After you've downloaded a podcast or two, it's time to give them a listen. Read on to learn how.
Listening to—and Managing—Podcasts in iTunes
To listen to podcasts on your computer—and to manage your downloaded podcasts—you use the iTunes software. As you can see in Figure 8.4, all your downloaded podcasts display when you click Podcasts in the Library section of the Source pane. Click the arrow to the left of the podcast title to view all downloaded episodes from a series.
Figure 8.4 Viewing—and listening to—downloaded podcasts with the iTunes software.
To play a particular podcast episode, just double-click it (or select it and then click the Play button). Episodes you've not yet played appear with a blue dot to the left of the title. The blue dot disappears when you start playing the podcast—which is a reminder that the episode will be removed from your iPod the next time you sync your iPod to your PC. If you want that episode to remain on your iPod, you have to manually mark it as not yet played, which you do by right-clicking the episode title and selecting Mark as Unplayed.
One of the neat things about how iTunes handles podcasts is how it handles longish episodes. If you can't get through an entire episode in one setting, iTunes makes it easy to pick up where you left off. When you pause playback of a podcast, iTunes remembers your playback position. Resume playback at your convenience.
Some podcasts come with text notes or information that accompanies each episode. To view the podcast notes, click the i icon in the podcast's description column; this displays a notes window, like the one in Figure 8.5.
Figure 8.5 Viewing podcast show notes.
By default, downloaded podcast episodes are stored indefinitely on your computer. As you might suspect, this could rapidly result in an overwhelmingly large podcast library. To change how long podcasts are stored, click the Settings button at the bottom of the Podcasts window to display the iTunes preferences dialog box, and then select the Podcasts tab. From here, pull down the Keep list and make a new selection—All episodes, All unplayed episodes, Most recent episode, or Last X episodes.
As previously noted, iTunes searches for new podcast episodes once a day, which is fine for most podcasts. If you subscribe to a podcast that issues new episodes more frequently, however, you can change iTunes' update frequency. Click the Settings button, select the Podcasts tab, and then pull down the Check for New Episodes list and select Every Hour.
Finally, if you get tired of a podcast series and want to unsubscribe, all you have to do is highlight that podcast and click the Unsubscribe button at the bottom of the iTunes window. To delete stored episodes of a podcast, highlight the episode(s) and press the Del key on your computer keyboard.
Listening to Podcasts on Your iPod
On your iPod, you access all stored podcasts by selecting Music > Podcasts. Navigate to and select the podcast you want to listen to, and then press the Play button. It's that simple.
As with the iTunes software, your iPod automatically remembers your playback position when you pause or stop playback of a podcast. Return to the podcast at any future time and press Play, and your iPod resumes playback at the point you previously left off.