How to Get Podcast Playlists to Sync in iTunes 9.0

Why don't my podcast playlists show up on my iPhone (or iPod) when using iTunes 9.0?
by Updated May 31, 2012

So yesterday I downloaded the new version of iTunes 9, and updated my iPhone with OS version 3.1.  Everything seemed to be working great until I went to play my podcast playlists on my iPhone. The podcast playlists were not syncing to my iPhone for some reason.  I'm not sure if it's a bug in iTunes 9 or what, but here's how to get Podcast Playlists to sync to an iPhone (or iPod). 

  1. Connect your iPhone (or iPod) and sync to iTunes 9.
  2. Now in iTunes in the left hand menu under 'Devices', click on your iPhone (or iPod).
  3. Then click the 'Podcasts' tab.
  4. Leave 'Sync Podcasts' checked.
  5. UNCHECK 'Automatically include...'
  6. Check the appropriate playlists to sync in the 'Include Episodes from Playlists' section.
  7. Then click the 'Apply' (or 'Sync') button.

Those are the seven steps that did the trick for me. It's certainly not intuitive (on Apples part), but it did get my podcast playlists to sync to my iPhone in iTunes 9.

UPDATE 9/18/2009:  I just wanted to give quick update to let you know what I believe is the cause for podcast playlists not syncing.  When 'Automatically include...' is checked and the 'episodes of' drop-down list is set to 'all podcasts', it appears that podcast playlists do NOT sync. 

However, I am able to keep 'Automatically include...' checked  and get podcasts to sync when the 'episodes of' drop down list is set to 'selected podcasts'. You then just need to place checkmarks next to the Podcasts that you want to sync in the 'Podcasts' list box section (within the 'Podcasts' tab).  Here's what I did:

  1. Connect your iPhone (or iPod) and sync to iTunes 9.
  2. Now in iTunes in the left hand menu under 'Devices', click on your iPhone (or iPod).
  3. Then click the 'Summary' tab, CHECK 'Sync only checked songs and videos'.
  4. Click the 'Podcasts' tab and CHECK 'Automatically include...' (then I chose '3 most recent'). Now in the 'episodes of' drop down box be sure to choose 'selected podcasts'.
  5. In the 'Podcasts' list box section, CHECK all the podcasts you want to have synced.
  6. Check the appropriate playlists to sync in the 'Include Episodes from Playlists' section.
  7. Click the 'Apply' button and if you iPhone is connected it should start automatically syncing.

The downside of this second approach is that when you add a new podcast in iTunes, you will have to go in to the Podcasts tab and then find the new podcast in the Podcasts list box section and make sure the new podcast is checked, in order for it to be included when you sync your iphone or ipod.

This definitely appears to be a bug on Apples part, because when the 'episodes of' drop down list is set to 'all podcasts' it should be syncing all podcasts, but it's not.  So hopefully, in the next iTunes update, they will have this issue corrected.

UPDATE 9/23/2009:  Apple just released iTunes 9.0.1 which has a number of bug fixes for iTunes 9.0.   I just installed it and updated my iPhone and it appears to have fixed some the podcast playlist issue from iTunes 9.0.   So I would highly recommend you go and update your iTunes to the latest version (iTunes 9.0.1).

On second thought, there still seems to be some playlist syncing problems that Apple needs to fix with iTunes 9.0.1.  Here's what I determined:

When 'Automatically include' is checked, be sure to set the drop-down list to "all" or "1 most recent" etc. for classic playlists to sync properly. However, if you have the 'Automatically include' drop-down box set to "all unplayed" or "all new", classic playlists do not seem to sync, when the 'episodes of' drop-down box is set to "all podcasts".

NOTE: If you're still having trouble syncing, try re-creating your iTunes Library and playlists.




anonymous by MBisson on 9/12/2009
Had exactly the same problem with Classic ipod. Your solution is great, Thank you, You also need to go through all the other podcasts and select the other podcasts you want on the pod too or they won't be included. Each list can be multi selected using cmd click on one of the check boxes this will have to do until they fix the bug.
anonymous by iprof on 9/12/2009
Thanks for the work around! I've put it on the Apple forums for others who are having this problem.
anonymous by John on 9/13/2009
Thanks, my life has been in shambles the past two days until finding this helpful hint.
anonymous by nordbig on 9/13/2009
Fantastic. Many thanks.
anonymous by Daniel Kendall on 9/13/2009
Thanks guys, saved me hours of torment!! In the meantime - Apple, FIX THIS!
anonymous by Jen on 9/13/2009
This worked for my nano 3G - thanks!!!!
anonymous by Twist on 9/13/2009
A good solution to an annoying bug that may not be a bug in Apple's opinion.

