Help: My Podcasts Will Not Start Playing (Solved!)

Sometimes when I try to play a podcast, there will be an error message telling me that the file is in use.

This is particularly frustrating because it will usually work fine the next time I try playing it. Happens every single time.

Here’s Why Your Podcast Won’t Start Playing:

Bandwidth and software incompatibility are the two leading causes of podcasts that will not start playing. It could also be your Wi-Fi network, a broken link, or even buffering times. It is also possible you need to update your phone or app.

What Can Cause Podcasts Players To Not Work?

There are several reasons why this could occur.

Here are some of the most common:

Network Issues:

You may be experiencing network problems that cause the episode not to play.

You may want to check your internet connection or try again later. If you’re on a mobile device, you may need to switch from Wi-Fi to cellular service or vice versa.

Wrong Feed URL:

If you imported an RSS feed into your podcast player, there’s a chance that someone changed the feed address but didn’t update their site with the correct one, or they tried updating the feed address but did it incorrectly. 

In either case, you can find another episode on the same site and try playing it – if it works, it’s just a matter of finding the new feed address for this podcast.

Corrupt Media File:

Sometimes media files get corrupted during download, which causes them not to play correctly.

If this happens regularly, we suggest trying another podcast player or app as different players handle corrupt files differently.

What to Do if the Podcast Player Will Not Open:

If you have an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings and scroll down to the Podcasts app. Make sure it is on.

If it is off, turn it on. Close all the apps running by double-clicking the home button, then swipe up on all the apps and close them out.

Other reasons associated with computers.

It could be that the feed is not valid, and the podcast is not on podcast directories. You can find out if your podcast is on guides by searching for it on google. If you don’t see your show, likely, your feed isn’t valid.

If the podcast player is not displaying any podcasts, there might be an error in the code. Ensure that the feed URL is correct and that the extension of your feed file is .xml; otherwise, it will not work.

Why Will My Podcast Player Only Play Some Episodes?

There are a few reasons why your podcast player may not play all episodes of your favorite podcasts. You may be trying to play an episode that is no longer available online. Some podcasts are only available for a certain amount of time before they expire.

Another reason your podcast player may not be playing specific episodes is that it is too old. Some podcasters make changes in the RSS feed that makes some older versions of podcast players unable to play the episodes. 

Try updating your podcast player to the most recent version if possible and see if that fixes the problem.

If you are sure that the episode is still available and using the most recent version of your podcast player, there may be a problem with the file itself.

The problem is that the podcast player (iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play) can only play your podcast’s most recent ten episodes.

Here is how to solve the problem. Delete some of the older episodes from your podcast feed. Usually, if my new attack is not showing up in my player, I will delete 5-10 of the oldest episodes from my feed, and then it will work fine.

How Much Bandwidth Do I Need To Play Podcasts?

Your podcast player needs to download the mp3 files before it can play them. If you have a slow internet connection, it will take longer for the file to download.

Try closing other apps or programs that might be using your bandwidth.

If you have Spotify open on your computer, it may be using all of your bandwidth because it streams music in very high quality. Try closing Spotify and other music apps and see if that helps.

Podcasts are usually between 8 and 12 MB per episode (about a 5-minute song takes up about 1 MB). If you have a network connection that is 128 Kbps or faster, you should have no problem playing podcasts.

If you’re using a modem and iTunes is skipping, try upgrading your Internet connection. You can test your current connection speed at sites like Speedtest.net.

Here’s how much bandwidth you need for podcasts:

  • 1-hour podcast at 64 Kbps: 25 MB
  • 1-hour podcast at 128 Kbps: 50 MB
  • 1-hour podcast at 192 Kbps: 75 MB
  • 1-hour podcast at 256 Kbps: 100 MB
  • 1 hour of podcasts per day for one month: 1 GB
  • 1 hour of podcasts per day for one year: 12 GB

How Long Does It Take For Podcasts To Start Playing?

Podcasts should start playing right away. If they don’t, you may have a connection problem with iTunes or your Internet service provider.

Podcasts may not work well if you are using a dial-up connection because they will require too much of the bandwidth available over a dial-up connection. 

You can only download one podcast at a time, and there must be enough bandwidth to handle the download while also allowing you to surf the web.

Try connecting through a router if you are using a DSL connection (always on) and your computer is connected directly to the DSL modem. This will allow more than one device (computer or other) to share the same DSL connection. 

