Blocking or removing a podcast from Apple

There are multiple ways to remove specific podcast episodes and/or your entire podcast series from both Apple Podcasts as well as other podcast directories.

<itunes:block> feature

Apple provides a special tag <itunes:block> that can be used to notify Apple Podcasts that your podcast series or specific episode should not appear in their directory. This feature is exclusive to Apple. Episode-level blocking is temporary, whereas program-level (episode series) block may require you to contact Apple to re-enable. At the program level (episode series), a block will remove the entire podcast from the directory.

Note: Most podcast directories ignore this tag and should not be relied upon as a way to hide episodes.

Remove specific episode(s) from Apple Podcasts and other directories

There are two ways to remove specific episodes from Apple. The first recommended method removes the episode from Apple Podcasts as well as most other podcast directories. The second <itunes:block> method only removes the episode from Apple’s directory.

Recommended method: To remove the episode from appearing in all podcast directories including Apple Podcasts, simply find the blog post / episode in question. Change the post status to Draft or delete the blog post entirely.

<itunes:block> method: To remove the episode only in Apple Podcasts, use the <itunes:block> feature when editing a podcast episode. Please see the instructions at the bottom of this page to enable the <itunes:block> feature in PowerPress.

Remove entire show / podcast series from Apple Podcasts

There are two ways to remove the entire show from Apple Podcasts. The recommended method works for both Apple as well as most podcast subscription tools. The second, the <itunes:block> method, only removes the podcast from Apple Podcasts and is temporary.

Recommended method: To remove a podcast series from appearing in most podcast directories including Apple, we recommend the following steps:

  1. Apple Podcasts only: Sign into Apple Podcasts Connect and select your podcast’s cover art. On the next page, under Additional Information, select the Delete Podcast link. A pop-up will appear, asking if you’re sure. Confirm and give Apple up to 24 hours to remove the listing from the directory.
  2. Remove all episodes from your website and modify your podcast title and description information to indicate the show is no longer available. You may want to replace the show title completely with “Podcast no longer available” so the listing on podcast directories no longer uses your podcast title. We recommend maintaining this empty feed for 2 weeks. You may also want to switch out your show’s artwork to something that does not include your logo and/or program title. Essentially, you are blanking out your listing so it is no longer associated with your podcast.

You can optionally combine this step with using the <itunes:block> method, but it should not be necessary.

  1. Setup the podcast feed URL to report a 404 (page not found) response. We recommend doing this 2 weeks after you blanked out your podcast feed; this gives podcast directories an opportunity to switch the listing information to the blanked out information.

<itunes:block> method: To remove the podcast series temporarily from Apple Podcasts, use the <itunes:block> feature. Please see the instructions at the bottom of this page to enable the <itunes:block> feature in PowerPress.

NOTE: After 2 weeks we recommend replacing the feed with a 404 (page not found) response. Simply using the block method alone will not stop other podcast directories or a web browser from accessing your podcast feed.

Other podcast directories may need to be contacted directly to request removal. Most podcast directories do not recognize the <itunes:block> tag.

Remove entire show / podcast series from other podcast directories

Though many podcast directories will remove a podcast after a number of months of the feed reporting a 404 (page not found) response, some may require you to contact the directory to request removal.

Assuming you submitted a podcast-only feed, all you need to do is remove the podcast episodes from your site. Once the feed is empty WordPress will report the empty feed URL with a 404 (page not found) response.

If you plan on taking the entire website down, then no further action is necessary. Simply by removing your WordPress website, the URL to your podcast feed will report a 404 (page not found) response.

If you submitted a WordPress feed URL (like the default blog feed or a category feed), then you may need to write a rule in your server’s .htaccess file (if ModRewrite is supported). Please contact your web hosting provider or server administrator for assistance with creating a file not found response for specific URLs on your server.

WARNING: If you are using a feed caching service such as FeedBurner, you will need to follow their instructions with how to convert your feed to a 404 (page not found) response.

<itunes:complete> feature

Apple also provides a special tag <itunes:complete> that can notify Apple Podcasts that your podcast is no longer producing episodes. This option tells them to stop pulling your podcast feed every 4 hours. Configuring this option does not remove your podcast from Apple Podcasts or associated apps.

WARNING: This feature may be permanent. Once you mark your podcast series as complete, you may no longer be able to publish new episodes to Apple Podcasts with this feed URL.

Enable the <itunes:block> and <itunes:complete> features in PowerPress

As a safety precaution we require a specific define line in your wp-config.php to enable this feature. We do this to prevent users from accidentally causing permanent damage to their Apple Podcasts listing.

To enable the <itunes:block> and <itunes:complete> features in PowerPress, add the following define to your wp-config.php:

define(‘POWERPRESS_NOT_SUPPORTED’, true);

The define above can be added on a new line anywhere in your wp-config.php so long as it is above the require line found at the bottom. If you are not familiar with editing the wp-config.php, please provide the information on this page to a qualified server administrator or web developer to add this line for you.

Once the define above is in your wp-config.php, new <itunes:block> and <itunes:complete> options will be available in PowerPress Feeds > Apple Settings tab. The options will also be available for category podcasting, podcast channels, post type podcasting, and taxonomy podcasting specific Apple settings.

For using the <itunes block> option on a per-episode basis, go to PowerPress Feeds > Apple Settings tab and enable the Block option under Advanced Options. This option is only available when the define above is in your wp-config.php.