A quick way to get all of your podcasts on your iPod plus specific playlists of podcast is to create a Smart Playlist with "Media Kind is Podcast". Set this to sync as well as any other podcast playlists you use and all is back to pre-iTunes 9.0 functionality.
anonymous by EMG on 9/13/2009
Yeah - c'mon, Apple, I'm disappointed. Making a new release WORSE than the one before is supposed to be a WINDOWS thing - not Apple! Don't get sloppy. Test for these bugs before releasing so we can maintain the Apple quality to which we've become accustomed.
anonymous by John on 9/13/2009
This was a great fix. Thank you.

Apple should have fixed it or at least better documented it. I look forward to a software update in the near future.
anonymous by Bill on 9/13/2009
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've spent days thinking my iPod had gone nuts. I can now resume a normal life.
anonymous by Ste Turner on 9/14/2009
Well spotted, I can now catch up with my podcasts in the car
anonymous by Rob on 9/14/2009
Thanks for this I am having this exact problem with my iPod classic. Strange behavior for sure.
anonymous by Sarah on 9/14/2009
Thanks a million for posting this!
anonymous by Jeff on 9/14/2009
Thanks, I've had a horrible weekend looking for a work around! haha.
anonymous by Kurt_eh on 9/14/2009
Playlists now load, BUT, the playlist orders are all FUBAR!

So much for listening to podiobooks in order by chapter. Apparently Chapter 8 is the most logical choice to follow Chapter 1.
anonymous by Richard on 9/14/2009
I had to go back and change the settings on my Podcast so they wouldn't be skipped on shuffle. Please Apple, stop rewriting my preferences! Again, a Microsoft thing to do
anonymous by luke on 9/14/2009
thank you so very kindly.
anonymous by Mike on 9/14/2009
Thank you, I too was lost with out my podcast play list. I did find the podcasts and I had to manually go through them. I am so glad you showed us how to fix it so I can go back to enjoying them instead of fighting with them.
anonymous by mlmeyer2 on 9/14/2009
Worked great. I tried everything and then I tried your advice and it worked like a charm.
anonymous by Caro32 on 9/15/2009
Thanks a million!!!
anonymous by RICHARD on 9/15/2009
fab !!!!
anonymous by Perry Wilson on 9/15/2009
Thanks, I'm a PC and I have to say I don't think much of the quality control at Apple, this isn't the first time a release has screwed up my sync.
anonymous by Simon on 9/15/2009
Thanks! Now Ijust have to wait for itunes to write back 40GB of files to the ipod . . .
anonymous by Tom on 9/16/2009
Thanks for pointing this out. It was driving me nuts. Now it's back to the way it was before. Of course, the way the smart playlists appear on iTunes is different than the way it shows up on the iPod, but it's no more broken now than it was before.

Take yourself out for some waffles. You've earned it.
anonymous by MarkP on 9/16/2009
Many, many thanks! I've been googling 'smart playlists not working after sync "Itunes 9"' all morning, but your answer actually solved my problem!
anonymous by Tedric on 9/16/2009
Thanks - much appreciated.
anonymous by LillyVee on 9/16/2009
Thank you so much!
anonymous by AH on 9/16/2009
Just the fix i needed - thanks. I can't believe apple made that change...
anonymous by John V. on 9/16/2009
I don't have a devices menu on my itunes. How do I get it to show it so i can follow the rest of the directions? please help?.
anonymous by John V. on 9/16/2009
Please disregard my last comment. I have figured it out. THANKS
anonymous by catquas on 9/16/2009
Thank you!
anonymous by catquas on 9/16/2009
This works with iTunes U also. First you have to enable iPod syn with iTunes U - for some reason this is not automatic anymore.
anonymous by pyritz on 9/16/2009
I like to automatically sync the oldest episode of every podcast I subscribe to, but I also make playlists for when I want to listen to many episodes of the same podcast in a row (like a podcast novel, for example). It seems like I can EITHER sync one episode from all podcasts OR I can sync playlists with more than one episode. I think Apple just made some incorrect assumptions about people's listening habits.
anonymous by Jen on 9/16/2009
Oh thank goodness, I thought it was just something I did!
anonymous by EMG on 9/16/2009
I'm the same EMG that posted earlier.

Unfortunately, the original (Doug's) suggestion that started this thread did not work for me - it still would not sync podcasts for me no matter how many times I tried. However, I did just find another workaround that worked.

First, select/highlight the podcast(s) you want from the list (you can select multiples by clicking on the first one you want, then holding down the shift key as you select the last one you want) and then ctrl + mouse click, then mouse click on the "get info" option.

Then click on the "options" tab and within there, change the "media kind" from "podcast" to "music."

This will immediately remove your podcasts from the podcast section and mix them in with your music and you will have to go to the "music" section to find them. So obviously this works best if the selected podcast(s) have something in common in their name that you can search for to find them again.

