Daily Tip: How to stream a podcast over 3G via iTunes

Daily Tip: How to stream a podcast over 3G via iTunes

Forgot to download the latest episode of one of your favorite podcasts before leaving the big bandwidth of Wi-Fi and curious how to get your fix over 3G? Well, TiPb makes sure our iPhone Live! and iPad Live! podcasts are under 20MB so you can download them over 3G anyway, but for longer podcasts you don't have worry either -- you can stream them. We'll show you how after the break!

Don't ask us why -- we chalk it up to carrier craziness -- but even though you can't download over 20MB on 3G you can stream as much data as your cap (or lack of cap!) allows. Here's how to stream on iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad:

  1. Launch iTunes app
  2. Tap Search
  3. Type in some keywords for the podcast you want
  4. Tap the one you want
  5. Find the episode you want and tap the title (not the Free button!)

That's it, the QuickTime X player will launch and it will start streaming your podcast. It will even work in the background if you change apps, and you can access the controls as well:

  1. Double click the Home button to bring up the Fast App Switcher
  2. Swipe from left to right to get to the music control widgets
  3. Tap the control you want, adjust volume, or tap the iTunes icon to jump back to the app

So there you have it, podcasts on the go for free. When/if you're ready to graduate you can try out a podcatcher app. But if you just need something in case of a commute or road-trip emergency, iTunes has got you covered.

Have any other podcast tips, let us know in the comments!

Tips of the day will range from beginner-level 101 to advanced-level ninjary. If you already know this tip, keep the link handy as a quick way to help a friend. If you have a tip of your own you'd like to suggest, add them to the comments or send them in to dailytips@tipb.com. (If it's especially awesome and previously unknown to us, we'll even give ya a reward...)

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Daily Tip: How to stream a podcast over 3G via iTunes


If you want to stream podcasts over 3G, I'd suggest Instacast. It is beautifully designed and has replaced iTunes as my podcast management and listening app.

I've tried both Podcaster and Instacast. Both are awesome, but Podcaster has custom playlists and push notifications, so I like it better. Instacast has a slightly simpler, prettier interface though, so I would really recommend either. They're both so much better than syncing with iTunes or messing around with this weird streaming workaround!

You guys were convincing me. Then I looked in the App Store and saw that those are iPhone apps with no iPad version. That kinda sucks.
Although I really would love having an app on theipad that downloads the podcasts so that I don't have to waste time syncing every damned morning, I am not loving the idea that it will have the inefficient iPhone UI on the iPad screen.

@west - you should check out iCatcher which is a true iPad application and will likely exceed your expectations as it has mine!

It seems like they've changed this in the past week, it doesn't steam in quicktime anymore, it plays in the itunes app like when you preview a song. Which makes it far less useful, you can't pause, rewind to a previous point, or use any other app at the same time.

Yep. Definitely changed now. I wonder why!
So this tip is unfortunately invalidated.
The worst thing: If you listen to a long podcast via streaming (with no ability to pause), and a phone call comes in, the podcast will start all over from the beginning when the phone call is over, and no way to fast-forward either.
So to conclude: as of iOS 4.3.5 (8L1) the podcast streaming abilities of iTunes is severely limited: PLAY and STOP with interruptions.

I think this issue is actually on their side, I am using 4.3.3 and I'm having the same issue. Are there any apps that will work like the iTunes app used to?