How to Manage Downloads in the iPhone Podcasts App


It is important that the Podcasts app downloads on your iPhone match your expectations. If you haven’t set up automatic downloads, you could leave home without downloading and having to use mobile data to stream your shows. On the other hand, it’s easy to let downloaded podcasts pile up and waste gigabytes of space on your phone.

We’re going to show you how to manage podcast downloads on your iPhone, so you always have the shows you want at your fingertips and nothing more.

How to Control Podcast Downloads on iPhone

In the Podcasts app, you can control the download options for each show you are subscribed to individually. There is no option to change the download setup for all shows at once.

To get started, go to Library in the Podcasts app and tap a show, either from the Recently updated section or in the Shows listing. Then, at the top right, tap the three dot button to view the options for that show. In the list, tap Settings.

You will see the relevant options under the Downloads section. With the Automatic downloads slider activated, your phone will download new episodes of this show as soon as they are available.

It’s handy for your favorite shows because it means you don’t have to search and download new episodes manually. Be aware that if you don’t listen to a show for a while, the Podcasts app will pause automatic downloads until you start listening to it again. You will know that a show is paused when it has a Pause icon displayed on the download button on the top right (as in the center image above).

Meanwhile, the Limit downloads allows you to choose the number of episodes of that show to keep. If it’s Deactivated, the app will keep them all unless you delete them manually, which can take up a lot of space.

You can change this to Most recent episodes (from most recent to 10 most recent), or choose a fixed duration (from one day to one month). The right option will depend on the show – for podcasts that only update a few times a month, it makes more sense to choose a set number of episodes rather than a period of time.

Read more: Guide to the Podcasts app for iPhone

Finally, activate Delete read downloads and the app will automatically delete the downloaded episodes once you finish them (24 hours later). There is no real reason to turn this option off, unless you plan to listen to episodes of a show multiple times.

How to Download Individual Podcast Episodes on iPhone

The options above allow you to control downloads of the shows you follow. But what if you want to download a few episodes of a show without watching it, or want to go back and listen to older episodes of a show that weren’t auto-recorded? The Podcasts app also makes it easy for you.

First, find any podcast episode you want to download. You can do this by searching for the episode on the To look for tab, find a new show on the Library tab, or just go back to an older episode of a show you’re following. Press the three-dot menu on the episode you want to download to open an options menu for it.

To select Download the episode to save it to your device for offline listening. Once done, it will appear in the Downloaded part of the Library tab so that it is easy to locate.

However, there is a slightly different way to download individual episodes. To choose Record episode to add it to your Checked in list, which also appears on the Library tongue. By default, your phone will download all episodes that you mark as Checked in so you can listen to them anywhere.

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Checked in is a handy place to keep track of episodes you don’t want to forget, making it a bit more organized than just downloading an episode. When you unregister an episode, it disappears from this list. Your phone will erase the downloaded episode in a moment, if you have listened to it.

Check the general download settings for the Podcast app

While we’ve looked at the show download options in the Podcasts app, there are also a few settings worth looking at in your phone’s Settings app. Open Settings and press the Podcasts entry to view them.

Several of them are related to podcast downloads. Turn Sync podcasts on and your recorded shows, episode progress, and everything in between will sync with other Apple devices that you also use the Podcasts app on.

If you have a limited data plan, activation Block cell phone downloads will make sure you don’t waste data if you’re away from Wi-Fi when launching a new episode. The Cellular downloads the option changes if the app asks you for confirmation when you manually press the To download button on an episode.

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Make sure Delete read downloads is turned on, or the old episodes will remain on your device. Keep in mind that the podcast must end for this to activate, so if you skip to the next episode when the end credits begin (thus leaving a few seconds unplayed) you may have more. old episodes as you like.

A few other options control the behaviors mentioned above: make sure Activate when tracking is activated to automatically download new episodes of the shows you follow, and keep Download when registering to to immediately download episodes when you record them.

How to view and manage the storage used by podcasts

If it looks like podcasts are taking up too much space on your iPhone, it’s easy to check how much storage is used by each show. Head toward Settings> General> iPhone storage and wait for the page to load your storage information. Scroll down to find Podcasts in the Apps screen and tap it.

On the resulting page, you’ll see each show with episodes downloaded to your device, along with the number of episodes downloaded and the total storage they take. To remove everything from a show, press Edit followed by the red button that appears on the left side.

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If you don’t want to remove all downloads from a show, go back to the Podcasts app and go to Library> Downloaded. There you can see everything that is saved on your device. Press the three dot button at the top right to change the sorting options for your downloaded podcasts.

Long press a show and choose Delete downloads to erase them all, or tap the three-dot button on an episode and tap Delete download to erase them individually.

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Other iPhone podcast apps offer more options

Now you know all the ways to manage podcast downloads on your iPhone. If these options are too limited for you, then the Stock Podcasts app is probably too basic for your needs.

In that case, you should take a look at some of the many alternative podcast apps for iPhone. There are plenty of choices for podcast enthusiasts, and most of them offer more fine-grained control over downloads than Apple’s app. They might cost a few dollars, but it’s worth knowing that your podcasts are always ready when you want them.

Download and enjoy podcasts anywhere

Podcasts provide a great form of entertainment when you’re traveling, doing housework, or just want to learn something new. The Podcast app on your iPhone makes it easy to download the shows that interest you so you can listen to them on the go without using your mobile data.

If your podcast experience is limited, there are plenty of ways to find new shows you’ll love.


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About the Author


Sam D. Gomez