Do radio apps use data? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Usually, when you stream radio from your favorite app, you’re accessing channels from the internet.
Most radio providers have an internet version available these days. Although some smartphones have built-in FM receivers, this isn’t as common as it once was.
So, what does this mean for your bandwidth?
Well, if you pay for a specific amount of data each month, you’ll need to be careful.
Most cell phone packages today offer an unlimited number of minutes and texts for communicating with friends. It’s the data restrictions which often catch you off guard. If you listen to online content frequently, your streaming radio data usage could go through the roof.
Today, we’re going to answer some important questions about radio apps, data usage, and what you need to know before you start streaming.
How much data does radio streaming use?
So, how much data does streaming radio use? It depends on a few factors.
Usually, you’ll spend between 96kbps and 43.2mb of your allowance per hour.
If you’re connected to a Wi-Fi connection in your home or at work, you shouldn’t have to worry about your radio eating into your bandwidth. You can also avoid high costs by lowering the quality of your stream.
Standard quality radio consumes about 72mb of data per hour.
For those of you who aren’t sure, standard radio is the “160kbps” option. You can usually switch between standard or high quality on a radio app. The high-quality stream offers 320kbps of data, which can deliver a better standard of radio (if you have a good smartphone speaker).
High-quality streaming consumers around 115.2mb to 144mb of data per hour.
Here’s what you can expect to pay in data per hour for each streaming option:
- 64kbps: 30 mb per hour
- 128kbps: 58 mb per hour
- 256kbps: 115 mb per hour
- 320kbps: 144 mb per hour
So, how much data does a radio app use?
Well, if you listen to a single hour of radio each day for a full month (30 days), you’d use between 1.7 and 3.4 GB of data. This could be a problem if you only have a data package which allows for 1 GB per month. Even 5 GB per month might not be enough if you use the internet for other apps.
Do all radio apps use data?
There are some potential workarounds if you don’t want to use data to stream radio. If you have an Android phone with an FM tuner you might be able to use the built-in tuner without the radio. Otherwise, you’re stuck.
Since most radio apps use the same audio codecs to transmit audio information over the internet, they’ll generally use the same amount of data. This makes it tough to discover what radio app uses the least data.
Your best bet might be to search for a radio app which gives you a lot of control over your audio streaming quality. If you can lower the quality to 64kbps, you’ll spend a lot less than if you’re using 320kbps.
If you’re wondering about your favorite radio apps, here’s what you need to know:
- Does the Simple Radio app use data? Yes, you’ll use around 0.94 MB per minute on the Simple Radio app, adding up to around 60MB per hour.
- Does the TuneIn Radio app use data? Yes, with TuneIn you’ll be using around 23 MB per hour (on the standard settings).
- Does iTunes Radio use data? Yes, iTunes will consume around 29-30MB of data per hour (on standard settings).
- Does the Rdio app use data? The Rdio app seems to use some of the most data among radio apps, at around 96MB per hour.
- Does Spotify use data? Spotify will consume around 43MB of data per hour when you’re streaming music without Wi-Fi.
Pandora is one of the streaming apps with the lowest data use. The service uses around 15MB per hour on the lower setting, or around 20MB per hour on “standard” settings.
How to use a radio app
Once you find the radio app, you’re comfortable with, setting it up is easy.
We recommend examining some of the top-rated radio apps on the Google Play or Apple Store. Look for information on the app listing about data use. Customers may have also left reviews about this.
Once you install your radio app, go straight to the settings. Here, you should be able to change things which will impact your data use. For instance, you can turn off high quality streaming and stick with standard.
You might also want to prevent your app from automatically downloading podcasts and content too.
If it’s possible, look into downloading some radio streams when have a Wi-Fi connection. Some radio companies put old radio episodes on the web to download . Although you won’t be listening in real-time, you can use these downloads for entertainment when you don’t have data.
Remember, to use your radio app, you’ll usually need a set of headphones plugged into your device that can act as an antenna.
Reducing streaming radio data usage
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a phone with an FM tuner included, you’re going to use some data with every radio app available. There are ways to reduce your streaming radio data usage, though.
One option is to make sure that you always use Wi-Fi connections to stream data when possible. This will reduce your reliance on an internet connection.
You could also think about switching to a cellphone plan with unlimited data. Though this may seem more expensive at first, you’ll save money on fees for going over your limits.
When choosing the right radio app for your needs, think about the features you get for the data spend. Some apps only offer a limited number of stations and features. If you spend an hour struggling to find something you want to listen to, you’re wasting more data.
An app that costs a little more to stream data-wise, but helps you find content instantly may be better value. Do keep in mind some radio apps also require a monthly subscription fee.
Can you measure radio app data usage?
If you’re worried about the amount of data you’re using when streaming radio, it’s best to be cautious. Most radio apps will allow you to check your data usage in the settings. If the app doesn’t have an option to do this, you can check out your phone’s data application.
On Android, look at Data Manager in the settings page. Data Manager is in the Network & Internet part of your settings, under Mobile Data. You should be able to see how much data each of your apps is using here.
To check your data on iPhone, go to Settings, then Cellular or Mobile data. Scroll through the page to check the data usage for each app.
You may also be able to check how much data you’re using by checking an app provided by your cell phone service provider. Some companies offer apps so users can keep track of their available minutes, texts, and other benefits.
If you’re struggling to get a good look at your data habits this way, try downloading a third-party app. There are various apps in the Apple and Google stores which show you how much data you’re using. You can even use some of these apps to set notifications if you’re reaching your limit.
Do radio apps use data?
Unfortunately, the answer to “how much data does internet radio use on a smartphone” might be more disheartening than you thought. There are tons of radio apps out there claiming to be completely free.
However, when you start using these apps, you notice you’re not paying in cash – you’re exchanging data for radio. If you’re limited in your data access, be careful about how much radio you use.
Remember, you can always lower your cellphone bill by using a traditional radio instead. Portable pocket radios make it easier to listen to radio without spending anything. When you have a radio with its own signal, there’s no need to worry about data consumption.
If you do prefer to use your smartphone, just keep an eye on your data consumption.
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