How to Manage Your Podcasts In iTunes 10 [Mac]

Bakari Chavanu 08-10-2010

how to manage podcasts in itunesIf you’re an avid subscriber to a couple dozen or more of the 150,000 available podcasts in the Apple iTunes Store, you probably don’t have the time or the inclination to manage, let alone listen to, all of your podcast downloads.  But you also know that there’s a wealth of mostly free information and resources in podcasts that you don’t want to get rid of either.


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.

Downloading Podcasts

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.

how to manage podcasts in itunes

From there, you can browse and preview a very wide selection of podcasts in nearly every category of interest.


manage podcasts

I definitely encourage you to preview selected podcasts before you begin downloading files to your computer.

Podcast Settings

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.

manage podcasts


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:

manage podcasts

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.


organize podcasts

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.

organize podcasts


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.

Updating Podcasts

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.

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.

organize podcasts

Deleting 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.

how to manage podcasts in itunes

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?

Explore more about: iTunes, Podcasts.

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  1. SebaNob
    October 29, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Another easy way to manage your podcasts without iTunes.

    See more info about how to manage the podcasts on Mac or Windows PC.
    [Broken URL Removed]

  2. Kevin P.
    October 9, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Clicking the Refresh button on the lower-right will update all podcasts. There's no need for AppleScript here.