Managing podcast synchronization | iLounge Article


Managing podcast synchronization

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Q: I download podcasts frequently, yet add them to my iPod infrequently. At the moment, I do this manually by dragging all the podcast files onto the iPod icon. However whenever I do this, all podcasts previously listed as played become listed as unplayed, so I lose track of where I was up to. Is there a way to set up iTunes to read your iPod to show which tracks have been played and which haven’t, and update accordingly? I would prefer not to automatically sync the podcasts, I prefer to do it manually to keep favourite episodes on the player.

- Jaymes

A: Unfortunately, when managing your iPod in manual mode, information such as ratings, play counts, last played times, and bookmarked positions are not transferred back to the iTunes library. As a result, if you re-transfer any existing content from your iTunes library to your iPod, playback positions and played status will be overwritten based on the settings in your iTunes library.

The best workaround to avoid this situation is to go back to automatically syncing your podcasts, but in this case do so based on playlists rather than using the “Podcast” settings in iTunes. In other words, you would leave the sync settings on the “Podcasts” tab disabled, and instead create a playlist or set of playlists containing the podcasts that you wish to have on your iPod. You would then set your iPod to sync these selected playlists on the “Music” tab, where they will be handled in the same manner as any other audio files.

You could then simply add and remove podcasts from within these playlists to control which ones are stored on your iPod. Podcast episodes added to the playlist will be added to your iPod during the next sync, and podcasts removed from these playlists would be removed from the iPod. Further, as you listen to podcasts on the iPod, playback positions and play counts will synchronize back to your iTunes library, allowing you to retain your playback positions and keep track of which podcasts you have listened to.

There are a couple of caveats to this method, however: Firstly, not all iPod models will display these Podcasts under the “Podcast” menu. This is particularly true of the newer iPod classic and iPod nano. In this case, you will simply have to access the Podcasts via the playlist(s) that you have created, which unfortunately will not provide indications on which episodes you may have already listened to (ie, no blue dots).

Secondly, this method will not work for video podcasts, as these are treated differently than audio podcasts by iTunes. Our testing has shown some limited success with syncing these through the “Movies” tab by using video playlists, but this behavior seems inconsistent at this point.



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You said “Note that the iPhone and iPod touch do require a video-specific authentication chip, so at this point only the Apple video cable accessories can be used to output video from either of these devices “

I accidentally bought the “old” Apple Dock (called the iPod Universal Dock) as well as the new AV composite cable to use with my iPod touch. I could not get any video output. I returned the Apple iPod Universal Dock (the “old” dock) and bought a Apple Univeral Dock (the “new” dock) and I can now get video from my Ipod touch onto my TV.
So you need new version of both the dock and the cables to work with the iPod touch.

Posted by KerryC in Toronto on November 4, 2007 at 3:26 AM (CST)


Yes, that is essentially correct, as the older Universal Dock will not pass the additional Apple authentication chip information from the video cable.

Since the Dock contains its own authentication chip, this overrides any additional signal that is sent to the iPod from the cable.

Ironically, older iPod docks from the third and fourth-generation iPods will work fine, as these are essentially “dumb” devices that merely pass the electrical connections through from the iPod to the Dock Connector on the back of the dock itself.

In fact, with the 4G iPod photo dock, not only will the video cables work to enable the video output capability on all models of iPod and the iPhone, but the S-Video output itself can in fact also be used to take video directly from the dock.

In fact, for the iPod nano, this can be a very effective “cheating” method, since an iPod photo dock combined with the Nike+ iPod sensor is enough to make the video output from the dock itself work properly.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on November 6, 2007 at 10:30 AM (CST)


I own the original Universal Dock, and it definitely won’t work with the new Component A/V Cable.

Posted by Galley in Toronto on November 7, 2007 at 4:21 PM (CST)


I have the latest version of iTunes. I run on Leopard through firewire. Whilst updating my 40gig iPod, the battery went dead. I have a message telling me to power-up through the mains. However, nothing happens when Ido this. I cannot even turn the thing off.
Any ideas?

Posted by colonelhall in Toronto on November 9, 2007 at 11:58 AM (CST)


Wait a minute… in other words, the older Universal Dock does output video from iPod nano G3 and iPod classic, right?

If so, I can just go out and buy the dock and use S-Video cable to output video on a TV, correct?

Posted by acbc2k in Toronto on November 15, 2007 at 7:51 AM (CST)

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