Formatting show notes in Apple Podcast (iOS 14.5)

How can I show my show notes on Apple Podcast (including links)? It seems that Apple deactivated the html code from the main text field. I didn’t use Subtitle and Summary, but only used the main text field for my show notes.

Now, my show notes do not appear anymore on Apple Podcast. Is it due to the update to iOS 14.5?

Also, what are the best practices for displaying the show notes with Podlove? I have listeners mostly on Spotify and Apple Podcast. Both seem to be using different parts of the RSS feed.

My findings have shown that Apple Podcasts does no longer display HTML content, starting with iOS 14.5. There is nothing we can do about this unfortunate decision. Let’s hope this is just another bug introduced with Apple’s latest changes.

Since podcast clients display shownotes in different ways, it’s hard to provide a definitive answer. Spotify has started to show some HTML content on mobile devices – finally. I’d stay away from including images or tables.

Thanks, Joey.

It seems that (1) there’s no unified way of using RSS from Apple, Spotify, and the others and (2) there’s no transparent guidance on what they use to display information about the podcast and the episodes. :open_mouth:

Let’s hope that it’s a bug and that Apple didn’t decide to give up on displaying HTML content.

Have you been able to see what field Apple Podcast displays for each episode? Title? Subtitle? Summary? It seems that nothing except for the title appears. :confused:

Depending on where you’re looking at your podcast:

  • Episode number (probably season too)
  • Episode title
  • Show title
  • Author
  • Podcast description
  • Episode count
  • Category
  • Rating
  • Either unformatted <content:encoded> or <description>/<itunes:summary>
  • Publication date
  • Cover art
  • Link to episode website
  • Copyright
  • Chapters within audio file
  • Explicit tag, if set
  • Duration
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Thanks, @Joey.

The following tags are called Summary in Podlove?

<content:encoded> or <description>/<itunes:summary>

Not exactly. The summary in Podlove will end up in <description> and <itunes:summary>.
<content:encoded> is your main written content from the big box up top, if the option to include HTML content is activated in the feed settings.

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Makes sense! Thanks, @Joey.

With the new Podcast App in iOS 14.5, Apple switched from direct feed consumption to proxy the data via their backend, c.f. https://podnews.net/article/apple-podcasts-new-episode – The current engineers probably where not aware of proper show notes, so I would classify the current behaviour as bug on Apple’s side which they hopefully will fix in the near future.

Edit – the new behaviour is even worse then expected: https://twitter.com/evoterra/status/1388195338054344706

Update: Thanks to @theDanielJLewis ’ work, it appears that <description> is what displays. If it’s wrapped in CDATA, HTML will display. But if you also include <itunes:summary>, that’s all that displays. So don’t use <itunes:summary>.

If this stays like this the Publisher probably needs an new option what to put into <description> … and to drop <itunes:summary> :frowning:

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But: This might cause issues with other clients relying on the <itunes:summary> tag or expecting the <description> to be plain text. :confused:
I still hope Apple will just go back to showing <content:encoded>, if available.

Nobody should rely on <itunes:summary>, it was always only thought as optimised short variant of <description>.

When Apple last updated their RSS documentation https://help.apple.com/itc/podcasts_connect/#/itcb54353390 a few months ago, they dropped both <itunes:summary> and <content:encoded> from their examples (compare https://podnews.net/article/html-episode-notes-in-podcast-rss, including the quotes – or use https://web.archive.org/web/20210415202929/https://help.apple.com/itc/podcasts_connect/#/itcbaf351599)

But recently they also added a little disclaimer at the top:

Note: This page does not list all supported RSS tags, just the most important ones. If Apple deprecates RSS tags in the future, podcasters will receive notifications in Podcasts Connect and newsletter.

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Thanks for the update. That “notification” did work out nicely! :sweat_smile:

Sorry, as I’m not fully clear on what text field triggers what tag.

<itunes:summary> comes from this text field?

Screen Shot 2021-05-02 at 14.46.32

And <description> comes from the main text area?

Screen Shot 2021-05-02 at 14.48.43

If you set itunes:summary, then it is identical to description in the feed.

The WordPress main text area is rendered into content:encoded because HTML is allowed there. But it looks like content:encoded is not used in the most recent Podcasts app, which is … :scream:

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Thanks for clarifying. Makes sense now! :slight_smile:

The lack of standard approach for using the RSS feed is so annoying. :sweat_smile: Spotify seems to use content:encoded. But Apple Podcasts gave up on this… Let’s see as it seems they are still working on an update of the latest version (after iOS 14.5.1).