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Best Way To Organize Podcasts Through iTunes?
March 2, 2012 4:23 AM   Subscribe

Help me organize podcasts through iTunes...

I use iTunes as my main music library and I listen to podcasts 95% of the time now vs. listening to music. I love podcasts and I find them great to listen to while puttering around the house, out for walks and in the car. I have about 20 - 25 podcasts I listen to on a regular basis and I am wondering if I am organizing them in the most efficient way.

Currently, I "manually" manage all of my music and podcasts on both my iPhone and Touch. I don't want iTunes to automatically fill up my iPhone with new songs or podcasts from my library. So whenever I connect to iTunes, new podcasts start to download and whenever I am ready, I drag them to my iPhone and remove them when I have listened to them. Works for me thus far.

Some of the podcasts that I listen to, Smodcast for example, has over 200 podcasts and I want to be able to listen to them in order. I am currently on episode 57 which is why I want to manually manage them as I want to listen to them in order and not have itunes automatically synch the latest episode whenever it becomes as I am not ready to listen to it yet. This is the case with most of the podcasts I subscribe too (I am not caught up enough to listen to the latest ones).

I know there are programs out there like "Stitcher" but I don't know what they do and I am guessing that they aren't what I am looking for.

Also, is there anyway for me to "un-download" (if there is such a word), podcasts that have already been downloaded? In the Smodcast example, I have MANY episodes that have automatically been downloaded that I won't listen to for a long time. I am assuming they are taking up hard drive space, so I am wondering if I am remove these from the library and manually click on the download button when I am ready for them.
posted by dbirchum to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
You can delete a podcast, and download again at a later date ( assuming it is still available ).

Do take a look at Instacast and Downcast for your Touch, though. They manage podcasts very well.

Those apps basically eliminate even needing iTunes.
posted by backwards guitar at 5:05 AM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seconding something like Downcast. I've just started using it and it's great. You don't have to synch with iTunes at all and you can make all kinds of playlists for your podcasts.
posted by dawkins_7 at 5:08 AM on March 2, 2012


To me, this is one of the biggest misses in iOS. Thankfully you don't have to sync to itunes anymore to really manage podcasts (though you still have to check each one manually to see if its been updated (really Apple?)

Two things, though:

You can delete a podcast in the 'music' app on your iphone by swiping left over the name of the episode. A 'delete' prompt will come up and you can delete the episode.

However, downloading the instacast app has changed my podcast habits significantly. On launch it'll check all 25-30 of my podcast feeds and download the newest episode automatically (even over the air). Also, my setting are set up so that it deletes an episode after I listen (though this is totally customizable too). I highly recommend splurging on the $1.99 app.
posted by jourman2 at 6:45 AM on March 2, 2012


I manage this by setting my iPod for "checked items only" and then unchecking the newer podcasts that I'm not ready to listen to yet. There is a contextual menu item to check/uncheck items one at a time or in batches.
posted by olecranon at 8:21 AM on March 2, 2012


In addition to olecranon's checked item only suggestion, I use manually maintained playlists to help me listen to things in order. I rarely if ever go to the podcasts section of the iPod but rather I listen to my playlist in order. I build up the playlist a little bit at time mixing in longer shows with shorter shows. I try to give preferences to shows that are current event based so that I get to them quicker.
posted by mmascolino at 8:48 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I use Instacast and I've never looked back. No real management required, just set it to auto-cache new episodes, then once a day or so, fire it up, pull down to refresh and it will download all your new episodes over the air. You can also set it to only download over wifi if you have high data rates. The absolute killer feature is subscribing to new shows without having to sync. It has changed 'managing' my podcasts from a chore I had to remember to do to something I don't even think about. For example, when I managed through iTunes, I frequently either forgot or didn't have time to download and sync new podcasts before I left in the morning, and I'd run out of listening materials on the ride to work. Now, I can download episodes over wifi in seconds, or even grab them over 3G if I forget before I leave the house.

If Apple have any sense at all, they'll buy Instacast or one of the other apps like it, make a standalone podcasting client and give it some Apple polish. Because iTunes podcast management blows.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:39 PM on March 2, 2012


Oh, and on re-reading, Instacast is also a good fit for your 'going through back catalogues' approach - when you subscribe to a new podcast it will grab usually the last 3 as cached downloads, but you can scroll back and download them in order. I worked my way through the archives of a couple of techie podcasts a while back doing exactly that.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:41 PM on March 2, 2012


Hi all,

Thanks so much for the responses.

