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Apple changes the way automatic downloads work on Apple Podcasts

Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and channels displayed on iPhone 12 Pro

Apple made some tweaks to how the Automatic Downloads feature works on Apple Podcasts in iOS 17. In a notice addressing podcast creators, the Cupertino giant explained that Automatic Downloads will pause on a device if the user doesn't play a particular show for a couple of weeks or if the storage is low.

The feature will monitor whether a user has played the latest five episodes of a show in the last 15 days and pause its automatic downloads. A pause icon will appear on the Follow button in the top-right corner of the show's page to indicate it's downloads have been paused.

In a support document, Apple stated:

If a listener resumes playing that show, or changes the download preferences for that show, Apple Podcasts will resume automatically downloading new episodes. Automatic Downloads will be paused again if the listener does not play a show they follow for more than 15 days and hasn’t played the latest five episodes. Automatic Downloads are unaffected if a show does not publish a new episode for 15 days or more.

Users can tap on the Follow or Download button to resume automatic downloads for a particular show. Apple notes that the feature previously downloaded all unplayed episodes when automatic downloads were resumed for a show. But with iOS 17, it will only download new episodes when resumed.

For the uninitiated, the Automatic Downloads feature does the hard work for users by making the latest podcast episodes available on their devices. The feature works in the background to download fresh episodes for offline listening when the device is charging and connected to WiFi.

All the fresh episodes show up in the Up Next section at the top of the Listen Now tab in the Podcasts app. Users can choose to have a universal setting for all shows or configure automatic downloads for individual shows by tapping the three-dot menu on their title page and going to Settings.

Apple has also fixed an inconvenience that happens when podcasters upload older episodes to their shows. Previously, the app considered older episode uploads as "new" and automatically downloaded them on the user's device. With iOS 17, Apple Podcasts will not consider episodes older than seven days as new and automatically download them.

Source: Apple

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