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Question: Podcasts app not deleting played episodes that are synced from iTunes (others delete fine)

In recent updates of the Podcasts app, the app has been downloading podcast episodes both on my computer and on my phone. When I sync between devices, I end up with two copies of the same episode on my phone (one normal set of episodes and one set that is specially earmarked as "synced from iTunes"). If I play both copies of the episode, one will be deleted as per usual, but the other one (the one that was synced from iTunes) sticks around no matter how many times I play it.


I would like these episodes gone. Could someone help me remove them? Thanks!


Some other information that might be helpful:

  • I do not use the Cloud, I sync with a USB cable.
  • My "Delete Played Episodes" toggle is ON in Settings.
  • When I go in to the episodes by show and try to delete them manually, the app won't let me swipe left on the episodes with a "plus" next to them.
  • The below screenshot shows a few of the episodes that are refusing to delete (for some time!) despite being recognized as played.

iPhone 8

Posted on Oct 14, 2019 2:16 PM

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I'm having a similar experience. I usually download podcast episodes to iTunes and then sync to get them on my iPhone where they show up under "Synced from iTunes" in the Podcast app. When I've finished with an episode, I delete it from iTunes, and it used to be that syncing would then remove it from the iPhone. Recently, probably since iOS 13, I've noticed that the episodes that I deleted in iTunes stay in the iPhone app after syncing, except that now they have a plus sign (+) next to them (as in the picture above). By trial and error, I found that if I touch the "+" sign, it changes to a download icon. If I then click the download icon, it appears to download. After the download completes, the episode then disappears on its own.


This seems to be a workaround, but it is annoying to have to go thru this process.

Posted on Nov 18, 2019 10:57 AM

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Oct 20, 2019 8:33 AM in response to JaeJennie In response to JaeJennie

Hello, JaeJennie.


Thank you for using Apple Support Communities! I understand that you're seeing duplicate Podcast episodes after syncing your iPhone with iTunes, but are unable to remove the duplicates directly from the device.


Are you able to remove the Podcast episodes by using the "Sync or remove content using iTunes" steps listed here?:

Use iTunes to sync your iPhone, iPad, or iPod with your computer - Apple Support


From the left side of the iTunes window, you should be able to deselect Podcasts. Then select "Apply" and "Sync" in the bottom right corner of the iTunes window.


Let me know if this helps! Take care.

Oct 20, 2019 8:33 AM

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Oct 30, 2019 10:37 AM in response to jeremy_v In response to jeremy_v

Hi Jeremy,


Thanks for trying to solve my problem. Unfortunately it didn't help, since I can't locate the podcasts in question on my device using that method (i.e. hooking up with a USB cable, using iTunes to go click on my iphone's name and then going to "Podcasts" under "On My Device"). That method shows that I only have 25 podcasts on my device, all of which I have not yet listened to. Looking at my actual device, I see many (many many) more podcasts that I have already listened to (and which have a "plus" by them, as seen in the attached screenshot I posted in my last comment in this thread), none of which show up through iTunes.


There is something else interesting going on with looking at my device through iTunes, though. Have a look at the attached screenshot on this message (below). You will see that some of the podcasts that do show up through iTunes have dotted circles next to them. Those podcasts are ones I can't seem to either listen to or delete through iTunes. But some of them have blue dots next to them. Those I can either listen to or delete.


This seems to be a completely separate problem from the one I asked about in my first message in this thread (which I am still having), but perhaps it is related?


Thank you for any help you can provide.


Jennie

Oct 30, 2019 10:37 AM

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Nov 12, 2019 9:34 AM in response to JaeJennie In response to JaeJennie

Here's an update that might be of use to anyone out there who would be interested in helping me solve this issue.


I went into iTunes and turned the download function there to manual. Since then, episodes have only been downloading via my phone and so I'm no longer getting the duplicate episodes there (with some of them downloaded directly and others transferred from my laptop via USB cable). So that's good. But the episodes that transferred to my phone from my laptop between September 25th and November 2nd (see the below screenshot for some of the older examples) are still appearing in my episodes list despite having been listened to and having a "plus" after them. I still need help getting rid of these episodes, so anyone who's willing to help, I'd appreciate it.

Nov 12, 2019 9:34 AM

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Nov 18, 2019 10:57 AM in response to JaeJennie In response to JaeJennie

I'm having a similar experience. I usually download podcast episodes to iTunes and then sync to get them on my iPhone where they show up under "Synced from iTunes" in the Podcast app. When I've finished with an episode, I delete it from iTunes, and it used to be that syncing would then remove it from the iPhone. Recently, probably since iOS 13, I've noticed that the episodes that I deleted in iTunes stay in the iPhone app after syncing, except that now they have a plus sign (+) next to them (as in the picture above). By trial and error, I found that if I touch the "+" sign, it changes to a download icon. If I then click the download icon, it appears to download. After the download completes, the episode then disappears on its own.


This seems to be a workaround, but it is annoying to have to go thru this process.

Nov 18, 2019 10:57 AM

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Nov 18, 2019 11:12 AM in response to reuben_m In response to reuben_m

Thanks for this contribution, reuben_m. Indeed, your experience sounds almost identical to mine, and I'm particularly struck by you saying that it used to be that syncing would remove the episodes from the iPhone, but that no longer happens since iOS 13.


I tried your workaround, and it didn't work quite like you described for me. Instead what happened is that I touched the "+" and got it to change to a download icon, then clicked the download icon and downloaded the podcasts again, and then the podcasts were still on my phone minus the plus sign. BUT if I fast-forwarded through the podcasts again and let them "finish playing", they were THEN marked as played. So your workaround ended up getting the episodes off my phone too. Thank you!

Nov 18, 2019 11:12 AM

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Question: Podcasts app not deleting played episodes that are synced from iTunes (others delete fine)