How To: Download Podcasts with iTunes and Sync with a Zune

By As most of you know I purchased a Zune 80 last week, just in time for my road trip to North Carolina for the holiday. My new Zune was a godsend. Zune LogoThe 10 hour drive flew by as I listened to hour after hour of audiobook and podcast. After returning from my trip I really made the effort to stop using iTunes and use the Zune software as my primary mp3 program. Well after day one I can honestly say that isn’t going to happen.

The Zune software makes it too hard to determine which Podcast shows have new episodes. So I decided to switch back to iTunes for downloading and listening to podcasts/music, but I still wanted to sync to my Zune.

Below are the steps I used to download Podcasts/music from iTunes and sync to my Zune automatically.

Step 1: Unsubscribe from all of your Podcasts on the Zune Software. This will stop your Zune software from downloading new episodes when they are released. iTunes will do this for you from now on.

Step 2: Find your iTunes media folder

1. Open iTunes
2. From the Edit menu select Preferences
3. Click the “Advanced” tab

Your media folder is listed where it states “iTunes Music folder location” Remember this location

Step 3: Change your media folder in Zune Software

1. Open up your Zune Software.
2. Select Settings > General
3. Click the “Change Folder” button and point to the media folder you pulled from iTunes in the previous step.
4. Save your settings

Step 4: Change your Podcast folder in Zune Software

1. Open up your Zune Software.
2. Select Settings > Collection
3. Under the Podcast section add the media folder you pulled from iTunes in Step 2 and select the Podcasts subfolder (ex: c:musicPodcasts) The folder will already exist.

That’s it! The Zune Software will now look in your iTunes media folder for new Podcast episodes and add them to your collection automatically.

Hopefully Microsoft will update the software soon to fix many of the complaints we have about their Podcast section.

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  1. Great tip. There is only one problem I can forsee though. What about podcasts that are downloaded by itunes that are not a supported format for the Zune?

  2. I’m curious why you need to know when a podcast has new episodes? I’m honestly curious since I’ve never needed such a feature and perhaps I’m missing out on something wonderful ๐Ÿ™‚

    Personally I’m more an audiobook vs. podcast guy but I do subscribe to the BBC NewsPod podcast and I can’t think of a time I needed to know when a new episode was available. I just select the oldest episode, listen to it and it automatically gets deleted after I’ve listened to it all the way through. When a new episode is downloaded it shows up and I’m ready to go. When I’ve listened to all the episodes, like on the weekends when there isn’t a NewsPod, then I don’t have anything under podcasts.

    Perhaps it’s different/more important when you’re subscribed to a slew of podcasts and you keep old ones around. So… what are your podcasting habits?

  3. @Chris – good question. I am having an issue with one podcast that doesn’t seem to work this way. It’s a smaller show so it must have something to do with their formatting. Once I get it figured out I’ll post an update

    @Shawn – Think of Podcasts as a radio show. Most are released weekly. New episodes are released on different days so without knowing which show has new episodes I have to click on each show and look. This makes it difficult when you listen to 20 different Podcasts on a weekly basis.

  4. Do the podcasts show up in the Zune software as Music or as Podcasts? If it’s the former, then the Podcast top level category on Zune becomes kind of useless. Even worse, the Zune probably doesn’t support bookmarking for the podcasts if it thinks they are just regular music mp3s.

  5. @Kelvin – Great question and you reminded me of one step that I forgot. I added Step 4 which points your Podcast folder over to the iTunes Podcasts folder. This makes the Zune treat all iTunes Podcasts as actual Podcasts instead of music.

  6. @Kelvin – Anything you tag with a genre of “Podcast” automatically shows up underneath the top-level Podcast category. I actually keep all my audiobooks in a seperate folder from my podcasts but just flipping their genre made them automatically show up.

    You’re correct, Zune only supports Resume (bookmarking) on podcasts.

  7. Awesome Tip Brad. Ever since I downgraded my Zune’s firmware to 1.4 and using the old software, my Zune automatically checks my Itunes Podcasts folders for any new MP 3 files. It then automatically syncs them to my device. It’s been rather nice.

  8. Just wanted to say – THANKS MUCH for the tip. I was so frustrated with the “updated” zune software and all it’s “features”. It took me all of 20 minutes to set up your tip. I am up and running ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I was wondering If anyone knows how to download ESPN Podcasts. I have a 4g, just got it and not very technical ..Need some help

  10. do you know how to download tv shows from itunes to zune?

  11. I would like to follow the steps you have laid out on: “How To: Download Podcasts with iTunes and Sync with a Zune” However, before I do this might I ask .. has Zune updated any of this that it might work more effectively this Aug. 22,2008 as I see the Post of your answer was in 2077

    thank you kindly for your help in advance!

  12. Hey Brad,
    Thanks for the great tips on how to sync my 4GB refurbed Zune with iTunes. It seems like heresy, but the way you detailed it- it works great! I’m a died-in-the-wool Apple Fan, but getting a 4GB Zune, a Leather Case and a Car Kit for shipping ($10) was hard to pass up! Microsoft’s Zune software is terrible, but getting it to work with iTunes is great (microsoft could learn here).
    Thanks again,

  13. Brad,
    I just received my Zune and now want to transfer my iTunes library music to Zune.

    I reset my settings in Zune, as you said. Does that
    only work for future iTunes purchases? Zune isn’t
    showing any of my iTunes library. Any suggestions?


  14. Brad,

    Just wanted to check in with you after my previous email. Wow….all my iTunes started showing up on Zune! It took a while for it to catch up! You are a genius!
    You made my day!
    Thanks for sharing your tips.

  15. Hey! I just noticed another message in another weblog that seemed like this. How do you know all these things? Thatโ€™s one cool post.

  16. Amazing that after all these years this tip still came to good use. Long live the ZUNE!