However, once you have changed their type from "podcast" to "music," then iTunes will treat them just like any other "songs" and you will be able to move them to playlists and they will sync properly.
anonymous by Ken on 9/17/2009
Saved my life... searching for podcasts while behind the wheel NOT a good idea...
anonymous by Peter on 9/17/2009
Thank you so much! I was pulling my hair out!
anonymous by Paul on 9/17/2009
Thanks .. This happend to me everyother iTunes update. Very frustrating.. thinking where did i screw up.. When in fact it was apples update the whole time.. Thanks very much
anonymous by same problem, awful solution on 9/18/2009
this does not help, i need the one new episode of every podcast to sync, PLUS a playlist of old podcasts. help?
anonymous by Green Gordon on 9/18/2009
I think leaving it on 'automatically sync selected podcasts', and then ticking all your playlists may work better.
anonymous by Anne on 9/18/2009
Thanks for posting the solution up! I was half strangling myself out of frustration.
anonymous by rachelattack on 9/18/2009
awesome, I was confused.
anonymous by podcast addict on 9/19/2009
I first experienced this problem with my wife's 3rd gen Nano on an older version of iTunes. When it happened to my 1st gen today, my head exploded. Gonna see if we can fix hers now. I always assumed this was a firmware glitch on Nano3s
anonymous by Jeff on 9/19/2009
Thank you. You are a genius! My runs would have been a loss without you.
anonymous by Runner on 9/19/2009
This works great you have any experience with Nike+ for the iTouch? I have my Podcast playlist in my list of Playlists, but it doesn't show up in Nike+
anonymous by Boso on 9/19/2009
Thanks, works a treat !! @_
anonymous by Alberto on 9/20/2009
THANKS A LOT! I wasted 1/2 of my weekend trying to fix this on my iPod G5, and I was about to give up... Apple, shame on you for releasing untested software with buggy BASIC functionality!!! You are going to lose an old customer to Zune.
anonymous by Mary on 9/20/2009
Thank you soooooooooo much. I was very, very frustrated but you have saved the day!
anonymous by Keith on 9/20/2009
Thanks much!
anonymous by Eric on 9/21/2009
Thank you VERY VERY much. This was ruining my life. I can move on now.
anonymous by Iolanthe on 9/21/2009
This bug ruined my day! Thank you so much for this easy workaround. I hope Apple coughs up a patch sooner rather than later.
anonymous by Shannon on 9/21/2009
thank you! I had been trying to get this to work for a while also. I got the Smart Playlist to work, but it wouldn't display in the order I selected (only some FUBAR order as another person commented.) This works much better!
anonymous by Addis on 9/21/2009
Many thank - my trip to the gym tomorrow was going to be very quiet before your advice got me sorted. Still a shame that the uploaded podcasts seem to be totally missing from "Recently Added".
anonymous by Jon on 9/22/2009
Thanks - I had spent a day looking for my problem on my 60gb Classic. Totally reloaded it from Itunes.

I still have one problem..... some of my playlists transferred....but a good number of them did not. So I am still going nuts.

Shame on you Apple. Get this fixed. For every one of us who has time to solve the problem, I bet there are a dozen pulling their hair out.
anonymous by Robertv on 9/22/2009
A very annoying fault now fixed. Thankfully IT9 fixed it's "8 minutes to load" problem within a few hours. I think they've screwed something up there too, as this is a common problem around my group of friends.
Doug by Doug on 9/23/2009
Hey Guys,

Apple just released a new iTunes update, which fixes a number of bugs in iTunes 9.0, including the podcast playlist issue. So I'd highly recommend you go and update your iTunes to the newest version (iTunes 9.0.1) right away...!!!
anonymous by TomWE on 9/23/2009
Hi is anyone still having this problem even with the iTunes update? This is my predicament. I followed your instructions above doug, and then after the update came out I put it all back. Now the playlists don't show up again. Might require some more fiddling...
anonymous by Che on 9/23/2009
Updating to iTunes 9.0.1 worked for me, but iTunes was crashing every time I clicked on the podcasts tab.

If you also have that problem, on Windows computers, go to add/remove programs, Quicktime, Change, Repair. After that, the crashes should stop. See also
anonymous by TomWE on 9/23/2009
Nope, it seems I still must have the "update selected podcasts" option picked in order to get my podcast playlists included in the sync. Not fixed whatsoever. For the record i've a 3G 16GB associated with my iMac running Leopard & latest iTunes / iPhone software. oh well at least i know how to make it work thanks to the ORIGINAL POSTING HERE....
anonymous by pacman on 9/23/2009
9.0.1 did not fix it directly, but changing podcast settings to all instead of all unplayed did sync my classic playlist.
Doug by Doug on 9/23/2009
Hey pacman, thanks for that tip. I just tested things out and ran into the same problem as you. It still looks like iTunes 9.0.1 has some bugs to work out.

