iTunes Podcast Auto Delete
26 March 2008
Despite setting my iTunes preferences to only keep unplayed episodes and trying to set auto delete on all my subscribed podcasts I noticed that iTunes was keeping all the old podcasts I’d already listened to and never removing them. Today I found out how to fix that and it turns out its a combination of iTunes fault and mine (technically just my fault really…but iTunes could improve to help me).
The problem as I discovered is that I tend to abandon podcasts once the talking is over and it cuts to the outro music, this has been made all the easier with the skip track/pause button on my iPhone headphones. When I went back and checked all the podcasts in iTunes which hadn’t auto deleted it turns out they all had 20 – 5 seconds of play time left on them (iTunes remembers where you listened to).
To remedy my auto delete problem I first selected all the podcasts in the list with Apple-A, then right clicked to get the context menu up and selected ‘Allow Auto Delete’ (if they are all already set to auto delete then the option will say ‘Do Not Auto Delete’). Then I had to click through all the remaining podcasts and drag their time left down to about 2 seconds and let them play until they finished completely. When I then clicked ‘refresh’ (having set my podcast retention preferences to ‘keep unplayed’) iTunes proceeded to auto delete all my old podcasts.
Frustrating, but I can see why iTunes does have to do it this way. Perhaps with their gapless playback analyser they use on normal music tracks they could develop a way to find out if there is any talking left on a podcast that has been listened to, or maybe a cut off to simply count any podcast with less than 20 seconds remaining as finished. That last option might lead to unexpected behaviour so probably isn’t ideal, however in my case it is exactly what I need.