Archived - Podcasting Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
General podcast questions
What is a podcast, how do I get one and how much does one cost?
Podcasts are radio shows or other audio programs available for download over the Internet. The maker of a podcast, called a podcaster, often updates their podcast with a series of episodes that you can subscribe to. iTunes 4.9 and iTunes 5 offer built-in support for podcasting so that you can find, listen, subscribe to and manage podcasts that interest you. You can also transfer podcasts to iPod for listening on the go. To get podcasts, click on Podcasts in the Source list of iTunes, then on Podcast Directory at the bottom of the page. This will take you to the iTunes Podcast Directory on the iTunes Store where you can browse, find, preview, and subscribe to over 3,000 podcasts, all of which are free of charge. Visit the Apple podcasting page for more information.
Can I sync a podcast to my iPod so that I can listen to podcasts on my computer or iPod without losing my place?
Absolutely. To do this, all you need is the following:
If you have podcasts that have file names ending with .m4b, you can sync them to any iPod and never lose your place, whether you listen on your iPod or computer.
Tip: If you are syncing podcasts automatically to your iPod, do not set the Podcast Preference in iTunes to keep only your unplayed episodes. If you select this setting, listen to part of a podcast on your iPod, and then sync, the podcast will disappear from iTunes.
How does iTunes and iPod treat podcast files compared to song or audiobook files?
Podcasts won't show up in Party Shuffle unless you drag them into the Party Shuffle playlist, and Autofill won't include podcasts when copying files to an iPod. In iTunes 4.9, there were some limitations to how podcasts could be used. For example, you could not access podcasts using Music Sharing or create a Smart Playlist of podcasts. These limitations do not exist in iTunes 5 and later
On an iPod, podcasts shouldn't appear when you select Shuffle Songs or Music Quiz.
What is an enhanced podcast?
An enhanced podcast can include chapter marks and photos. When you play an enhanced podcast in iTunes, a menu icon appears to the left of the display at the top of the iTunes window.
If you click this icon, a pop-up menu appears and displays the podcast's chapter marks, artwork, and start time of each chapter.
(Note: Mac OS X 10.2.x users won't see artwork in the pop-up menu, but everything else works the same).
When you play an enhanced podcast on an iPod, your iPod displays the name of the chapter you're listening to above the playback position in the episode. To see this, press the Select button during play to make a diamond appear in the bar. You can then scroll the wheel right to scrub forward, or left to scrub backwards.
To see an example of an enhanced podcast, go to the iTunes Store and subscribe to the iTunes New Music Weekly podcast.
How do I copy a podcast URL and send it to a friend?
Just select the podcast and drag it to your desktop to create a file that ends with a .pcast extension. Email this file to your friend and then have him or her drag the file into iTunes to subscribe to that podcast.
In iTunes, you can view a podcast URL by clicking on the "i" to the right of the description, but you can't copy or edit this text. If you typed a podcast URL incorrectly, delete the podcast and subscribe to it again.
I control my iPod from my car stereo. Can I also listen to podcasts in my car?
If your iPod does not have a Click Wheel, you can do this. If your iPod has a Click Wheel and you've installed iPod Updater 2005-6-26 or later, you won't be able to do this unless you create a playlist of podcasts (in addition the special Podcasts playlist created for you by iTunes); then just listen to that playlist in your car.
What kind of podcasts can I play in iTunes?
You can listen to most common podcast file formats in iTunes, including MP3, AAC, WAV, and .M4B. BitTorrent and WMA are some podcast formats that are not supported.
Can I play photo or video podcasts in iTunes?
If a photo is properly embedded in an audio podcast file by the podcaster, it should display in the same window where album art and QuickTime video content currently displays. Similarly, if a video is properly referenced and in a supported format (MP4, MOV, MPG), it will also display in this window. PDF files that are properly referenced in a podcast will also display in this window.
Creating and publishing a podcast
How do I create my own podcast?
iTunes 4.9 does not support the creation of podcasts. Many podcast authors record and edit audio for their episodes using GarageBand software for the Mac. You can find more information about using GarageBand here. You can also author podcasts using Quicktime 7 Pro or any other audio recording software.
Once you've created your podcast, then you need to publish it first by hosting it on a web-server with an RSS feed, and then submit the RSS web address to the iTunes Store. You can find more information here if you have iTunes 4.9 or later installed.
I noticed some new encoding options in the latest version of iTunes. Can I use iTunes to create a podcast?
You can use iTunes to optimize a voice recording for a podcast, but you will need audio software to record your podcast, and a space to host your podcast on the Internet.
Many podcast authors record and edit audio for their episodes using GarageBand software for the Mac. You can find more information about using GarageBand here. You can also author podcasts using Quicktime 7 Pro.
I subscribed to a podcast, but I don't see all the episodes—only the latest. How come?
iTunes will only display the podcast episodes that are included in the podcast feed. Many podcasts have the older episodes archived on the web. Check the podcast hosting site to see if older episodes are available.
In iTunes, when I selected the Podcasts setting, "When new episodes are available, download all," I didn't get any additional episodes. Why?
This setting only applies to new podcast subscriptions.
I'm trying to find a particular podcast in the iTunes Store, but the Search iTunes Store field in the window's upper-right corner and Power Search haven't helped. Any suggestions?
These search methods only look for music and audiobooks in the music store. To find podcasts, use the new search menu "Search all podcasts" on the iTunes Store podcast page.
In iTunes, what does the blue dot next to a podcast mean?
It means that the podcast has not been played. As soon as you start listening to a podcast, the dot will go away.
Do I need to reconfigure my network to listen to podcasts, and will they work with my firewall?
If you can access a podcast host through your web browser by normal means, you should be able to listen to that podcast.