Here's what I determined:

When 'Automatically include' is checked be sure to set the drop down list to "all" or "1 most recent" etc. for classic playlists to sync properly. If you have the 'Automatically include' drop down box set to "all unplayed" or "all new", classic playlists do not seem to sync when the 'episodes of' drop down box is set to "all podcasts".
anonymous by GT on 9/29/2009
Thanks ever so much I was pulling my hair out and I don't have a lot to spare :)
anonymous by HairPuller on 10/4/2009
Thank you for researching so many workarounds. Unfortunately, none of them worked for me. The playlist order of my "smart" playlist on my iPod could not be controlled by ordering it in iTunes. The workaround was to select all the podcasts in the smart playlist and paste them into a conventional playlist. The order of conventional lists is preserved. Here's my source:
anonymous by Cathy on 10/5/2009
Thanks so much, it was such a dull day at work with no podcasts. I am loaded up for tomorrow.
Thanks again.
anonymous by josh s on 10/5/2009
thank you very much - this solved it for me on my classic 160 as well!
anonymous by rach on 10/12/2009
wow. looks like everyone else had same prob as me. thanks for the help. now have podcasts for tomorrow's run.
anonymous by Kim on 10/18/2009
anonymous by Kay on 10/23/2009
Thanks so much. This was making me crazy.
anonymous by Punch the Computer Screen! on 10/29/2009
That is lovely! I was pissed for a second...minutes actually. I almost hate to update the sofware fearing things like this but you saved the day. Especially for someone like me who is not inclined to do all the legwork on computer type problems. I'm much more inclined to punch the screen. That does not work though. And you may need a new computer. Ha! CHEERS!
anonymous by Jon on 11/16/2009
I have a workaround that is slightly different. I changed the Media Kind (under Get Info....Options) to "audiobook" instead of "podcast". This seemed to fix it. Its also easier to implement.

Note this is not the genre or category of "podcast" that is causing the problem
anonymous by james on 12/21/2009
I've built smart playlists for my podcasts, and by using the "Sync Podcasts" but then skipping all the individual podcasts but clicking on my selected playlists I have a clean solution. Makes it easier when I add or delete podcasts to my playlists, too, don't have to change any sync options. Thanks for the find here!
anonymous by Dave on 1/3/2010
Thank you!!!!
anonymous by Carlos on 1/10/2010
Found this explanation in iLunge forum:

Read the entry writen by Code Monkey on 09/10.
He points out the following: if you CLICK on your device, then CLICK on Podcasts tab and then SCROLL DOWN the main window, THEN you see a whole section under the title "Include Episodes from Playlists". This section works just like the previous version´s playlist selection checkboxes.

Hope this helps.
anonymous by Chazz on 1/21/2010
Thanks so much- this has been bothering me for months!
anonymous by zamraam on 1/28/2010
anonymous by Ray on 2/6/2010
Thanks for your article. I have been struggling for a week now trying to figure out how to get these playlists to sync on my ipod classic. Now I get it. Not the most intuitive application design on apple's part.
Thanks again for your insight.
anonymous by Cana on 2/26/2010
Excellent advice, thanks very much.
anonymous by Cheonast on 2/26/2010
I echo Cana: This solved a problem that had perplexed me for quite some time. Thanks!
anonymous by Steve on 3/4/2010
Well done. Many thanks
anonymous by Chrisl on 3/15/2010
Hallelujah! No more suicidal fiddling to select podcasts individually in the car!
anonymous by dreamdecay on 3/22/2010
Thanks so much for the information. I was angry and confused untill I read your solution!
anonymous by Kyle on 5/2/2010
Very helpful. Thank you.
anonymous by Nina on 5/4/2010
Thank you so much-now my kids can listen too!
anonymous by NB on 6/9/2010
Thank you. Easy fix, but very unintuitive software.
anonymous by Heather on 9/17/2010
anonymous by Ashley on 1/8/2012
Had the exact same issue with classic IPOD with newest version of ITUNES (as of 1/2012), Went through same steps as listed and did have to select the desired podcast episodes but had success. Thank you so much to whoever posted this solution! :) God bless!
anonymous by Dan on 1/21/2012
You are amaz-balls!! Thank you
anonymous by damien on 5/5/2012
Note this issue started in 2009, and 3 YEARS later, it still hasn't been fixed! What the hell? Weird thing is, I've got one playlist that does sync with "podcast" as the media kind. But it's the only one. All other podcast playlists, I have had to change the media kind to "music" in order for them to sync. How is this inconsistency explained I wonder?
anonymous by HeatherB on 1/6/2013
anonymous by mb on 1/13/2013
Great post! Thanks. I have an old ipod 3G which I use in my car. I can now listen to podcasts again.

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