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Instacast's Automatic Download Management

There was a little bit of a backlash during last days about the changes in the download management in Instacast. Mostly users of Instacast 2 seem to be upset by those changes.

To recap, Instacast 2 had a myriad of settings to control automatic download and automatic deletion of content. This let to a number of issue. First, Instacast 2 had problems always enforcing all settings as a lot of them were in conflict with each other. This let to situations where you thought Instacast should automatically download the content of a particular episode, but didn't and vice versa. Same with automatic deletion, it could happen that you fell asleep and suddenly Instacast had deleted the content and you had to re-download it all over again.

Another problem has been communicating the difference of deleting an episode and just deleting the content of an episode (that takes up all the space). People were confused over which was which and sometimes accidentally pushed the wrong buttons.

All that let me to the conclusion that something had to change. I came up with the concept of moving the content management into settings and have access to manual management right from there. This has the advantage of not needing to go into every single episode to delete the content, plus people are not confused anymore what "Delete Episode" means. Then I removed all auto-deletion features and replaced them with only one rule: "Delete the content, when you have to"..., because you run out of space. Instacast then would start deleting content of old episodes first as long as they haven't been marked as favorite. This has multiple benefits. You can fall asleep anytime and Instacast wouldn't delete the content. You don't need to fiddle around with subscription specific delete rules and it provides some peace of mind. Ohhmmm.

Nevertheless the reality is much different. A lot of users don't like it and want to delete content rather sooner than later. I am recognizing this, but I don't just want to rollback time and be left with the same problems we had before.

That's why I will make some changes in Instacast 3.1. I will add two options that have to be enabled manually. You will be able to configure automatic deletion of content after an episode finished playing or as soon as the episode gets marked as played. Both of these options can be overwritten in subscription specific settings. I will also make some adjustments to the indicators Instacast is giving in the hope to remove the confusion. And finally I will grey out episodes in the "Offline Storage" settings that had already been played.

Unfortunately Instacast 3.1 won't be available before Christmas, because with the usual delay of 1 week App Store review time there is simply not enough time before Apple's company vacation on Dec 21.

December 12th, 2012 • Permalink

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