IOS Podcasts App: Am I Holding It Wrong?

The IOS Podcasts app lies. There are toggles for auto-downloading episodes and toggles for auto-deleting episodes. There are also buttons for downloading episodes manually. The toggles do nothing. The buttons are unresponsive.

At first glance Apple's IOS Podcasts app seemed like a straight forward and reasonably full featured example of a podcasts app; the app let's you find, subscribe, download and play podcasts and allows for some extra options in how to go about doing so without overwhelming the user with obscure alternatives in labyrinthine settings sub-menues.

It's a shame I can't seem to get it to work.

I'm using the app on my 16GB Iphone 5 and with its reasonably constrained storage allotment it would be a pain to manage every episode in every podcast feed manually. All my subscriptions are set up from my Iphone to auto-download, to only do so when on wi-fi and to only keep unplayed episodes so that I'm not running out of space storing last week's news or discussion roundtables even though I've already seen or heard it.

As far as I can tell my subscriptions should be set up so that I shouldn't have to do anything aside from actually playing the podcasts in order to keep everything running smoothly. But it doesn't run smoothly. It plain doesn't work!

Already played episodes never auto-delete, half the time they don't seem to even auto-download even though I'm on wi-fi and it seems like a 50/50 chance that the episode will actually start downloading if I tap the button to do it manually.

Does anyone know why Apple's IOS Podcasts app isn't doing what I'm expecting it to do?