iPhone 3.1 Bugs: Podcasts Unsorted

iphone 3.1 bugs podcasts unsorted

Instead of the iPhone's built-in iPod app sorting podcasts chronologically up or down (newest to oldest, or oldest to newest), iPhone 3.1 users are seeing... no logical sequence that can be made sense of. Indeed, some of you let us know because the lack of order made you think your podcasts weren't updating at all. Rest

So, just to be clear: We're out of order? Apple's out of order! All these [redacted] podcasts are out of order!

If you're having the same random podcast listings -- or better yet, if you've come up with a solution or work around that's better than just hunting for the blue "new" dot -- let us know in the comments.

[Thanks to everyone who brought this to our attention]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 94 comments. Add yours.

bryanmontz says:

So glad this is getting exposure. I vote for oldest to newest!

Tj says:

Ok thought I was just going crazy glad it's not just me with this prob. Also has any1 elses podcast screen seem to be studdering when you page through them? Things just don't flow as smooth anymore for me. 

sting7k says:

Nothing about the randomly crashing iPhones?

ArseneKarl says:

Not only they are out of order, some of them are with cover arts some are not! Also some show the release date some show nothing.
It's really weird.
iTunes 9 has its fair share of bugginess too. For instance multi disc album sequence is totally effed up

Dave says:

My 2 year old iPhone 2G crashed and rebooted itself for the 1st time this week under OS 3.1. I'm seeing more sluggish issues as well, which makes me think it's bad memory management. The fact that my podcasts are not being sorted, either in the podcast area or in smart playlists I have created just for my downloaded podcasts, have driven me to abandon my iPhone for podcast listening and use my old iPod until Apple fixes this.

Fird says:

Hmm that's odd, I'm running 3.1 on iPhone 3G 8GB, and my podcasts are all in order (from oldest to newest). None of them are in haphazard order though.
Mine isn't jailbroken, how about you guys'?

gamh says:

I sync two podcasts. One is just fine but the other dates are sort of intertwined. Really odd...

frog says:

I'm having a similar problem with general music playlists!
Very annoying.
I reported it during the beta stages, but it seems they never got it fixed!

Rose says:

On my iPod Touch: I haven't checked about the order of the podcasts, but I know that when I listen to a podcast and rate it on the ipod, and then sync back to iTunes, it resets the play count to 0 and the rating to unrated :-(

iamse7en says:

I wasn't updating merely because I'm waiting for the 3GS jailbreak, but this is another HUGE reason to put me off from doing so.

Hakala says:

Not having this particular problem. Different problem. After syncing my 8gig 3G, a few hours after, I decided to listen to a podcast. I open the iPod and all my music, videos, and podcasts, are all gone. It was horrifying. I began to panic an rebooted my iPhone, no help. So oddly enough I check Settings>General>About: Available (Storage) and it says "987MB" I have a total of three gigs of audio on my iPod at any given time, 2.5gb of which is music the rest being podcasts. I haven't gotten the chance to resync yet today but I'm hoping this was only a simply mistake and doesn't have to resync all audio back on. If I only had a penny for every hour I've put into syncing this damned phone, go ahead oh powerful Jobs, smite me, I would have bought out Apple Inc. or at least Steve Jobs identity and made some mondo changes to this thing. Lol. A little.

websyndicate says:

I dont use the iPod for podcast I use Podcaster AKA RSS Player. I travel way TOO much to be at my host computer and I like OTA downloads of big podcast.

Kick Butt Applications says:

No problems here with 32GB 3GS. I've heard of a bunch of different issues in a bunch of different areas though. This isn't much unlike a regular computer though. Once in a while you just get a bad apple (hahaha) and need to reload!
Kick Butt

FoilTape says:

It's not 3.1 I "upgraded" to iTunes 9 while still running 3.0.1. Once I updated iTunes, the podcast shuffle happened. My favorite podcast comes in Hour 1, Hour 2, Hour 3. Now, all the Hour 1s are together, then Hour 2s, etc. I can't listen to them in the order they were released without hunting for them.

Dystroy says:

3g - clean updates....
While texting it will randomly go black and refuses to come back on unless i leave it alone for a few minutes then try to plug it in to charge then the screen comes back on.

