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Home / Tips and Tricks / How To Subscribe to Podcasts on iOS, Mac, and iTunes | News & opinion

How To Subscribe to Podcasts on iOS, Mac, and iTunes | News & opinion



Apple offers an army of podcasts – more than half a million – that cover a wide range of topics. In the past, you could subscribe to and listen to iTunes, but things have changed for Apple devices. If you're using an iPhone, iPad, or Mac with Catalina, you can use Apple's Podcasts app. If you are working on a Windows computer or have not upgraded to the latest version of macOS, you are still on iTunes.

Regardless of the program you sign up for, the trick is to pick the right subscription settings for you, manage and access your favorite podcasts. How It Works:

Using the Podcasts App on Mobile Devices

Let's look at a few podcasts about the Podcasts app built into iOS, iPadOS, and Apple Watch. Open the Podcasts app on your device and tap the Browse button at the bottom of the screen to search for "new and noteworthy" podcasts, as well as top shows and podcasts based on different categories.

Search for a specific podcast by name or Tap the Search button and enter a keyword or phrase to best describe the podcast you want.

  Podcast Subscription

Tap a podcast that interests you. On the podcast's main screen, tap the name of a specific episode to start streaming. If you like a podcast, you can subscribe to it by tapping the Subscribe button. This means that every new episode will be downloaded as soon as it's available and displayed in your podcast list.

Download episodes to your device by tapping the plus icon and then the cloud icon next to the name of a particular episode. After downloading, tap to start playback.

  Podcast Subscription

Tap Library at the bottom of the screen to view all podcasts you currently subscribe to. You can sort and view your podcast by recent updates, shows, episodes, or downloaded episodes.

In your list of podcasts, tap one you subscribed to. All new episodes will be automatically downloaded, but older episodes will need to be manually downloaded for offline listening. To download an episode, tap the cloud icon next to it.

  Podcast Subscription

Long press on a single episode to manage this selection. Use the pop-up menu to remove the download, go to the show, play the next or later episode, save the episode, mark as played, release the episode, copy a link, or report a problem. 19659002]   Subscribe to Podcast

You can also control your subscription to an entire podcast by tapping the purple ellipsis button. Use the pop-up menu to share the podcast, unsubscribe, play it back, delete from your library, copy a link to it, or report a problem. You can also tap Settings to further customize the podcast.

  Podcast Subscription

Allows you to enable or disable the switches to view new episodes and notifications for your subscribed podcasts. In the Episodes section, you can control the order in which you watch and play the episodes. You can choose to play them one at a time, play the latest ones first, or just keep the latest episodes. Touch Custom Settings to make further changes.

  Podcast Subscription

Under Custom Settings, you can change the order of episodes to oldest to newest. You can also set download settings only for new episodes, no episodes, or any unplayed episodes. If you select All unplayed episodes, you can download all the episodes you want rather than having to download them one at a time.

  Podcast subscription

What you can Choose to remove or keep your episodes played, limit the number of episodes to download, and update the podcast hourly, 6 hours, daily, weekly or manual. When done, tap Done.

  Podcast Subscription

Tap the Listen Now icon at the bottom to hear the next episodes of your subscribed podcasts.

How to Use the Podcasts App on a Mac

On a Mac with Catalina, open the Podcasts app. Click the Browse and Top Charts entries to see different podcasts.

  Podcast Subscription

To find a particular podcast, type your keyword or search term in the search box in the left pane. Open a podcast that interests you and tap the Subscribe button.

  Podcast Subscription

In the left pane of the Library, click the entry for shows. Click a podcast you want to manage. Right-click on a single episode to download or remove, save, and execute other commands.

  Podcast Subscription

Tap the ellipsis button to unsubscribe from the podcast, remove it from your library, and perform other actions.

  Podcast Subscription

Click the Settings command on the menu to sort the episodes and manage downloaded and played episodes.

Using iTunes

If you are using Windows or have not yet upgraded to macOS Catalina, you can subscribe to podcasts through iTunes. Launch iTunes on your computer and click on the Store heading.

  Podcast Subscription

Click the drop-down menu that lists the different content types and select the entry for podcasts. You can now search available podcasts and search for specific names or topics.

  Podcast subscription

Click on a podcast that interests you and tap the subscribe button to subscribe to it to subscribe. You can then view all of the podcasts you subscribed to by clicking the Library heading and selecting the entry for podcasts.

  Podcast Subscription

If you want to download a specific episode, click the name of a podcast, and then right-click an episode. From the menu, you can download or remove the episode, mark it as played, add it to a playlist or device, retrieve information about the podcast, like or dislike it, view it on the iTunes Store, save the episode, copy details, and more in Windows Explorer or File Explorer. Copy the URL or delete it from your library.

  Podcast Subscription

Click to control the entire podcast with the blue button with the three dots. From here, you can remove the download, add it to a playlist, play it, love it or dislike it, cancel the subscription, and remove it from your library.

  Podcast Subscription

Then click the gear icon in the top right corner. Use the menu to sort episodes and control downloaded and played episodes.

How to Sync Podcasts

You may have saved all your favorite podcasts on your computer, but you need to sync your device to retrieve them on your iPhone or iPad. If you want to sync with iTunes, plug in your device and click the small icon in the upper left corner. In the Settings section, click the entry for podcasts. Review the podcasts and individual episodes you want to sync with your device. Then click the Apply or Synchronize button.

  Podcast Subscription

On a Mac with Catalina, open the Finder app and click your device listed in the Location section. If you are doing this for the first time, you must click the Trust button to synchronize your computer with your device. Click the headline for podcasts. Select the check box to sync podcasts with [name of your device].

  Podcast Subscription

Select the check box next to Auto Copy. Click the drop-down menu and select the podcast episodes that you want to sync based on the most recent and unplayed episodes. Otherwise, leave this check box unchecked and click the names of the podcasts you want to include and select the individual episodes you want to sync. When done, click Apply.

For more information, see our summary of the top 10 podcast player apps.


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