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I have "Delete Played Episodes" turned OFF for all my podcasts, both on the iPhone AND in my PC iTunes.

Whenever I finish playing an episode on the phone, the episode name remains visible but the audio content is deleted and a "cloud" icon appears next to the name.

What magic incantation do I need to utter to make the podcast player leave the podcasts on the device? Clearly "Delete Played Episodes-OFF" must be in some alien language that happens to have certain words matching English but means something completely different.

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I figured this out. There's a global "Delete Played Episodes" option in the Settings app under Podcasts. Rather than being a default setting, that is overridden by specific settings per podcast (as one would expect), this is a gobal override that renders totally ineffective any per-podcast settings. With no indication anywhere inside the podcast player app that this is the case.

If you're going to make it a global override, the least you can do is make the player UI gray-out the setting on the individual podcasts to inform the user that changing it there will have no effect.

This is clearly a bug but I doubt I'd get anyone at Apple to listen.

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