Steve Gerlach says:

It's not just podcasts - it's smart playlists as well... album tracks all mixed up with other album tracks and not playing in the right order. Even my VOICE MEMOS are mixed in. Not happy.

psionara says:

Agree with FoilTape, have update to iTunes 9 but have not upgraded to iphone 3.1 and Ihave the podcasts "out of order"

Dave says:

Nope... not jailbroken here... seeing my issues on fully 'legal' system. As for RSSPlayer, I'd love to use it, but for some reason it's not downloading the files locally so I can listen to them. It acts like it's downloading the file, but then when you go to listen to it, it ends up streaming the file.

Charles says:

It's not just podcasts. It's also the episodes of all my TV shows, which are no longer in chronological order by season, and within the season, by episode. They're all jumbled and in no discernable order. C'mon Apple, let's get on this!!

Joshua says:

Hello. I "fixed" the problem by deleting iTunes 9, and re-installing iTunes 8. To add insult to injury, iTunes 9 libraries aren't compatible with iTunes 8 libraries, which means I had to rebuild my podcasts list. Suffice it to say, I'm rather annoyed.

icebike says:

Why should any one care when the blog itself numbers its episodes 1,2,3,....16, 17, 65 !?!!

scott says:

its not only the podcasts, all smart playlists are out of order as well.. i noticed the first day 3.1 came out and posted a thread on apple user support.

A Tech Guy says:

This bug is being discussed heavily in another thread also. Some users trace it down to a bug in iTunes 9 actually because they encounter the same bug when they upgrade to iTunes 9 while remaining on iPhone 3.0.
I am also impacted by this bug big time. Let's make enough noise here so that Apple will hear our grief and fix the bug ASAP.

iMar says:

What helped for me was first deleting the podcast from iTunes (and retrieving the individual podcast files from the trash as backup, in case they disappeared from the feed), then syncing with the iPhone, followed by resubscribing to the podcasts through the iTunes Store (and putting back episodes that have disappeared form the feed from backup, by dragging them to iTunes) and syncing with the iPhone a second time.
This made all the podcasts' episodes show up chronologically (oldest first) on the iPhone again.
HOWEVER: it only seemed to work with podcasts subscribed to through the iTunes Store. Podcasts subscribed to manually (via the Advanced menu in iTunes) are still listed randomly on the iPhone.

zkarj says:

Same problem here. I think what is happening is if I had, say, episodes 3 & 4 on the iPhone, then downloaded 5 & 6, the order would be 5, 6, 3, 4. I.e. I think each time it adds episodes it puts them at the wrong end of the list.
Also getting the stuttering to an extreme.
Also today, for the first time, I got "updating library" when opening my podcast list! I've been on 3.1 since day 1.

eTron says:

This is happening to my regular playlists. Frustrating.

Tom says:

I'm seeing this with iTunes U items as well on my 3GS with 3.1.

Tom says:

I'm having the same problem with my podcast smart playlist on my iPhone 3G. I found a workaround that will work for me at least until Apple fixes the problem.
I edit the smart playlist and uncheck the "Live Updating" option - then when I sync the podcasts show up in the right order. I have to recheck the Live Updating box when I download new podcasts to that list. It's a pain to check and uncheck the list before synching, but it's working for me right now.
I heard over on the iTunes forums that when some people do this, it deletes the playlist entirely from the phone - the playlists reappear when they re-checked the Live Updating box, however. So your results may vary with this workaround.

Eric S. Mueller says:

I'm having the same problem. I listen to a lot of podcasts, and this drove me nuts. I keep two smart playlists to maintain my podcasts, one for those I listen to daily, and one for all podcasts because I want to listen to my extensive backlog in order. I've been working like this without a flaw since I figured out smart playlists under the 2.1 firmware. 3.1 broke it.
I have found a workaround that will have to do until somebody finds a way to downgrade to 3.0.1 or Apple releases a fix. Every morning after I sync my new podcasts, I start an on the go playlist. I start with my daily podcasts, then I go to the podcast playlist in iTunes and start adding them in the order that I want them on the iPhone. This is slow and painful, especially since my podcast list scrolls very slowly and stops frequently.
I've also noticed that I can't create a new playlist in iTunes and sync it to the iPhone. I tried that, but no new playlists will sync across. Anybody having that problem too?

