Books
  2. Audible
  3. Libby, by OverDrive
  4. Hoopla Digital
  5. Audiobooks.com
  6. OverDrive
  7. Scribd
  8. Bound
  9. Chirp Audiobooks
  10. Kobo Books
  11. Libro.fm
  12. Google Play Books
  13. LibriVox Audio Books Pro
  14. Realm
  15. Amazon Kindle

1. Apple Books: Editor’s choice

Apple Books ebooks reader apps for iOS

Apple makes some of the best apps for iPhone, and its Books app is no exception. I think it’s the best choice for Apple users because you can explore millions of audiobooks and ebooks from every category, including fiction, non-fiction, thrillers, romance, mysteries, kids’ books, comics, and more. You can easily listen on your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, and Mac.

I love the clean, intuitive interface that’s characteristic of anything that Apple designs. Moreover, the audiobooks are narrated by actors, authors, and other memorable voices that you’ll love tuning into. You can even set reading goals and track books and audiobooks you’d like to read next.

Further, Family Sharing lets you share your books and audiobooks purchases with up to five family members. Best of all, there are plenty of special offers and free books to enjoy.

Pros

  • Buy audiobooks directly within the app 
  • Read across all Apple devices
  • Family sharing
  • Set reading goals to stay motivated
  • CarPlay support 
  • Simple and intuitive design

Cons

  • Currently available in limited countries 

Price: Free

Download

2. Audible: Biggest audiobook library

audible audiobook iphone ipad app screenshot

Audible is the most well-known audiobook app out there. It offers all the playback features you need, from adjustable speed to bookmarks, easy chapter navigation, a sleep timer, and multitasking support for background playback and offline downloads. 

Further, you can choose to either buy audiobooks one by one or get an Audible subscription to get monthly credits to use for audiobooks. This works out much cheaper if you listen to a lot of books. 

Moreover, its integration with the Amazon shopping app has additional benefits. For instance, Amazon Prime members get free audiobook credits each month plus deals throughout the year on the best audio content.

Further, Amazon’s Whispersync feature allows you to switch seamlessly between audiobook and ebook. It gets even better if you use Alexa smart assistant. Ask Alexa to play your audiobook, recommend new ones, and more. 

Finally, Audible also gives you access to original audio shows or short-form narratives. For instance, you can hear celebrities narrating their favorite stories.

Pros

  • Variety of audio content 
  • Great integration with Amazon 
  • Offline listening 
  • Free and ad-free 
  • Cross-device sync

Cons

  • Recommendations need to be refined. 

Price: Free (Monthly subscription starts at $7.95)

Download

3. Libby, by OverDrive: Best for free audiobooks

libby by overdrive audiobook iphone ipad app screenshot

Say goodbye to buying audiobooks and borrow them instead on Libby. This app gives you access to the libraries around you so that you can find and borrow audiobooks and ebooks to your heart’s content. 

To start, you’ll need to register with your library cards, so it’s not much use if you don’t have one or aren’t located near some libraries. After registering, you can download audiobooks for offline use or stream them to save space on your device. 

I love this app because content from different libraries is stored on a unified shelf for easy access. Moreover, most apps only offer free access to classic or old books, but Libby is the best app for free audiobooks of all kinds, from bestsellers to obscure titles to new releases. It’s a simple, convenient, and most importantly, legal way to enjoy free audiobooks on your iPhone. 

Pros

  • Supports local libraries 
  • Legal way to listen to audiobooks for free
  • Access multiple libraries from one app

Cons

  • Not helpful if you don’t have public libraries nearby or a library membership
  • Limited content depending on the libraries you access

Price: Free

Download

4. Hoopla Digital: Best to access local libraries

hoopla digital audiobook iphone ipad app screenshot

Here’s another great app to support local libraries. Hoopla lets you instantly borrow free audiobooks, ebooks, movies, music, comics, and TV shows from your public library. It’s got a massive catalog of over 800,000 titles—from best-selling novels and blockbuster movies to niche, hard-to-find content. 

Some standout features include no late fees, offline availability, and seamless sync across your devices. It’s an ideal way to carry your library wherever you go and access it 24/7. A user-friendly interface is just the cherry on top. 

Pros

  • No late fees charged
  • A mix of audio and video content
  • Available on Apple TV and a wide range of other platforms  

Cons

  • Only available in selected regions

Price: Free

Download

5. Audiobooks.com: Best user experience

audiobooks.com iphone ipad app screenshot

If you’ve ever wondered, “how do I get free audiobooks on my iPhone?” here’s the perfect answer. It offers ten thousand free audiobooks and a vast catalog featuring over 250,000 others. It includes everything from kids’ content to latest releases, Bible readings, and bestselling non-fiction titles. The well-designed interface makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.

