iTunes Voodoo: Restoring Deleted Podcasts

by David Battino

A former Apple engineer told me the iTunes team is adding features faster than they can be documented. Here's one I'll be using a lot: a way to re-download deleted podcasts.

Occasionally, podcast episodes don't download completely. This happens to me a lot with This American Life, and it recently happened with my own podcast, Digital Media Insider (home page | iTunes link). So I figured I'd delete the partial download and try again. But I couldn't get it back. iTunes didn't show the deleted episode when I clicked "Update Podcast":

itunes episode 13 gone

Unlucky 13: After deleting the partially downloaded episode 13, I couldn't get it back. Right-clicking and selecting "Update Podcast" wouldn't display the missing episode.

The secret, I learned at KD Murray's site, is to collapse the episode list by clicking on the disclosure triangle next to the podcast's name and then to Option-click the triangle again. That expands the episode list and shows the missing episodes in gray with a "Get" button next to them:

itunes episode 13 back

Option-clicking the disclosure triangle next to the podcast's name reveals the missing episodes.

Now, normally you wouldn't want to re-download episodes you'd deleted, so I can sort of understand why this feature is hidden, but by using it on some other shows to which I subscribe, I discovered episodes I didn't realize I'd missed. And the partial-download problem is probably fairly common, so it might be nice to have a "repair podcast" menu option. Or better, since the duration of the podcast should be recorded in the XML file, make iTunes smart enough to re-download truncated episodes itself.

What "hidden" iTunes features have you found?


Mark Simpson
2007-10-31 18:50:41
Thanks for this tip. Occasionally i have to download podcasts from a satellite connection in the field and only get a partial episode. I will try this.
2007-12-08 20:13:26
I was having the same problems with the "This American Life" downloads. "Shift-Click" is the correct sequence for Option-clicking in ITunes for the PC (my version: ITunes WinXP).

Thanks for the info!