Mike Ohlsen says:

What a pain this is! I typically build a playlist of podcasts I want to listen to for the week, and order them by rating. This allows me to listen through them all, with the most important first. Now they are all out of order and including ones that I dont want to listen to at all! From the comments, seems like this is more of a iTunes 9 issue, than a iPhone OS 3.1 issue. Lets hope they fix this soon. Any one find it on apple's website?

Horatio says:

I have seen a pattern in the sorting, as weird as it is. I subscribed to a podcast that is 3 1-hour segments per day, 5 days per week. They show up in my podcast list correctly labeled as "Thur Sept 17 2009, Hour 1" However, they look like they are sorted by the hour first (all of the Hour 1 podcasts are at the very top of the list, then Hour 2, then Hour 3), then by day of the week (day order) and then by the month of the year - alphabetically. So - if two podcasts were both hour 1 on any given wednesday, the one in August appears before July. It is asinine.
You're right though, the first time I noticed it I thought the sync had gotten totally screwed up so I sat there looking at the list on my phone for several minutes trying to figure out wth happened.

Mike Cahill says:

The problem is DEFINITELY with iTunes 9.0. I deleted my iTunes libraries, brought the old library back from the "Previous Libraries" folder, threw out 9.0 from the Applications folder and downloaded 8.2 from Apple's support site. Once installed it found the old library and when I sync-ed the iPhone the podcasts were back in the right order.
More crap software from Infinity Loop.

Rob says:

Mine did this for the first time yesterday... Crashed, and I couldn't even turn it back on. I didn't know what was going on. Seems to be working fine now (knock on wood) but if it does it again, it is the final straw in my move to android... i think. ;) considering I haven't read enough to see how much it crashes... hehe.

websyndicate says:

Just use RSS Player its way better

Ben says:

3.1 is rubbish! More (maybe less major, but still) bugs than 3.0!!! Not to mention the dissapointment from the iPodtouchwithcameralessness I'm feeling.

Eric S. Mueller says:

I don't think 3.1 is rubbish, but the podcast sorting issue is definitely keeping me from enjoying any of the new features.
Is there a way to go back to 3.0.1?

Gordo says:

I have the podcast sorting issue. Very frustrating. listening to multi part podacasts is almost impossible. I will not be installing futire major updates until all the kinks are out first. I regret doing the version 9 upgrade and hope this gets resolved quickly. Is there no QA when majors versions go out???

Newton says:

I am a podcast addict. I have several "smart" playlists that update with my automated subscriptions.
They are now all useless. Since I have several, it would be problematic to check and uncheck "live update" all the time.
Anyone know how to bring this to Apple's attention?

Lars says:

I became aware of the problem last weekend, and heard Ken talk about it this morning (via Lexy.com) during my drive to work. I see many folks cite podcast examples. I bought the Harry Potter CD audio book "Deathly Hallows" -- ripped into iTunes, created a playlist, it all displays fine in iTunes 9. I went to listen to it (iPhone 3GS, 3.1) during a long road trip last weekend and all of the audio book tracks were in a random order. I went back and checked the iTunes playlist, and everything looks fine.

Karen says:

This is so frustrating! My Coast to Coast podcasts are in perfect order in iTunes, totally jumbled up on my iPhone! Really sucks when I can't listen to 4 one hour shows without having to search for each episode! I'm mad. Must be aliens in there.

Ronda says:

My coast to coast episodes are crazy, too! I can't even figure out an order because I have way too many to listen to! I am sitting here now trying to listen on my computer so I can delete the ones I don't want and get them off my itunes! It also screwed them up on my old classic ipod...ahhhh! any idea when a fix will be available????

CoolJoe says:

Hey! I got a bug for you! I like my keyboard to be nice and loud when I type but now its quiet no matter how much I turn the ringer or sound up!!

David Betz says:

Mine is screwed too. My iTunes U videos are out of order as well. Since I use my iPod Touch primarily for podcasts and iTunes U and since everything I listen to is to be listened to in order... my iPod Touch is essentially a BRICK! V3.1.1 does NOTHING to fix this.

