FM Radio Cannot Be Activated Even on Older iPhones

iPhone 8 Plus front view

Yesterday, Apple responded to FCC over demand for FM radio to be activated on iPhones. Apple stated that iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips nor do they have antennas designed to support FM signals, so it wasn’t possible to magically activate FM radio in these products.

But there have been suggestions that Apple should at least activate it on older iPhones. It has been long been speculated that Apple may enable FM radio on iPhones with a software update because FM radio chip was included in the Broadcom modem chips used in the iPhones.

However, John Gruber of Daring Fireball had done some “digging,” he means asked his contacts at Apple, and has confirmed that even though the older iPhones like the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 have FM radio, they don’t have the antennas designed to support FM signals, so it is not possible to activate FM reception in older iPhones as well.

That’s unequivocal, but leaves open the question about older iPhones. I’ve dug around, and what I’ve been told is that there is an FM radio chip in older iPhones, but it’s not connected, and there’s no antenna designed for FM radio. The chip is just part of a commodity component part, and Apple only connected the parts of the chip that the iPhones were designed to use. No iPhone was ever designed to be an FM radio, and there is no “switch” that can be “flipped” — nor software update that could be issued — that could turn them into one. It’s a complete technical misconception.

So if you were wondering why Apple doesn’t enable FM radio on older iPhones, then I hope this answers your question. If you want to listen to FM Radio, then check out apps like TuneIn Radio. I am sure jailbreakers would have enabled it if it was possible to do it.

The FM radio feature has been available on some Android and Samsung phones like the Qualcomm variant of Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8. The FM radio feature can be quite handy as users can get important updates and information even when wireless networks go down during a natural disaster.

What do you think? Should Apple include FM radio in future iPhones?