technology, amateur radio, scouting and me

IOS 7 is designed to cause car crashes


Splitting podcasts away from music means more manual interaction needed

I appreciate that it’s an incendiary headline but it’s there to express quite how strongly I feel about this.

I’ve had various grumbles about IOS 7 but none of them have been major; until now. Most have been learning issues on my part: changed functionality, upgraded apps and the like. This change, however, is different.


I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I listen to them in the car mainly. To reduce the amount of interaction required by me during a journey, I created an iTunes smart playlist containing all unplayed podcasts in date order. That way, I can simply call up the playlist in Music before I set off and ignore it because there are several hours of podcasts waiting to be listened to. Not any more.

What’s happened?

The first warning sign was when I sync’d my iPhone after the O/S upgrade. I got a warning to say that the Podcast app was not installed and I would therefore not be able to play my podcasts. Huh?

A bit of delving revealed that Apple has completely split podcasts from music and the Music app will not now play podcasts. Don’t ask me why they’ve done this but I doubt it was done for our benefit.

OK, I installed the Podcast app. Unfortunately, this has no playlist capability: you have to play individual podcasts. If there is more than one episode in a podcast, then they get played successively, but the player stops at the end.

And this is where accidents will get caused.

We are attached to our smart devices and we do pay attention when they alert us. Even when we are driving. If the phone has been happily playing podcasts for maybe 60-70 minutes and then stops, I will be motivated to get it playing more. This will require several manual interactions with the phone, including unlocking it, and this is a safety issue.

I know I should exercise self-control and pull over (not on a motorway), or wait until it’s convenient to stop. Hopefully, I will; but how many won’t?

I’m serious: this is a retrograde step that will cause accidents


OK, there is a workaround, but it’s a hassle. To revert to the previous behaviour you can go into the podcast episodes in iTunes:

  • change their media type to music rather than podcast; and
  • set their genre to podcast

You can then amend the smart playlist to select all music with genre podcast and playcount = 0.

It works, but it is a hassle because you have the make the changes every time iTunes downloads new podcasts. Oh, and of course it won’t work if you sync over the air. That’s not a problem for me because I won’t do that anyway due to the way it would eat up my data allowance.

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