Getting Podcasts on my iPhone 6 (iTunes 12). Frustrated.
November 17, 2014 5:32 AM   Subscribe

Can't seem to get the podcasts that I want onto my new iPhone.

Ok, I am going to post another follow up question to this soon, but I would like to get this figured out and organized first. I need massive help with iTunes and the podcast configuration, but for now, I just want to get my podcasts on my new iPhone.

Last week, I purchased the iPhone 6. My previous iPhone was the 4 and since my contract was up, I was due for an upgrade, so I purchased the new iPhone. All if well thus far, outside of the fact that I can’t seem to get my podcasts on my iPhone. Again, I will post another question soon on my issues and frustrations of managing my podcasts through iTunes, but for now, I will just be happy getting my podcasts onto my iPhone.

I like to manually manage my podcasts. Due to the volume of podcasts that I subscribe and listen to, this is the only system that works for me. Plus, I don’t listen to the new podcasts when they become available, as I like to listen to podcasts in order and I am many months behind some of my podcasts (and years in some cases).

Therefore, my current system that worked for me for years, was to have a “Playlist” set up called iPhone Podcasts and then I would manually download and drag any podcast that I wanted to listen to in this Playlist. I had it set up so that whenever I connected my iPhone to iTunes to would sync these podcasts to my phone and all was well. Then, I would go to my Music app, go to “More” on the right hand bottom side, select “Podcasts” and then listen to whatever I wanted. Perfect. Worked well.

However, now through the new version of iTunes and my iPhone 6, this isn’t working. I have my Playlist set up as usual. I have it set so that it sync’s to this playlist on my iPhone, but nothing shows up in the Music app anymore. When I click “More”, there are no options for “Podcasts”.

I know there is now a Podcast app on my iphone which seems to be downloading all sorts of podcasts that I have no desire to listen to at this time.

Is there any way I could go back to the old way of getting my podcasts on my iPhone (through the Music app)? Or do I have to listen to podcasts through the Podcast app or other podcasting app? This is very frustrating
posted by dbirchum to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It's not the iPhone that's the problem, but the version of iOS (which I guess is just a semantic difference). Some time ago, Apple relegated all the podcasts to an app (that you've discovered) that has about a tenth of the functionality of the music app. It gets very poor reviews on the iTunes store.

I think this covers what you're looking for. It's for iOS 6, and you're probably running iOS 8 with your iPhone 6, but it should still work.

Alternatively this article outlines a number of free/cheap alternatives to the Podcast app.
posted by flipper at 6:15 AM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'd recommend Overcast - it has very unfussy playlist management which is ideal for your needs, and the basic version is free (you can pay for smart speed and voice boost, two optional features that you can demo inside the app).

For example, I listen to 20 or 30 podcasts regularly and I'm working through backlogs on two with hundreds of episodes. I can keep them in dynamic playlists, reorder manually and I don't have to touch iTunes.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:16 AM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't think there is a really good way to do what you want to do since iOS 6. I've invested quit a bit of effort in it.

You can probably persuade Overcast to do what you want by flipping the right switches. It's got brilliant playlist management. But it is a bit too tied to its author's vision of the right way for podcasts to work.

You can definitely persuade iCatcher to do what you want, but you'll have to flip a lot of switches to get there.

You might be able to get the Podcast app to work sort-of right. Do you mind if iTunes deletes the podcasts after playing them? Because iTunes is pathologically intent on doing that in my experience.

More notes later.
posted by wotsac at 6:29 AM on November 17, 2014

After resisting change since iOS 6 I finally decided that Apple didn't want me to get what I want and have switched to an independent podcast app - Overcast, mentioned above
For my purposes it has one major flaw- it does not do chapters. So for the cover music cast I listen to I still use iTunes/podcasts. But otherwise I have abandoned the iTunes system and haven't been too put out by it.
posted by phearlez at 6:31 AM on November 17, 2014

Best answer: seems to be downloading all sorts of podcasts that I have no desire to listen to at this time.

I would try Downcast. You can add podcasts, and it keeps track of what you listened to, but you can set them to not download automatically.

Overcast is probably not a great choice for you, because it is built on the expectation that downloaded = unplayed, and not on the phone = played. If you don't want all your back queue on your phone, it will be frustrating to keep track of manually.
posted by smackfu at 6:54 AM on November 17, 2014 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding Downcast over Overcast (heh). It offers insanely fine-grained control on exactly what podcasts are downloaded/played/saved/etc.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:09 AM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Overcast is good, but Downcast is great. It is fantastic at managing podcasts, and doesn't get in the way of what I want to do. Worth every penny of $2.99.
posted by liquado at 8:46 AM on November 17, 2014

Best answer: Nthing Downcast. You cannot do what you want to do with the music app, and the podcast app sucks, so you have to go elsewhere. Downcast works great and is very customizable. Has never frustrated me or failed to do what I wanted it to do.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:56 AM on November 17, 2014

Best answer: What smackfu and others said: Overcast has lots of good features, but its approach to management will annoy you; Downcast's is more likely to fit with your habits. (The good thing about having lots of different independent podcast apps is that they take different approaches; the tricky thing is working out which one will fit you best without buying them all.)
posted by holgate at 9:02 AM on November 17, 2014

Best answer: Downcast is great. The only problem I've had with it is that occasionally it'll hiccup and forget which episodes I've already listened to.
posted by Lexica at 4:21 PM on November 17, 2014

I was in your boat, trying to curate my unplayed podcasts so that my walking home playlist always had things in specific order. Eventually I realized that Apple just doesn't care about our use case any more. The Podcasts app sucks (or at least, it sucked until I gave it up), iTunes podcast management sucks, and as long as you only listen to each of your podcasts on only one device (no mixing of a Mac and an iPhone), you don't need iTunes.

First try Overcast, as others above have recommended. I have Downcast and Overcast, as well as a bunch of other podcast apps, and I have really preferred Overcast to the rest. If Overcast's specific assumptions don't fit your use case, then try Downcast for lots (LOTS) of fiddly options.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:48 PM on November 17, 2014

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