If you’re phones with fm radio for a new phone, you might be surprised to learn that a good number of them have FM radio capabilities. Most owners don’t know that the feature is available, though; perhaps it’s due to a lack of advertising or the fact that FM radio use requires a wired headset that functions as an antenna.
Regardless, it’s worth keeping in mind that phones with fm radio can save you money and data usage on streaming apps that require a WiFi or mobile data connection to work. Using FM radio instead can make it easier to avoid overage charges, and it’s also better for battery life.
Most Android phone models come with FM chips, though most don’t activate them by default. The exception is Samsung, which began working with NextRadio in 2018 to activate the chips in its US devices. NextRadio is still a free app in the Play Store, but compatibility depends on your carrier and device. You may also need a specific headphone adaptor or headset to work, as many Samsung devices have unique headphone jacks that won’t work with standard 3.5mm adaptors.
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Apple uses FM-enabled chips in some older iPhone models, but the company doesn’t enable them by default and doesn’t include a headset connector that would turn a headphone jack into an antenna. Paul Brenner, CEO of NextRadio, says Apple has “no plans” to enable the FM chip in its smartphones, though he hopes the company will change its mind one day. In the meantime, a few other Android makers have kept the chips active. Among them are BLU, which makes the Studio G Plus, Energy M, Diamond Mini, Dash L2, and Grand 5.5 HD.