How to Unlock the Hidden FM Radio on Your Smartphone

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How to Unlock the Hidden FM Radio on Your Smartphone
How to Unlock the Hidden FM Radio on Your Smartphone

Most cellphones have a little-known function buried within. It’s a popular piece of technology that you may have in your vehicle or at home. However, most individuals are unaware that they have it on their phone.

If you haven’t already guessed, your smartphone most likely has an FM radio receiver built in. Simply enable it, and you’ll have an FM tuner on your phone.

In this post, we’ll show you how to use your phone’s secret FM tuner to listen to radio.

The FM Tuner Locked Inside Your Smartphone

It may seem weird that smartphone makers would add an FM receiver without informing their customers about it. But there is a reason.

The Qualcomm LTE modem in smartphones provides access to the radio. This functionality is most likely included since utilizing a smartphone to access the radio is prevalent in poor countries. Furthermore, deactivating the radio chip is easier than using fully distinct modems for phones sold in various regions.

Although manufacturers may choose to generally activate the chip, it is the responsibility of the user to unlock the FM radio on their smartphone. In terms of carriers, several big ones already provide for the possibility. We don’t know why certain firms refuse to activate the chips, but there are a few possibilities floating around:

Some corporations argue that an FM radio isn’t a strong selling factor or anything customers would desire. According to critics, the true cause is the financial incentive for not activating them. Because doing so discourages consumers from utilizing streaming services, which generate revenue for everyone concerned.

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How to Unlock the FM Tuner

Accessing your device’s FM radio is simple provided you have a compatible device and carrier. You simply need two things: the NextRadio app and wired headphones, earbuds, or a speaker to serve as an antenna. NextRadio formerly maintained a list of compatible devices and carriers; currently, you must verify through the app.

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You’ll need to access Google Play after you’ve confirmed whether your phone supports NextRadio. Unfortunately, NextRadio was deleted from Apple’s app store in December 2018.

So, instead of checking NextRadio’s list, download the app to determine whether your phone is compatible. If it can’t discover a supported chip, the download wasn’t completely in vain. You might also investigate how to broadcast to radio from your phone.

If the program finds an enabled FM chip, the next step is to get an antenna. This is simpler than it seems. Almost anything with a cable that connects into your device will work. This means you can listen to music via headphones, wired earbuds, or a wired speaker.

You don’t have to listen via the headphones you connected if you’re not utilizing a speaker. You may also route the sound to your phone’s speakers. Simply hit the hamburger menu () in the upper-left corner and choose Output to Speaker.

Unfortunately, there’s no Bluetooth support at this time.

Download: NextRadio for Android (Free)

NextRadio has gone back to basics, with streaming and iOS compatibility no longer available. This signifies that the application is fully focused on becoming an FM tuner. However, if you do not take the necessary procedures, NextRadio will seem to be inoperable.

To use the basic FM tuner for local stations, perform these steps when you initially launch the app:

  1. When asked to provide access to your location, choose Deny.
  2. If you are requested again, choose Deny.
  3. When prompted to locate a local radio station, select Other for your area.
  4. To access the basic tuner, click OK.

If you don’t get it right the first time, you may adjust your location by tapping the hamburger menu () in the top-left corner, selecting Settings, and then Refresh Station List. Another option is to remove NextRadio and restart the procedure.

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All of these are holdovers from when the app enabled streaming and had restricted data use. The search feature is also inoperable, so focus your attention first on the basic FM tuner. You may still save favorite stations and build an FM radio playlist over time.

The Benefits of Using FM Radio on Your Phone

Although you may stream radio stations using various applications, having an FM tuner offers distinct advantages.

The fact that you don’t have to utilize data to connect to the radio is perhaps the largest benefit. It’s completely free to use, just as it is in your vehicle or on any device. If you don’t have consistent Wi-Fi connectivity or have limited data, utilize your phone’s radio.

While streaming allows you to access a large number of stations, it does not necessarily provide access to all of your local stations. If you listen to them on FM radio, you’ll discover every station accessible in your region.

The FCC suggests carrying a radio in case of an emergency, such as a tornado or severe storm. This guarantees that you can keep informed or communicate even if your phone lines and internet go down. Because house radios are becoming less frequent, converting smartphones into radios makes perfect sense.

Tips for How to Use Your FM Chip

Use these two tips for your radio-activated device:

  1. Keep Your Phone Charged Before Potential Emergencies: If you feel an emergency scenario is imminent, make sure your phone is completely charged. This manner, even if the power goes out, you may use it as an emergency radio. Keep an eye out for severe weather warnings and have a cellphone charger with you if you’re out and about.
  2. Use the Radio to Save Your Battery: Whether you’re in an emergency or simply using your phone for fun, battery life is critical. If you want your battery to last longer, listen to music on the radio rather than streaming it. Utilizing FM signals consumes less energy than using an internet connection and may be quite useful in an emergency.
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Even if you don’t know it, you probably have a radio in your pocket most of the time. You simply cannot utilize it until you download the appropriate software. Alternatively, until the maker of your phone or your wireless carrier enables the FM chip in your handset.

Some corporations have begun to activate radio receivers in their products. However, it may be some time before active radio receivers become the norm for cellphones worldwide. Until then, people without compatible devices may consider these reasons why they might desire a ham radio at home.

It’s your fortunate day if you have a compatible device. You’ve just found a new function that makes your phone a bit more enjoyable and helpful.

Unlock the FM Radio on Your Smartphone

Consider these long-term advantages now that you know how to activate and listen to the radio on your phone. You have an additional means to be informed during an emergency. And there’s always a method to preserve battery life and data while using your phone in general.

Most phones include a simple unlock that allows you to listen to radio. Just remember to have an antenna handy.

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