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Submitted by waratah on


 I'm not sure how to subscribe to MT premium podcasts using the Apple "podcasts" App. Now that IOS6 is no longer tethered to iTunes, I can't copy in the feed like I used to. I have been quite happy just using the standard "free" feed but occasionally I want to refer to the slides and I don't have them.

Any guidance?

Thank you. Your ongoing weekly content delivery continues to be excellent.

Chris Dewhurst

mauzenne's picture
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The Apple Podcast player doesn't support protected feeds, but I recently discovered a workaround that works well (with a couple of caveats).

For protected feeds if you put the username and password in the URL you CAN directly subscribe in the app and it should work.

For Example, to get the Registered Member feed (that contains ALL the podcasts):

https://username:[email protected]/registered-members/rss.xml

Obviously replace the 'username' and 'password' in the URL above with your login credentials.

A couple of warnings:

Make sure if you connect to the feed via SSL (https://) as shown above. If you connect via http:// (the default on most feeds) be aware your username and password will be transmitted in the clear.

While the request with SSL is sent encrypted, since the credentials are contained in the URL request, that info is stored on the server in the SSL access logs in the unencrypted form.

Also, DO NOT use any of the sharing features in the app (email, tweet, etc.) because these send out the subscription URL, which in this case would contain your login info.

So it can be done, but BE CAREFUL. You are using a separate, secure username and password for everything, right? That will mitigate the risk of the method above. If you somehow inadvertently share the URL (containing your username and password), at least you won't be sharing access to ALL your accounts.

Until Apple resolves this issue, the only other solution is to subscribe to the feed using your desktop iTunes and then sync your device. A bigger pain, but more secure.

Be careful out there,

jskehan's picture
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 Thanks Mike,

This worked for me.

waratah's picture
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 Thanks Mike.

krutg's picture

 This worked for me too. Thank you Mike!

krutg's picture

 This worked for me too. Thank you Mike!

jrumple's picture
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This is not the only part of the Podcasts App that I was having difficulty with. I did find a work around to most of the issues I have with the Podcasts App.

That is you can uninstall or delete the Podcasts App from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

When you do this, your podcast episodes synced from your desktop iTunes show up in your Music App for audio files and Videos App for video files. This allows me to keep the many Smart Playlists that I have on my desktop and sync them to my iPhone. iOS 5 did add WiFi syncing, which helps.

My desktop with iTunes stays on throughout the day. It monitors my subscriptions and downloads new episodes automatically. My Smart Playlists organize them so a sub-set of the unplayed episodes are transferred when synced. I can come home and plug my iPhone into the wall to recharge it. While it is charging, it syncs with the desktop iTunes over my home WiFi network. The sync completes faster than the battery recharge.

The Music App still doesn't recognize the sort by Release Date built into the Smart Playlists. It does let me play the Smart Playlists from Siri, when she recognizes the playlist title. (BTW, she has never found "Daily Aero Briefing" because she is always looking for "Daily Arrow Briefing.")

I finally reverted to the work around for the work around. That is, I bought a used third generation 4 GB iPod nano on eBay for $35. I plug it into the desktop with iTunes using a cable to sync. Then I plug it into the 3.5 mm Aux jack in the car. I've tested first generation and third generation iPod nanos. They both still recognize the sort by Release Date in my Smart Playlists. It isn't as cool as using my iPhone. I figure the time I saved fussing with trying to figure out a way to get Apple's apps to work the way I wanted to listen to podcasts was worth $35.

I've been able to get over 12 hours on the iPod battery, so road trips are no problem with this setup.

Based on the descriptions and the videos shown at last week's WWDC Keynote, it doesn't look like this gets any better in iOS 7. I'm starting to think that no one at Apple subscribes to Podcasts. Recent changes to iOS, iTunes, and Apple TV have made it harder, not easier, to enjoy podcasts.


jrumple's picture
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I've been vocal about my dislike for Apple's Podcasts app since it came out. I can now reverse those criticisms and recommend using the app for Manager Tools, Career Tools, and other podcast subscriptions. There were two key features that were added to the app in Version 1.2 (even though I didn't learn about them until Version 1.2.3). Those features are My Stations and iTunes Playlists

My Stations provide a way to organize your podcast subscriptions into continuous play custom stations. By definition, podcasts are Personal, On-Demand broadcasts of audio and video content. My Stations give you the ability to further personalize the experience. Pick the podcasts you want in a station, determine the play order, number of episodes, and media type (Audio, Video, Both) and you're done. The interface was designed for interaction on a mobile device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch). It has just enough functionality without an overly complicated sets of controls. I've set up different stations based on different subjects, like Technology, Snowboarding, Aviation, History, and Stories. It is easy to set up a station with Manager Tools, Career Tools, and any other management podcasts. Then hit play and the episodes are played one after another without interaction from you, which is great when you're commuting to work or walking the dog. 

iTunes Playlists returns a classic, and necessary capability that was lost when Podcasts first split from the Music App. That is the ability to sync Podcast Playlists from iTunes to your mobile device. I've written in the past about setting up Smart Playlists in iTunes and using them to sync with your iPhone, iPod, or iPad. You can sync those playlists and listen to them from the Podcast App now. Smart Playlists give you the ability to catch up on a backlog of episodes, where My Stations is focused on the most recent episodes. Smart Playlists also let you create a rotating carousel of episodes like episodes with a rating of greater than three stars, limited to 400 MB by least recently played. This gives you the greatest hits episodes that you haven't heard in a while. Additionally when you sort a Playlist in iTunes by Release Date, that sort is retained when the episodes sync to your iOS device.

iCloud Synchronization allows you to share the podcast environment across multiple devices. Let's admit that today few of us only have one Apple device. We want to listen to podcasts in the car, on a walk, and in the family room. This can mean switching between an iPod touch, iPhone, and Apple TV. With iCloud Synchronization, your subscriptions and your Stations stay up to date. As you listen to episodes on one device, iCloud Synchronization updates the information on your other devices. Do recognize that it takes time to upload this information to iCloud in the background and again to download it. Leave Podcasts app running when you get connected to your WiFi network for the upload and expect some lag when opening Podcasts on your other devices while they download the latest subscription and playback information.

