Follow on Apple Podcasts
When Apple introduced support for podcasts in iTunes, listeners could “subscribe” to podcasts to add them to their libraries, automatically download new episodes, and sync them to their iPods. Since then, “following” an account online has become widely adopted and well-understood, and creators are pursuing new ways of monetizing their work. To reflect these developments, and make clear what content is available for free to listeners, the term “subscribe” was updated to “follow” throughout Apple Podcasts in winter 2021, and is often denoted with the “+” button. Now, listeners can follow shows to automatically download and receive notifications for new episodes and, with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, subscribe to shows and channels to support creators and unlock premium experiences.
Followers and subscribers
Followers typically listen to your show regularly and are likely to recommend it to someone. When a listener decides to follow your show, they’ll automatically download and be notified of all new episodes, which appear in the Listen Now and Library tabs. Learn how to follow a show and manage notifications.
Subscribers have purchased a subscription to your show or channel to unlock a premium experience and to support you and your work. Your subscribers are paying customers and it is important to message them through your audio and metadata to remind them of the benefits you are offering.
How following works
As listeners follow shows, the Apple Podcasts experience makes it easy for followers to find and enjoy new episodes and keep playback synced across devices.
When listeners follow a show or save an episode to their Library, playback position for each episode is preserved and synced across all of their devices.
Notifications for new episodes
By default, followers are notified of all new episodes for the shows they’re following. Followers can switch off notifications for specific shows by tapping the Account icon on the top right of Listen Now, then tapping Notifications. On macOS, select Podcasts > Notifications.
Apple Podcasts presents the best episode to your followers in their Up Next queue. When listeners follow episodic shows, the most recent episode is automatically downloaded and added to Up Next. For serial shows, the first three episodes of the most recent season are downloaded and added to Up Next. Learn more about episodic and serial shows.
As new episodes are published to followed shows, they appear in Up Next, and the Up Next queue will present the best episode to listen to next at the top of the queue.
As listeners follow and engage with a show, charts will be updated to reflect its popularity. The more followers and engagement, the higher a show’s chart position. Learn more about Apple Podcasts Charts.
When users subscribe from a show page, they will automatically begin following the show. When users subscribe from a channel, they can choose which shows they want to follow. All shows included in a channel are presented in the Listen Now tab for channels they subscribe to.
Many listeners will be using an iPhone and the Apple Podcasts app. Consider suggesting current listeners share your show with friends and family too. For example:
- “Follow our show on Apple Podcasts so that you get notified each time a new episode is available.”
- “If you already follow our show, help a friend follow the show too.”
Measure followers in Analytics
Analytics in Apple Podcasts Connect makes it easy to view your followers.
Get a breakdown of followers per show and easily measure followers across shows. Once a show is selected, you can view the number of net new followers over the last week, month, 60 days, and all time. Navigate to the Trends menu to view a graph of followers over time and the number of net new followers on a specific day or during a specified range.
View listening by followers
You can also view listening by those following and not following. From Analytics, select a show, then view total hours of Time Listened and the percentage of those hours from those following versus not following.
Downloads versus followers
If you’re looking at downloads as reported by your third-party hosting provider, you’ll notice that the number of reported downloads will often vary from the number of followers displayed in Apple Podcasts Connect. This can happen for a few reasons:
- Listeners may play your episode without following, which can result in additional downloads.
- Followers may play your episode from multiple devices, which can result in multiple downloads.
- Followers may have turned off automatic downloads for your show.
- If a follower is not engaged with a show, automatic downloads may be paused.
- Followers are calculated and updated daily. If you’ve just launched a show and don’t see any followers, check back the following day.
- Followers are associated with shows, so if a listener is following two shows from a single channel, they will be counted as a follower of each show, not as a single follower.
- Followers are synced across platforms, so if a listener follows a show on Mac and often listens on iPhone, they are considered a single follower of that show.
- If a follower is not engaged with a show, automatic downloads are paused. A listener with automatic downloads turned off or paused is still counted as a follower. Learn more about automatic downloads.
- If a listener has not used Apple Podcasts for a couple of years, they will remain a follower of their shows, but they will not be counted as a follower until they resume listening.