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When configuring the syncing of podcasts between iTunes and a device, it's possible to automatically sync "all unplayed" and "all new" podcasts.

It's not clear to me what the difference is between unplayed and new podcasts. An Apple Support Communities post explains it as follows:

Unplayed podcasts, are those that have previously been synced to your iPod, but have yet to be played while new podcasts are those that have been synced to your iPod for the first time.

If this is the case, what's the difference in sync behavior between the "all unplayed" and "all new" settings?

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you have three podcasts as follows:

  • A - downloaded, synced and played
  • B - downloaded, synced and not played
  • C - newly downloaded, never synced, and not played

When choosing "all unplayed", podcasts B & C will by synced. A will be removed from the iDevice

When choosing "all new", only C will be synced. A & B will be removed from the iDevice

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Thanks! I wonder how useful "all new" is... one has to listen to everything before it disappears on the next sync. –  Mike Mazur Mar 8 '12 at 22:34
    
This doesn't seem to be quite it. In my testing, B will stay on a device no matter how many times you sync, as long as you don't play it back. I've submitted an alternate explanation as an answer to the original question. –  duozmo Sep 2 '12 at 22:33
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The difference seems to rest on partial playback. New means you haven't listened to even part of the podcast, whereas unplayed means you haven't finished listening to the podcast.

In testing, it seems:

  • iTunes for Mac (v. 10.6.3) tips from new to unplayed at 15 seconds into a track
  • iTunes for iPhone (iOS v. 5.1.1) tips from new to unplayed at 5% into a track

Note this is based on quick experiments, not cited documentation or the like.

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