Apple Podcasts logo on light gray background

What's going on with Apple and episode numbers?

Apple recently sent out an email to all podcasters with a series of compliance guidelines. While most of those guidelines were well received there was one in particular that caused quite a stir:

Apple Email 01

Including episode numbers at the front of your episode title is a common practice, so naturally, this guideline affects a large percentage of podcasters.

The very next day Apple sent out a second email to retract the statement that including episode numbers in your titles could result in your podcast being pulled from the Apple Podcasts app but it still left quite a mark on the podcasting community.

Apple Screenshot 02

Now that the dust has had a chance to settle, what does this mean for podcasters moving forward? If you include episode numbers in your titles how does this affect your podcast?

You can listen to this podcast episode from Buzzcast or continue reading to get up to speed.

Do you have to change your titles?

If you currently incorporate episode numbers in your titles (#1, 01, E1, Ep 1, etc.), you don’t have to change anything.

Including episode numbers as a helpful tool to allow your listeners to navigate between different episodes has been a common practice for quite some time. As of writing this blog, Apple is the only major podcast player that displays episode numbers (and they bury it deep in the episode so you can only spot it if you know where to look), so podcasters use the <title> tag to ensure their listeners can find what they’re looking for.

Apple Podcast Screenshot

Could Apple change its mind again?


After all the backlash that ensued from the first email, we’re skeptical that Apple would choose to reverse course again, but it’s certainly possible.

If Apple began demanding episode numbers be removed from titles, Buzzsprout is prepared to roll out a bulk episode title editor to make the transition painless (even if you have hundreds of episodes that need to be updated).

If any critical changes are ever needed to keep your podcast compliant with any of the significant podcast players, Buzzsprout will do everything we can to communicate clearly and provide you the tools to make updates quickly and easily.

As of right now, it seems Apple is listening to the podcast community and reversed course on their controversial stance against episode numbers in titles. We’ll update this blog if any of that changes.

If you have any additional questions, please reach out to our support team at [email protected]

Travis Albritton

Travis Albritton

Travis Albritton is the Head of Content for Buzzsprout and host of "How to Start a Podcast" and "Buzzcast."