I'm developing a podcast for a website.

iTunes on my Windows desktop works with the podcast feed fine — I can download and then listen to individual MP3s.

I've subscribed to my podcast using the Podcasts.app on an iPad, and the Podcasts.app will play MP3's, but it wont download them. If I click the grey "download" arrow, the app pops up a dialog saying:

Unable to Download Podcast:
[name of episode] could not be downloaded at this time.

— but it doesn't actually tell me why it's refusing to download.

My coworker has the "Instacast" app on his iPhone, and that app lets him download episodes from the podcast just fine — but the official Podcasts.app on his phone will also refuse to download episodes.

Why won't the official Podcasts app download any of my podcast episodes?

  • How big are the files? I vaguely remember something about a 50mb file size limit (which varies from one country to the next). Jun 20, 2013 at 14:49
  • @OllyHodgson: 50MB is the file size limit when downloading over a cellular network; the size of a file download should be unrestricted when you’re downloading over Wi-Fi. What are the size of the MP3 files, and are you downloading them over cellular and Wi-Fi?
    – alexwlchan
    Jun 20, 2013 at 14:59
  • Does the podcast use basic authentication?
    – user175375
    Mar 14, 2016 at 21:40

2 Answers 2


Since you have access to the server that is supplying the podcasts, you might have to look over the access logs and correlate the time with when your iOS device failed to download an episode.

If for some reason you can’t or won’t look at the server logs, next easiest is to set up a web proxy like Charles proxy - https://www.charlesproxy.com/ and generate more logs.

Last useful would be downloading Xcode and running instruments on the Mac to connect to your iOS device and look over the system and use console app to attach to the iOS logs as you attempt a download.

Let us know what you did to figure this out!


My best recommendation would be to get in contact with Apple, there could be many things that could cause this error, most probably from the Podcast app.

Contact Apple to see if you cant break down what can be causing your problem!

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