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Apple’s iOS 17 and Podcasts

Apple’s recent update to their operating system has caused many people in the podcast world to need a little lie down. In short, the newest version of Apple Podcasts doesn’t automatically download as many files as it used to, and so some people are seeing lower numbers on their podcast analytics. But - get this - it’s good news.

Why? Well, you’ve made it as far as the second paragraph of this section, so I might as well tell you. The original system was designed when data and streaming were more difficult and so it tended to try and download back catalogue episodes to your device regardless of whether the user had pressed play rather than wait until you actually wanted to listen to them. As a result, a proportion (around 13%) of the podcasts that iPhones downloaded weren’t actually listened to. The new version of Apple Podcasts does less of this and is more likely to only request the file form the server when you actually choose to hear the show.

So - you see why this is a bit of a bummer (technical term) for some podcast producers who can see that their numbers might go down, but of course it actually means the data we get will be more reflective of the genuine audience behaviour. The industry standard term ‘download’ will be closer to the more useful human term ‘listens’ and we’ll all feel happier about answering the client question, ‘How many people have listened to my podcast?’.

I hope that’s helped, and if you’d like to know more you can check out Ross Adams - the CEO of Acast - who has written a full proper blog all about it. He thinks it’s good news too.

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