Blog Post

iTunes 8 Makes Podcast Management Improvements

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!

6 Responses to “iTunes 8 Makes Podcast Management Improvements”

  1. Stephen,

    In iTunes 8, it’s easy to change the default podcast settings:
    1) Go to the Podcasts screen and click the “Settings…” button at the bottom of the screen.
    2) In the “Settings For:” pull-down menu, select “Podcast Defaults.” (for me, this is the top option)
    3) Set your defaults.

    All podcasts marked with “use Default Settings” will now have your new default options.

  2. About podcasts and itunes, do you know if it is possible to synchronize the same podcast on 2 different ipods? Meaning, itunes keeps tracks of which episodes have been listened or not on each ipod and therefore deletes the ones that are listened on both ipods.

  3. Actually, for iTunes I think this almost borders on a “significant” improvement. Partly because it was so woefully inadequate before. It’s true that other applications sort of filled in this gap, but having it seamlessly integrated in iTunes 8 is quite an improvement, at least for me it is.