I think one of the keys to my solution is that I am not checking or unchecking something in iTunes. I mean, for the SModcast podcast I listen to, there are over 100 episodes already downloaded in my library. I only listen to one or two a week and I want to listen to them in order. How do I change the settings so that it doesn't download new podcasts until I want to listen to them? I don't want to delete them, but I only want to download them manually, when I am ready.

And I certainly don't mind paying $1.99 for a good app, but I don't know if Instacast or Downcast will allow me to listen to much OLDER achieved podcasts, in chronological order? I mean, iTunes automatically downloads the new podcasts to my Library, which I don't necessarily want...

Suggestions?
posted by dbirchum at 3:32 PM on March 2, 2012


You can control the auto-download behavior by clicking the Settings... button at the bottom of the screen when looking at your list Podcasts (this is on the Windows version of iTunes...I awesome there will be equivalent functionality on OS X).

In this dialog, you can set a default rule about what to do when a new podcast is available (Download them all, Download most recent, or Do Nothing) as well as tell it how many episodes to keep (All, All Unplayed, Most recent, Last 2, and so on...). Then on a podcast-by-podcast basis you can override these defaults.

One word of caution about delaying downloads is that not all podcasts keep their entire catalog available. Some only keep say 10 episodes available so you have to download it while it is still posted.
posted by mmascolino at 3:58 PM on March 2, 2012


I have similar listening habits, and iTunes can do this automatically.

I just let it auto-download everything, as mmascolino says some podcasts are only available for a limited amount of time.

Then in the iPhone podcasts settings, you can set it to automatically sync a certain number of episodes. The default is for it to do the newest ones, but you can change this to the oldest ones.

Then everytime you sync, it removes the listened to ones, and replaces them with the oldest unlistened to ones.

Anything I don't want to listen to right now, I untick the box (it only sycns ticked podcasts) but keep for later.

Works fine for me.
posted by chrispy108 at 1:31 PM on March 4, 2012


Thanks all. I went into my podcast "settings" and made some modifications, as mmascolino suggested.

So just to confirm, there is no way to "safely" remove the hundreds of podcasts iTunes has already downloaded, to download at a later date?
posted by dbirchum at 5:53 PM on March 8, 2012


Nope, lots of podcasts are only available for a certain amount of time, so if you delete them you might not be able to get them back.

You can put them on an external hard drive or something though, and put them back in your itunes library later.
posted by chrispy108 at 3:13 PM on March 17, 2012


Hi all,

Just as an update, I have download Instacast last week and have been using it a little while now. Thus far, its been great. A couple of quick points:

- how do i set it up to ensure that I only download over wifi vs. 3G?
- when I am using the "playing" is it playing using wifi or 3G or is it just playing as it has already been downloaded?

Also, there is a daily "podcast" that I listen to that is no listed on iTunes. Is there any way, Instacast can search for this one every day instead of me manually going to the website and downloading it each day?

Thanks!
posted by dbirchum at 5:43 PM on May 20, 2012


dbirchum: "Hi all,

Just as an update, I have download Instacast last week and have been using it a little while now. Thus far, its been great. A couple of quick points:

- how do i set it up to ensure that I only download over wifi vs. 3G?
- when I am using the "playing" is it playing using wifi or 3G or is it just playing as it has already been downloaded?

Also, there is a daily "podcast" that I listen to that is no listed on iTunes. Is there any way, Instacast can search for this one every day instead of me manually going to the website and downloading it each day?

Thanks!
"

1. From the home screen go to Settings (bottom right) > Settings and switch off 'Downloading' in the Cellular 3G section.
2. You can tell if it's downloaded because it will say 'Start' instead of 'Stream' when you tap into an individual episode's screen. If it says 'Start' then the episode is cached on your phone and it will not use any data when you play it.

No idea about the third question, sorry.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:22 AM on May 21, 2012


Thanks Happy Dave!
posted by dbirchum at 7:16 AM on May 21, 2012


On chatting back and forth with dbirchum, we've discovered Instacast does have a (badly documented and unclear) subscription function for non-iTunes listed podcasts. Instructions below:

Start up the app, then go to the + sign in the bottom right when on the Subscriptions screen. You'll see the normal search field. Tap the thing that looks like a chain link in the top right, then paste your podcast's RSS URL into the field after pcast://

Hit 'Preview' and you should see the podcast come up. Then just hit Subscribe to add it to your subscriptions.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:23 PM on May 22, 2012


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