I subscribe to quite a few podcasts. Since I have virtually no commute time, I only get caught up listening to everything on my iPod when I go on a long trip every few months. I’ve found that the default setup for listening to podcasts doesn’t work very well for this type of listening. Out of the box iTunes and the iPod work well if you are listening to all of your subscriptions a few times each week. If you only listen once each month the podcasts can be hard to manage. Here are two tips that will help manage your podcasts in iTunes.
Tell iTunes to automatically delete podcasts after you listen to them.
This will help keep your hard drives from filling up, but more importantly it means you won’t have to sort through a bunch of files to find the new items. This is simple to enable by going into iTunes > Preferences > Podcasts. Tell iTunes to keep “All Unplayed Episodes”. Now when you synch your iPod it will tell iTunes which items you’ve listened to, then iTunes will delete those items when you download new podcasts. They won’t actually be deleted off your iPod until you synch again.
Create a separate Smart Playlist for each podcast.
Once you get 4 or 5 podcasts, it can be difficult to find what you want from the podcast playlist. By creating a smart playlist, you can keep the files organized so you’ll always be able to find what you want. A smart playlist will show you all the podcasts matching a particular criteria. In my case I set it up to match a particular Album name and set that to the name of the podcast. You can find the podcasts listed individually under Albums on your iPod, but if you have a few thousand albums it can be difficult to locate what you want.
This example smart playlist will give me all of the “Thinking out loud – in color” podcasts in a single list that I can find quickly. You could combine rules to make a playlist that is more inclusive or restrictive.