The Best Offline No-WiFi Radio Apps for your Phone
At first glance, you would think that listening to radio without a network connection on your phone wasn’t possible. After all, if you don’t have data, you don’t have streaming. What many people forget is that many phones have an FM chip built into them. We rarely use them and many people don’t even know they are there, but they are. That’s what prompted this post. I looked for some of the best no-WiFi radio apps for your phone so you can listen to music even when you don’t have a data connection.
The downside of trying to listen to radio without data is that not all networks enable the FM chip within their phones. NextRadio has a list of the currently supported handsets here so you can check if your phone is compatible. If your phone has enabled the FM chip, you’re one step closer to free radio. Select the Filter box on the NextRadio page and select your carrier to see if they allow FM broadcasts. If your phone and carrier allow it, you’re golden.
You will see one phone manufacturer conspicuous by its absence. Apple. From the iPhone 7 onwards, there are no FM chips in the phone.
One thing to note about FM radio apps is that they may require a small burst of data to populate the listings. Some stations will work with zero data coverage while other stations may not. It all depends on the stations, the app and where you live.
Enabling the FM chip on Android phones
If your phone and network allow FM broadcasts, you next need to be able to tune into them. You will need an app and a pair of headphones for this. The app allows access to the FM chip where most manufacturer UIs don’t have the feature. The headphones not only help you listen in peace, they also act as the FM antenna.
- Download and install the NextRadio app from Google Play.
- Connect your headphones.
- Select a station from within the app and listen.
Other no-WiFi radio apps
NextRadio isn’t the only app that can access radio on your phone. There are a bunch of others but some are only available in specific countries. You could search Google Play for FM radio and select an app in your region or you could try one of these. The stations featured by any of these apps will depend on your location, the signal strength in your area and what stations broadcast.
iHeartRadio has to be one of the largest radio stations in the world and its good news indeed that they still remember FM broadcasts as well as offer streaming. The app is clear and simple to use and has FM options as well as internet radio stations. There are hundreds to choose from depending on where you live and quality is very good.
The app isn’t without its bugs though so be aware. It can crash, lose stations and stutter but is otherwise a solid option.
TuneIn Radio mixes both streaming and FM radio station broadcasts to give you a very wide breadth of content. You have to manage it a little if you’re trying to not use data but otherwise has a huge range of stations depending on where you live. The app is free for basic use but also has the obligatory premium version should you wish to expand those core features.
The app works well and is intuitive enough to get listening quickly. It isn’t too pushy about premium either which is a mark in its favor.
Simple Radio is another app that lets you listen to FM radio as well as streams. The app is simple to use and offers access to almost 50,000 radio stations across the world. The interface is simple and easy to navigate and works well. Stations are easy to find and will populate depending on your location. Then just select and begin listening.
The Simple Radio is free and ad supported and has in-app purchases but they aren’t intrusive.
Smart Radio FM
Smart Radio FM also mixes streaming radio with FM stations to provide a wide range of listening. Like the others in this list, the number of stations depends on where you live but it makes them easy to find from the simple interface. Select a station and the app tunes quickly and has you listening in seconds. Not more you need to ask really I think.
The app seems stable, finds a bunch of stations and shows ads occasionally. It is well worth considering.
If your phone has an FM chip and your network has enabled it, you can listen to music for free without burning through your data allowance. How cool is that?