How to Delete All Downloaded Podcasts on the iPhone/iOS
Over the last fifteen years, podcasts have become a modern art form, far from their talk radio-origins. Sure, early podcasts were often built on the back of traditional radio, and some of the most popular podcasts on the market today, including shows like This American Life, are aired over terrestrial radio in addition to being produced as downloadable podcasts.
But over the last decade or so, podcasts have evolved into an art form that simply can’t be ignored by anyone interested in audio production. When comedy podcasts blew up in the late 2000s, becoming a near-staple of the stand-up community, the popularity of the media form began to dominate certain corners of the mar et online.
Since then, the format has gotten even crazier: game shows, advice podcasts, improv-based humor, role-playing games, and even scripted fictional stories have caused podcasting to become as inventive and fluid a genre of entertainment like television. True-crime stories told on podcasts like Serial or S-Town captured the zeitgeist online, and shows like Welcome to Night Vale have brought fictional entertainment to an audio form enjoyed by people across the globe.
Of course, all those audio files can take up a lot of room on your device, which begs the question: how do you delete those files when you’re done with them? And should you stream your podcasts instead of downloading them? Let’s dive in.
Streaming Vs. Downloading
How do you listen to podcasts when you don’t have WiFi access? If you’re a podcast enthusiast, you’ll probably need to figure out the answer sooner or later. One option is to stream episodes using your cell data. The obvious downside here is the cost. While some content creators make an effort to use a low bit rate, it’s still easy to go over your data limit. People who listen to multiple podcasts a day probably shouldn’t rely on cell data alone.
The other solution is to download new episodes when it’s convenient for you and listen to them at your leisure. You can use any podcast app to do this automatically. It’s a low-effort and cost-effective solution. However, if you do download all the podcasts you listen to, storage space could become a problem eventually.
How to Keep Podcasts from Taking Up Too Much Space on Your Phone
Here are a few tips that can help you avoid running out of storage space.
Automatically Delete Each Episode After You’re Done Listening to It
In the settings of your iPhone, scroll down to ‘Podcasts.’ From here, you can make sure episodes get deleted automatically. This is a good solution in most situations. If you want to revisit a specific podcast later, it’s easy to turn this option off for it.
Here is something you should keep in mind. If you skip forward without finishing an episode, your app won’t delete it. Some people skip the end credits out of habit, which means that the episode will fail to delete. This is how you can end up with unwanted, unexpected downloads on your phone.
Don’t Auto-Download Podcasts That Update Multiple Times a Day
Political podcasts tend to update very frequently, especially during significant events. In the case of podcasts like these, it’s better to opt for manual downloading.
Avoid the “I’ll Listen to It Later” Mentality
Here’s a situation that happens all too often. You start listening to a podcast and then stop after a few episodes. Maybe you lose interest or simply get too overwhelmed.
You might be tempted to keep downloading new episodes anyway. After all, there’s always a chance you’ll catch up. But odds are that you won’t actually listen to the podcast later. You’ll find a current podcast that’s a better fit for you.
Your best option might be to delete all the episodes without listening to them. Why not opt for a clean slate?
Deleting Episodes on Your iPhone
It’s not too complicated to delete the downloaded episodes on your phone.
Deleting Individual Episodes
First, let’s look at how you can delete individual episodes from Podcasts, the iPhone app.
- Open the Podcasts App.
- Tap on ‘Library.’
- Tap on ‘Downloaded Episodes.’
- Long-press the episode you’d like to delete.
- Tap on ‘Remove…’
- Tap ‘Remove Download.’
This removes the selected episode from your phone. Keep in mind that you can use the ‘Sort’ button to organize your downloaded episodes by the Title or the Date Added.
Deleting Multiple Episodes
There is a faster way to get rid of many episodes at once. Once again, we’re talking about the Podcasts app.
With older versions of iOS you could remove multiple episodes at one time using these instructions:
- Open the Podcasts App
- Open My Podcasts
- Select the Podcast That You Want to Trim Down
- Tap on Edit (This will show you the episodes in list form. Check all the ones that you want to delete)
- Tap on Delete
If your phone is running a more current version of iOS, you can still quickly delete episodes of a podcast, but you’ll need to do so one at a time. Here is a faster way to delete multiple episodes:
- Follow the steps above to access the ‘Downloaded Episodes’ folder.
- Swipe to the left and click ‘Remove.’
Your Podcast episode will disappear instantly.
Deleting Entire Podcasts
Unsubscribing isn’t enough to get rid of the episodes you’ve already downloaded. To remove every episode of a podcast, do the following:
- Open the Podcasts App.
- Tap on Library.
- Long-press the Podcast you’d like to remove. Then tap the ‘Delete From Library’ option.
The entire podcast and all downloads will instantly disappear. If you have a lot of podcasts and a lot of episodes, it may be easier to use this method then go back and collect the episodes you’d like to listen to.
A Final Word
Whichever app you use, deleting podcasts is fairly straightforward, and it can make a remarkable difference to your phone’s performance. Remember that you can always re-download podcasts at a later date.