How iOS 14.5 broke Apple’s Podcasts app [ux2]

Apple’s Podcasts app in iOS 14.5 is missing episodes, lacks proper show notes, and falls well short of third-party podcast apps — and so far, Apple seems disinterested in actively fixing the problems.

After the iOS 14.5 update went live on April 26, numerous users have experienced bugs with Apple’s Podcasts app. The most critical issue being some podcast episodes not showing up in user’s apps for days after they are released.

Our latest episode, released Friday at 2:00AM Eastern, did not show for Apple Podcasts users until at the earliest Saturday evening or even with others telling us that it appeared on Sunday. Some users claim the episode is still unavailable — while every other third-party podcast app delivered the episode Friday morning.

Podcast apps delivered our latest episode, except Apple Podcasts

This behavior is shared by other third-party podcast apps as well, such as Overcast and Pocket Casts, but it seems Apple’s servers are checking much less frequently than other services. According to Podnews, an app like Overcast seems to crawl a podcast’s RSS feeds “every 1 minute” as opposed to Apple’s crawling service known as “iTMS” that crawled the same feed “every 2.1 hours.”

Developer Marco Arment, maker of Overcast confirmed the behavior seems to have changed, saying that “prior to 14.5, Apple Podcasts always pulled the feed contents from each copy of the app directly from the publishers’ feeds.”

Arment went on to say that “it seems that Apple Podcasts may have switched to this model, but the issue appears to be that they may not be crawling RSS feeds frequently enough.”

We also spoke to makers of third-party podcast app Castro on their behavior of a manual refresh.

In addition to new episodes not appearing in Apple’s Podcasts app, other issues have appeared since iOS 14.5. Users viewing an episode’s show notes can no longer click on HTML links inside the app unless the full link is displayed:

HTML show links are broken in iOS 14.5

There are now multiple screens in the app that display the latest episodes, but they are inconsistent. Navigating to the Library tab inside the app and then clicking “Latest Episodes” shows the latest HomeKit Insider episode, while the “Listen Now” tab does not include the show.

Prior to iOS 14.5, users could scroll to the bottom of the “Now Playing” screen to find “Episode Notes.” That option has been removed in the latest update and users must either navigate to the podcast show page and tap the episode, or learn that tapping the scrolling title of the episode will bring them to the Episode Notes.

Episode notes are missing from Now Playing

In addition to the Apple Podcasts app, creators trying to access the redesigned Apple Podcasts Connect dashboard have experienced issues since the “Spring Loaded” event. Podcasting platform Transistor has compiled a list of those issues and some of Apple’s responses.

Apple in an update to its system status webpage on Monday said it is investigating the issue.

Update: Apple said it resolved the issue Monday afternoon.

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