Have you ever wanted to listen to FM radio on your iPhone or Android? You’re in luck.
While plenty of devices can access radio, from home stereos to your car’s built-in entertainment system, few things are more convenient than using your smartphone.
The good news is today’s innovative phones are more than capable of helping you tune into your favorite local, international, and even global streams. You can turn your device into a portable radio in multiple ways, even if you’re not very technically savvy.
Here are the best ways to listen to FM radio on an Android or iPhone device.
Option 1: Use the FM Chip in Your Android Phone
First, while most smartphones aren’t equipped to capture AM radio frequencies, many already have the technology they need to use FM frequencies.
Many leading Android manufacturers, such as HTC, Samsung, and LG, have handsets available, including their own working FM chips, capable of streaming radio to your phone without an internet connection.
If you have one of these devices, you can listen to music offline using various apps without worrying about your data usage.
However, you’ll need to know if your phone has an FM chip first, and you may need to activate it before you can start streaming.
If you’re unsure if your phone has an FM chip, look for whether it allows you to plug in headphones or earbuds.
All FM radios need an antenna. Your headphones in a standard smartphone act as this antenna, allowing you to access radio waves. You probably can’t listen to the radio offline if you can’t plug headphones into your phone.
Unfortunately, most of the latest Apple devices don’t have an FM chip available. However, if your Android phone does, you can activate it using the NextRadio app. All you need to do is:
- Download the NextRadio app from the Google Play store
- Click on the settings button in the app (the three horizontal lines)
- Tap “FM only mode.” (If your phone doesn’t show this option, your phone might not have an FM chip, so you’ll need to use one of the methods below)
- When FM-only mode is activated, NextRadio uses the FM receiver chip to stream content to your phone rather than accessing audio from the internet
Once you’ve accessed this mode, plug in your headphones or earbuds, and tap “Local FM Radio” to find the station you want to listen to.
A basic tuner function is available that allows you to scan through available streams.
Option 2: Use the Apple Music App on your iPhone
If you have an iPhone, you might not be able to use NextRadio to stream local radio content offline, but that doesn’t mean you can’t listen to the radio at all.
Apple offers access to radio stations within its Apple Music service. Keep in mind you may need to pay a subscription price for your service, and you will need an internet connection to listen to stations.
To find and use the Apple Music app on your smartphone, look for the Apple Music icon (a music note) on your phone screen.
Tap on the app, and scroll to the radio section. Apple offers Apple Music 1, Apple Music Hits, and Apple Music Country.
You can also listen to broadcast radio stations, including local ones, by going to the Search bar on Apple Music and searching for the station by its name or call sign. Tap the station to listen to it live.
You can even use Siri to load a radio station for you. Say “Hey Siri” and ask the virtual assistant to play your preferred channel.
If you want to get really inventive, you can create your own radio station with a subscription to Apple Music.
Just play a song or album, click on “Now Playing,” then tap the “More” button (three dots). Save a song to your library to add it to your playlist.
Option 3: Use Mobile Apps or Websites to Access FM Radio
Finally, if neither of the two options above works for you, there are still ways to access FM radio stations if you have an internet connection.
One alternate strategy is searching for the name of your favorite radio station on your smartphone browser.
Most modern radio stations have a website where you can search for and listen to live streams, download playlists to your phone, and more.
Streaming music directly from the internet can quickly consume your data allowance and battery life. It’s worth keeping a close eye on how much data you’re using if you want to keep your phone bills low.
If using a website seems too much trouble, an app might be a better alternative.
FM radio apps provide a more convenient way to browse local, international, and global FM radio channels without the hassle.
They also come with extra features to take advantage of, such as sleep mode when listening to the radio in bed, favorites lists, and options for offline downloads.
Here are some of the best FM radio apps available for Android and Apple.
If you like listening to all kinds of streams from different genres, TuneIn could be the perfect FM radio app for you.
It has various programs, including sports stations, local radio shows, and podcasts. Plus, you can get personalized recommendations from the app based on your listening history.
With 100,000 stations, you shouldn’t run out of options.
Easy to use and intuitive, the Simple Radio app includes access to over 50,000 worldwide stations, with AM and FM channels.
You can listen to everything from music and live news to sports and talk shows. Plus, there are some great trending music suggestions available for listeners too, and you can even browse through stations based on their location.
Powered by Slacker, the LiveOne app (previously LiveXLive) is an all-in-one music streaming app with access to video, podcasts, and radio channels.
You can tune into live broadcasts of music events, access handcrafted music stations, and connect with channels worldwide. There’s also the option to curate content and create your station.
If you’re a radio fan, you’re probably familiar with iHeartMusic, and iHeartRadio. The iHeart app for Apple and Android makes it easy to browse through all the stations owned by the iHeart brand.
The app displays current information about the song and artist as you listen so that you can discover new playlists.
Plus, for a subscription price, you can save or skip live music.
Another handy FM radio app designed by a major radio brand, SiriusXM provides direct access to ad-free music, original talk shows, and live sports.
You can filter through content based on your favorite decades, hits, and genres. Plus, there are channels for finding podcasts and programs too.
You can even create Pandora stations based on artists and use car streaming options.
Listening to FM Radio on iPhone or Android
Tuning into FM radio on your iPhone or Android device isn’t nearly as complicated as it appears. If you have a specific type of Android phone, you can activate your FM chip to listen to streams offline.
Otherwise, you can use your internet connection to access music from local, regional, and international stations through a host of apps and websites.