In April, Apple made some long-awaited changes to its podcasting application as part of the company’s review of the overall approach to the podcasting market, which will allow podcast makers to use native Apple applications. Charge a subscription fee for your content. Unfortunately, it turns out that these changes have frustrated many users who have used the app for a long time, but there are a few ways to manage them.
The revision version of the application released with iOS 14.5 provides more recommendations, changes the podcast page (users now “follow” podcasts instead of “subscribe” to “podcasts”) and allow paid subscriptions. But this also brings some problems: users have trouble syncing podcast shows between devices, or they see how they download old shows randomly, even if they have to deal with changes in the navigation tools of the application. In May, Apple released the iOS 14.6 update, which provides some fixes, but there is still a lot to get used to.
The revised application seems to be more aimed at serving podcast networks and improving discoverability, rather than making it easier to manage existing subscription libraries, which bothers some people. NextWeb called this update “crimes against humanity.” Others, such as John Gruber of Daring Fireball, welcomed some of the changes. No matter what you think of Apple’s vision for the future of podcasting, there are multiple ways to modify the app to work more like it used to and listen to it again.
Take a tour of the new Apple Podcasts app
The Podcasts app now has four major sections: Listen Now, Browse, Library, and Search.
- Listen Now highlights what you are currently listening to and the latest episodes of the shows you are currently subscribed to. It also recommends channels and shows that you might like based on your history. At the bottom, it lists the content you’ve recently listened to. The
- Browse is the main discovery part of the app, which includes collections, episodes, interviews, and carousels of Apple-selected shows. The new and noteworthy section offers the latest, popular and interesting shows in various categories; Featured channels list dedicated podcast networks that you can subscribe to and make recommendations in specific categories (such as crime or politics).
- The library is where you can find all the programs you have subscribed to, although its classification is a bit weird. (It will be described in detail later).
- Search is another discovery feature of the application. It allows you to enter what you are looking for, but it also provides some basic categories for you to explore: pride, hot lists, comedy, news, real crime, society and culture, etc. Use any of these categories to take you to the latest episodes of popular shows, or you can dive into subcategories.
How to navigate your Podcasts library
Before the latest update, the app can easily find a list of the latest episodes you downloaded. You can still do this, but it requires more steps: go to the “Listen Now” section and select “View All” to find the inverted list of podcast episodes you downloaded.
The new part of the library is not simple and offers you several options:
- Latest Episodes: This section shows the new episodes of the shows you have subscribed to, but it does not show the full list of content that you downloaded by default, it will show you all the content, whether you have listened to it or not. You can adjust the screen to make sorting easier: click “Edit” to sort from oldest to newest or hide episodes you have already listened to. You can also choose to show the episodes that aired in the last week, the last two weeks, or the last month. (No previous content is displayed.) Please note that these are the last available episodes of your show; this does not necessarily mean that they have been downloaded for you.
- Shows: This section lists the programs you have subscribed to. You can organize them by title, tracking date, update date or manually (click “Edit” again). You can also touch “Edit” by manually entering the URL of the RSS feed to stop following your show or add a new subscription.
- Downloaded: This section shows the episodes that you actually downloaded to your device. By clicking “Edit”, you will be able to sort your viewing order by download date, release date, or by program group. (Unlike the most recent episodes, this section shows you the entire library of episodes that have been downloaded to your phone, but you will not see the available episodes that have not been downloaded.)
- Saved: Show your saved episodes (more on how to do this later) in case you want to listen to them again in the future.
- Most Recent:This section is a bit confusing because it is basically the same as the most recent episodes section, but it only shows the episodes that you actually downloaded.
How to use swiping in Apple Podcasts
In each section above, you can swipe individual episodes to operate on them:
- Swiping to the right on an episode will display a purple logo, which will remove the episode from your queue.
- Swiping to the left will display two options: if the episode has been downloaded to your device, save (yellow, with a save icon) and trash can (red, trash can logo), or download if the episode is simply available (Blue, with logo arrow).
Using Shows pages in Apple Podcasts
The pages dedicated to a particular show are very simple: they display the cover and description of the show, and there is a button that allows you to continue playing the most recently listened episode. You can also view other available episodes, and each episode has options for download, next play, save, and share.
Here, you can also “follow” (think “subscribe”) the podcast or adjust its settings. The program you are following is marked with a check mark; clicking on the three small dots will allow you to adjust the settings in that single program. You can also try free episodes or subscribe to paid channels, subscribe to the corresponding network of the show, leave a comment or visit the profile of the podcast creator (which also lists their other podcasts, if any).
Cleaning up Apple Podcasts
If you are a long-term user of Podcasts, all of the above changes may sound a bit overwhelming. Some critics of the update criticized it for messing up the preservation and settings they’re used to and, in many cases, messing up their library. I am one of them, but I have cleaned this way:
- Remove old shows. This is a big problem-the update has caused some devices to download old episodes that users have already listened to. To solve this problem, go to “Library”> “Shows”> “Edit”> “Edit Programs”, this will place a red delete bubble next to all programs in the program list. Deleting these old shows will prevent you from following them and will stop clogging your main feed with new episodes.
- Tweak your Shows preferences. When you’re in the programs section, click on each program and then click the little dot in the upper right corner to enter sSettings. This will allow you to adjust your preferences for each program. You can choose whether to download new episodes automatically or manually, limit downloads to the last (110) episodes, or episodes within a specific time period (1 day to 1 month). You can also choose whether to automatically delete the played episodes.
- Clean up your Latest Episodes feed. If the latest episode is a place you listen to frequently, browse through it and swipe right over the episodes you don’t want to hear to remove them from the list entirely. Swiping left to delete a downloaded episode will not remove it from this playlist; the show will stay and you can choose to download the episode again.
- Remove old downloads. Go to Downloaded, scroll to the bottom and start swiping to the left to delete the old episodes of The Daily that you have never listened to on your phone, or any old shows that have been re-downloaded through the update. (Similarly, if you delete a download in the latest episode, it will remain in the channel until you mark it as played.)
Find an alternative to Apple Podcasts
After all, if it turns out that Apple’s changes were too disruptive, it might be worth the gamble and migrating to another application. If you are looking for advice, Lifehacker can meet your needs.