Be gone podcast!
September 18, 2008 8:19 PM   Subscribe

How can I delete podcasts from my iPod on the go

I use my iPod primarily for listening to podcasts. I do a fair bit of travel, and it really helps the time fly when I'm... erm, flying.

Anyway, I have my iPod configured not to sync with iTunes, as I find that incredibly irritating. This means that I have to go connect my iPod, and manually delete podcasts I've listened to, every couple of days.

This is remarkable (in a bad way). Surely Apple should have included some way of deleting podcasts (and/or even songs) without having to dock your device? Sheesh.

I'm posting this question on the slim chance that someone with a brain has developed an iPod "app" (or a mefite knows of one) with some degree of file management capabilities.

Or am I asking too much from our fruit based, glossy white, Birkenstock wearing, portable music player Nazi(*) friends from Cupertino?

*No offence meant, and analogy meant only in jest
posted by Mephisto to Technology (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
"Should" I can't help you with, but no Apple didn't allow you to do this. You might be able to with linux on your ipod, but I don't really know.

>Surely Apple should have included some way of deleting podcasts (and/or even songs) without having to dock your device?

Surely you don't need to free up space unless you are docked? You're not going to be able to use that free space without docking.
posted by pompomtom at 8:35 PM on September 18, 2008

You can set your podcasts to sync without the rest of your music syncing. In iTunes on the left menu, choose your iPod, click the "Podcasts" tab on the top, and check "Sync". (I'm using iTunes 7).

I know this wasn't exactly your question, but as pompomtom said, there's no reason you should need to delete podcasts when you aren't docked.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 8:47 PM on September 18, 2008

I too would really like this feature.

>> Surely you don't need to free up space unless you are docked? You're not going to be able to use that free space without docking.

The advantage to deleting podcasts "on the go" is that the podcast would disappear from the menu. When I look at my playlists, I don't want to see the podcasts I already heard. It's a bother when you settle down to listen, and realize that you already heard this one.
posted by valannc at 8:52 PM on September 18, 2008

Yeah, Apple has very poor music management functionality on the iPod touch, in my experience. No ability to delete files (or mark them for deletion on next sync), edit song info, move from playlist to playlist, create/delete playlists, etc. I keep waiting with bated breath for Apple to update the software to allow this, but perhaps I wait in vain...
posted by armage at 9:11 PM on September 18, 2008

Response by poster: valannc has it.

It's not space I'm worried about. It's wading through loads of podcasts that already have been played. Or that maybe I've just listened to the first couple of minutes to, so they no longer show as "unplayed".

Couple to that the annoying fact that most podcasts have a repetitive title ("Late Night Live - 23-9-08" for example). You have to actually "play" them to get into the description section.

I can't tell you how many times I've started listening to a show (and it's usually recorded radio shows) and then went "God damn it.. I've heard this one three times already!".

No, it's not the end of the world, but it's such a fundamental usability issue that it annoys me.

I had hopes for 3rd party "Apps" for the iPods. Meh...
posted by Mephisto at 9:12 PM on September 18, 2008

Response by poster: Yes armage! Yes! Just yes!
posted by Mephisto at 9:13 PM on September 18, 2008

This is what I do: create a smart playlist for "only podcasts" with a "play count = 0". It will include all the ones you haven't finished listening to. Sadly, it won't update dynamically, but it's easier to remember where you are in one list of tracks, instead of 50 seperate ones.

Or alternatively, upgrade to the 2.1 firmware, it now has an indicator for podcasts that you've started listening to but haven't finished.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:16 PM on September 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

If that is what you are looking for then what you do is:
Go in the Podcast area on your iTunes and under Settings..... in the podcasts tell it to "Keep: All unplayed episodes" what this will do is after you hear a podcast it will go away.
Then make a smart play list with genre podcast + play count 0
This two things "should" help
posted by CollegeNelson at 9:17 PM on September 18, 2008

Well, there are 3rd party apps in a manner of speaking, but it involves a little bit of work. You want to install RockBox, which is sort of like Linux for your iPod, and then find a file management utility. Maybe not in that order.

I'm looking for one right now, but haven't found anything yet.
posted by niles at 10:15 PM on September 18, 2008

Aha! As per this chart, Rockbox proper has "File Delete" capabilities.
posted by niles at 10:20 PM on September 18, 2008

Seconding Rockbox. It's not perfect, but it's not horrible either.
posted by chrisamiller at 10:42 PM on September 18, 2008

I've done the same thing as CollegeNelson (in fact, I did it even before there was podcast support in iTunes, and I thought myself quite brilliant for figuring it out... until I realized that many others had done the same before me). This is going to do what you're looking for, if a little bit clumsily.
posted by rossination at 10:52 PM on September 18, 2008

3rd on Rockbox. Your iPod needs to be a 5.5G video or older though to use it.

Rockbox adds lots of other great features as well, so many so that you need to spend a little time learning your way around it. It's best feature for me is being able to ditch iTunes. You just manage your music like you would in a file browser, drag and drop.

It will not damage your iPod and you can easily delete it if you don't like it.
posted by quarterframer at 11:09 PM on September 18, 2008

If you have a touch, you might wanna check out Podcaster, a native app for the touch / iphone. I've been beta testing it and it works pretty well... kind of. It's getting there. There's been a bit of controversy around it lately due to the fact that apple rejected it from the app store for some reason, so the developer is going "ad hoc" with it.

The idea, though, is amazing. It can download podcasts via 3g/wifi with a variety of sync options, no itunes required. You can also just stream podcasts, which is pretty handy if you just wanna listen to occasional things and not go through all the trouble of downloading.
posted by ph00dz at 12:08 AM on September 19, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for your suggestions.

If I'm reading things correctly, Rockbox won't work on my iPod Touch (which annoyingly I bought a week before the new, very latest, models were released).

This is a shame, as it has exactly what I (and a lot of other folks) want. A delete function.

Not too much to ask Mr Jobs, is it? Perhaps the furniture sales man would have provided it...
posted by Mephisto at 1:25 AM on September 19, 2008

(which annoyingly I bought a week before the new, very latest, models were released). Call Apple and ask to to trade up. They're pretty good about that if you push them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:17 AM on September 19, 2008

On my iPod, there's a little blue circle that indicates whether or not I've listened to an episode (full circle for not listened to at all, half-circle for partial listen, and no circle for full listen). Is that not showing up for you on your iPod? If not, have you updated to the latest version of the software?
posted by JDHarper at 6:32 AM on September 19, 2008

Third-ing the smart playlist, I have them set up under various categories of broadcaster, such as BBC, CBC, NPR and genre - sports, comedy, politics, finance. What these all have in common is the play count = 0.
Consequently, I never go to "Podcasts" but "Playlists" and I'm happy.
posted by arcticseal at 7:00 AM on September 19, 2008

I personally set up a playlist (manually so that I spread out the long podcasts from the short ones) and just listen to the playlist. It seems like it does a pretty good job so much so that I hardly ever wander into the Podcast section of my iPod.
posted by mmascolino at 7:39 AM on September 19, 2008

Just rate the podcast with one star once you're done listening to it. Then sort by rating in iTunes. (To rate it, press the center button twice to get to the rating mode and then "turn" the clickwheel right a little.)
posted by qvtqht at 6:24 PM on September 19, 2008

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