One of my personal gripes with iTunes 7 and earlier versions was that the “retention” rules for podcasts were global. You could choose to keep all episodes, all unwatched episodes, the 5 most recent, etc. but that choice would be applied universally to all your different podcasts. Thankfully, the new iTunes update addresses that situation and provides you with the opportunity to customize the settings for each podcast individually.
I basically have two types of podcasts in my library: “timely” news podcasts and “timeless” informational podcasts. Some of the newsy podcasts, like my soccer news (football to the rest of the world), have a limited shelf life. Another example is TV show commentary podcasts. I don’t need to hold on to episodes from three months ago. I really only want the last week or so. Then I have the “timeless” podcasts like NPR Live Concerts that I probably want to keep forever so I can keep those live performances in my iTunes library.
How is it done?
The settings for podcasts in iTunes 8 are found by clicking on the “Settings…” button (whodathunkit?) found at the bottom left below the list of podcasts.
You can select how often iTunes checks for new podcast episodes (every hour, day, week or manually) and you can then use the dropdown labeled “Settings for:” to select individual podcasts. Here’s a look at my default settings, which are configured to keep all episodes.
And the settings for ESPN Soccernet (a “newsy” podcast) where I want to just keep a few recent episodes.
And the settings for NPR: Live Concerts from All Songs Considered Podcast (a “timeless” podcast). Here I just left the default settings to keep all episodes.
These new features are a welcome addition that allow for much better control over your podcast library. Have fun tweaking yours just the way you like it!