Say I have subscribe to a single podcast and I have Episode 1 and Episode 2 on my iPod. Each episode is 30 minutes long. I listen to the entirety of Episode 1 and just the first 15 minutes of Episode 2. I delete Episode 1 using my iPod's menu.

Say Episode 3 has just come out. I want to be able to sync with iTunes, and after doing so, have just Episodes 2 and 3 on my iPod (with Episode 2 "half listened to"). How can I do this?

Ideal state...

  • Episode 1 = deleted
  • Episode 2 = 15 minutes played already
  • Episode 3 = unplayed

I've found that if I set the Sync Podcast option in iTunes to "all new", I get:

"All new"

  • Episode 1 = not on the iPod
  • Episode 2 = not on the iPod
  • Episode 3 = unplayed

and if I set the Sync Podcast option in iTunes to "all unplayed"

"All unplayed"

  • Episode 1 = unplayed
  • Episode 2 = 15 minutes played already
  • Episode 3 = unplayedv

neither option does what I want. Is there an option to get my "ideal state"?


I have my iPhone and iTunes set up so I can do exactly that.

Set up your sync so that all podcasts are synced. Set all your podcasts to "keep all unplayed episodes". Do not delete podcasts on the iPod. Now whenever you do a sync it will remove the played episodes from the iPod, but keep them on the computer. When you do a podcast update on iTunes, it will download new episodes and delete played episodes from the computer.

A couple of notes:

  • if you manually select which episodes to download from a podcast feed (instead of telling iTunes to "Get All New Episodes") then when they have been listened to they do not seem to be automatically removed by iTunes, even when "keep all unplayed episodes" is selected. In this case you will have to delete them manually in iTunes.

  • You may need to perform two syncs back-to-back to get the podcasts removed from the iPod - once for iTunes to be aware that they have been listened to, and another time for iTunes to actually remove them from the iPod. I do this as a matter-of-course to update all my smart playlists anyway.

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