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Are you sick of having to download and manage your songs and podcasts on your Android device? Turn to Internet radio for hassle-free audio content, whether it’s music, talk shows, or whatever else. You can even tune into actual radio stations if that’s what you want — and all of this is available for free.

Of all the Internet radio apps that are available for Android, here are the five that impressed us most. Can you guess which one came out on top?

iHeartRadio

android-radio-apps-iheartradio

This app is more than just music. Unlike most Internet radio apps, this one is actually like traditional radio and offers various types of content, including talk shows, news, sports, and entertainment. You might think that this widespread focus might weaken the music side of iHeartRadio, but have no fear because it excels there too.

Availability

Only in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. (Though it is possible to circumvent this with an Android VPN Keep Your Data Private With These 4 VPN Apps For Android Keep Your Data Private With These 4 VPN Apps For Android VPNs can be useful for a whole host of reasons, but their main benefits are that they keep your data private even over a public WiFi connection (which are surprisingly easy to exploit) and they... Read More .)

Selection

Not only does it boast a collection of 18 million songs from 400,000+ artists, it allows you to tune into 800+ live AM/FM radios from all over the country. It’s safe to say that you won’t run out of content for a long time with this app.

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Interface

iHeartRadio feels fresh, clean, and modern. There’s nothing particularly eye-catching about it, but that’s why it’s so great: it steps out of the way and makes it easy for you to do what you want. Live radios? Custom playlists? Navigating songs? It all makes sense and never feels like an obstacle.

Features

The beauty of iHeartRadio is that it’s as close to an all-in-one solution as you’ll ever get as far as Internet radio for Android is concerned. Choose from any number of curated music radio playlists or create your own stations based on your favorite genres, artists, songs. The “For You” feature will even tailor music to your personal tastes.

Cost

Free with ads.

Pandora

android-radio-apps-pandora

Is there anyone out there who hasn’t yet heard of Pandora? This service is so popular that its name has almost become synonymous with “Internet radio,” at least for music. For live radio streams and non-music radio content, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Pandora pioneered the idea of a dynamic music playlist by way of its Music Genome Project, without which we might still be stuck in the land of MP3s and music player apps The Best Music Player On Android: Google Play Music Reviewed The Best Music Player On Android: Google Play Music Reviewed One of the best things about Android is the diversity of apps, but sometimes the best apps are those produced by Google. Read More . Indeed, this app is as much about discovering new music as it is about playing music that fits your specific tastes.

Availability

Only in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

Selection

While there is a surprising genre diversity in Pandora’s selection, the total size of their music database is quite small, hovering at somewhere around 1 million. It falls way short of its competitors, such as iHeartRadio’s 18 million.

To be fair, I’ve found a lot of good music on Pandora that I haven’t encountered anywhere else, but at the end of the day, Pandora’s stations can and will grow repetitive.

Interface

There isn’t much complexity to Pandora’s design, which shines through in its interface. You pick the station you want (or create a new one) and it starts playing. From there, you can skip songs or go back and switch stations. It’s very straightforward, which is a major plus for a mobile music app.

Features

While the lack of complexity might’ve been great for its interface, Pandora suffers for being a one-trick pony. Or maybe it doesn’t suffer at all. If the only function you need is the ability to “play songs like this song/artist/genre”, then Pandora is perfect for you. But if you need anything else, Pandora won’t have it.

Cost

Free with ads. To remove ads, you can upgrade to Pandora One for $4.99 USD per month. Pandora One is applied per-account rather than per-device, so this carries over onto all devices that you might use to listen to Pandora.

TuneIn

android-radio-apps-tunein

TuneIn is the most popular result when searching for “radio” on the Google Play Store and for good reason. Like with iHeartRadio, you can tune into sports, news, talk shows, podcasts, and even live radio streams from around the world. It’s a strong contender in the “all-in-one radio app” category.

Availability

Worldwide.

Selection

Stream from a choice of 100,000+ real radio stations. Unlike the other radio apps on this list, TuneIn does not have its own library of songs dedicated to streaming music.

Interface

Aesthetically speaking, TuneIn is ahead of the trend with its sleek layout that works well on phones and tablets. However, due to the complicated nature of the app itself, not everything is as straightforward as it could be. It may take some time to get used to it.

In terms of performance, TuneIn is very hit or miss. The app is intensive on resources and will require a good deal of power from your device in order to run smoothly. On my 2-year-old Galaxy S3, I experienced more choppiness than I would normally tolerate.

Features

TuneIn’s defining feature is its commitment to being “the real radio app”. Its entire design is built around the principle of tuning into live radio stations. Its global presence is the primary reason why it has such a massive userbase (over 50 million monthly active users), which is something that no other app on this list can say.

In addition to the 100,000+ real radio stations, TuneIn allows content creators to broadcast their own streams that users can tune into.

Cost

Free with ads. Upgrade to the pro version for $9.99 USD to remove ads and unlock the ability to record what you’re listening to.

XiiaLive

android-radio-apps-xiialive

This little gem of an app does not receive the attention that it deserves. Perhaps it’s the name that repels potential users (which is pronounced “ZEE-ah”, by the way) but if you just look past that for a moment, you might be pleasantly surprised.

