How to use the Windows Phone Podcasts app

Enjoy watching and listening to podcasts on your Windows Phone.

windows phone podcasts
Credit: Stephen Glasskeys

What are podcasts?

Podcasts are talk radio or news programs syndicated over the internet, usually viewed on or listened to with a computer or mobile phone. From the start, podcast creators have shared content utilizing Really Simple Syndication (RSS) links, read by client apps, which then pull or stream podcast data from the cloud to the user's listening device. This content data, is then opened using a media player embedded in the client app, or other apps like mp3 players.

RSS feeds, please

Windows Phone includes a built-in Podcasts app, packed with features, one being a search tool to help users find podcast feeds. Occasionally, the search tool won't be able to find a podcast. To make matters worse, if you open the podcast's home page in a browser, it may display only the iTunes subscription link, incorrectly assuming all mobile browsers are able to handle as Safari does on the iPhone or iPad.

In this tutorial I will show how to use the Windows Phone Podcasts app, how to search for feeds, and how to add RSS links manually for feeds not found by the search tool.

Finding a podcast

For example purposes, I am using Richard Bliss' excellent, top-ranked podcast about Kickstarter called Funding the Dream. Below is a screenshot of the podcast homepage, opened with a desktop browser. Notice two buttons prominently featured on the page: Subscribe with iTunes and Grab our RSS feed.

Windows Phone Podcasts Funding the Dream Stephen Glasskeys

Because I like the podcast and would enjoy listening to it on my Windows Phone, I open the Podcasts app:

Windows Phone Podcasts app Stephen Glasskeys

I flip over to Get Podcasts, and search for Funding the Dream, but unfortunately it isn't found. In these situations, I use Internet Explorer to visit the podcast homepage to find a RSS link, so I can paste it into the Get Podcasts field.

Searching for a podcast Stephen Glasskeys

It wasn't found by Get Podcasts, so I use Bing to find the podcast's website.

Windows Phone podcasts Bing search Stephen Glasskeys

To my dismay, I discover the Subscribe button only works with iTunes. I need to get the podcast's RSS link, using the "Grab our RSS" feed button visible to desktop browsers. But for reasons unknown, this button is hidden for mobile users.

Windows Phone podcasts mobile page view Stephen Glasskeys

Luckily, Internet Explorer for Windows Phone contains a built-in solution to this problem. IE's settings allow a user to set the Website preference setting to desktop version. This in turn, modifies the useragent string, tricking webservers into believing web requests from Windows Phone are being made from a desktop computer.

Windows Phone podcasts website preference Stephen Glasskeys

So, after changing the preference setting and refreshing the page, the Grab our RSS feed button is visible. I tap and hold the button, and select copy link.

Windows Phone podcasts copy link Stephen Glasskeys

Back in the Podcasts app, I paste the link into the Get Podcasts textbox.

Windows Phone podcasts paste rss link into get podcasts Stephen Glasskeys

The podcast loads: Image, author name, and description fill the screen. I swipe up from the bottom and tap the pin to start option, this creates a tile link to the podcast on the home screen.

Windows Phone podcasts Overview screen Stephen Glasskeys

.Leaving overview, I flip to the podcasts section. To see the full list of episodes, I tap the tiny hamburger button next to the podcast image.

Windows Phone podcasts hamburger button shows full episode list Stephen Glasskeys

Below the icon, podcast settings can be set to only allow downloads over Wi-Fi connection. This setting prevents podcast downloads over carrier networks; it also helps prevent extortionist-rate overage charges appearing on monthly phone bills.

Windows Phone podcasts only download over wifi Stephen Glasskeys

Enjoy listening to your favorite podcasts on Windows Phone.

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