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In iOS 14.5, Apple has made some notable changes to its native Podcasts app. Some of these changes reflect the fact that Apple announced an optional paid podcast subscription service (beginning May 2021), while others are interface improvements to make it easier to find, follow, and listen to new episodes.

Apple-Podcasts-iOS-14-5.jpg

One example of these changes is the new Smart play button, which is designed to help you automatically start episodic shows from the latest episode and serialized shows from the beginning of each series. The Smart play button also display Resume if you've already listened to some of an episode but have yet to finish it.

Another notable change is in the Search tab, which now offers quick access to Top Charts and categories below the search input field, much like Apple Music search. Other tweaks include larger podcast artwork and a rejigged show page that has a more logical arrangement and is more aesthetically appealing.

podcast-app-design-changes.jpg

Perhaps most importantly, the way you "subscribe" to shows and download episodes has changed. Keep reading to learn how.

How to Follow Shows

In previous versions of iOS, you could "subscribe" to shows in Apple's Podcasts app. But now that Apple offers a paid podcast subscription mode, it has removed the "subscribe" language from the app entirely and replaced it with Follow options, which should make things less confusing.

Despite the new terminology, following a podcast offers the same functionality as subscribing had before it. Namely, it means that you'll stay up-to-date with new show episodes as they're published and you'll be able to download them individually.

ios-14-5-podcasts.jpg

To follow a show, select one by browsing the Podcasts section, or search for one using the Search tab, then tap the plus (+) icon in the top-right corner of the Show's page.

podcast-app-ios-14-5.jpg

To stop following a show, tap the tick icon and select Unfollow Show. You can also follow or unfollow shows by using the dropdown options that appear when you tap the More icon (three dots in a circle).

How to Automatically Download New Episodes

In previous versions of the Podcasts app, you had to add a show to your library before you could download new episodes. In iOS 14.5 and later, that's no longer the case, and you can download individual episodes right from a show's page.

To download an episode, tap the ellipsis icon (three dots) to the right of its card and select Download Episode from the pop-up menu.

podcast-app-download-episodes-e1619540745497.jpg

Alternately, you can long press on an episode and the same pop-up menu will appear with the Download Episode option at the bottom. If the episode is already downloaded, the option appears as Remove Download instead.

If you're already following a show, you can turn off automatic downloads: Tap the tick icon at the top of a show page and select Turn Off Automatic Downloads. To turn them back on again, tap the down arrow icon that replaced the tick icon, and select Turn On Automatic Downloads.

Article Link: iOS 14.5: How to Automatically Download New Podcast Episodes and Follow Shows
 

NeuralControl

macrumors 6502a
Dec 3, 2009
921
38
Visually, the update is nice. However, as someone who did not subscribe to podcasts before, but rather had them in my library and I could manually add the episodes I wanted, I'm not loving the new "follow" feature. Despite going into Settings and turning off automatic downloads, every episode I play is downloaded.
I also really don't like that you can't delete episodes of "followed" podcasts from your feed. You can only mark them as played.
 

mnsportsgeek

macrumors 68040
Feb 24, 2009
3,259
4,019
How am I supposed to get shows out of my "up next" list wihtout marking them as played or listening to them?

I don't want to listen to every new episode of every podcast i'm subscribed to. Sometimes I just want to skip them, but I can't find a way to do that now unless I mark them as played.
 

mnsportsgeek

macrumors 68040
Feb 24, 2009
3,259
4,019
Visually, the update is nice. However, as someone who did not subscribe to podcasts before, but rather had them in my library and I could manually add the episodes I wanted, I'm not loving the new "follow" feature. Despite going into Settings and turning off automatic downloads, every episode I play is downloaded.
I also really don't like that you can't delete episodes of "followed" podcasts from your feed. You can only mark them as played.
Glad I'm not the only one that hates this. Did Apple actually let people try this out before launching it? This update sucks.
 

KrispE00

macrumors 6502
Nov 18, 2016
286
363
Podcasts app keeps crashing on me. If I pause an episode, it won’t stay loaded in the background for more than a couple minutes. I expect the play/pause controls to be available on the Lock Screen, but they disappear, and when I switch back to podcasts, the app resets to the main “listen now” screen. - 12 pro max. I reported this many betas ago 🙄
 

cardfan

macrumors 68040
Mar 23, 2012
3,497
4,419
Apple respects your privacy, they have no idea what you listened to.
Yep. Just bad software and if you’ll pay a sub for podcasts (lol) that would be nice. In the meantime enjoy some ads courtesy of apple who won’t allow anyone else to track you.
 
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T Coma

macrumors 6502
Dec 3, 2015
386
728
Flyover Country, USA
a day late and a dollar short.
long-time unaddressed deficiencies of their last podcast app eventually drove me to overcast which does everything a podcast addict like me needs it to do. no reason to change back.
 

Shifts

macrumors member
Oct 3, 2019
59
34
Haven’t seen anything get better with this release. It is no longer possible to view expanded show notes in any of the lists of available podcasts. It is only possible on the podcast being previewed.

It is like they updated the app only for the people who has no clue or care about what they want to listen to.
 

RevTEG

macrumors 65816
Oct 28, 2012
1,213
989
San Jose, Ca
How am I supposed to get shows out of my "up next" list wihtout marking them as played or listening to them?

I don't want to listen to every new episode of every podcast i'm subscribed to. Sometimes I just want to skip them, but I can't find a way to do that now unless I mark them as played.
If I understand you correctly, you can got to settings app, scroll down to podcast app and turn off play next.
 

CarpalMac

macrumors 68000
Nov 19, 2012
1,555
3,790
UK
At what point will we say, "enough with the darn subscriptions!"?

Exactly, and that is why someone like Amazon (and perhaps Apple, if they get better TV content) will probably win this as they can bundle. I have dropped Netflix due to their latest price hike and as I get TV with my Prime sub, that is good enough for me. Adobe has been replaced by Affinity, Spotify will be the next one to fall.
 

Rich74

macrumors 6502
Oct 31, 2012
311
94
How do you delete a podcast series you are no longer interested in?

I’m not referring to downloaded episodes I’m on about removing it from the list totally as I’m no longer interested in the subject matter.
 

Marbles1

macrumors 6502
Nov 27, 2011
291
1,281
Search is broken. Type BBC and only get some of the podcasts they produce. Sigh. You can't query by provider. And you have to be very explicit with your search or it won't find what you're looking for.
 

DamonOrl

macrumors newbie
Jul 27, 2020
29
19
Visually, the update is nice. However, as someone who did not subscribe to podcasts before, but rather had them in my library and I could manually add the episodes I wanted, I'm not loving the new "follow" feature. Despite going into Settings and turning off automatic downloads, every episode I play is downloaded.
I also really don't like that you can't delete episodes of "followed" podcasts from your feed. You can only mark them as played.
The list of old episodes is really horrible. I have podcasts with hundreds of old episodes now cluttering my feed. I can’t find a way to get rid of them no matter what settings I use. Do I really need to see episodes from 13 years ago?
 

Zimmy68

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2008
1,915
1,383
I don't know what changes they made but I absolutely hate this updated app.
I like to listen to a daily radio show that they split up into 3 parts. I have to navigate twice as much to play the next episode.
I can't believe I may actually start checking out how Spotify does it.
 

richie396

macrumors newbie
Jun 22, 2009
8
15
I wish there was a way to automatically delete podcasts after a period of time or, say, just keep the latest 5. Periodically I realize I’ve got hundreds of podcasts on there I’ll never listen to and have to delete them manually. Silly.
 
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