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How to Update Podcasts in iTunes

Many podcast feeds provide new material on a regular schedule. iTunes can check these feeds automatically and update your library with new podcast episodes. You can, for example, schedule iTunes to check for new podcast episodes — such as news, weather, traffic reports, and morning talk shows — before you wake up and automatically update your iPod.

To check for updates manually, select Podcasts in the Library section of the source list, and then click the round-circle refresh button in the lower-left corner of the view under the Unplayed or Podcasts tab, or the Refresh button in the lower-right corner of the view under the List tab.

All subscribed podcast feeds are updated immediately when you refresh, and iTunes downloads the most recent (or all) episodes, depending on how you set your podcasts preferences to schedule podcast updates.

To change your podcast settings so that iTunes can check for new podcasts automatically, click the List tab, and then click the Settings button at the bottom of the List tab view to display the Podcast Settings dialog. You can change the settings for each podcast separately by choosing the podcast in the Settings For pop-up menu. The settings are as follows:

  • Check for New Episodes: Choose to check for podcasts every hour, day, week, or manually — whenever you want.

  • Settings For: Choose which podcast in your iTunes library you are scheduling updates for or choose Podcast Defaults to apply these settings to all podcasts in your library.

  • When New Episodes Are Available: You can download the most recent one (useful for news podcasts), download all episodes (useful for podcasts you might want to keep), or do nothing so that you can use the Refresh button to update manually as you need.

  • Episodes to Keep: Choose to keep all episodes, all unplayed episodes, the most recent episodes, or previous episodes.

    Keeping unplayed episodes is a useful way to organize your news podcasts. If you’ve played an episode (or a portion of it), you likely don’t need it anymore, but you probably do want to keep the ones you haven’t played yet. With this setting, iTunes automatically deletes the ones you’ve played.

If you sync podcasts automatically to your iPod, don’t set the Episodes to Keep pop-up to All Unplayed Episodes — use All Episodes instead. This is why: If you listen to part of a podcast episode on your iPod, and then sync the device, the podcast episode disappears from iTunes (because it is no longer unplayed).

If the episodes are still out there on the Internet, you can recover them by choosing Download All for the When New Episodes Are Available option.

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