Trying to sync your podcasts from your iPhone to your Apple Watch but it’s not working? Does your watch show an empty Podcast List or is it missing some podcast shows or episodes? Tried a bunch of setting changes but still no joy on the Apple Watch’s Podcast App?
If so, you are not alone! Luckily, we have some great tips from our readers and our staff.
So let’s get to it!
- How To Setup and Play Podcasts on Apple Watch Using watchOS 5
- How To Play Podcast Continuously in iOS 12 and iOS 11
- Use Your Charger To Sync Podcasts With Your Apple Watch
- Check Your Podcast App Settings!
- Try A Manual Sync
- Use iTunes To Sync Podcasts
- Want to Delete a Podcast From Your Apple Watch?
- Reader Tips
- Check Out Our Video on Setting Up and Playing Podcasts on Apple Watch
Use Your Charger To Sync Podcasts With Your Apple Watch
Your podcasts only sync to your Apple Watch when it’s charging. So before you spend any time troubleshooting, make sure to place your Watch (and your iPhone, if possible) on their chargers.
It’s also a good idea to keep your iPhone and Watch near each other so they can easily communicate.
And be aware that the podcast syncing and updating process between your iPhone and Apple Watch can take a lot of time! This situation is especially true if you want to sync a lot of episodes.
Already Listened To Podcast Episode(s)?
Listened-To episodes are automatically removed from your Apple Watch Podcast App.
So if your podcast show doesn’t have any new content or you already listened to all available episodes, then your Apple Watch doesn’t list anything.
At this time, only podcasts that you actually subscribe to show up on the Apple Watch Podcast App.
So if you are like me, and listen to several podcasts where you are not officially subscribed, these shows do not appear on your Apple Watch.
The only way to play podcasts not subscribed to on your Apple Watch is by asking Siri.
Manually Download Your Podcasts?
If you manually download some of your podcasts and add them to iTunes (by changing media kind from music to podcast), these do not translate to your Apple Watch’s podcast app.
As mentioned above, currently only podcasts that you subscribe to appear in the watch’s podcast app via My Watch > Podcasts or using the watch app itself.
Check Your Podcast App Settings!
- On your iPhone, go to Settings > Podcasts
- Toggle Sync Podcasts ON
- If already on, toggle it off, wait 30 seconds, and toggle it back on
Try A Manual Sync
To manually sync your podcasts to your watch
- Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone
- Go to My Watch > Podcasts
- Under Add Episodes From, Tap Custom (instead of Listen Now)
- Choose which shows to sync to your Apple Watch Podcast Library
- Toggle on each of the podcasts you want to sync to your Apple Watch
- To sync, connect your watch to the charger and keep your paired iPhone nearby
- Remember this process takes time–look for a message that podcasts are pending or updating at the of the My Watch > Podcast screen
Use iTunes To Sync Podcasts
If you backup your iPhone to your computer with iTunes, try using iTunes to force a sync
- Open iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC
- Connect the iPhone you pair with your Apple Watch
- Tap on the iPhone icon
- Select Podcasts
- Tick the box for Sync Podcasts
Want to Delete a Podcast From Your Apple Watch?
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to delete an episode from the Podcast App on an Apple Watch.
Downloaded podcast episodes are automatically removed after you play it in its entirety.
The only other way we found to remove downloaded podcast content from your Apple Watch is to remove the show from your list of custom shows in the Watch App on your paired iPhone.
Of course, if you unsubscribe from a podcast, any episodes on your paired Apple Watch are removed.
How to unsubscribe from a podcast?
- In the Podcasts app on iPhones and iPad,
- Open the Podcast App on your iPhone
- Tap Library
- Select the Podcast you want to unsubscribe from
- Tap the Three Dots to expand the setting menu
- Choose Unsubscribe or Delete from Library
- On your Mac or PC
- Go to the Podcasts section of your iTunes library
- Select a subscribed podcast
- Click the Settings gear icon
- Deselect the Subscribed checkbox
- I can’t figure out how to listen to old (previously listened to) podcasts from the watch–it seems they only way is via using the “On iPhone” tab instead of the library–which basically means I’m just using the watch as a remote for my iPhone’s Podcast App!
Check Out Our Video on Setting Up and Playing Podcasts on Apple Watch
For most of her professional life, Amanda Elizabeth (Liz for short) trained all sorts of folks on how to use media as a tool to tell their own unique stories. She knows a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides!
Her clients include Edutopia, Scribe Video Center, Third Path Institute, Bracket, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Big Picture Alliance.
Elizabeth received her Master of Fine Arts degree in media making from Temple University, where she also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member in their department of Film and Media Arts.