Users Despair at Apple Podcasts App After iOS 14.5 Update

In spite of redesigning its Podcasts app with iOS 14.5, long-standing bugs within the app persist, and hundreds of reports from users across Twitter and Reddit are complaining about a range of new usability problems.

Podcasts Bugged Feature
Apple's iOS 14.5 update, accompanied by iPadOS 14.5 and macOS Big Sur 11.3 brought a major overhaul of the Podcasts app, including a new design, a re-thought system of "following" shows instead of "subscribing," a new centralized location to change new episode notifications, in-app paid podcast subscriptions for the first time, and more.

Apple Podcasts iOS 14 5
Apple's Podcasts app has been infamous among some podcast enthusiasts for its range of long-standing bugs and purported unreliability. Such bugs have included skipping playback, inaccurate timestamps, skewed UI elements, and unresponsive scrolling.

One of the most bemoaned aspects of Apple's Podcasts app has been its issues with syncing, where users have found that the app fails to sync episodes added to a library, individual podcast settings, and listened to episodes across devices.

Such problems have supported the rise of some third-party podcast apps such as Overcast, Pocketcasts, and other apps without these repetitious bugs.

Some users hoped that the overhaul of Podcasts in iOS 14.5 would put an end to these long-suffered problems, but the updated app introduces design changes that have irked some users, in addition to the previous bugs that have not been resolved.

The biggest change that has aroused users' ire is related to Apple's re-thought system of following Podcasts, which has replaced subscribing and adding episodes to the library.

With Apple Podcasts on iOS 14.5, all episodes of a show are now displayed by default, bringing Podcasts in line with Apple's other content services, which gives the appearance of hundreds of episodes stretching back years being added to the library.

Some users are reporting that having hundreds of old episodes added to their device is also using massive amounts of mobile data.

It is no longer possible to delete or remove individual episodes from the library, leaving users with the only option of selecting "Hide Played Episodes" and then manually marking every unwanted episode as played individually, one by one.

Users will have to continue marking every episode of a podcast that they do not want to listen to as played in order to remove it from view. This is especially troublesome when listening to podcast episodes in "oldest to newest" order.

Apple has changed the way that the Podcasts library works in iOS 14.5. The "library" side of podcasts that users now see is effectively the direct view of feeds, with all episodes on display, rather than what they have chosen to add, remove, or subscribe to based on rules. Since Apple has changed the library in this way in iOS 14.5, removing the ability to delete or remove episodes, there is even greater level of confusion among users about how to remove or delete the hundreds of newly-appeared episodes.

Some users have criticized the change as a significant oversight because most listeners do not want every unplayed episode of every podcast they follow in their library.

The new system is fine for listening to podcasts like watching a TV show, with podcasts such as Apple's "The Line," where users need to start from the first-ever episode and listen in chronological order, never skipping an episode. But for many types of podcasts, such as news podcasts, where it is pointless to listen to older episodes and users may want to sometimes skip an episode, it is actively obstructive.

While some users have misconstrued these design changes as bugs, separate issues such as a bug preventing episode limits from working correctly have only exacerbated complaints.

Other, more simple design changes in iOS 14.5's Podcasts app have also met the wrath of users. Apple has removed the "recently updated" tab and the ability to see how many unplayed episodes there are per show. Podcasts are also now sorted by the order in which they were originally followed by default, even though it is possible to sort by recently updated within the Shows tab.

Yet there are also reportedly a number of newly-reported defects that join the pre-existing spate of bugs, such as crashing and long library load times.

Some users are reporting that their custom Podcast Stations are now virtually defunct, with Stations failing to aggregate the selected episodes correctly, while others are reporting an inability to find unplayed episodes in the new design and problems loading new episodes.

These complaints about the new design and reports of new bugs come alongside many of the pre-existing problems with marking as played and syncing.

There are countless complaints about the new Podcasts app on various social media platforms and MacRumors editors have also been subjected to many of the same problems that are being reported.

The best thing that users affected by the issues in the Podcasts app can do is share feedback with Apple or report a concern directly in the Podcasts app itself.

Top Rated Comments

japanime Avatar
2 weeks ago
This is why I started using Overcast and never looked back.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
whyamihere Avatar
2 weeks ago
Wow, that is a lot of complaints. And every single one of them can be resolved with one action...

Install Pocket Casts.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ayres Avatar
2 weeks ago
I spent years cultivating a particular way of using the podcasts app. That all came crashing down the other day. Now I have to do what I don’t like doing: relearning a new UI to achieve the same result with no apparent upside. This reminds me of why I like to wait a while before updating. Okay, I’m done wallowing in my own tears.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Alwis Avatar
2 weeks ago
At least Apple is consistent with their work. Has any of the applications provided by Apple, like Mail, Photos or Musik actually improved over time?

