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Lost in Asia Level 3 (560 points)

Like many here, I'm dismayed by some of the ways that iTunes 11.1 now handles podcasts: that appalling view of "SHOW ME EVERYTHING" in the List pane in particular.


What I'm providing here are a few tips and suggestions for things that seem to be working for me.


  • In iTunes: List view is now basically useless, so lots of us are moving to the previously-disliked My Podcasts pane. (I don't like it either, but it currently seems the best option.) Your podcasts are probably in no order whatsoever, BUT you can drag and drop them to your preferred order. Yeah, this takes a while and is annoying, but a good part of the (improved?) syncing with iOS: the same order will also appear in your Podcasts app on the iPhone! And vice versa: I actually reordered them on my iPhone (hey, I was bored on the subway), and to my surprise the new order appeared on iTunes when I got home.


  • Deleting podcast episodes: in iTunes, don't delete them. If you delete them, they'll download again the next time you sync. Instead, mark them as played, and then re-sync - that's the only way I've found to get rid of them in iTunes. On the other hand, you CAN still delete in the Podcasts app, and then, once iTunes is synced again, those deleted episodes will also disappear from iTunes (which I believe is actually an improvement). (They'll still appear in that stupid List view, but now with a cloud icon.)


  • In iTunes, you can choose the podcast subscription settings: the option that seems to work best for me is Download ALL. That sounds scary - like you're going to get all 400 episodes of Stuff You Should Know - but as best I can tell it doesn't mean Download All; it means Download ALL NEW (big difference!). This is especially useful for podcasts that often put out a few episodes at a time (Fresh Air, Bill Maher): if you just Download Most Recent, you'll be missing some.


  • Note that podcast subscription settings seem to automatically sync across iTunes and the Podcasts app. If you unsubscribe in Podcasts, then you also unsubscribe in iTunes. (I suspect this lies behind how many people suddenly found themselves unsubscribed to their Podcasts.)


  • For those with a big collection of podcast episodes that they want to keep: change the Media Kind! Spoken, I change to Audiobooks, and Music, to, well, Music. I've done this for years, and this is probably the only reason I didn't lose massive collections of podcasts with 11.1. It makes managing your library a lot easier. EDITTED ADDITIONAL NOTE: Unfortunately any epsidodes that are changed like this will then be re-downloaded, because, well, because iTunes wants to make your life miserable, I guess. Mark the re-downloaded episodes as played (because deleting doesn't work ), and they'll disappear again.


  • Use smart playlists. "Media Kind = Podcast", and "Plays = 0". Such a playlist is more useful for viewing than anything left in the Podcasts section in iTunes, although unfortunately you can't refresh from that playlist - you still have to go to the now-appalling Podcasts section.


  • Using the Podcasts iOS app isn't actually that bad. "My Stations" is the foolish name for what is called "Playlists" everywhere else, and your iTunes podcast playlists should appear there (with the usual too-complicated syncing nonsense for setup). You can play podcasts quite well in "My Stations", although unfortunately you can't mix it with audiobooks or music.


Good luck.

iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.5), Late 2009
  • Lost in Asia Level 3 (560 points)

    Another tip: iTunes / Podcasts / My Stations seems to be useful. (Argh, why the renaming?! "Playlist" is a useful word; "My Stations" is so misleading!). Maybe this "My Stations" tab has been useful for ages, but I always stuck with the List view into Apple messed it up with 11.1.


    As for "My Stations": press "+" at the bottom to make a new "station"/playlist; you've got some control over the  settings. For example, include all unplayed episodes for all podcasts. You can also sort the order to match the "My Podcasts" order: I just hope the alphabetical order I set up earlier sticks.


    You'll get a list of all the podcast files that are actually present on your computer, thus screening out all the extraneous nonsense now present in the List pane.


    Annoying to me: it only shows one episode for podcasts of which you have multiple episodes. You can toggle the little arrow to show all the episodes you have, but this doesn't "stick" when you switch away from this view and back again. HOWEVER, this seems to be the closest I can yet find to what the List view used to be. (And with the icon art, it's arguably prettier, even if not as useful.)


    Admittedly this is a roundabout way to not quite get back the functionality we had 48 hours ago, but at the moment it seems one useful way to proceed.

  • preludio Level 2 (255 points)

    Thank you for this list of tips! I had given up using the Podcasts app on my iPhone because it had limited functionality and couldn't do it's core feature (sync). I split my listening: stuff in my office stayed on iTunes's main computer library and stuff that I mostly listened to elsewhere was on my phone. If I want to listen to it in the office, I use AirPlay. Ridiculous, I know, but at least it was an understandable system!


