If youve been syncing podcasts via iTunes and want to shift to syncing across iOS devices, I advise deleting the Podcasts app from all the devices you want to use, reinstalling it, and then subscribing to the podcasts you want. If not, youll find a melange of podcasts synced via iTunes and via iCloud, which can be a bit confusing.
You can choose a number of settings for each podcast. Tap a podcast, then tap the gear icon (on an iPad), or tap the little > to the right of its name (on an iPhone or iPod touch) to access a settings pane. The only information that syncs is the names of podcasts youve subscribed to and which episodes youve listened to; all the other settings apply to individual devices. If you want to save episodes of a podcast on your iPhone, you need to change the setting on that particular device. This is the same for each iOS device on which you want episodes to autodownload.
To sync or not?
Ive explained how you can set up the Podcasts app from within the app, but its not the only way you can subscribe to podcasts. You can continue using iTunes to sync your podcasts, and theyll show up in the Podcasts app. The advantage here is that the episodes youve listened to will sync across devices via iCloud. Also, youll update the podcasts on your Mac when you sync with iTunes to get new episodes. If youre on the road and want new episodes of your favorite podcast, you can go to its settings and turn its subscription on; youll see a full list of episodes with download buttons that will let you grab new episodes.
But what about playlists?
Playlists are the biggest issue with the Podcasts app. Many power listeners like setting up playlists of their favorite podcasts, or even creating playlists that alternate podcasts and music. The Podcasts app doesnt allow you to do so. Even if you sync playlists from iTunes, while the content will get copied to your iOS device and show up in the Podcasts app, you wont be able to access the playlists. If you go to the Music app, you wont see an entry for Podcasts anymore, and the podcasts that you so carefully put into playlists wont be there. And while any playlists you have made will show up, theyll either be empty, if they only contain podcasts, or theyll only contain music, if you made playlists containing podcasts and music.