Why Is Apple Denying Consumers The FM Chip?


According to an article in Bloomberg, critics say its because Apple doesn’t want to cannibalize its streaming service by giving iPhone owners access to free radio. When listening to audio through an app and not the FM Chip, consumers have to pay for the data they use. If they were listening through an FM Chip already installed on the phone there would be no charge for data.

Bloomberg says Apple’s decision not to turn on the FM Chip could be putting lives in danger. It was just last week that Senator Bill Nelson called for FM Chips to be activated in all mobile phones, and he said he would work on getting that done. The Sun Sentinel even jumped on the FM Chip bandwagon in an editorial. So it seems, at least in the hard hit areas of Florida and Puerto Rico there’s a little movement going here. Whether that spreads across the country remains to be seen.

Apple tells Bloomberg there are several other features for emergencies on their phones so the FM Chip really isn’t needed. The company says it cares deeply about the safety of its customers, especially during times of crisis. “That’s why we have engineered modern safety solutions into our products. Users can dial emergency services and access Medical ID card information directly from the Lock Screen, and we enable government emergency notifications, ranging from Weather Advisories to AMBER alerts.”

An Apple spokeswoman said the iPhone 7 and 8 don’t include radio chips or antennas designed to support FM signals, so it wouldn’t be possible to enable FM reception in those products.

Read the entire Bloomberg article HERE.


  1. Of course, there’s an electronic device that already has a functioning FM chip. And it can also receive AM radio (remember that?). It’s called a RADIO. No monthly fees, low cost, and it will get you whatever emergency information your local stations are broadcasting.

  2. They manage to get that wireless Bluetooth signal out, willing to bet they could get an FM signal in through that Lightening port and Apple’s come back about be able to dial 911 is lame. The whole point is that the first thing to go down in a disaster is the cell system. So no 911, no Medic Alerts, no Amber Alerts, etc. With no radio chip that phone is useless. If Apple won’t/can’t make any changes then consumers should vote with their wallets and chose a phone that does have an FM chip.

  3. An FM antenna isn’t built into smartphones, even the ones with an activated radio chip. The wire of connected earphones serves as the antenna. The 7 and 8 series iPhones lack a conventional headphone jack; headphones connected with an adaptor to the phones’ Lightning port might not be able to function in the same fashion.


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