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Home / Tips and Tricks / Automatically play new podcast episodes on your iPhone when you plug in headphones, start a journey, tap an NFC tag, and more «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

Automatically play new podcast episodes on your iPhone when you plug in headphones, start a journey, tap an NFC tag, and more «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks



The Shortcuts app can help you play the next unplayed podcast from any of the shows, but it’s a bit trickier to get the latest unplayed episodes from your entire row of shows in the Podcasts app. Over there is an easy way to do it on your iPhone, and you can even automate it so that Podcasts automatically plays your most recent pristine episode.

Yes, you can use Siri to play a new podcast episode, but that’s a long way from automation. With one pre-made shortcut, you can start the latest podcast episode from your list of shows when you activate it – without lifting a finger. That trigger could be anything like getting into your car, plugging in headphones, leaving for work, tapping an NFC tag, or turning on Do Not Disturb.

Obligated

  • iOS 1
    3 or higher
    : This shortcut works on iOS 13 and iOS 14, even though the way Apple organizes unplayed podcasts has changed with iOS 14 and above.
  • Shortcuts: The app is pre-installed on your iPhone, but if you uninstalled it, you can download it again from the App Store.
  • Allow untrusted shortcuts: Go to Settings -> Shortcuts and enable “Allow untrusted shortcuts” to allow user created shortcuts.

Step 1: Download the ‘Play Latest Podcasts’ shortcut

Instead of going to the Podcasts app to play a recent episode, RoutineHub user gianflo6’s “Play Latest Podcasts” shortcut searches Podcasts for new episodes of your favorite podcasts and then plays them. You can use the shortcut from the link below or from RoutineHub.

After downloading the shortcut, you will be redirected to shortcuts, but if not, tap “Get Shortcut”. A preview of the shortcut’s actions appears. Scroll to the bottom of the workflow and tap “Add untrusted shortcut” to add the shortcut to your library.

Step 2: Find your podcasts store IDs

The next thing to do is copy the store IDs of your favorite podcasts, and that’s how the shortcut will find your favorite podcasts and play the most recent episodes. To do this, go to the Podcasts app, find the show and copy the link to it using one of the methods below.

  • From a list or grid view, long-press the show and choose Copy Link.
  • From a show’s details, tap the ellipsis (•••) and choose Copy Link.

Now go somewhere where you can edit text, such as notes, and paste the link to the podcast. At the end of the URL, you should see a string of nine or ten digits after “id” – that’s the show’s store ID. Paste all your podcast links into this note as you will need to copy the store ID for each of them in the next step.

Alternatively, you can paste the URLs directly into the shortcut (see step 3) if you don’t want to create a separate document. Then you delete everything except the store ID numbers.

Step 3: Paste the store IDs in the shortcut

Copy one of the Store IDs to your clipboard, go to Shortcuts and find the “Play Latest Podcasts” shortcut in the “My Shortcuts” tab. From the map, tap the ellipsis (•••) to open the editor. After the two Comment boxes at the top you will see a List action that already contains temporary store IDs. This is where you paste the store IDs for your podcasts.

Paste the store IDs from your first two podcasts into the pre-filled spaces to overwrite the samples. To add another show, tap the field with the green plus (+) button and paste the store ID into it. Repeat this until all of your shows have been added.

If you don’t want to use Notes, you can enter the full URL of the shows on each line of the List and just delete everything except the store ID numbers.

Step 4: Give the shortcut the appropriate permissions

Before you create an automation to automatically play your new podcast episodes, run the shortcut first to give it the necessary permissions to work properly. To do this, tap the “Play Latest Podcasts” card in “My Shortcuts” to run it.

The first time you run the shortcut, you will be prompted to access iCloud Drive, which tracks your podcasts, and the Podcasts app, which plays the podcasts. Tap “OK” on each popup to allow access to the shortcut.

Step 5: Create an automation for the shortcut

The final step is to create the automation that will make the shortcut run. In Shortcuts, go to the “Automation” tab. Then tap the plus icon (+) in the top right corner and then “Create Personal Automation”. If you don’t see the plus sign (+), just tap “Create Personal Automation”.

Now choose the trigger that will cause the shortcut to run automatically and play your latest podcast episode. You have several options, including leaving your home, connecting to CarPlay, connecting to AirPods, and tapping an NFC tag. For this example, I choose “CarPlay” and the “Connect” option, which means that the shortcut will run when I connect to CarPlay with my iPhone. Tap “Next” to continue.

Then tap “Add Action” or the search bar at the bottom, look for “Run Shortcut” and tap it when it appears. This adds the action to your automation.

Once the action is added, tap the blue “Shortcut” button and find and select the “Play Latest Podcasts” shortcut.

Your automation is now practically complete. Tap “Next” in the top right and uncheck “Ask Before Running” so that the automation will run without having to OK. Press “Done” to finish.

Step 6: Listen to your most recent podcast episodes

Each time your automation is triggered, the most recent podcast episode in your list will automatically play on your iPhone. When the first episode is over, the unplayed episodes list continues to play. Once all podcast episodes have finished playing, the shortcut will stop playing until there are new ones.

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Cover photo and screenshots by Nelson Aguilar / Gadget Hacks

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