November 03, 2009, 8:40 PM — The old iTunes allowed continuous play of podcasts on an iPhone or iPod touch using an ordinary playlist. You had to drag and drop the podcasts into the playlist, then "shuffle" them on the device. It was a manual process, but a vaguely intuitive one and one broadly known to users.
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The new iTunes doesn't let you do that. If you try to drag a podcast and drop it into an ordinary playlist, your attempt will be rebuffed.
It took me a while to figure out how to do this on the new iTunes -- with a little help from two astute readers. Google, on the other hand, was no help at all. The main thing I discovered while trying to figure this out is that hardly anyone else knows how to do this, either. So I thought I'd write this concise how-to guide.
Here's how to shuffle or get continuous play of Podcasts on an iPhone or iPod Touch:
1. Create a Smart Playlist. Choose "New Smart Playlist" from the File menu of iTunes.
2. In the dialog box that pops up, there are two primary drop-down menus. Click on the first one (on the left), and choose "Media Kind" from the list. Now there will be three main drop-down menus. In the third one (on the right), choose "Podcast" from the list. You should now have the following rule: "Media Kind is Podcast."
3. In the center of the dialog box you'll see the phrase "selected by" followed by a drop-down menu. If you choose "highest rating" from the menu, your podcasts will appear on the device in order of which have been most highly rated by other users, which is nice.
4. Click OK.
Now, when you synchronize your iPhone or iPod, the podcasts you sync will be available in the Playlists area (button on the left in the iPod app). If you press Shuffle, they'll play in random order. If you click on a podcast to play, it will automatically place the next one in on the list, then the next, etc.
There you go! Let me know how this works for you, or if you have any podcast listening tips of your own.