Auto-deleting Episodes in iOS Podcasts App
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: Have you tried Apple’s Podcasts app? Having trouble getting it to auto-delete played episodes.
- Paul (via Twitter)
A: In order for auto-deletion of Podcast episodes to work in the new Podcasts app, you need to be subscribed to the Podcast in question directly inside the app and you must have enabled automatic downloading for that Podcast. The options for a given Podcast can be accessed by tapping on the title of the Podcast in episode view, which will present a series of cascading options—the Auto-Download option only appears if the Subscription option is enabled, and Episodes to Keep is only available if Auto-Download is enabled.
Choosing to keep “All Unplayed Episodes” will automatically remove any episode that you fully listen to within a few seconds after you finish listening to it. Note, however, that this will only remove the copy of the episode that has been downloaded to your device; the episode itself will remain visible on the episode listing, but the download icon will reappear to its right, indicating that it is no longer on your device.
Also keep in mind that you must listen to an episode through to the end for it to be considered “Played” and thereby automatically deleted; partially-played episodes are shown with a semi-circular blue dot beside them.
Further, if you choose to download an episode that is already marked as played, that episode will be kept on your device; since you specifically requested that individual episode it wouldn’t make much sense for the Podcasts app to delete it immediately after it finishes downloading. However, listening to the episode will not automatically remove it in this case, however you can delete it manually when you’ve finished with it simply by using a swipe-to-delete gesture.
Unfortunately, the auto-deletion feature doesn’t work as expected if you have subscribed to a Podcast directly within the Podcasts app and you are also syncing the same Podcast from your iTunes library. In this case, although it appears to remain set in the Podcasts app, the Episodes to Keep setting is ignored. Instead, the Podcast sync settings specified for your device in iTunes are enforced whenever you sync your device with your computer, in much the same way as Podcasts worked prior to the release of the Podcasts app.
In fact, many of the new features of the Podcasts app do not appear to be fully enabled for Podcasts that are synced from your iTunes library. This includes not only the automatic download and deletion features, but also wireless synchronization of Podcast playback status and positions. In short, if you’re syncing a Podcast on via iTunes, the app seems to rely on iTunes to continue handling all of this. Ideally, you should choose only one synchronization method for a given Podcast—either iTunes or downloading directly over-the-air.
Note that although Podcasts downloaded to your device are copied back to iTunes, this is simply a one-way copy operation; transferred Podcasts are not automatically selected for synchronization, although they will be included if you have set iTunes to sync ALL Podcasts to your device rather than only selected Podcasts (or none at all).
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that in our own experience with the new Podcasts app, we have observed a number of inconsistencies, particularly related to synchronization and downloading behaviour—problems that seem to occur with increasing frequency when combining iTunes-synced Podcasts with on-device subscriptions, even after disabling iTunes sync. Sadly, it’s clear that Apple still has some bugs to work out in this initial release.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Apple partners with SAP for mobile enterprise solutions
- Apple adds Accessibility section to its online store
- LAPD hacked into iPhone 5s for murder investigation
- More details emerge on Apple Music overhaul
- iPhone tops Time’s list of most influential gadgets
- Kohl’s integrates rewards system with Apple Pay
- Apple hires ex-Nest exec to aid in health initiatives
- Apple loses exclusive ‘iPhone’ trademark in China
- Apple to reveal ‘sweeping changes’ to Apple Music interface at WWDC
- Apple releases fourth developer betas for iOS 9.3.2, tvOS 9.2.1
- August Doorbell Cam
- August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled + Smart Keypad
- ecobee3 HomeKit-enabled smart Wi-Fi thermostat
- Zagg Now Cam
- Yantouch EyE Portable Wireless Speaker
- Netatmo Wind Gauge
- Incipio Stashback for iPhone 6/6s
- Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt with HomeKit support
- ClamCase ClamCase Pro for iPad mini 4
- Brydge BrydgeMini II Keyboard for iPad mini 4
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)