John Little says:

I'm having the same problem. I updated to 3.1 and itunes 9 on the same day, so I'm not sure which caused the problem. The apple help desk said they'd never heard of the problem. It would seem they have now. Podcasts are in order in itunes, but totaly random order on the iPhone. I even tried renaming the files in itunes 01, 02, 03, etc... no help. The files are still in random order.

Bo Mar says:

Count me in the screwed up category. . .32GB 3GS, All my podcast originate from Itunes and I have several podcast all fouled up. Hope Apple hears of the problem now and has a quick fix. . .very annoying. . .

timo says:

same issue, all my smart playlists are suddenly wacked now i installed os3.1 & itunes9.0 in one hit... i listen to everything via playlists... this is sh1tting me off

Heath says:

I removed all my podcasts, changed the order to 3 least recent, synched then changed the order back to 3 least recent new. Hey presto. Apple catches up with Microsoft on bugs!

Al says:

EVERYONE! Relax. It's a BUG in iTunes, and version 9.1 has been released to "address" the issue. Go patch iTunes and resync.

Al says:

-------------UPDATE on iTunes 9.1---------------
Booo, so much for that. If your issue is with Smart Playlists, they're STILL out of whack! Gggggrrrrr!
As a workround, I've ended up making a regular playlist, where I manually drag and drop my desired smart playlist contents into. Lame, but it works, and it's manual. Kind of defeats the whole point of a SMARTLists APPLE!!

Christian says:

First of all, Apple released iTunes 9.0.1, not iTunes 9.1. Second of all, it still doesn't fix this problem.

jc says:

Re. the stuttering scroll in the podcast list, I have the same thing. In the list of podcasts (with the podcast graphic) it stutters and sticks in scrolling. However, once I go into the episode list of a podcast, it scrolls fine. Kind of annoying when I want to skip around and listen to different podcasts.

jc says:

Thanks for the heads up on iTunes 9.0.1. But, come on Apple! Another freaking 100+ meg download for a .0.1 patch??? And NO! I don't freaking want Safari installed! Stop making me uncheck that. Geez...

KK says:

So that workaround for regular playlists doesn't appear to work for podcasts...I put my podcasts onto one and it doesn't show up at all. Fail. :(

Steve says:

iTunes 9.0.1 DOES fix this problem. But after updating to 9.0.1 you have to uncheck all your podcasts and sync your phone so they're all removed from the phone, then check them again and sync again so they're copied back to the phone. Everything should now be sorted correctly.

Craig says:

Updated to 9.0.1, unchecked all podcasts and synced phone. Verified podcasts removed on phone. Then checked podcasts and synced again. Podcasts are still out of order on phone. Fail.

Mat says:

Updated to 9.0.1, deleted all podcasts from the iphone, resent all podcasts to the iphone and problem solved! Now they're chronologically ordered properly again.

Todd says:

No go for me either. I tried every combination but smart playlists that contain multiple hour podcasts with the same date are screwed. They are fine using a manual playlist or turning off "live updating" which kills the whole point of a smart playlist.
The smart playlist appears in the correct order within the iTunes library but is still screwed up within the podcast tab when the device is mounted.

Dingo says:

Mine has Out of Order music Playlists 3.1 jailbroken. only issue i see so far. also some iphone stop the tethering.

Brian says:

This is happening to me too. My iPhone is not jailbroken. It's really annoying and I hope Apple is making it a priority to fix it. I want podcasts from oldest-to-newest, top-to-bottom, so I can just listen to them in sequence or double-click the thing on the earpiece to advance to the next one. Plus it's hard to keep track of which ones to delete in iTunes once I've listened to them because they're in a different order than on the iPhone.

DSPodd says:

I'm also having problems with new iPhone update, well just 1 problem. I have 28 tv shows synced to iPhone, when browsing through movies is fine but when browsing for tv shows it displays only 1 n' not all 28. The only way to find them all is through spotlight search. Can anyone help?

DSPodd says:

"Steve said:
Sep 24th @ 10:22 am
iTunes 9.0.1 DOES fix this problem. But after updating to 9.0.1 you have to uncheck all your podcasts and sync your phone so they’re all removed from the phone, then check them again and sync again so they’re copied back to the phone. Everything should now be sorted correctly."
Does this also work for tv shows that I know is on my iPhone but not showing up when browsing for them under tv shows option?

