Wanted: Fix for “iTunes has stopped updating this podcast because…”

So I keep getting an exclamation mark next to a bunch of my podcast feeds, and when you hover over it, it tells you:

iTunes has stopped updating this podcast because you haven’t listened to any episodes for two weeks

…or somesuch. If you try googling it, you will find other people who are equally annoyed by this:

I’m not sure whether I’m annoyed by this behavior or not. On one hand, it’s a good thing I’m not filling up my hard drive with files I’m not listening to. On the other hand, I often let a few shows pile up and then listen to them while I’m out running errands or something and do get caught up eventually. Now I actually need to make sure the downloads are taking place before they expire out of the originating feeds.

Apple – I think this is a behavior you need to offer a configuration for in the preferences. It’s a great idea, but it should be my decision to stop downloading files, not yours.

…but frankly most of the people you will discover are complaining about feeds that have moved, or accept the “click on it and pull down the update podcast” opium. I don’t want drugs. I manage my system, I want this shit switched off, or the timeout uplifted from 2 weeks to 52.

I loaded ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iTunes.plist using:

Developer/Applications/Utilities/Property List Editor.app/

…but cannot see anything obvious; there appears to be a bitmask (?) called PPrf:Downloads but in truth that could be anything. Going into /Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/Resources/English.lproj and doing

perl -pe ‘tr/\000//d’ < Localizable.strings | grep stop

…shows the exact message:

“9008.014” = “iTunes has stopped updating this podcast because you have not listened to any episodes recently. Would you like to resume updating this podcast?”;

…but knowing what the string’s ID (9008.014) is, is not terribly useful.

So does anyone know how to disable this check, or how to to set it to an enormous timeout rather than “recently” for whatever value Apple defines as recent?

24 Replies to “Wanted: Fix for “iTunes has stopped updating this podcast because…””

  1. What is your Keep setting ? I have it set to “All unplayed episodes” and I’ve never seen that message. I currently have more than a 2 week backlog for some podcasts.

  2. I “keep all” and “download all” – am trying to build up an archive of some podcasts, but sometimes don’t listen for a month.

  3. OS X? I am using Cast Away which has significantly better podcast management than iTunes (in iTunes). This is particularly useful for ipod synchronization.


    Every time it runs it updates the podcasts preventing the stopped downloading message. So not a fix as much as a workaround with benefits.

  4. Did you find a fix? I just googlet for this as i thought there had to be a easy sollution for this anoying problem. But i can’t find one.

  5. This is a highly irritating “feature” that’s been screaming for a checkbox in Preferences for several versions now. Sigh.

    In the meantime, Wooden Brain’s “CastAway” has an option to force iTunes to stop stopping. 🙂 Software is here:

    …and the relevant option is “Settings” -> “Update each podcast subscription individually” (hover over it and a tooltip will confirm).

    The $8 shareware fee is probably worth it if you like the software; it can do much more than just skirt this irritating bug.

  6. Oh yes, and you’ll need to click “Schedule” -> “Set Schedule” to get CastAway to do its thing every day automatically.

  7. I too am annoyed by this message. How do we rise up and protest? Or. . . at least report to Apple we’d like a preference to always download the podcat and suppress that message?

  8. I can’t believe this is still an issue with iTunes 8.1. Actually, I can — I suspect that Apple probably heard people complain, looked into it, decided that it was “too advanced” a feature to easily explain and fit into the iTunes preferences window, and that was that.

    For probably little more than my own health, I keep submitting iTunes feedback to Apple here: http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html

    … and encourage you to do likewise. Let Apple know how incredibly irritating it is to have iTunes tell you that you don’t listen to podcasts which of course you know that you do. I mentioned in my latest feedback message to them that I would even be reasonably satisfied with a plist setting to disable it, ie. one that we could use the Terminal to manually overwrite once and then forget about. Just throw us a bone here! 🙁

  9. I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in pestering Apple about this. Here’s a copy of my feedback to them a while back.

    (1) Keep Updating Podcast Option
    (2) Count iPod-only Plays
    (3) Count Complete Plays Only Option

    From time to time, you folks at Apple make decisions that prevent Users from doing obvious things. One of them is this very annoying app-behavior/message:

    (!) iTunes has stopped updating this podcast because
    you have not listened to any episodes recently.
    Would you like to resume updating this podcast?

