How to get a podcast on iTunes (Apple Podcasts)

An image of the iTunes (Apple Podcasts) logo

If you’re getting started with podcasting, you’re gonna want to know how to get a podcast on iTunes, or Apple Podcasts as it’s now known.

With over two decades in the podcasting game, I’ve had more than my fair share of experience with doing this, and so I’m going to walk you through this process so you can’t fail.

First off, iTunes… sorry… Apple Podcasts – what’s the big deal, right?

Well, let me tell you, it’s like the Max Verstappen of podcasting platforms, and has always dominated download traffic, as this graphic from Chartable demonstrates.

iTunes/Apple Podcasts market share graphic

Apple’s ecosystem is accounting for a massive 43.1% of podcast downloads.

This figure does tend to bounce around a lot, month to month, but latest numbers indicate it’s still ‘Big Daddying’ at the top.

Even if you discount the downloads, accounting for the recent controversy around the iOS update which stopped auto-downloading of episodes, you still see Apple Podcasts owns the space based on uniques. So… 

And here’s why.

iTunes open on an iMac

It’s pre-loaded on all iPhones, iMacs, Macbooks and iPads, so it’s like having a direct line to millions of ears, right out of the box.

The other huge benefit to being listed in iTunes and Apple Podcasts means you’re also likely to pop up in other apps like Overcast and Pocket Casts because these tertiary apps use the iTunes index to populate their feeds.


Do I need to pay to upload my podcast to iTunes and Apple Podcasts?

In short, no. Not really.

There is an option to pay for opting into Apple Podcasts’ own membership system so you can monetise the content, but we’ll get to that shortly.

It’s important to know the difference between iTunes/Apple Podcasts and a podcast hosting service.

Think of iTunes as a massive library where people find and listen to podcasts, but it’s not where the actual episodes are stored.

Kinda like torrent sites that the evil pirates use. Although the sites themselves don’t host the content, they provide an index for people with the right software to find it.

This is the same in podcasting.

To get the content on iTunes and Apple Podcasts, you need a podcast hosting service, like Captivate (affiliate link but we do use them for Podknows clients so fully endorse them anyway) or Libsyn (another excellent company we recommend) – they’re the ones holding onto your files and sending them out into the world.

And the RSS feed acts like your podcast’s passport, containing all the info Apple Podcasts needs to share your show with the world. Without it, you’re going nowhere.

So, ready to get started?

Here’s your step-by-step guide:

How to submit a podcast to iTunes'/Apple Podcasts index

  1. Prep Your Podcast: Make sure you’ve got a catchy title, an episode ‘in the can’ (preferably just a trailer), and some eye-catching cover art that follows Apple’s rules. The artwork must be 1400 x 1400 pixels (or 3000 x 3000),  72 dpi and under 500kb. If it does not meet these standards, your podcast will not show up in iTunes or Apple Podcasts.
  2. Create an Apple ID: If you’re doing this for a business or organisation, or you’re an aspiring podcast manager looking to take on clients, set up a new Apple ID just for this. It’ll make your life easier, trust me.
  3. Dive into Apple Podcasts Connect: This is your command centre on Apple’s turf. Log in with your Apple ID.
  4. Add Your Podcast: Hit the ‘+ Add a Show’ button, choose ‘Add a show with an RSS feed’, and paste in your RSS feed URL.
  5. Wait for Approval: Patience is key. Apple might take a week to give you the thumbs up. Once you’re in, every new episode you add to your host will automatically show up on Apple Podcasts.

Now, a word of advice: don’t skip the RSS feed.

Since 2021, users have been allowed to upload content directly to Apple Podcasts. And, to charge a subscription for that content.

Listen, uploading directly to Apple Podcasts and making some cash from it might sound easier and sexier, but it’s a bit of a faff and costs you a yearly fee. Also, the conversion rates mean you’ll need thousands of people finding your feed to get any meaningful paying subscriber base.

Stick with the RSS feed – it’s the tried and true method.

FAQs on adding podcasts to iTunes/Apple Podcasts

  1. Approval Time For Getting A Podcast On iTunes: It varies. You might get lucky with 24 hours, or it could be a week’s wait. My record is three hours and fifty minutes but I’ve been doing this a long time and so they probably recognise my Apple ID.
  2. Rejection Risks: Yep, Apple can turn you down for various reasons, like not meeting their standards or including dodgy content. Best practice is to avoid religion, politics and other controversial subjects if you want a quick approval.
  3. Submission Frequency: Just the once. Apple’s ‘spider’ system will check your RSS feed daily for new episodes.
  4. Garageband Direct Uploads: Nah, mate. You still need to go through a hosting service hahaha! You can publish direct through Descript when with certain hosting providers, but it requires connection to your hosting account.

Read all this and decided it all seems too much of a faff? We can help!

If the idea of sorting all this out seems like too much of a hassle, or you want to ensure it’s done properly on behalf of yourself or your team, we offer a full launch service.

This includes strategy, conceptualisation, content brief, competitor analysis and adding to all the places! Just message me and ask me about my podcast launch service.

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