In all of these applications there are bugs which have not been fixed for years and some functionality has been removed.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ashdelacroix Avatar
2 weeks ago
If they can't remember the last window size in Finder, they can't sync across complex cloud services.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
robertcoogan Avatar
2 weeks ago
I know I'm in the minority here, but

I really miss iTunes. It was so convenient to have music, podcasts, videos, and even the iOS app store all in one place. A shame that it's gone.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
macbook colors 3d black bezels

Prosser: Next MacBook Air Could Come in Colors Similar to iMac

Friday May 7, 2021 6:55 am PDT by
According to Apple leaker Jon Prosser, Apple's upcoming release of the MacBook Air will feature various colors, similar to the colors in the newly released 24-inch iMac. In the latest video of his YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser says the same source who accurately provided him information on the first Apple silicon iMac coming in colors has told him that he recently saw a prototype...
tile amazon sidewalk integration

Tile to Leverage Amazon Echo and Ring Devices to Better Compete With AirTags

Friday May 7, 2021 2:07 pm PDT by
Amazon today announced that it is teaming up with Tile to add Amazon Sidewalk integration to Tile's Bluetooth trackers. Amazon Sidewalk, for those unfamiliar, is a network of Amazon Bluetooth devices that's designed to improve the connectivity of devices like the Ring and Amazon Echo. Tile will now be joining Amazon Sidewalk, and through this integration, Amazon Echo and Ring devices will be ...
Top Stories 59 Feature

Top Stories: Epic Games vs. Apple, Hidden AirTag Mode, Apple Music Hi-Fi, Colorful MacBook Air?

Saturday May 8, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
While we wait for the newly introduced iMac, iPad Pro, and Apple TV models to launch later this month, this week saw the kickoff of the big Epic Games v. Apple trial, with lots of juicy tidbits coming out as the two sides make their arguments. This week also saw some rumors about a Hi-Fi tier for Apple Music, more biometric sensing capabilities for Apple Watch, and timing for the...
zoom app icon

Apple Gave Zoom Access to Special API to Use iPad Camera During Split View Multitasking

Sunday May 9, 2021 2:00 am PDT by
Zoom, a hallmark platform used by millions during the global health crisis, has been given access to a special iPadOS API that allows the app to use the iPad camera while the app is in use in Split View multitasking mode. This case of special treatment was first brought to attention by app developer Jeremy Provost, who, in a blog post, explains that Zoom uses a special API that allows the...
snapchat dark mode

Snapchat Rolls Out Dark Mode on iOS

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:17 am PDT by
Nearly two years following the release of iOS and iPadOS 13, which included native, built-in, and systemwide dark mode, Snapchat, one of the world's most prominent social media networks, has finally rolled out a dark mode theme for iOS users. Snapchat began testing a dark mode theme of its app design late last year with a small group of iOS users. Now, Snapchat says that as of this week, it...
tile sticker e1570533758981

Tile CEO: 'We Welcome Competition From Apple, But We Think It Needs to Be Fair'

Tuesday May 4, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Just after Apple announced its AirTags, Tile CEO CJ Prober relayed his concerns about competing with Apple in the tracking space, and said that Tile would ask Congress to investigate Apple's business practices specific to Find My and item trackers. Prober this week did an interview with Bloomberg, where he further expanded on Tile's complaints about Apple and why he feels that Tile is...
fortnite apple logo 2

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Admits App Store's 30% Cut Is Similar to Consoles, Would Have Accepted Special Deal With Apple

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:54 pm PDT by
Apple's legal battle with Epic Games is continuing on, and during the second day of the trial, Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney continued his testimony against Apple. Sweeney was grilled by Apple's lawyers, and made several points seemingly favorable to Apple. In addition to mentioning how he prefers Apple's iPhone and values Apple's privacy policies that he's aiming to dismantle, Sweeney...
signal instagram ads3

Signal Shares the Instagram Ads Facebook Doesn't Want You to See

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:29 am PDT by
Encrypted messaging app Signal has had a series of Instagram ads blocked from the social media platform, after it attempted to show users how much data the Facebook-owned company collects about them and how it's used to push targeted ads. In a blog post, Signal described how it generated the ads to show users why they were seeing them, simply by declaring upfront the information that the...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Begins Transition to Randomized Serial Numbers With Purple iPhone 12

Wednesday May 5, 2021 9:17 am PDT by
MacRumors previously reported about Apple's plan to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021, and this transition has now started with the new purple iPhone 12 model in multiple countries. With assistance from Aaron Zollo, host of the YouTube channel ZolloTech, we can confirm that the purple iPhone 12 released last month has a new 10-character serial...