New iTunes Podcast Settings for iOS 11

In September 2017 Apple released new podcast RSS tags for the Apple Podcasts directory (previously referred to as the iTunes podcast directory). Apple Podcasts directory powers the official Podcasts app for iOS and the podcasting directory within iTunes desktop. These new tags add new functionality that assist with managing episodes, seasons and enhance the show notes content when viewed within the iOS podcasts app.

New iOS 11 podcast episode tags explained

Original Blog Post Content <content:encoded>

iOS 11 now displays this content in a limited form when viewing the episode within the mobile Podcast app. Only specific formatting is displayed, including paragraph <p>, unordered lists <ul>, ordered lists <ol>, links <a> and other HTML formatting such as <em> , <i>  and <b>. More advanced HTML formatting will be ignored.

Tag status: Existed previously, usage has been enhanced in iOS 11

Note: Previous versions of the podcast iOS app also displayed the <content:encoded> content.

WordPress reading settings – show full text

WordPress Setting: The <content:encoded> field is included in WordPress by default, no additional settings in PowerPress are necessary to use this feature. To enable in WordPress, go to WordPress’ Settings menu and select “Reading”. Under the option labeled “For each article in a feed, show”, make sure the option “Full text” is selected.

PowerPress requirements: All versions may include <content:encoded> in every episode.

iTunes Summary <itunes:summary>

The iTunes summary tag has been updated to complement the content encoded data. If you are targeting iOS specifically, the summary can be uniquely different from the content encoded value and will be displayed above your show’s episode when viewed within the iOS app. If the first paragraph of your summary is identical to your content encoded first paragraph, the summary is essentially ignored.

For episode display purposes this change may open new doors of opportunity. We will have more detailed advice for you in the coming months.

Tag status: Existed previously, usage has been enhanced in iOS 11.

iTunes summary can be enabled on a per-episode basis using the option under the Episode settings tab in PowerPress.

PowerPress requirements: All versions allow for an <itunes:summary> for every episode.

PowerPress Setting: Go to PowerPress Settings > “Episodes” tab to enable.

Episode Unique Identifier <guid>

The guid field usage has been clarifed for iOS11. It is now required for every episode item in your feed and must remain unique and never change.

Tag status: Existed previously, it is now required for iOS 11.

PowerPress requirements: All versions include a unique <guid> for every episode.

PowerPress Setting: No setting is necessary for this tag.

iTunes Title <itunes:title>

The iTunes episode title field is new for iOS 11. An iTunes title should specify a clear, concise name for your episode excluding dates, program titles, program nicknames, episode numbers or season numbers. Apple will use this title along with the episode and season tags for displaying purposes along with the title of your program. This field works in relation with the new <itunes:episode> and <itunes:season> tags.

Tag status: New tag added for iOS 11.

PowerPress requirements: 7.1 or newer.

PowerPress Setting: Go to PowerPress Settings > “Episodes” tab to enable the “iTunes title” field.

iTunes Episode Type <itunes:episodeType>

The episode type field is new for iOS 11. You can now specify one of three types for a podcast episode. If no type is specified then “full” is assumed.

  • full – (default) Specify full when you are submitting the
    complete content of a show.
  • trailer – Specify trailer when you are submitting a short,
    promotional piece of content that represents a preview of
    a show.
  • bonus – Specify bonus when you are submitting extra
    content for a show (for example, behind the scenes
    information or interviews with the cast).

Tag status: New tag added for iOS 11.

PowerPress requirements: 7.1 or newer.

PowerPress Setting: Go to PowerPress Settings > “Episodes” tab to enable the “iTunes Episode Number, Season and Type Fields”.

iTunes Season Number <itunes:season>

The iTunes season number field is new for iOS 11. The value should be a number greater than or equal to 1 (a non-zero number).

Note: Seasons do not appear in the podcast directory unless you specify 2 or more season numbers in your episodes.

Tag status: New tag added for iOS 11.

PowerPress requirements: 7.1 or newer.

PowerPress Setting: Go to PowerPress Settings > “Episodes” tab to enable the “iTunes Episode Number, Season and Type Fields”.

iTunes Episode Number <itunes:episode>

The iTunes episode number field is new for iOS 11. The value should be a number greater than or equal to 1 (a non zero number). Use of the episode number field should be utilized to order episodes within a season.

Note: If you do not use seasons and you want your latest episodes to be listed first (traditional podcast listing), you do not need to use the iTunes episode field. If episode tag is not specified, the default listing method is used by ordering the episodes with the latest episodes first.

Tag status: New tag added for iOS 11.

PowerPress requirements: 7.1 or newer.

PowerPress Setting: Go to PowerPress Settings > “Episodes” tab to enable the “iTunes Episode Number, Season and Type Fields”.

New iOS 11 podcast program tags explained

iTunes Program Type <itunes:type>

The iTunes program/show type field is new for iOS 11. You can now specify one of two types for a podcast program/show. If no type is specified then “episodic” is assumed.

  • episodic – (default) Specify episodic for stand-alone episodes or when you want your episodes presented and recommended last-to-first. This option also supports seasons, with the newest episode at the top. For new subscribers, Apple Podcasts adds the latest, most recent episode in their Library.
  • serial – Specify serial when you want your episodes presented and recommended first-to-last. This option supports narratives, storytelling, thematic and multiple seasons.

Note: Episodic podcasts function in the traditional sense: when someone subscribes, the latest podcast episode is added to the listener’s library. Serial podcasts function by season: All of the episodes within the highest season number are automatically added to the listener’s library.

Tag status: New tag added for iOS 11.

PowerPress requirements: 7.1 or newer.

PowerPress Setting: Go to PowerPress Settings > “iTunes” tab to enable the “iTunes Type” field.