Google Podcasts is shutting down next year, and as a result, YouTube Music is adding new features to attract podcast listeners. One of these features is the ability to auto-download podcasts, which allows users to save the most recent episode to their device for offline listening. However, there is currently no auto-removal setting, unlike other podcast clients. Google Podcasts, for example, has a “Remove completed episodes” preference that lets users specify when episodes should be removed. Despite this, the addition of auto-downloads is a step towards making YouTube Music a competitive podcast player.
Auto-downloads for podcasts on YouTube Music can be enabled on a per-show and per-device basis. Users need to visit the show page and tap on the new settings gear icon to enable auto-downloads. However, episodes that have been finished listening to are not automatically deleted. It is unclear when or how these files will be removed. The lack of an auto-removal setting and the ability to remove unfinished episodes is a downside compared to other podcast clients. YouTube Music is currently available on Android and iOS with version 6.21.
An upcoming feature that many users are waiting for is the ability to subscribe via RSS, which would make YouTube Music a straightforward podcast player that doesn’t require shows to create and upload video versions. Google is also working on an automated flow for this. The addition of auto-downloads is a step towards making YouTube Music a more comprehensive podcast player, but there is still room for improvement in terms of features and functionalities.