Download podcasts and educational media

Podcasts are free downloadable radio- and TV-style shows. You can download individual podcast episodes, or you can subscribe so that new episodes are automatically downloaded as they become available.

You can also organize your podcast subscriptions by creating custom stations that update automatically when new episodes become available. For example, you could group all podcasts on a given subject into one station, and have them play in any order you choose.

iTunes U is a part of the iTunes Store that features free lectures, language lessons, audiobooks, and more, which you can download and enjoy on your iPod, iPhone, iPad, or computer. iTunes U has more than 100,000 educational audio and video files from top universities, famous museums, public media organizations, and other cultural institutions from around the world, and is available to everyone.

If you have a free iCloud account, your podcast subscriptions, stations, and current play position sync to the Podcasts app on your iOS devices.

Download or subscribe to a podcast from the iTunes Store

  • When you find a podcast you want to download, do one of the following:

    • Download a single episode: Click the Free button next to the episode.

    • Subscribe to the podcast: Click Subscribe. iTunes downloads the most recent episode.

To subscribe to a podcast without using the iTunes Store, choose File > Subscribe to Podcast and enter the podcast’s Internet address. You can usually find the address of a podcast on that podcast’s webpage.

Update or unsubscribe to a podcast

  1. Choose Podcasts from the Library pop-up menu.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Update your podcast subscriptions: Select a podcast, move the pointer over the podcast title, and click Curved arrow. Updating your subscriptions displays all currently available episodes of the podcasts you subscribe to.

    • Unsubscribe from a podcast: Control-click a podcast or episode, and choose Unsubscribe Podcast.

Create a podcast station

  1. Choose Podcasts from the Library pop-up menu and click My Stations.

  2. Click Plus sign near the bottom-left of the iTunes window.

  3. Type a name for the station.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • Add podcasts to the station: Click Empty circle next to the podcasts you want to include. A checkmark Checkmark in blue circle appears next to any podcasts you include.

    • Add all podcasts you subscribe to: Click On next to “Include all podcasts.”

  5. To customize the settings for the station, click Show Settings. You can set the play order, which and how many episodes to include, and whether to include audio podcasts, video podcasts, or both. To include only episodes you haven’t played yet, select the checkbox for “Unplayed only.”

    The station’s settings apply to all podcasts included in the station.

  6. Click Done.

To view a station, click My Stations, then click the station in the list on the left. To play the station, click Play button. To view or change the station’s settings, click Button that looks like a gear.

Download courses and lessons from iTunes U

iTunes U is organized by courses and lessons. When you find one that interests you, do either of the following:

  • Subscribe to a course: Click Subscribe Free. iTunes downloads the most recent lesson.

  • Download a lesson: Click the Free button next to the lesson.

Some iTunes U courses might use materials that need to be purchased, such as books and videos.

Choose your podcast and iTunes U settings

  1. Choose Podcasts or iTunes U from the Library pop-up menu.

  2. Select a podcast or course, and move the pointer over the podcast or course title.

  3. Click Gear icon and do any of the following:

    • Change how often to check for new episodes or lessons: Choose an option from the “Check for new episodes” pop-up menu.

    • Choose settings for another podcast or course: Choose an option from the “Setting for” pop-up menu.

    • Choose settings for all podcasts or courses: Choose Podcast Defaults or iTunes U Defaults from the “Setting for” pop-up menu.

    • Change how often episodes or lessons are downloaded: Choose a download option from the “When new episodes are available” pop-up menu. By default, iTunes downloads new episodes and lessons as they become available.

    • Set iTunes to delete podcasts or lessons after you’ve played them: Choose an option from the “Episodes to keep” pop-up menu.

    If some settings aren’t available, deselect Use Default Settings.

    Each podcast and course you subscribe to can have its own settings.

If you have a problem subscribing to a podcast

  • If a podcast episode doesn’t download to iTunes, the website that provides that podcast may be offline or busy. To try downloading again, choose Podcasts from the Library pop-up menu, Control-click a podcast or episode, and choose Update Podcast to try again.

  • If you subscribe to a podcast by entering its URL and the podcast doesn’t download, you may have entered an incorrect URL. Check the podcast webpage for the correct URL.

  • Some podcasts on the Internet may use files that are incompatible with iTunes. For more information, contact the podcast producer.