The router acts as a hub for all the devices on your network so that each device can connect to the internet independently of the other. We use D-Link routers in our studio, but any router will do.

Please consult the documentation that came with your router for proper installation procedures.

4 Practical Solutions To Podcasts That Won’t Start Playing:

My Podcasts Will Not Play Through Airpods

If you use AirPods or other Bluetooth accessories and your podcasts are not playing, ensure that your Bluetooth accessory is fully charged or connected to power.

If the issue continues, try unpairing your Bluetooth accessories, restart your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Then pair and connect your devices again. Learn how to unpair your accessories or restart your iOS or iPadOS device.

The problem is that most people don’t realize that you need to have the volume turned up either on the podcast app or on your device:

  1. Go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Turn Change with Buttons OFF.
  2. Open Podcasts App > Library > Edit > Left Swipe Show More Less (if you don’t see Edit) > Turn On Playback Speed and Volume Limit.
  3. Make sure a podcast’s speed is set at 1x, and Volume Limit is not set to 0%. If it is, turn it up to any percentage above 0%. This will fix the problem in most cases.
  4. It may be necessary to restart your device after adjusting your settings.
  5. If you’re using AirPods, make sure they’re charged and then plug them into an iPhone or iPad and turn the volume up until you hear static coming out of them.
  6. Then go back into Settings and adjust as necessary.

My Podcasts Will Not Play On Bluetooth

If you’re having issues playing podcasts while connected to Bluetooth in your car, here are some things to try:

  • Ensure that both your iPhone and the Bluetooth device are charged and turned on.
  • Check that Bluetooth is turned on for both devices.
  • Make sure that the two devices are paired via Bluetooth. Check out our article How do I pair my phone with a Bluetooth accessory? for more information.
  • If you’re using an iPhone 7 or later, ensure that you have the latest software for your Bluetooth accessory. Learn how to make sure that your accessories are up to date.

If you’re using an app like Spotify or Stitcher, try these solutions:

Check your BlueTooth connection. Is your car still paired with your phone? 

If not, pair your phone to your car again by going to Settings > Bluetooth on your phone and selecting the name of the car’s stereo system under “Other Devices.” If it appears in grey text, you are already paired with the vehicle.

If you are streaming podcasts from a desktop app like iTunes over BlueTooth and the audio cuts out, try turning off iTunes and then turning it on again.

If your phone is connected to the internet via cellular data and Wi-Fi, turn off cellular data in Settings > Cellular (or Mobile Data). The podcast should still be able to stream over Wi-Fi.

Try closing other apps running in the background. You can do this by double-tapping the Home button and swiping up any apps you see at the bottom of your screen list.

My Podcasts Will Not Play On Apple Carplay

Try these steps to fix the issue:

  • Restart your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  • Force an app to close on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  • Check your connection to the internet
  • If you’re using cellular data or Wi-Fi and have issues with an app, try to connect to another Wi-Fi network.

Then use that network to see if an app downloads. If not, remove the Wi-Fi network from your device settings.

Next, restart your device and set up your Wi-Fi network again.

If you still can’t connect, learn what to do if you can’t connect to a Wi-Fi network.

Update:

  • Update your device wirelessly
  • If you see an error when you update or restore your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  • If you still can’t get apps to load or download after trying all of the above and waiting for 24 hours:
  • Sign out of the App Store and sign back in. Learn how to sign out of the App Store.
  • Contact Apple Support for help with the App Store.

My Podcasts Will Not Play On Alexa

You can view your podcast subscriptions on the Alexa app or alexa.amazon.com.

If you are unable to play a podcast that you have subscribed to, try these troubleshooting tips:

Make sure that you are signed in with the same Amazon account you used to subscribe to the podcast. If your subscription were made with a different Amazon account, it wouldn’t show up in your list of podcasts. To find out which version you used, check your email for the confirmation message that we sent when you subscribed.

If you recently subscribed to the podcast and don’t see it listed yet, allow a few minutes for the subscription to sync across all devices associated with your Amazon account.

If you recently unsubscribed from the podcast, it might take up to 24 hours before the subscription is removed from your list of podcasts on all devices associated with your Amazon account.

If you’re using an Echo device, make sure it is connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data. If you have an Echo device without a screen—like an Echo Dot—you can check its connectivity status in the Devices section of the Alexa app.

Sources:

Apple Discussions: iOS 14.6 Apple Podcast Not Playing

Spotify Community Forum: Podcast Not Playing Solved

Imobie: Common Apple Podcasts Problems & Solutions

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