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Archived - Play podcasts with iPod

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

If you haven't heard of it by now, podcasting is the new generation of entertainment media that allows listeners to subscribe to radio-style shows available on the Internet that get downloaded to their computers automatically. It's like listening to a radio show on demand.

With podcasts, you're no longer strapped with having to wake up early, stay up late, or hunker down at work or in class with headphones on just to catch a radio show—you can choose when and where to listen to shows. With iTunes 4.9 and later, you can browse for podcasts, preview episodes, subscribe to and download podcasts, play them, and sync them to your iPod for play while you're on the go.

Rather than scour the web, you can find tons of podcasts to subscribe to (for free!) in the iTunes Store.

Podcasts come in a lot of varieties—everything from glossy news, music, or talk shows to verbal blogs from regular folks from around the globe. The ones offered on the iTunes Store are free, but others may charge a subscriber fee. You'll find professionally created podcasts from major broadcasters (such as ESPN, NPR, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and Disney), shows from known personalities (including Rick Steves, Ebert & Roeper, the Simpsons, and Adam Curry), and plenty of stuff from lesser knowns who are finding new celebrity in this new medium. For more information about podcasts, be sure to visit our Podcasting page.

iTunes displays podcasts you've downloaded in the Podcasts section in the Source pane too, making finding them easy. Just choose Podcasts in the iTunes Source pane to view the pane. Of course, if you haven't subscribed to any podcasts, your list will be empty, but it doesn't have to stay that way for long. One of the best sources to find podcasts is none other than the iTunes Store, and these podcast subscriptions won't cost you a penny.

Show Me How

Browse, Preview, Subscribe to, and Play Podcasts

To find, preview, subscribe to, download, and play a podcast from the iTunes Store and then copy it to your iPod, do this:

  1. In the Podcasts pane in iTunes, click the "Podcast Directory" link at the bottom part of the iTunes window. The iTunes Store opens in your iTunes window, displaying a selection of podcasts.
  2. If any podcast displayed or listed on the podcast homepage catches your eye, you can click it to access it. Or browse for podcasts by typing a word or words in the “Search iTunes Store” field in the upper-right corner of iTunes, clicking a category of interest from the Categories list below search, or clicking the item in the CATEGORIES list in the right-column. For browsing purposes, click the "Comedy" link under CATEGORIES.
  3. You'll see podcast listings organized by provider, popularity, release dates, and other helpful categories in the resulting window. Scope out the contents. Then click on any show name or graphic that catches your eye to view its details.
  4. A typical podcast's page includes details such as the show name, description, subscription fee (if any—most say "Free"), and associated website (if applicable). It'll also list all available podcast episodes. To preview an episode, choose one from the list and double-click it. Most will provide a 1 minute, 30 second preview of the show. Others will stream the whole show to you. Listen to as many previews as you like. If you see an "i" icon next to an episode description, you can click it to reveal more details about the show.
  5. When you find a podcast that you like and want to subscribe, click the Subscribe button. A dialog opens, asking if you're sure that you want to subscribe. If that is your intent, click Subscribe.

    To subscribe to a podcast, simply click its Subscribe button in any page.

  6. iTunes downloads the most recent episode and will automatically download future episodes whenever you open iTunes. To view your new subscription, choose Podcasts in the Source pane. If the individual episodes aren't displayed, click the disclosure triangle to the left of the podcast name to reveal them. If an episode is dimmed, it hasn't been downloaded to your computer (these are older episodes); if you want it, click the Get button next to it.
  7. To play a podcast in iTunes, simply double-click the episode to hear it.
  8. To copy a podcast to your iPod, either enable podcast syncing or drag any episode to your iPod icon in the Source pane.

Voice Your Own Podcast

If you're looking to break into the broadcasting industry or simply want to take blogging (or your opinions) to an audible worldwide level, consider creating your own podcast. All you need is a computer with recording software to capture your talent, a server to host the file, and a little imagination and planning.

Whether you use GarageBand or other audio recording software, you can create your own podcast without much effort.

If you're using a Mac and have GarageBand, you can easily create your own podcast complete with music, pictures, and web links. We provide some guidance, tips, and instruction on our "GarageBand: Recording Your Podcast" page. You can also use QuickTime 7 Pro; see "Creating Podcasts with QuickTime 7 Pro" for instructions.

If you're a Windows users, you can follow the same instructions for GarageBand but substitute your preferred audio recording application for GarageBand (the concepts and principles are the same). Or follow the same instructions for QuickTime 7 Pro.

Last Modified: Feb 20, 2012
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  • Last Modified: Feb 20, 2012
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