How listeners find and see shows on Apple Podcasts is getting a tweak as Apple releases new versions of its operating system in the coming months. The updates will mean changes in how users find and browse podcasts on the iPhone, iPad and Mac, as well as improvements to the app’s discovery tools. Apple says it is also adding discovery features to CarPlay while offering podcasters improved analytics.
These new features and enhancements are designed to help listeners discover great podcasts, decide what to play next, quickly access the premium benefits included in their subscriptions, and provide creators with more accurate insights about how listeners download their podcast episodes,” Apple says in the announcement.
With the release of iOS 16.4, iPadOS 16.4, and macOS 13.3, Apple Podcast users will be able to find and browse all of their podcast channels in one place on iPhone, iPad, and Mac beginning this spring. Apple says when a listener follows a show that is part of a channel, that channel will appear in a new section of Library. Channels that listeners subscribe to are located at the top, followed by channels for free shows that listeners follow. Users will have the ability to adjust the order of the Channels section in Library.
Apple says it is also making improvements to the Up Next queue, which features new episodes from followed shows to help listeners decide what to play next. With these software updates, Up Next will also include episodes listeners have saved to their Library and episodes that they play from shows they do not follow.
For example, when a listener plays an episode of a show before deciding to follow it, that episode will now remain in Up Next until the listener finishes it, marks it as played, or removes it. New episodes from followed shows and recently saved episodes will appear at the top of the Up Next queue while episodes that listeners have started and older saved episodes will appear toward the end. The latest episodes from recently followed shows appear at the start of Up Next. Also, episodes categorized with a “bonus” episode type will appear in Up Next.
Listeners will also have more tools to manage their Up Next queues. To dismiss an episode from Up Next, they will be able to simply touch and hold the show artwork and tap remove from Up Next.
How episodes are presented is also changing across Apple Podcasts. The revisions will mean users will be able to see how many unplayed episodes are available for them at the top of each show page and from the Recently Updated section of Library. Apple says it will mean users can not only quickly understand how recently a new episode was published, but also identify “early access” subscriber episodes that are made available to them as part of any shows they subscribe to.
The Up Next updates are also coming to CarPlay. Apple says there are “many improvements” to the in-vehicle Apple Podcasts experience with iOS 16.4. That includes the ability for listeners to access their Up Next and Recently Played queues from Listen Now directly in CarPlay. Users will also be able to explore new editorially curated podcast recommendations from the Browse tab.
It is not just listeners that will benefit from Apple’s latest software updates. The company says hosting providers and other third-party podcast services will have access to more precise analytics to identify and measure listening from Apple Podcasts across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. In its announcement, Apple is encouraging hosting companies and others to adopt support for an identifiable user agent ahead of the launch in order to provide creators with the improved insights about how listeners download their podcast episodes.
Apple has not yet said when the updates will go live, although it says iOS 16.4, iPadOS 16.4, and macOS 13.3 will be released as a free software update later this spring.