    Apple! Wake up! This is something that’s needed doing since the day you first released an iTunes-podcast-syncable iPod!

    Consider someone archiving a podcast: she publishes a podcast, and wants to have a machine in her office download it. She doesn’t need to listen to it because she created it, but she wants it archived.

    Also, the (annoying) iTunes message telling a user that s/he has not listened to a podcast recently should NOT happen if the User has played the podcast on her/his iPod. Some users like me ONLY listen to podcasts on their iPod: isn’t that what it’s for? Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case yet.

    Third, if you download a podcast to iTunes and play even just a few seconds of it, it’s currently no longer listed as Unplayed. Personally, I think this should also be a pref: “Any Partial Play counts as a Complete Play” (enabled by default, which is the current behavior, but something someone like me can switch off if they want to so that just “touching” an audio file in iTunes or on my iPod would not count as a Play. Unchecking the preference would require a User to listen to the entire song/podcast/etc to mark it as “Played”. Coupled with the iPod-only podcast listening use case mentioned above, this would be a more accurate and useful way to synchronize your iPod habits with your iTunes content.

    There is no good reason why these preferences should not appear in the iTunes preferences (or in the iPod’s configuration screen inside iTunes). It’s certainly not “too complicated” for users to understand, and would be entirely at home in an Advanced preferences tab.

    At the very least, document where expert users can modify a .plist XML file, for goodness sakes! Then, someone like me can write clean applet hack to make it easily available to anyone who wants it to work that way (until Apple wakes up and builds it in).

  10. I haven’t tested this to see for certain that it will keep iTunes from canceling subscriptions yet but I wrote the following vbscript to update all un-played podcasts to a playcount of 1 and last played date of the time of the script. If it were set to run daily using windows task manager it SHOULD tell iTunes that all of the podcasts have been listened to and prevent it from canceling.
    Just to clarify. The script DOES update the played count and last played but I don’t know for sure if that is enough to keep iTunes from canceling the subscription.


  11. This is still an issue in iTunes 10.0 on Windows.

    WHEN will they add an option to turn off this most irritating feature?

  12. I wondered as well why iTunes would have this annoying behavior and not include any easy way to disable it, but consider the fact that people who distribute podcasts through itunes pay for that bandwidth. I suspect that this is a way to control bandwidth.

  13. At least if the warning could be bigger instead of just a small exclamation mark. Im subscribed to over 50 podcasts, I dont feel like checking each one every week. Like many of you, I put them directly of another device which keeps them as unplayed in itunes. Sorry for adding a solution, I just felt like venting a little.

  14. Hmm, time for my bi-annual check-in on the iTunes/podcast issue. Just about four years since this post and my original comment (above), and no change yet in iTunes. Sigh.

    I just submitting another pleading request to add a toggle, via the iTunes feedback form: http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html

    It certainly feels like I’m wasting my e-breath, but who knows? Maybe some kindly engineer will take pity on us this time and spend an afternoon coding up a fix. Maybe.


  15. I just joined you in wasting some e-breath on the feedback link you provided. Maybe, just maybe, if enough people send in a request…

  16. I just tried marking all my recent episodes of itunes as played by right clicking on the title of the episode. That way itunes thinks I actually watched or listened to the episodes even though I didn’t. Then I closed itunes and restarted it. I went to each one I subscribed to and asked itunes to update the podcast and it started updating them again.

  17. iTunes version 11.1.5 still has this extremely annoying feature. Sucks dead bunnies!

    I’ll try Doug’s applescript but don’t trust vb scripts in general.

  18. Wow, it’s been 8 years and still no fix?!? I use the Default IOS Podcast app on the iPad 3 and it does the same thing. So, when I leave in the morning my podcast is never downloaded. I usually can find wifi somewhere to get it later but it’s just a pain in the a**.

    Apple really cares about us, huh? Just part of the reason I despise them. Great commercials, though. It keeps the sheep coming I guess!

  19. I download the podcasts to my computer, then to my iPod. iTunes interprets “have not listened to” as “have not listened to in iTunes”, which is true, but not relevant to the question of whether I have listened to the podcast.

    This is typical Apple mentality. If you don’t behave the way they expect you to, then you are doing something wrong.

  20. I get this with podcasts that I download and listen to every day. That message lies to me.

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