DSPodd says:

Nevermind, I worked it out for myself. Had to name n' number all tv shows myself, now it shows up on iPhone. But I see what you mean with podcasts, it did that with 2 seasons of same tv show I have till I renamed them season 1 and season 2. Apple, sort yourselves out will you! If it ain't broke in the 1st place don't fix it!

NOS says:

None of the music, movies or apps that I got direct from iTunes work at all. It says movies cannot be played, the apps crash as soon as try are opened so I deleted them tried to download them again from my phone and iTunes they still all crash!! Help 3.1 sucks:(

Bob Roitblat says:

Go into your playlists and uncheck live update. Your songs/podcasts will be in their correct order.

Philip says:

I have IPod version 3.1.1 and Itunes version 9.01. BUt there's a problem with the playlists. Unchecking and syncing took everything off my Ipod including the playlists and then rechecking and syncing again put everything back exactly the same. It changed nothing!!! And most galling. The playlists in The Itunes library and the device library both have the correct order that I want. They match, But for some reason or other my physical Ipod does not. What is that about?

Russ Wolfe says:

I was having the same problem. Note ther are two places to set shuffle. At the top of the song list, and a small icon in the upper right corner of the screen when song is playing. See post I have copied below (this fixed the problem for me):
"Shuffle was turned on! (i suspected it was, but didnt know why)
I had a look at the online iphone manual, and it says there are 2 ways to turn on shuffle, press shuffle at the top of the artist's song list, and the second is when the song is playing, you tap on the album cover, it will come up with the playback controls, playback time etc, and there is a small 'shuffle' button in the corner i never noticed before, that turns it on. I must have pressed it by accident, and never noticed...

Jimmy Williams says:

The shuffle trick isn't the answer. I did uncheck the 'Live Update' checkbox on my Smart Playlists and THAT worked. UGH!!!! So frustrating!
I always sort so that the song JUST added to my playlist is ALWAYS at the top. I hate hunting!

scott says:

having issues with audiobooks not playing in sequence on my iPhone with 3.1 software. The audiobook will play in sequence within iTunes, but will shuffle around on the iPhone. I do not see any "shuffle" settings while an audiobook is playing like I do when playing music. . . .

Jon E says:

@ Scott post 69
i had the same problem with audiobook tracks playing in a random order. I went to my music tracks and turned the shuffle setting on and off again. When I went back to audiobooks they magically started playing in order again! Try that

y2smc says:

Just make sure you have sorted by podcast title name not anything else and sync it again. This fixed my problem.

John M says:

Workaround for out-of-order playlists - Select all podcasts in i-tunes and "get info". Go to the "options" tab and change "media kind" to "music". Smart playlists all work properly for me after that change, but each new set of podcast downloads will have to have the same treatment before they will sync properly. Thank goodness for cntrl-click.
It'll be good when this problem is properly fixed.

scott says:

Thanks. Turning shuffle off on my music tracks then going back to the audiobook fixed the issue. . . . ODD

Zac says:

I'm having the sorting problems with iTunes U tracks... even though they are all numbered... changed the media kind to "Music" and put them in a smart playlist, now they are loaded in order. Sucks you have to work around the iTunes U like the podcasts.

Olar Fin says:

Ive been going nuts with my audiobook playing randomly.
I even verified that the "Skip When Shuffling".
Thanks for the fix!

Rajeev says:

I got 82 episodes on the PodCast and all come in random order... Its such a struggle to keep track of which one I completed and which one is next... at times.. I could not find the right episode and end up listening them in wrong order..!!!
it sucks..!!! it should be in Oldest first to newer...

Mark T says:

I have the same problem after ripping audio book CDs. It really makes listening to a book very agrivating.

Richard says:

I use a smart playlist to collect the latest release of each podcast that I subscribe to, I check the live update box(see the edit smart playlist option under the file heading). When I synch, the playlist is not correct. It is close to the reverse order but some seem to be in random order. The solution is to uncheck the live update box before synching. But don't forget to check the box again after the synch operation or the podcasts will never get updated.

