How to Listen to Podcasts on iPhone and Mac

Apple offers the world's largest podcast directory

Apple offers an enormous assortment of podcasts from which to choose. Not only are most free, but your Apple devices come preloaded with an easy way to enjoy and download them. Here's how to dive into this nearly endless library of quality listening.

The instructions in this article apply to iOS 14 and other recent versions of iOS; macOS Catalina (10.15); and iTunes 9 and up on macOS Mojave (10.14) and earlier.

Find and Download Podcasts on macOS 10.15 and Up

macOS 10.15 (Catalina) and up comes with a dedicated Podcasts app. Here's how to use it to find and download something great to listen to:

  1. Launch the Apple Podcasts app.

  2. If you know the podcast or topic you want to hear, type its name in the Search box in the upper-left corner. From the menu on the left, select Browse to view the featured podcasts and select categories. Select Top Charts to see what's popular now.

    Apple Podcasts Browse screen
  3. Click a podcast that interests you to go to the series page. To stream an episode, hover over it and click the play button. To download an episode, click the + icon next to the episode. To subscribe to the series, click +Subscribe.

    Apple Podcasts series page
  4. To delete an episode you downloaded, click ... next to the episode and then select Delete From Library. From this menu, you may also save the episode, mark it as played, share it, and more.

    Apple Podcasts menu choices
  5. To unsubscribe from the series, click ... at the top of the screen and then click to remove the download and the entry.

    Apple Podcasts Unsubscribe highlighted in menu

Find and Download Podcasts on macOS 10.14 and Earlier

On mac OS Mojave (10.14), iTunes handles podcasts. (Apple Podcasts doesn't exist for this version of macOS.) Here's what you need to do:

  1. Open iTunes.

  2. Click Store, if you aren't already there.

    Store on iTunes
  3. Click the drop-down menu in the upper-left corner and click Podcasts.

    Podcasts highlighted in iTunes menu
  4. You can search for a podcast by name or topic by using the Search box in the upper-right corner. You can also browse the recommendations on the front page or click All Categories to filter by topic.

    How to subscribe to podcasts in iTunes screenshot
  5. Choose the podcast that interests you. The podcast's series page displays information about it and lists available episodes.

  6. To stream an episode, hover over the title, then click the Play button that appears.

  7. To download a single podcast episode, click Get.

    Downloading a podcast on iTunes
  8. You can see and play your downloads in your iTunes Library.

Subscribe to Podcasts on macOS 10.14 and Earlier

With a free subscription, iTunes downloads new episodes as they're released, so you never miss out. Follow these steps to subscribe:

  1. On the podcast series page, click Subscribe.

    Subscribing to podcasts in iTunes
  2. In the confirmation box that appears, click Subscribe.

    Confirming a podcast subscription
  3. Click Library and then the podcast you just subscribed to.

    iTunes Library button
  4. Click Settings at the bottom to control your preferences for this podcast. You can choose the number of episodes to download at one time to save storage space, change the order in which iTunes plays episodes, and automatically delete episodes you listened to.

    Podcast options in iTunes
  5. To stop downloading episodes as they come out, click Unsubscribe. The episodes you downloaded stay on your computer.

Delete Podcasts on macOS 10.14 and Earlier

To delete an episode:

  1. Go to iTunes > Library and click the episode you want to remove.

    How to download podcasts in iTunes screenshot
  2. Right-click the episode and select Delete From Library to remove the item, or select Remove Download to remove the downloaded file from your computer. This option leaves an entry for the episode in your Library so you can stream it later.

    Deleting podcast episode in iTunes
  3. Click Delete to confirm.

Use the Apple Podcasts App on iOS and iPadOS

The Apple Podcasts app comes pre-installed on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

Find, Stream, and Download

Here's how to use Apple Podcasts on your Apple mobile device:

  1. Open Apple Podcasts.

  2. Tap Browse to display lists of popular shows and creators.

  3. To find something specific, tap Search and enter a search term, or tap a category that interests you.

    Browse and Search in Apple Podcasts
  4. Tap a show to see a list of available episodes.

  5. Tap an episode description to stream it in the app.

  6. To download an episode, tap the three vertical dots (...), then select Download Episode.

    On iPhone 6S and later, open the menu by long-pressing the screen.

  7. After the show downloads, find it in the Library and tap it to play it.

    Downloading Apple Podcast to Library

Subscribe and Unsubscribe

To subscribe to a podcast in the Podcasts app and get new episodes as they're released:

  1. On a podcast series page, tap the plus sign (+) in the upper-right corner. A checkmark icon appears to confirm you're now following that show.

    Following a podcast
  2. Tap the three horizontal dots (...) icon next to the checkmark, then tap Settings to control when episodes download, how many you keep at one time, and the order the app plays episodes. Tap Done to save the changes.

    Apple Podcasts subscription settings

Some podcast creators offer Premium Apple Podcasts subscriptions, which provide perks such as an ad-free experience, additional content, and more for a fee.

Delete and Unsave

To delete or unsave a podcast episode in the Apple Podcasts app:

  1. Go to the Library and find the episode you want to remove.

  2. Swipe right to left on the episode and tap the trash can or crossed-out bookmark to remove or unsave the episode.

    Delete or unsave a podcast
  3. Alternatively, go to the podcast page, tap the horizontal dots (...) next to the episode, then tap Remove Download.

    You don't have to unsubscribe before you delete a podcast series from your library. When you delete a podcast series, you are also unsubscribed from it.

    An Apple Podcasts episode with the 'Remove Download' option highlighted

Want an in-depth look at the basics of podcasts, including how podcasts work and what makes them different from talk radio? Check out What is a Podcast?

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