If you’ve got Auto-Download enabled, you might also want to enable Auto-delete for the podcast episodes that you’ve listened to. Of course, that’s crazy because there’s no option called Auto-delete on the Podcasts app. It’s just a term we’re going to use to remove episodes that you’ve listened to.

But why, you ask, should I remove the episodes I downloaded?

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Well, reasons vary but for me, it’s the imminent idea of clutter. When you’ve got a truckload of past episodes (all played at least once), it becomes tougher to manage stuff. First off, that’s going to occupy a lot of memory on your iPhone. Secondly, if your sorting order is oldest to newest, you’re going to have a bad time. You can still change the order and get done with it, but you can’t escape the prospect of memory filling up fast.

Auto Delete Played Episodes in Podcasts App

So, the solution is to remove episodes that you’ve played. Manually, that’s easy because Podcasts shows you the episodes that you’ve played and not played (with that blue dot on the left). Partially played episodes have a half-moon.

But automating this would be nice. When you play an episode completely, it’s gone. Out of the radar. That’s a better way to manage stuff. And that’s what we’ll try to do.

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How to Auto-Delete Episodes in Podcasts App on iPhone or iPad

  • Go to the Podcasts app → Tap on My Podcasts from bottom left corner
  • Tap on podcast channel that you frequently listen
  • Tap on Settings
  • Scroll down and tap on Episodes to Keep
  • Now, select All Unplayed

This way, whatever episode you’ve played (fully) is gone the next time the app refreshes.

Incidentally, you can also change the default setting for all podcast episodes via Settings → Podcasts → Episodes to Keep and select  from here, it applies to all podcast stations/episodes unless you’ve specifically changed the same for individual podcasts.

A couple of things before you do this:

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  1. The episodes that are removed will be completely removed. If you re-add them, you’ll need to download them again.
  2. When you edit the settings, changes will be effected after you refresh the episode list.
  3. Partially-played episodes are not deleted this way. You have to play them fully (or fast-forward to completion) to mark them as played.