7 Free Apps to Listen to the Radio on the iPad

I don’t always want to listen to my own music on the iPad. Many times I simply enjoy listening to the radio. I have an app that I have used for years on the iPhone and now use it as well on the iPad. However, it has become very outdated and wasn’t working as well lately, so I started looking around. There are too many radio apps out there, but I found a handful of them that are in the running to replace that outdated one, ones that shine in different areas.

1. TuneIn Radio

This app seems to have just a little bit of everything. If you’re looking for one all-rounded radio app, this could be it. You can search for music either by location, genre, or specifics. Some stations aren’t available, but that is carried out throughout all the apps. Some of the larger stations just don’t make themselves available for radio airplay via the Internet.


Where this app shines is with the individual programming options. Pausing, and using forward and reverse are available, allowing you to skip ahead through the commercials, just like on a DVR. When a playing station is viewed, you can see the upcoming programs, as well as the current song info. Stations, as well as individual songs and programs, can be added to the presets. If you click on a song from your presets, it will show you if it’s playing on any station currently, as well as other similar songs that may be playing. Additionally, you can set it to record and save your recordings to play back later.

TuneIn Radio

2. Rad.io


Immediately when starting this app, it gives you three columns in the window – a menu, a list of featured stations that also shows what is currently playing if that option is made available, and the current station being played. It also features the ability to set a sleep timer so that you can wake up to your favorite station. However, they warn that you have to leave the app open and active in order for it to work. What separates Rad.io from the other apps is in recommendations. You can fill out a short survey of your musical tastes, and it will make recommendations of stations that match.


3. Alarm Clock Radio


You can’t get any more straightforward than this app. It’s exactly what it says it is. It’s an Alarm Clock Radio for your iPad, in both look and actions. This looks exactly like the alarm clock radio you may have sitting on your nightstand next to your bed. It displays the time, as well as the song that is being played. It can be set to play your favorite station to wake you up. Local stations aren’t available on here unless they happen to be included in the 25,000 stations that are. More options are included by paying $1.99 for the paid version, but it isn’t clear what those options are.

Alarm Clock Radio

4. iheartradio


This app has some local stations, but not nearly enough for my particular needs. There are 750 stations overall, and for a large city like Chicago, it only includes six. However, what makes this app stand out among the others is its visual capabilities. It displays photos that either match the artist or genre being played. Additionally, photos can be played individually without being attached to a certain song. Assorted videos are available as well. It’s also the only one of these apps that displays the lyrics of songs upon request.


5. Radio.com


A product of CBS radio, this app includes all the CBS radio stations, as well as Yahoo! stations. This means you can’t get  all of your favorite stations, but you can get ones you’re familiar with, as well as some unique stations, such as one that airs nothing but the live musical performances from Late Show with David Letterman. An informational window can show either station or artist info, with the latter including photos. Additionally you can pair this app with a last.fm account to take advantage of the music scrobbling.


6. Stitcher


This app has a great deal of local stations included. It also has podcast and on-demand content available. Through these options, you can set a number favorites, be it station or podcast, and can also save favorite episodes of your favorite podcasts. If even shows you the top news items of the day when you sign in each time. Without a doubt, if you’re a newshound, this is the radio app with you in mind.


7. Livio Car Internet Radio


It’s exactly what you’re thinking it is looking at the name of the app. It’s an app that works well in the car, and looks like a radio you would have inside your car as well. It has preset buttons with your favorite stations, just as you would have in your car, while showing the the name of the song in a crawl in the display, just like in your car. For those times you’re driving along and want to remember a song you hear for later, The app allows you to tag it, and later recall it at possibly purchase it from iTunes. Of course, the app warns you shouldn’t be playing the device while driving. While it’s not much different than changing the radio in your car, touchscreens work differently than buttons on a car radio, and require you to look at it, so it’s probably best to only change stations and tag songs at stoplights.

Livio Car Internet Radio


These radio apps all have different functions while providing the same basic service. The one or ones that are right for you depend on your own use. Surely you’ll be able to find one that works well for your particular radio listening.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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