Apple offered several new features for its Podcasts app Monday. They include downloaded episode controls, annual subscription plans, partnerships with third-party hosting platforms and more.
There’s something for both podcast creators as well as listeners in the updates, with some changes available in imminent OS updates and others slated to become available in the fall, Cupertino said.
Apple Podcasts: downloaded episode controls, annual subscription plans, hosting-platform partnerships
The new updates are aimed primarily at content creators, but also help listeners with some recurring issues.
Episode controls to free up storage space
iOS 15.5, iPadOS 15.5, and macOS 12.4 will feature new tools that allow listeners to remove accumulated podcast downloads and free up storage space on their devices. Here’s Cult of Mac‘s rundown of OS updates.
Under Podcasts in the Settings app on iOS and iPadOS, listeners will gain the opportunity to choose how many recent episodes of shows are downloaded to a device. And that could be by number of episodes or within a timeframe, like in the past week.
They can continue to download all new episodes, but new functionality will let them turn off downloads to make the Podcasts app work via streaming only. And they’ll be able to configure that at the show level to provide custom settings for different podcasts.
The updates will add the ability to browse shows by season and filter episodes by status.
Annual subscription option
In addition, the updates will give podcast creators the option to present annual subscription plans for premium podcasts alongside monthly subscription options.
Annual subscriptions will become the default. Where relevant, annual subscriptions will also display cost savings to users.
And updates coming in fall will help podcast creators with third-party hosting options.
“Today Apple announced Apple Podcasts Delegated Delivery, a new feature that will allow creators to upload, manage, and distribute their premium audio through participating third-party hosting providers,” Apple said in a statement. “Delegated Delivery reduces operational tasks for podcast subscriptions so that creators can focus on making and marketing their work.”
Using the Apple Podcasts Delegated Delivery system, creators will be able to distribute both free and premium podcast episodes directly to Apple Podcasts using third-party hosting providers.
Currently, they must upload their shows to Apple Podcasts, whether or not they use alternative distribution services. When delegated delivery launches, they can upload to a participating service and Apple Podcasts will automatically pick up the content.
In other words, creators need not have an Apple Podcasts Program membership to publish their free episodes. Acast, ART19, Blubrry, Buzzsprout, Libsyn, Omny Studio and RSS.com will be supported at launch in the fall, with more hosting providers to be added over time.
Here’s some relevant information from the FAQ about whether or not users still need to upload premium audio directly through Apple Podcasts Connect:
With Delegated Delivery enabled, you are no longer required to upload subscriber audio through Apple Podcasts Connect, but you will be able to do so if you choose. You can use Apple Podcasts Connect to check that your premium content has been successfully published and you will continue to use Apple Podcasts Connect to create new channels, manage subscriptions, view listening analytics, export subscription reports, and more.
Read more on the Apple Podcasts for Creators page.