Using the iOS Podcasts App

The Podcasts app in iOS 11 allows you to subscribe to podcasts, download their episodes, and listen or watch them. You can browse the iTunes store for shows and grab an individual episode or subscribe to the whole show. You can set up the app to download new episodes automatically. You can create a playlist, called a Station, to group together new episodes of shows and have them ready to listen to when you want to enjoy your podcasts.

Video Transcript
So let's take a look at the Podcast app for the iPhone and iPad. I'm using iOS 11 so make sure you have the most recent version and I'm going to into the Podcast app. There's basically four different sections at the bottom there. The first is Listen Now and that's going to show you what you've got queued up. So I've already got some podcasts I'm subscribed to. It's going to show me them there. I can got to Library which is going to give me more detail and a comprehensive view of all the shows I've subscribed to, all the episodes I have available on this iPhone. Browse is going to basically show me the store. It's going to show me all the podcasts that I can get. These are the one listed in iTunes. Now podcasts are free so having it called store is a little misleading. It doesn't cost you anything. You can go through. You can view Top Charts. You can view Categories and if there's something you think you might be interested in you can go into it.

You can also Search. So I'm going to search. You notice I can search All Podcasts or things in my Library. So I'm going to search all podcasts to search the store. Let's go and look for the new podcast I'm a part of, The Tech Enthusiast Hour. You can see it comes up there as I'm typing so I'm going to tap it. There's the show that's listed and it also lists individual episodes. I'm going to into the show and it will give me information about the show. You can see a list of episodes there. Notice whenever you see an episode you see that little cloud with the down arrow in it. I can download an individual episode without subscribing to the podcast. Of course it doesn't hurt to subscribe to the podcast because then you can see a list of everything, you get the most recent episode, and it's easy to unsubscribe. So really no disadvantage to that. Anyway you can go into subscribe by tapping that subscribe button. Now you can see it says I'm Subscribed.

Now when I want to see my subscriptions I can go to Library. Under there I can go either into Shows or Episodes. Let me go into Shows and shows the three shows I'm subscribed to. I can hit the Edit button at the top and remove anyone of those if I want. I can go back to Episodes and see the episodes that are available for all of the podcasts I'm subscribed to. So I'm subscribed to three different podcasts on this iPhone and you can see I've got the most recent episode for each one shown here and I can hit the cloud button to download anyone of those.

So now that I'm subscribed to a bunch of shows I can go to Listen Now and I can see this list of episodes. I don't actually have to download it. I can just say I want to go right into it. I'll go into this episode here and you can see there's a Play button there. There's episode notes, links, all sorts of things. So I can hit the three dot button there as well and I can see I've got various things. Why would I want to download the episode and not play it? Well, say I'm going to go offline and, you know, I want to listen to this episode I can have it so it's stored here but I'm not listening to it right now. I can also add it to a Play Next list if I want. I can Share it as well. So there's various different things you can do. But the basics are that you can just go ahead and listen to it.

Now there are a ton of options. But you won't find them here in the app. You're going to find them in Settings. So let's go to Settings and under Settings I can go into Podcasts. Here's where you'll find all the different settings. For instance, Background app Refresh and Cellular Data are important if you want to be able to download over your mobile network. Whether or not to Sync Podcasts through iCloud so your Mac and maybe your iPad have the same episodes, the same shows. Only Download on Wi-Fi is an option there. Continuous Playback so it will automatically goes through the list. Very useful, say you're riding the train to work and you've got a bunch of five minute podcasts and you want them to just play. How often it Refreshes so it looks for new episodes. Download Episodes. I have it turned off. If you select All Unplayed or Only New it would automatically download new episodes. The great thing about that is that you get some new episodes overnight. You get up in the morning and you take your iPhone and start your commute to work and you find that you've got those new episodes already on your device. So for most people you're going to want that on. Automatically Delete Played Episodes . You want to go and make sure you have this setup depending upon how you want to use the podcast app.

Now if you are going to go and listen to a bunch of podcasts say during a commute you're probably going to want to setup a playlist. The way you do that is you go into Library here and you go to Edit. You can create a Playlist called a Station. So you can hit New Station and I'll just call this Test and hit Save. You have all these different settings for this station. So I can say I want Play in Manual Order, Oldest to Newest, that kind of thing. I can group them by podcast so it plays all the episodes for one podcast first and then for the next one. Or I can decide how I want to include episodes. So include the Most Recent Episode, the Most Recent 2 Episodes. Only include Audio perhaps or only include Video. Only play the Unplayed Only. I can choose which podcast. So I can say I want it to be this one and this one but not MacMost Now since that's a video and I don't want to listen to that while I can't see the video. So you can see I've got this station now that's got the two podcasts I've selected, all the options that I want, and now I go back here to the Library, I hit Done here, and I see I have Test. I can go into Test and I can just play the first one and it will continue to play through the list. This way you can subscribe to say twenty different podcasts but maybe only have five or six of them on a specific playlist like for your morning commute, maybe one for your afternoon commute, maybe one for your lunch break, that kind of thing and easily get to them using all those different settings. That's pretty much the only bit of customizability that you've really got beyond just choosing which shows and going to individual episodes to listen to them manually.

The last thing I want to show you is the Playback functionality. So say I go into an episode here and I hit Play. Now while it's playing you can see at the bottom of the screen I've got, just like in the Music app, the little strip there that shows me what is currently playing. I can tap that and it brings it up full screen. Now I can see all sorts of details. I've got a Play and a Pause button. I've got Go back 15 seconds, Go forward 15 seconds. I continue to move up and I can set a Sleep Timer so say I've got a two hour long podcast and I'm going to try to listen to it while I try to sleep at night. I can set a timer for it to turn off automatically after ten minutes. I've got a speed change there. I've got the ability to do the Airplay. I've got three dots there for some extra functionality. I've got the Episode Notes I can get to. I've got what's Up Next in the list. So you've got a lot of functionality there. You even have the ability to scrub back and forth and jump around in the podcast.

Comments: 4 Responses to “Using the iOS Podcasts App”

    Leland
    12/11/17 @ 11:52 am

    The one question I have is, how can I make it show only the podcasts which I’ve downloaded to the phone? Whether I use the phone app or CarPlay, I see many episodes with the cloud download icon. I don’t want to use cellular data for just downloading podcasts — I’ve always had the option turned off — so I don’t need to see which podcasts aren’t loaded. I’m trying to use iTunes on my MB Pro to sync them instead, treating the phone like an old-school iPod without mobile data.

    12/11/17 @ 11:57 am

    Leland: Not sure you can. It probably would get confusing the other way — with people going into that “only podcasts I have downloaded” mode and then wondering why new shows aren’t listed.
    But if you have “Only Download on Wi-Fi” turned on, then it shouldn’t matter. It won’t download over Wi-Fi, so it should just skip those when playing in a sequence.

    George
    12/20/17 @ 3:16 pm

    Gary-great video, got me to use Apple’s Podcast app again. Quick question; I’ve got the app all set up with podcasts to download automatically, how do you get the red number badge to display on the app icon? Does this app do that? Be nice to know when there are new podcasts to listen to without having to open the app. Thanks!

    12/20/17 @ 3:19 pm

    George: I don’t know if the app uses the badge icon number for anything. I have new podcast episodes in mine right now, but no badge is shown.

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