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Mythbusting: are downloads from 'AppleCoreMedia' mostly Apple Podcasts?
Mak Flex

Mythbusting: are downloads from 'AppleCoreMedia' mostly Apple Podcasts?

· Updated · By James Cridland · 1.6 minutes to read

Some podcast hosts think that traffic from an AppleCoreMedia useragent should be lumped into the total numbers for Apple Podcasts. Is that right?

What is AppleCoreMedia?

Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts or Castro are all podcast apps on iOS. When they download a show, your server will see a 'user-agent’: something like Podcasts/1530.3 or Pocket Casts or Castro 2021.2/1301 - for the apps Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts or Castro.

All three of these apps don’t need to download a show. You can “stream”1 a podcast on them instead. Press play and the app will start downloading the file and start playing it as soon as it can: even while it’s continuing to download the file. When you “stream” a podcast file all these apps used to look similar to this instead:


This is the user-agent of Apple’s AVKit library that each of these apps use to enable the magic of “streaming” - the capability to play a file as you’re still downloading it.

Until recently, Apple didn’t give an official way for the AVKit’s user-agent to be changed, so all your podcast host could see was “AppleCoreMedia” and not the name of the app.

Apple now do allow developers to change the user-agent, and most - including Apple Podcasts itself - now correctly set the useragent.

How many AppleCoreMedia useragents are not Apple Podcasts?

In 2021, according to our download logs and RSS feed analysis, just 37.2% of all AppleCoreMedia downloads were from Apple Podcasts.

We calculate this figure daily in our podcast statistics, if you want to check on how things are going. We’re now seeing fewer than 1% of our downloads from “AppleCoreMedia”.

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Real, or Myth?


The majority of AppleCoreMedia requests were NOT from Apple Podcasts.

In 2021, 63% of AppleCoreMedia traffic was verifiably not from Apple Podcasts. It was not correct to assign these numbers to Apple Podcasts: since doing that would erroneously inflate Apple Podcast’s market share.


  1. A “stream” is better called a “progressive download”. In this article, we’re defining it as “playing a podcast while it’s still downloading”. In fact, no podcasts are served by “streaming”; but we’re using this phrase to simply show the difference between this and an ordinary download.
James CridlandJames Cridland is the Editor of Podnews, a keynote speaker and consultant. He wrote his first podcast RSS feed in January 2005; and also launched the first live radio streaming app for mobile phones in the same year. He's worked in the audio industry since 1989.

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