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Question: Played Podcasts Episodes appear in Stations set for "Unplayed Only"

I'd appreciate some help with the latest Podcasts App (3.4)

In previous versions I could use iTunes to manage podcasts across a phone and 2 iPads. I used to set up a playlist on iTunes and synch it between devices.

In 3.4 I can’t find a way to do this. I can still synch podcasts between iTunes playlists and the devices, but I have to create stations on the Podcasts app to replicate the functionality of the playlists on iTunes. So here's what I tried. I’ve created a station called "Unplayed Comedy" and set it up so it displays unplayed episodes only of a selection of comedy podcasts, sorted oldest to newest.

When I synch iPhone and iPads to iTunes it successfully copies across the unplayed episodes of all my podcasts. But now the problem starts.

On iTunes the playlist of unplayed comedy podcast episodes has 12 episodes. On the iPhone and iPads the Unplayed Comedy station has about 200 episodes because it lists lots of episodes which are in the cloud (i.e. the episode has a cloud by the side of it in the station view) which I have already listened to. I’ve checked this - go to iTunes and the Podcast feeds show these episodes as having been played at least once. So why are they appearing in the Station?

In previous Podcast Apps there was a “mark as played” button - but that’s gone. The only option is to swipe and delete them all - that’s 188 swipes - on three devices (they all behave the same).

And if this thumb-wrecking activity isn’t enough - when I come back to the devices later then they’re back and I have to delete them again, because the Unplayed Comedy station is, once again, full of ~200 cloud-based episodes that I’ve already listened to.

Am I misunderstanding what “played” means. I’ve got “synch podcasts” set on iTunes and all devices.

I don’t know if it’s relevant but on the devices the settings for Shows changes. I spent ages setting each Show to play oldest to newest (why does Apple think that newest to oldest is the ONLY way to listen to things) and subscribing them, but when I check them later I find that some shows have changed back - either the play order setting or the subscription has been removed.

Another odd thing - I sometimes get two identical episodes in the station; one downloaded on the device and one with a cloud next to it.

I’ve tried the deleting the Podcasts app and re-installing; I’ve tried de-authorizing the device and re-authorizing it; I’ve tried re-setting the Identifier - but nothing makes any difference

Can anyone help, please? Have I misunderstood how the app is supposed to work?

MacBook Air, OS X El Capitan (10.11.6), 2GHz Intel Core i&, 8GB RAM

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Question: Played Podcasts Episodes appear in Stations set for "Unplayed Only"