I had dropped the Podcasts app after being disappointed in the playback environment. I bought the Downcast app and have enjoyed it. I still enjoy the Downcast app. Integration of iTunes Playlists gives me just enough motivation to transition back to Podcasts. I plan to post some more articles to this forum with tips and tricks to getting the most from the Podcasts App for Manager Tools and the other podcasts you may enjoy.

I have been thinking about writing a post about Downcast (available for $2) and how to use it for Manager Tools and Career Tools. With the flurry of activity surrounding the release of iOS 7, I helped my sister update her Apple TV. Following the upgrade, I noticed that Apple TV now supports My Stations in the Podcasts app. I looked into it further and found that this and iTunes Playlists had been added to the Podcasts app. I downloaded it and have been using it for about a week. That was long enough to know I would switch back. I want to share this with the rest of the community in case there are others of you who had previously abandoned the app because it made it hard to enjoy Manager Tools and Career Tools.


mauzenne's picture
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Thanks, Jack. I hadn't noted the changes ... look forward to giving it a try!

RashedMohamed's picture

 To install the Podcasts app, you must have an iOS device with iOS 7 or later installed. If your device can't update to iOS 7, you may be able to download a previous version of the Podcasts app.

ZeeshanMukhtar's picture

 When you first launch the app, you'll see the Library view, which features two columns of large tiles of your podcasts. Any podcasts you have previously subscribed to in iTunes get pulled in. There are two buttons at the bottom, labeled Podcasts and Top Stations. Tap the Top Stations button to browse popular podcasts by subject. At the top of this page is a toggle switch for browsing audio or video podcasts, and just below it is a dial you can swipe to view the various subject areas (some subjects feature subtopics). Below each subject are five large tiles; tap on a tile to listen/view that podcast

cbparker's picture
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Thank you Mike,

I have been able to use this workaround for the registered users feed without a problem, but it is not working for me for the other feeds that require authentication.  For the First Job Fundamentals feed, I enter my username and password, like so

https://username:[email protected]/first-job-fundamentals/f...

What I get back is an episode list, but I can't download any episodes.  If I do not include my credentials, the app (overcast) does not find a feed at all.  So it seems like it is authenticating correctly, but the workaround is not working for some feeds.

I will say that I have tried Downcast and it takes the login info, I just have to enter the RSS info.

Any thoughts?  I am sure that I am an edge case, so no problem if this is not something that you want to use bandwidth on.  Also, I would be happy to provide screen grabs, if that would be helpful.



mauzenne's picture
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Sorry for the troubles!

I *think* I know the issue. It appears from what you said, and my limited testing, that Downcast does not implement Basic Authentication in their app.

Basic Authentication is the protocol used for handling the username/password process. Embedding the username and password in the URL is an alternative way of providing the credentials to the server. Unfortunately, there is no easy way for you to embed your username and password into the requests for the *audio files*. So, you get the feed, but not the audio files.

I'm not confident there is much to be done about this ... other than perhaps encouraging Downcast to support Basic Authentication in their app.


grueno's picture

Hello all,

I read through all post regarding the iTunes behavior. Nothing worked for me. Mikes tip with usrename and password inside the rss link worked only fo the first podcast and stopped after that. ITunes keeps asking...

Some years ago when subscribing it asked for user and pw and an input field poppped up where to write it. After that it worked fine for years. I had to update to a newer iTunes Version when i bought a new iPhone and since then i cannot download from the registered-members/rss.xml.

I must admit, that i like the way iTunes syncs with an iPhone, so i would like to go with iTunes. Since the last post about that kind of troubles i haven't found any more recent.

Does that mean it shouldn't happen anymore ?


Thanks for some advice.


Kind regards, Andy.

PaulSchweer's picture
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Hello Andy,

I'm sorry for the trouble.

Are you able to download after entering your username and password when prompted?

Or are you unable to download at all?




grueno's picture

Hello Paul,

Unfortunately it does not prompt for user and password at all. Just an error message telling me i have to.

It did 5 years ago and maybe some versions of iTunes back, from then i know i have to when i want to download the "registered-members/rss.xml".

I do have the feeling it has something to do with iTunes versions. I tried Mikes tip and it worked for one download only.

Strange, isn't it  ?


Thanks you,

Kind regards, Andy

RyanLogan's picture

Thank you very much!

harish kishore's picture

  1. Update the devices that you want to use for Apple Podcasts Subscriptions:
  2. To subscribe, open the Apple Podcasts app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
  3. Find the podcast or channel that you want to subscribe to.
  4. Tap or click the offer to get your subscription or try it for free.
  5. Follow the instructions on your screen to purchase your subscription or start your free trial.1

Depending on the podcast creator, you will receive either a monthly or annual plan for Apple Podcasts Subscriptions.

After you subscribe, you can listen to Apple Podcasts Subscriptions in the Apple Podcasts app on your iPhone, iPodTouch, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and HomePod. If you have Family Sharing set up, you can share your subscription with the members of your family group.