I am using the Apple Podcasts app and I have setup iTunes to sync the last 10 unplayed episodes of each podcast feed to my iPhone 5.

Now I found an old episode that I want to listen to but that one is not among those last 10. How can I keep my iTunes sync settings and still get that one particular episode onto my iPhone (preferably but not necessarily into the Podcasts app) for offline listening?

  • "not necessarily into the Podcasts app", are you considering switching to another "podcatcher" app?
    – myhd
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 16:20
  • No, but if there is a quick and easy way to chose a particular episode from my podcasts list in iTunes and transfer it to the iPhone, I would also consider an app and play that particular edpisode in that app if necessary. However, what I don't want is to maintain my list of subscriptions in multiple apps.
    – bitbonk
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 16:57
  • 2
    cant you just go in to the podcast app and manually download the episode?
    – Macmaniman
    Commented Mar 16, 2013 at 10:13
  • @Macmaniman I don't see a way to download an older episode. The app only lists the ones synchronized from iTunes.
    – bitbonk
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 8:09
  • @bitbonk do you listen a lot on your computer, or just on your phone? I'm just curious why not just use the podcasts app to manage your podcast. Is the iTunes sync necessary in your situation?
    – timshutes
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 2:56

5 Answers 5


(Assuming you have the latest iTunes version)

  • If you don't already have the desired episode in your computer's iTunes library, download it from the iTunes store.

  • Connect the iPhone (either via WiFi or USB cable) and go to the podcast in the iTunes library. Drag the episode toward the right side of the screen. A sidebar should pop up and your iPhone should be listed under Devices. Drop the episode onto your iPhone.

  • It'll begin syncing and the episode will be copied over.

Once you finish listening to it, it will be deleted from the iPhone the next time you sync because of your "10 most recent unplayed" settings. Depending on iTunes settings, it may or may not also be deleted from your computer's iTunes library.

  • wow - +1 - I never knew about that hidden sidebar. SO much simpler than dealing with checkboxes. Best answer if you go with manual synching.
    – timshutes
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 3:25
  • +1 drop dead simple, it they I expected it to work at the first place and I have actually tried it previously but something must have gone wrong
    – bitbonk
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 20:21

Put the episode in a playlist. Select the iPhone in the sidebar and switch to the podcasts section of the iPhone. Scroll down a bit to the "Include Episodes from Playlists" section and put a checkmark next to the playlist you made earlier. Now, just sync and it'll be on your iPhone.


I can not tell you how to get older episodes into Apple’s podcast app via the graphical user interface (as I do use a different podcast app). However, I would like to offer a alternative solution that works for any podcatcher. Try Huffduffer (about).

In a nutshell: it gives you a personal podcast feed which you can fill with any audio you want. You might add a interesting single episode of a podcast you have not subscribed to, or an older episode of a podcast you have subscribed to. As long as the file is publicly accessible, you can add it to your Huffduffer feed. Look up filename of old episode you want, huffduff it, and download audio episode via your favorite podcast client.

I am a happy user, and not affiliated with them.

  • Responses like this are fine, but they should be added as comments, not full-fledged answers. (A statement like "I do not have an answer to your question" is a clear sign that you shouldn't be posting your information as an answer.)
    – L2G
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 5:26
  • @L2G Thanks for the tip, I have updated the intro sentence, as my answer actually is an alternative, app-independent solution which works and answers the OP’s question.
    – myhd
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 22:57

Here's how I understand your situation. You listen to podcasts regularly on your phone, but would like to access them on your computer as well. Additionally, you'd like your phone and computer to synchronize played episodes, downloaded episodes, settings, etc. However, you'd like to be able to access old podcast episodes on your phone that might not have synchronized.

As I see it, here are your options.

If this is a rare occurrence and you have dropbox, this honestly might be simplest.

Dropbox Method

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Download the Podcast Episode
  3. Drag the file from iTunes library to Dropbox
  4. Open in Dropbox on iPhone

If this is happening often, you have a couple additional options.

Non-Sync Method

Use this method if you don't often listen on your computer, and can live without played podcasts being synchronized with iTunes. This is what I do because I listen primarily through my phone. It's simple, and works great. In my opinion, the podcasts app for iOS works more efficiently as a standalone and gets wonky when you try to manage the synchronization with iTunes.

The Advantage of this method is you can see old episodes directly on your device. The tradeoff is you lose synching, which may or may not be important to you.

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Connect your iPhone
  3. Click on the iPhone icon to see your device
  4. Click on "Podcasts"
  5. Uncheck "Sync Podcasts"

Now on your iPhone

  1. Open Settings
  2. Open Podcasts Settings
  3. Change "Auto Downloads", "Episodes to Keep", "Cellular Data" settings to suit
  4. Open Podcasts App
  5. Check podcasts for old episodes.
  6. If old episodes aren't there, you may need to delete and re-subscribe through the podcasts store (top left button)

Manual Method

EDIT: See @jstaryu's answer above for simple drag & drop - it's actually much simpler than the manual method below. If you decide to go manual - you should probably accept his answer as "the answer". But I'll leave my version here for true manual hard-core podcast management.

You can manually add episodes to your iPhone. The advantage of this method is that you can keep synching the way you have been. The disadvantages are you have to have access to your computer, it gets tedious if you do this often, and you have to also manually sync your music / videos.

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Select "Podcasts" from the upper left pull-down
  3. Select the Podcast you want
  4. Right / Control-Click the Podcast Title (on the right)
  5. Select "Show All Available Episodes"
  6. Download the episode you want
  7. Put a check next to the episode
  8. Click your "iPhone" on the top right
  9. On the "Summary Page" scroll down to "Options" and make sure "Sync only checked songs and videos" is selected.
  10. Re-synchronize your iPhone with iTunes. The new checked podcast(s) should be there.

WARNING - this will impact music / video synching as well. You'll need to manually check-all or check the ones you desire to keep.

Hope this is helpful.

  • why the downvote? and if you're going to downvote you really should comment so I can improve the answer.
    – timshutes
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 2:52

"cant you just go in to the podcast app and manually download the episode? – Macmaniman @Macmaniman I don't see a way to download an older episode. The app only lists the ones synchronized from iTunes. – bitbonk"

so this is how it looks like to me! and the way its supposed to look like!On the Podcast app!

you should be able to select a podcast that you are subscribing to, and simply scroll down to the bottom! to find the earliest available pocast

here is a link to the app

and some tips regarding podcasts

IF your issue still persists! i recommend you to remove and reinstall the app, the podcast system is based on the ability to go back and rediscover old episodes, unless the uploader removes it! so make sure to try different subscriptions

  • 2
    It only looks this way, if your episodes do not come from iTunes. If you have setup iTunes to feed the podcasts to your device you will only see the ones that got synchronized. You will have a list of 10 episodes per podcasts and they do not have a download button, because they're already downloaded.
    – bitbonk
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 12:34
  • wow, thats extremely stupid. and i guess they dont show up on your computer either?
    – Macmaniman
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 7:36
  • They all do show up on iTunes on the Mac
    – bitbonk
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 7:40
  • and it seems that you cant manually download an episode and then drag and drop it on your iPhone in iTunes?
    – Macmaniman
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 7:45

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