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iTunes: Customise podcast settings

If you subscribe to podcasts using iTunes you should take a look at the settings because there are several that can be customised. They can ensure that you never miss an episode or that your iPod doesn't fill up, and so on.

iTunes podcastSelect Preferences on the iTunes menu and then click the Podcases button. iTunes will check for new episodes every hour, day or week. It's actually better to check more rather than less frequently because it you only check once a week there are likely to be many large podcasts to download. This means that they will take a long time to download and they'll use a lot of internet bandwidth while they are downloading. If you check daily or even hourly, there are likely to be far fewer updates and so they'll download quickly and won't interfere with whatever you are doing on your Mac.

When new episodes are available, what do you want to do? You can download the most recent one or download them all. There's no right or wrong setting here and it's up to you. If you really don't want to miss a podcast because you've been on away on holiday or haven't switched on your Mac for a few days, select the option to download all podcasts.

If you keep all the podcasts that you subscribe to and never delete them the hard disk drive on you Mac will eventually fill up. Your iPod is likely to have much less storage space though and long before your Mac's hard disk drive fills up your iPod will run out of space. Of course, you can manually delete podcasts you no longer need, but you don't need to bother because you can choose from several options that automatically remove podcasts you don't want.

The Keep pop-up menu lets you choose one of eight different options. A good one to choose is All unplayed episodes. This means that once you have listened to a podcast it will be deleted the next time you sync with the Mac. Sometimes though, there just isn't time to listen to all the podcasts that you subscribe to and it is easy to get so far behind you'll never catch up. Then you will end up with old pdcasts that you have not listened to taking up valuable space on your iPod. For this reason you might want to choose to keep just the most recent episode, or the last two or three. Then if you don't have time to listen to them, they'll be removed automatically the next time you sync.

iTunes: Find delete duplicates

If you buy all of your music from the iTunes store then having duplicates of tracks in your library won't be a problem. If you rip your own aydio CDs though, you could end up with lots of duplicate tracks on the Mac's hard disk drive. They are simply a waste of space. This isn't really a problem on the Mac because there's lots of disk space, but it can be a serious problem on an iPod where space is limited. If you have one of the smaller models you don't want to waste space by having multiple copies of the same track.

So how can this happen? It's easy. You just buy a few compilation albums like 'Hits from the '90s' of 'The best of...' You'll soon end up with space-wasting duplicates. Tracking them down and deleting them is actually quite easy. Start iTunes and select Music under Library on the left. Now select Show Duplicates on the Show menu. All duplicates are then listed in the library window. Just select the duplicates and choose Edit, Delete to remove it. The next time you sync your iPod it will be deleted from there too and this will free up space for more music.

You should always check duplicates carefully because iTunes may think that tracks are duplicates when in fact they are not. For example, there may be a studio version of a track on one album and a live version of the same track recorded at a concert. iTunes can't tell a live track from a studio version and it assumes that the tracks are the same because they have the same name. You also get normal versions of tracks and extended or remixed ones too, and you'll want to keep them. So listen to the tracks before you delete them just to make sure that they are in fact the same.

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