Moreover, I especially love the smart recommendations feature that curates books according to my preferences. Further, you can check out lists like the best audiobooks of the year, most-anticipated releases, books you can finish within a day, and much more.

This makes it a breeze to discover new titles which you may not have otherwise heard. This app also offers a ton of podcasts that make for a nice variation in content. It’s one of the best Audible alternatives, in my opinion.

Pros

  • Also offers podcasts  
  • Great interface 
  • Smart recommendations 

Cons

  • Pricey compared to other options.  

 Price: $14.95 per month for one credit

Download

6. OverDrive: Best to access global libraries

OverDrive audiobook iphone ipad app screenshot

Overdrive is arguably the best app for free audiobooks on iPhone. You have to access it through your library, but unlike Hoopla, the catalog is specific only to your library.

You can borrow audiobooks for free and even request the library to add specific titles to the catalog. The ease of checkout is astounding, and if you don’t enjoy a title, you can delete it and download another! 

It eliminates the problem of fines and late fees because titles are automatically returned when they expire. Further, you can place holds on books you want to get next and create wishlists to track your listening list.

It’s your one-stop app to access over 30,000 libraries worldwide. Of course, you can also read ebooks on it!

Pros

  • Easy to use and convenient 
  • No late fees 
  • Free access to a vast catalog of audiobooks

Cons

  • A valid account with a participating library, school, or other institution is required.
  • Long wait times for popular titles

Price: Free

Download

7. Scribd: Best for unique content

scribd audiobook iphone ipad app screenshot

 Scribd is so much more than just a smart audiobook player for iOS, so I had to include it on this list. I’ve been using it for years, and the membership is one of the most valuable things I invest in.

For just ten dollars a month, you get access to audiobooks, ebooks, academic articles, newspapers, magazines, other kinds of documents, and even music! It’s a content powerhouse that spans every genre imaginable and boasts excellent features too. 

For audiobooks, you can adjust the narration speed, set a sleep timer, and download titles for offline listening. It’s also available on Apple Watch, so you’re never without something to listen to. Scribd is best described as a massive digital treasure trove that gives you instant access to books you wouldn’t easily find elsewhere at the same price. 

Pros

  • Massive content library 
  • Affordable subscription 
  • Easy to use
  • Available on Apple Watch 

Cons

  • There are sometimes limits on the content you can access 

 Price: Free (Subscription from $8.99 per month) 

Download

8. Bound: Best audiobook player

bound audiobooks app for iPhone

If you don’t want your audiobooks to take up precious space on your iPhone, here’s an innovative cloud-based solution that can help. Bound lets you stream DRM-free audiobooks from cloud storage services, such as iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive, playing them on your iPhone for convenience. 

This mp3 audiobook player supports a variety of other formats too including .m4a, .m4b, and .aac files. If you play these in a regular audio player, you would probably lose your spot each time you close the app.

But Bound gives you the benefit of adjustable playback speeds, a sleep timer, and options for bookmarks and seek times. It’s a pretty nifty solution if you already own DRM-free audiobooks! 

Pros

  • Supports multiple cloud services
  • Has advanced audiobook playback features
  • Manage and organize your audiobooks
  • CarPlay support 

Cons

  • Sometimes has problems downloading larger files. 

Price: $3.99

Download

9. Chirp Audiobooks: Best audiobook offers 

chirp audiobooks iphone ipad app screenshot

Here’s another must-have app for audiobook lovers that has excellent deals on a wide range of titles. There’s no subscription fee, and you can save up to 95% on audiobooks every day. From bestsellers to rare finds, this app has a lot to offer at unbeatable prices. 

Everything you purchase is yours forever, and you can choose to either stream it or download it to listen offline. It includes all the essential features like easy chapter navigation, a sleep timer, and adjustable playback speed. You also get personalized recommendations according to the genres you enjoy 

Pros

  • No subscription needed
  • Great deals on audiobooks 
  • Personalized recommendations 

Cons

  • Audio quality could be improved

Price: Free

Download

10. Kobo Books – Best Audible alternative

kobo audiobook iphone ipad app screenshot

Look no further for amazing deals on premium audiobooks! This app boasts an attractive collection of both audiobooks and ebooks, plus a range of handy features. You get one free audiobook per month for a subscription fee of $9.99. 

It’s simple to use, and you can adjust the display to suit your preferences. The homepage reminds you of everything you’ve been listening to recently, making it easier to listen to multiple books at once. Plus, the extensive sort options help you quickly find what you’re looking for. 