Ram says:

All I have to say to Apple is "Keep it Simple" let what works stay that way, we don't need so many new Bells and Whistles

cjthespy says:

Lol I googled my way here and was wondering what was going on with my podcasts and after reading some of the comments figured out what happened on my 3Gs...So silly me I wanted to see if podcasts automatically shuffled like songs do when you shake your phone...they dont btw...After which I forgot to turn off shuffle and was freaking out about why it wasnt playing in order after just syncing it...Anyway that sucks if yours isnt playing in order, just make sure shuffle is off or you will be like me :p

iPhoneMaster says:

Deselect all podcast sync in iTunes, sync, reselect the podcasts you want to sync, and sync.
Tested and working..

JB says:

I've tried all the so-called solutions. Nothing works. When the heck is Apple going to fix this? It's a total pain in the ass.

iain says:

Audio books out of order.
This was doing my head in on 3GS.
No music or podcast had been synched - only some .M4B files
setting disk number
resetting device to factory
all of above solution in this thread.
The one that worked for me was to sync some music, enable shuffle on the music (more | songs | shuffle
played a track
more | songs |shuffle
to turn shuffle off again
audio book track now playing in order.
This issue did NOT occur when I synched tha same files to an my (multi-year old) ipod mini, or ipod classic.

Sophie says:

Okay this is so annoying! I just spent 2 hours trying to sort a 16 part podcast!!!!! I did find a possible solution...that actually doens't take too much time. Here are the directions as simple as I could make them: (I am using vista on a pc...so i don't know if these steps will work on a MAC or not - the keyboard shortcuts probably won't - but you should know how to do them on a MAC if you use one.)

  1. In itunes select a group of podcasts you want to sort (click on the 1st one - hold the shift button down and click on the last one, or hold down the ctrl button and select each one you want if they are mixed up)
  2. Right click on something in the selection and select "get info" (it will ask you if you are sure you want to edit info for multiple items - click "yes")
  3. Select the "Options" tab
  4. Check the box where it says "Media Kind"
  5. Change the drop down to the right from "Podcast" to "Audiobook"
  6. Check the box for "Part of a compilation"
  7. Change the drop down to the right to say "yes"
  8. Check the box for "Remember position"
  9. Change the drop down to the right to say "yes"
  10. Hit "OK"

The podcast has now been converted to an audio book and will be moved to the audio book library and will play in order of chapter/episode - sync to your iphone and enjoy!
It would be better for Apple to come up with a "sort" feature - but until then - converting your "audio" podcasts to "audio books" should help! (it probably won't work on video podcasts)
Have fun!

Neil says:

The above 10 part instruction may work, but that would also mean that I have to do that EVERY day. The podcasts I am having problem with is a 16 part podcast I receive daily.

iTouch Gen 3 says:

I get my podcast sorted by date okay but hr2 appears before hr1. I made a regular playlist in the desired order (easy since the main podcast can be sorted by release which corrected the order...too bad that change doesn't pass thru to my touch podcast list). Find the resulting playlist under the device podcast section and put a check in the box to sync it.

Paul says:

When I downloaded from iTunes U one track at a time without subscribing, they came through in order. Later I decided I liked the lectures so I hit the download all button, then...BOOM total chaos.

Nate Burba says:

I am having the same problem with home-made Audiobooks.
These are MP3 files converted to M4A in iTunes then renamed to M4B. They play fine in iTunes but on my iPhone they play as if Shuffle is turned on.
This makes listening to Audiobooks nearly impossible.

Dan says:

Hi .. I have a 120g classic with 1254 podcasts and I'd like to listen to the oldest first as they are teaching ones. I have no idea how to do all these things you say above and I'm not sure I want to it would take ages and ages and I'm only just over a 3rd full. There must surely be a simple setting to allow to read in reverse order. My old commodore 64 could even do that.

agselfy says:

Sophie says:
February 4, 2010 at 12:35 am
this 10 part thing works but what about weekly podcasts or daily. i dont always have time to listen to them when they are downloaded straight away. Is there a way to stop the random playing order when listening to them on the iphone?

music says:

This is identical to cee-lo's No ones going to love you! shot for shot, except I prefer to play cee-los video to rihannas song, a much better fit, and they are the same length.