    I was happy to hear about the "improvements" to iTunes 11 and 11.1 and thought maybe I should switch back to a single podcast library—until I opened iTunes 11.1 and saw the utter mess that Podcasts had become. Since there is no longer an alphabetical listing that isn't bewildering, I can't find a dang thing.


    I was ready to give up entirely and delete all my podcasts in iTunes and simply use Instacast and AirPlay, but your list of tips and explanations has made me rethink that. However, even with your help, I'm going to have to spend hours figuring it out and setting it up again. Goodness knows what podcast episodes I may have lost.


    In the mean time, my precious, impossible-to-download again episodes are now being converted to audiobooks to save them from future deletions.

  • Andre Vandal Level 1 (10 points)

    One more note:


    - If you see podcasts that you know nothing about, don't delete them right away, first check with your family cause your list now includes podcasts from everybody and every computer on the same account. If you delete them them on your iTunes it will then go and delete them on theirs.


    I learn this this morning with my wife's podcasts that I deleted from my computer cause I did not know them and she was left with no podcasts before she left for work.


    Hopefully Apple will fix this soon

  • Rickyscv Level 1 (0 points)

    Glad I came across this post! I was just getting ready to upgrade my iPhone and Macbook Pro. With almost 8000 podcasts (pack rat-ish, I know,  but if I'm ever stranded somewhere, I've got months/years of listening), I just don't have the time or desire to be manually re-labeling or sorting them all. So I'll stay with iOS 6 until Apple gets it right and "it just works". Hopefully, it won't take them long. But, bad on them for releasing the new software with this very

    damaging glitch!

  • Lost in Asia Level 3 (560 points)

    Rickyscv, I'd strongly recommend relabelling those podcasts as Audiobooks (or Music), which is something I've always done with podcasts that I want to keep or "listen to one day", rather than listen to imminently (I can't really remember why I started to do that - the decision was made years ago). Like you, I've got thousands of those older episodes, but thank goodness I'd changed the media kind, or else I'd probably have lost them with iTunes 11.1, like many others seem to have.


    Apple has developed a proven record of seriously messing up podcasts, and if you change the Media Kind to Audiobooks, I think you've got a higher chance of protecting your data.


    At least in my situation the "upgrade" to iTunes 11.1, while causing a nightmare with the past week's worth of podcasts, hasn't damaged the massive catalogue I've got (he writes naively, realizing that he just hasn't NOTICED any problems yet!).

  • Rickyscv Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks so much for your input. I've liked the way all my podcasts were in their places in the podcast section of the older iTunes. I've already got a number of audiobooks in the book section and I'm not sure how it would be like if I dumped all my podcasts in there. But you've given me an option that if things don't change, I'll probably be following your lead. For the time being though, I will wait and see how this all transpires.

  • What I am Level 1 (0 points)

    Lost in Asia, you're a prince!  Doesn't get us back to where we want to be, but I think fo me it will allow me to limp along and not have to go through the trouble of reverting to 11.05. 

  • Lost in Asia Level 3 (560 points)

    My current status: I've given up on making podcasts, under that name, work.


    I have NO IDEA what's going on with syncing between iOS and iTunes - episodes keep getting deleted, and I keep downloading them again and marking them as unplayed, and they keep disappearing again, even though I'm subscribed. It's absolutely infuriating. Note that this isn't the wholesale library destruction others have experienced: rather, it's just the recent episodes downloaded over the past few days.


    The syncing seems to get particularly messed up whenever I force quit iTunes, but that is happening quite a bit!


    Latest tactic: delete Podcasts app from iTunes. Manage podcasts exclusively within iTunes: everything that I downloaded is immediately retagged as Audiobook, genre Podcast (and then there's a series of smart playlists that show me played and unplayed, which also separate out the ones I want to keep). "Podcasts" are then synced to my iPhone whenever I connect it, and played within the Music app.


    If anyone has good ideas about a non-Apple podcast client that can let me (a) listen to podcasts on my computer, (b) listen to the same podcasts on iOS devices, and (c) let me separate out some of the files to keep in my iTunes library, I'd love to hear about it! Kludging podcasts with Apple becomes more and more of a headache with every update.

  • Dan Bargen Level 2 (335 points)

    As others have mentioned podcasts are being synced across devices. This sounds like a useful feature (I listen to my podcasts my Mac Pro @ home, my old PowerBook at work, and the iPad while on the go). However, there are some quirks that are throwing off my usual setup.


