If you’re switching from Android, you may’ve wondered why its fairly standard FM radio feature isn’t available on iPhone. And there are a few reasons why. Starting with the components. Before the iPhone 7, Apple actually used to include FM radio tuners in their phones. Although this wasn’t by choice. The combination Wi-Fi & Bluetooth chipset used in iPhone was purchased from Broadcom, rather than being designed by Apple themselves. And that manufacturer included a radio tuner in the chipset by default. So it was cheaper for Apple to simply leave it in.
But despite early iPhones having this tuner, its support was dependent on Apple. They needed to install the FM circuitry to make the tuner work. And based on iOS device circuit diagrams, it’s been confirmed that the circuitry was never added. But why not?
Why Apple didn’t include radio
Apple could’ve easily activated the iPhone’s FM tuner and allowed for radio. Their decision not to demonstrates Apple’s choosiness when adding features to their products. They don’t ask if something can be done. Instead, they ask why should it be done. And that question is what led to radio being left out of all iOS products.
Apple felt the user experience of FM didn’t meet their standards. For example, the availability of radio stations depended on where the user was located. If they had a favorite station in their hometown, they’d lose access to it when traveling to different city. Not to mention the unreliable reception while in rural areas. Plus, the average sound quality through radio is 128 kilobits per second. Which is half as good as Apple Music’s 256 kilobits per second. Finally, stations have lengthy ad breaks that Apple doesn’t like since they aren’t getting a cut, and users don’t like since they just want to hear music. So FM radio didn’t make sense to Apple, who not only left the FM tuners in early iPhones inactive, but got rid of them completely starting with the iPhone 7.