You can even switch seamlessly between devices thanks to the sync and preview books before getting them. All in all, this one’s the best Audible alternative that’s also compatible with CarPlay.

Lastly, you can read in various languages apart from English, including French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Turkish, Traditional Chinese, and Japanese.

Pros

  • Vast catalog 
  • Supports multiple devices 
  • Compatible with CarPlay 

Cons

  • Book filters need to be refined

Price: Free

Download

11. Libro.fm: Best for supporting local bookstores

libro fm audiobook iphone ipad app screenshot

If you want to support local bookstores around you, here’s a perfect app to help you out. Purchase your favorite audiobooks from your local bookstore and help boost the community’s economy where you live. This might seem like a small gesture, but it makes a difference in significant ways, such as stimulating employment opportunities. 

This app offers over 215,000 audiobooks, including bestsellers and bookseller picks. You can organize your library with customizable tags and listen at your own pace with adjustable playback speed. 

It works on a subscription model wherein you get one audiobook credit each month in exchange for an automatic charge of USD 14.99 plus tax. This might be on the pricier side but supports your local bookstore, which makes it worth it. 

Pros

  • Supports local bookstores 
  • Buy directly within the app 
  • Easy-to-use features 

Cons

  • Pricier than other options

Price: $14.99 per month

Download

12. Google Play Books: Works in browsers

google play books iphone ipad app screenshot

If you love Google services, here’s an audiobook app that will add value to your life. The catalog is not as extensive as Amazon & Audible, but the advantage is that you can buy audiobooks one by one instead of paying for a subscription.

It’s one of the best audiobook apps for iOS that gives you access to a vast library of digital content, including ebooks, audiobooks, textbooks, and comic books.

Moreover, in addition to listening to the audiobook on your iPhone or iPad, you can also listen in a browser on your laptop. Your content syncs across devices and is also compatible with CarPlay.

Pros

  • No subscription needed
  • CarPlay support
  • Works in browsers

Cons

  • Cannot purchase directly from within the app due to App Store policies

Price: Free

Download

13. LibriVox Audio Books Pro: Best for classic audiobooks

librivox audiobook iphone ipad app screenshot

 For truly free audiobooks on your iPhone, check out this volunteer-powered service. You can listen to unlimited books that are in the public domain in the US. Choose from over 50,000 titles that include classics, biographies, history books, poetry, short story anthologies, and even audio dramas. 

I appreciate the extensive search function that lets you find audiobooks by keyword, title, author, or genre. Moreover, the recently added section helps you discover new titles.

The app remembers your position, so you can resume listening from the point where you left off. You can also listen via CarPlay and use unlimited bookmarks.

Pros

  • Free books and audio dramas 
  • CarPlay support 
  • In-app access to all content

Cons

  • Limited collection 

Price: $2.99

Download

14. Realm: Most unique audiobook experience

realm audiobook player iphone ipad app screenshot

When you’re in the mood to experience something truly unique, Realm has original audio content that’s worth checking out. Enjoy curated shows that match your preferences and are created by award-winning, bestselling authors. 

What makes this one of the best audiobook apps is the cinematic sound design. It offers an immersive experience with sound effects and mesmerizing narrators like Tatiana Maslany & George Takei.

Of course, it also boasts all the usual features like offline mode, speed controls, sleep timer, and dark and light mode support. It goes a step further with hypnotic animations and five color schemes. You can sample the content for free and even switch between listening and reading. 

Pros

  • A unique immersive audio experience
  • Highly customizable 
  • Rich in features 

Cons

  • UI needs improvement 

Price: Free (in-app purchases start $1.99) 

Download

15. Amazon Kindle: Best for listening while reading

amazon kindle audiobook iphone ipad app screenshot

The Amazon Kindle app is the leader when it comes to ebooks, but did you know it doubles up to give you access to audiobooks too? This means that you can read along to your books with Audible narration where needed. So, it’s super easy to switch between the two modes or enjoy both simultaneously for an engaging experience.

When you open your Kindle book, you will see a headphones icon in the corner of the book cover if a matching audiobook is available. Just tap the text that says “Tap to Download” to get the Audible version at a fraction of the actual cost. Then, tap the play icon to listen and read together. Moreover, if you get the Kindle Unlimited subscription, you can access various free content for one affordable monthly price.

Pros

  • Bundle your ebooks with audiobooks
  • Access to an extensive catalog
  • Get audiobooks for cheaper than the original price

Cons

  • Not all ebooks have audiobook companions

Price: Free

Download

With such a variety of apps to listen to audiobooks on your iPhone, you can stay entertained and inspired wherever you are. It’s no wonder then that even music streaming apps like Spotify now include audiobooks in their library. What are you currently listening to? Let me know in the comments below.

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