However, like other media files, podcast files can eat up a lot of memory space on your hard drive if you’re not using the available features and tools to manage them.
So the following are some tips on how to better manage your podcasts in iTunes.
First off, if you don’t know much about accessing and downloading podcasts, it’s really simple to do so. You open up iTunes, click on the iTunes Store in the sidebar, and then select Podcasts in the iTunes Store menu bar.
From there, you can browse and preview a very wide selection of podcasts in nearly every category of interest.
I definitely encourage you to preview selected podcasts before you begin downloading files to your computer.
When you choose to subscribe to a podcast, clicking on the Settings button at the bottom of iTunes is one of the first ways to help manage your downloads.
In settings, you can tell iTunes which episodes to download, how long to keep them, and which ones to keep. These settings work pretty accurately, but if you don’t use them, your podcast files will pile up. The default settings will for example retain all the downloaded podcasts.
Podcast Smart Playlists
If you have several podcasts already downloaded to your computer, you should create a smart playlist that will capture all your most recent downloaded and unlistened/unwatched podcasts. Here are the rules I set for my playlist:
Since I subscribe to more podcasts than I have time to listen to, this smart playlist is what I typically use to quickly access recent downloads.
Another smart playlist I use is one that collects all podcast subscriptions added to my library more than six months ago. This is the list I use when I want to start cleaning up my library by deleting only podcasts.
Control Menu Items
It’s quite easy to listen to podcasts and let them build up on your hard drive, but if you right- or control-click on a podcast heading or episode, you can choose from several options to help you manage podcast files.
You can quickly mark a podcast as watched, get a description of an episode, and unsubscribe to podcasts that you’re no longer interested in.
If you use the podcast settings feature I that pointed out above, iTunes will clean up your library each time it automatically updates your podcasts. But this feature doesn’t work well if you’re not consistent in your settings. To deal with this issue, you can right- or Control-click on a podcast and choose Update Podcast so that the settings will take effect.
If however you want to manually update all podcasts, create this little AppleScript. Open the AppleScript editor, then copy and paste this script in the editor.
ï»¿tell application “iTunes” to updateAllPodcasts
Save it in your iTunes > Library > Scripts folder where you can then access it via the iTunes menu bar in the Scripts icon. Running this script will update all your podcasts.
If your podcast files have grown unwieldy, you can just go through the library and delete them. The beauty of getting rid of episodes is that you can typically re-download them again from the iTunes Store if need be.
When you select one or more episodes, you can choose whether to delete these files from your hard drive or you can select to keep the episodes on your disk but not have it show up in your iTunes library interface.
You can right- or Control-click on a podcast or episode and choose Show in Finder to quickly see where those files are stored in your vast iTunes library.
Let us know what you do to manage your podcasts. Are there special plug-ins or smart playlists that you could share?