How to download podcasts

In this tutorial we've focused on using iTunes the most popular podcast download site to find and download programmes. However, if you don't want to use iTunes, skip straight to Step 6 for an alternative.

1Check for iTunes

Check for iTunes

If you have a Mac, you will already have iTunes installed on your computer. But PC users will need to check. 

To do so click Start > All Programs and look for an iTunes entry in the list. 

If it's there, launch the program and click Help > About iTunes to check that you have version 7 or later. 

To install iTunes from scratch or update an old version, go to Apple.com, click Download iTunes and follow the onscreen instructions to get the most recent version.

2Browse the iTunes Store

Browse the iTunes store

To access free podcasts, open iTunes and click the iTunes Store icon in the left-hand panel. 

When the store appears click the Podcasts link in the box top-left. 

A range of podcasts, including new releases and the most popular podcasts, will appear onscreen. 

More are available by clicking the tabs, such as What's Hot, or using the right-hand scroll bar to scroll down to browse through various topics. 

When you see a podcast you like the look of, click it and, on the next screen, click Subscribe > Subscribe.

3Manage your Podcasts

Manage your podcasts

Every time a new episode of your podcast is available, iTunes will automatically download it from the net. 

To listen to your podcast, click Podcasts in the left-hand panel of iTunes and double-click its name to play. 

Podcasts you haven't listened to will have a little blue dot next to them.

To delete a podcast, right-click it and select Delete

You can manually subscribe to podcasts by clicking Advanced > Subscribe to podcast and then typing in the relevant website address.

4Update your iPod

Transfer podcasts to your ipod

It's easy to transfer podcasts from iTunes to your iPod. 

Plug the iPod into your computer and, once iTunes has recognised the device, click on the Podcasts tab at the top of the main window. 

Here you can choose to sync all your podcasts with your iPod automatically or, by putting a check next to where it says Selected podcasts you can choose to sync only the podcasts you want. 

It's set to synchronise all episodes, but you can choose to sync only the most recent ones by selecting the option from the drop-down menu next to where it says Sync.

5Sync Windows Media Player with iTunes

Adding podcasts to your Windows Media Player

If you have an MP3 player other than an iPod, it's likely that you'll use Windows Media Player (WMP) to transfer files to your device. 

WMP can't subscribe to podcasts directly. But you can use iTunes to subscribe to podcasts (follow steps 1 to 3) and then set up WMP so it automatically imports them.

Click Start > All Programs > Windows Media Player. We're using version 11 here. 

Click the Library tab on the top toolbar > Add to Library

In the box that appears, click Add. Navigate to your Music (My Music if you have Windows XP) folder, click iTunes > OK > OK

Once your podcast has been imported into Windows Media Player, you can then transfer it to your digital music player as normal.

6Get Podcasts without iTunes

Using Juice for podcasts

If you use Windows Media Player and don't want to use iTunes to subscribe to podcasts, you could use 'media aggregator' software such as Juice. 

Go to the Juice website to download it and follow the onscreen instructions to install it on your PC. 

To use Juice to subscribe to a podcast, click the Add new feed button and type in the relevant web address or click the Podcast directory tab and track down a podcast you like the look of, double-click it and choose Save.

Juice creates a folder called My Received Podcasts in your Documents folder (My Documents if you're using Windows XP). 

Follow step 5 to point your Windows Media Player library towards the My Received Podcasts folder so that you can sync it with your portable device.

If you do not use iTunes and wish to subscribe directly to any of our Podcast feeds you can do so by using the following feed URLs: