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Sync podcasts to your iPhone without using Apple’s Podcasts app

If you’re anything like me and you are an Australian with an iPhone, you are probably stuck on Telstra’s 3G network. Thus, you would be blessed with a pittance of 3G data quota each month. Recently, something has been repeatedly slurping up multiple 120 MB downloads over 3G, suspiciously similar in size to Above & Beyond’s Group Therapy podcast (which is awesome by the way).

I stopped using the Podcasts app but my data usage was still up the shit. I’m basically convinced it’s still streaming episodes I’ve already downloaded — despite me turning off every conceivable option in the iPhone settings related to this. So I deleted it but I can’t live without my trance :(

Why can’t things just go back to the way they were? I should be able to just download the podcast files via iTunes and then sync them to my phone — it should be that simple. There is no need for another app, and the App Store reviews reflect this. Fortunately, I found a simple and ingenious solution which completely removes your dependence on Apple’s crappy app allowing you to claim back your 3G data usage.

Step 1 is obviously to delete the Podcasts app off your phone and disable podcast sync in iTunes. We don’t need these inconveniences.

Disable podcast sync in iTunes

Step 2 is to subscribe and download podcasts in iTunes as you normally would, back in the good old days.

Step 3 is to trick iTunes into treating the podast as a regular track, similar to syncing a full album mix. To do this, Get Info on the podcast file, switch to the Options tab and change the Media Type to Music. It’s that easy. You’ll want to check that 2 key options are selected, “remember playback position” and “skip when shuffling”.

Change podcast media kind

Once you hit OK, the podcast should magically disappear from the list in the iTunes, but fret not, it has merely been moved to the Music section of iTunes. Since podcasts come with pretty good metadata you should able to find it through the iTunes panel browser, via the Artist filter. If you can’t find it, sort by Date Added it should be close to the top of the list.

Find podcast in Music section of iTunes

Step 4 is, once you’ve found the podcast in Music, you’ll want to enable syncing to your iPhone. Just tick its box under your iPhone’s sync screen in the Album section.

Sync podcast as album in iTunes

Now the best bit — just load up the podcast in your iPhone Music app and enjoy some sweet tunes! Because “remember playback position” is selected you can pause and come back to each podcast at you’re leisure, and the app will remember your place.

Find the podcast under Artists in the Music app  Select podcast episodes in Music app  Podcast playing in Music app

I will concede this method creates a tiny bit more manual housekeeping — you have to manually delete the podcasts you’ve listened to from the Music section of iTunes. But that’s a small price to pay, in my opinion.

You’re welcome.

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