    When using a Mac to do playback, I will almost always use the 'right-click -> show in Finder' option and open the podcast in QT 7, set the play back somewhere between 1.5x and 2.0x (depending on the podcast). I'll have itunes play music at a lower level in the background to fill all the dry air from these spoken-word-only podcasts.


    This doesn't work when iTunes erroneously seems to think I've already listened to something and then marks it as played and deletes it off my local HD. Gaah! I'll re-download it, only to have it be gone minutes later.


    I've looked around iTunes and System Preferences and haven't seen any control options. Please tell me there's a command-line method to turn off this syncing...

  • Lost in Asia Level 3 (560 points)

    Try iTunes / Preferences / Store, and uncheck "Sync podcast subscriptions and settings"; unchecking the prior item on the list, "Sync playback information across devices", may also help you.

  • Dan Bargen Level 2 (335 points)

    Wow, how did i miss this setting? I guess I didn't look at the 'store' pane too closely.


    That being said, this is something I would want to use because of the multiple devices I use for podcast playback. However, until they allow one machine to delete podcasts from *all* devices, it seems like it is too much of a hassle to deal with for the convience of keeping one's place.


    Do you know what the official word is on how to delete podcasts from the sync list? Do they have to be deleted on *all* devices, or what?

  • preludio Level 2 (255 points)

    So, yesterday I downloaded three episodes of a podcast that I used to subscribe to. (Months ago I had subscribed and had listened to these podcasts, but they were all removed from iTunes.)


    I listened to one of them partway through.


    Shut off the computer last night. Started up today, and started up iTunes. The three episodes are gone.


    The podcast is still listed on the left hand side, but there are no episodes. They are not in the trash. They are not in my library in the folder Podcasts.


    Other podcasts are there and seem to be complete (but I have so many podcasts that I'm not sure). They seem to play just fine.


    I did not listen to this podcast on any other device that I used last night (iPhone, iPad). I believe I opened the Podcasts app on the iPhone, but I didn't play anything.


    The only thing I did was turn on iTunes Match, which should have no effect as it only affects music.


    I do not trust my iTunes library any longer.


    Clearly, things are screwed up. When I was looking on my disk for the files, I discovered that the podcast still has a folder there, complete with episodes that I deleted long ago. It's totally out of sync with what iTunes is reporting.


    Maybe it's time to "nuke and pave" my iTunes library. I wish I had a spare few hours to research how to do this safely and without screwing up iTunes match and my saved podcasts. Given the problems people are reporting with podcasts, however, maybe it's not possible to do this without risking podcasts. Grrr.


    Edited to add:


    The podcast settings are:

    Subscribed unchecked

    Keep: All

    Download: All


    I just closed iTunes and reopened it. The three episodes have disappeared again.

  • Lost in Asia Level 3 (560 points)

    Preludio: yup, I was getting this behavior a lot too, and every time I thought I'd figured out the reasons, iTunes/Podcasts threw a new one at me. Sometimes it almost seems malicious: there was one episode that I wanted to listen to, but it kept getting deleted. Finally I managed to listen to it. And, of course, the next time I looked, I somehow had two episodes of it.


    Hence immediately changing every downloaded podcast that I want to listen to to "Media Kind = Audiobook." It's horribly ugly, in part because iTunes will promptly download the same episode again (which I then mark played and seem able to get off my computer, usually - albeit not always!) EDIT TO FINISH THE THOUGHT: It may be ugly, but (so far at least!) Apple hasn't yet gone through and trashed my audiobook collection - unlike my podcast collection.


    One general tip: iTunes is treating partially played podcasts almost as if they were played - they've still got that blue semi-circle, but often they're not showing up in lists, and iTunes seems to feel "freer" to delete them. So if you want to keep a podcast, setting it to Unplayed, or resetting plays, may help.

  • Weather Servo Nine Level 1 (5 points)

    It seems to be easier to manage the podcasts in the podcasts app than it is in the new iTunes. I reordered them in the app and my new order showed up in iTunes like magic, whereas when I was trying to reorder them in iTunes in the "My Podcasts" window it kept refreshing all the feeds and then losing my new order anyway. Very strange. I hope the next iTunes fixes some of these podcast bugs, though it seems like Apple is intentionally trying to make it more difficult to use iTunes for podcast subscriptions and syncing with other devices.


    A second big flaw that I've noticed in the list view (other than all the old episodes reappearing) is that you can't make individual settings (what to download, what to keep) for podcasts anymore. If you change the settings for one podcast it changes them for all the podcasts. In the My Podcasts View, the individual settings for each podcast still work. At least, that's been my experience so far. Anyone else notice this, or am I doing something wrong?

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