Q: Is there a way to set iTunes to automatically delete played podcasts from my computer? I have the latest version of iTunes on my Mac, and it is great about deleting played podcasts from my iPod, but I have an older Mac and my hard disk space is getting slim. I’d love to find a feature that will delete played podcasts automatically from my computer, so I don’t have to constantly do it manually.
A: Absolutely. This can be accomplished via the “Podcasts” tab within the iTunes preferences dialog:
This setting controls how often iTunes checks for new podcast episodes, how many new episodes to download, and most importantly, how many episodes to keep. This latter option can be set to keep only a recent selection of podcast episodes, or all unplayed podcasts. Any podcasts that fall outside of this criteria are automatically cleaned up whenever iTunes detects and downloads new podcast episodes.
Therefore, setting this option to keep “All Unplayed” episodes would ensure that you never missed an episode of a podcast, while still ensuring that those episodes that you have listened to are removed in a timely manner. Alternatively, you could choose to keep only the most recent few episodes, in which case any older episodes are removed whether you’ve listened to them or not.
Unfortunately, this is a global setting—it applies to all of your podcast subscriptions. Although different retention settings cannot be applied to different podcasts, the automatic deletion can be disabled entirely for a given podcast subscription or individual episode by right-clicking on that item and choosing “Do Not Allow Auto Delete” from the context menu:
This will prevent the automatic deletion from being applied to that selected item (either a specific podcast episode, or the whole podcast subscription, depending on your selection).
Conversely, the “Allow Auto Delete” setting reverses this and again allows the global iTunes preferences Podcast setting to apply. Normally only one of these two options will appear on the right-click menu, according to which setting is currently in effect. If both options appear when selecting a podcast subscription/series, this means that some of the episodes in that series are marked to allow auto delete, and others are marked to prevent it.