XiiaLive, which is powered by SHOUTcast technology, taps into online radio stations that feature music, talk shows, and more.

Availability

Worldwide.

Selection

XiiaLive can only tune into SHOUTcast stations, but there are 50,000+ to choose from so you’re bound to find a few that you’ll like. Many of those stations are music-centric by genre, but others focus instead on talk shows and other content.

Interface

The interface is one of the weaker points. The layout is a bit confusing at first and doesn’t get much better over time while the graphics themselves remind me of a modernized look straight from ’90s. Everything feels cramped on my phone, though certainly still usable.

Features

By far the most useful feature of XiiaLive is the ability to rewind with a seekbar, a feature that I’ve yet to find on any other Internet radio app. As awesome as this feature might be, it currently only works with certain stations. There’s also a “Scan” feature that you can use to find new stations, much like the scan function of a traditional radio.

Plus, what’s great about SHOUTcast is that it allows you to start your own radio station Start an Online Radio Station of Your Own: Here's How Start an Online Radio Station of Your Own: Here's How If you've been wondering how one goes about setting up an online radio station then you're in luck. There are a number of simple ways to make an online radio station involving nothing more than... Read More .

Cost

Free with ads. For $3.99 USD, you can upgrade to the pro version which removes ads, allows advanced filtering of stations, increases the rewind time from 5 minutes to 60 minutes, and unlocks the ability to add homescreen shortcuts to specific stations.

Songza

android-radio-apps-songza

Like Pandora, Songza is Internet radio in its most primitive form: the ability to stream music playlists Which Is The Best Mobile Music Streaming Service? Which Is The Best Mobile Music Streaming Service? Online radio is picking up steam now that there’s a good bit of competition driving the technology. You might be familiar with services like Pandora and Spotify, but now that you can stream music on-the-go... Read More of a particular taste. However, there are a few key differences that separate Songza from Pandora, namely the fact that Songza’s playlists are curated by a team of music experts.

Availability

Only in Canada and the United States.

Selection

Songza has access to over 20 million songs that have been carefully split into hundreds of playlists. Each individual playlist may only have a few dozen songs, but if you ever get tired of that particular playlist, you can always switch to another one.

I’ve been listening to Songza on a near-daily-basis for over a year and I’ve yet to explore everything it offers.

Interface

The interface for Songza is rather unique, partly due to its underlying design (which is explained in more detail down below). It feels fresh, looks good, and is unlike any other Internet radio app, but rest assured: it’s intuitive enough that you’ll get used to it in just a few minutes.

Features

The most notable aspect of Songza is its “Music Concierge” feature, which takes the day of the week, the time of day, and the user’s mood (e.g., “Aggressive”, “Mellow”, or “Seductive”) and presents a selection of fitting playlists.

Playlists can also be searched and browsed according to activity (e.g., “Coding” or “Working Out”), genre (e.g., “Easy Listening” or “Showtunes”), or even decade (e.g., “90s Rock”).

Costs

Free. No ads.

And the winner is…

iHeartRadio. It has so many features without being bloated. It has dedicated music functionality and the ability to tune into live radio. There’s a wide selection of content, the performance is great, and it’s all available for free. That being said, all five of these options are great in their own ways.

For the desktop alternatives, you may want to look at these online radio tools for Windows 5 Easy Tools To Listen To Online Radio Stations On Windows 5 Easy Tools To Listen To Online Radio Stations On Windows Music rocks! But managing playlists and local radio stations can be boring. Consider listening to the radio online with these Windows apps. Read More .

Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

  1. Cortney
    June 29, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Try AccuRadio! It's completely free with less ads than Pandora and unlimited skips, and the music channels are hand-curated. There's also a ban feature which I really like, which allows you to ban artists and songs from your playlist.

  2. chaoooo
    March 31, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Highly recommend CastBox app, which contains all genres of songs I like for free! You can a lso set the alarm before bedtime, and fall asleep with podcast or radio on. It’s a surprise in my Android phone. Anybody else who likes it?

  3. Chao Wang
    March 16, 2016 at 3:22 am

    changed my iphone to android, CastBox app is the best podcast for android I have ever use! Numerous free music, radios and audio books! I watch the podcast on youtube when i back home, but the way to office and bedtime podcast,I prefer castbox app more.

  4. babubabu
    February 20, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Recently I am struggling with the insomnia and decided to take podcast before bedtime for better relax. I tried several podcast app on my phone, Podcast Addict CastBox Thus, I concluded several essential tips for evaluating a good podcast app. Explore free radio station and podcast on a variety of topics, including arts, business, comedy, music, news, sports, and more. (Podcast app should cover widely). Browse by audio or video radio and podcast, or see what's most popular in Top Charts. (Easily get recommendations for your taste without surfing within the app). Subscribe for your favorites and automatically get new episodes for free as they become available (Enjoy convenience on updated content in the channels I like).

  5. stacie wong
    January 12, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Great list for our reference! I also would like to recommend Podcast APP launched on Google Play which I thought as the best podcast I have ever use. The page design is quite simple with all functions you need. I uninstalled my bbc, ted after I start using Podcast. Wonderful radio lab. I have to say I became a podcast addict now! I enjoyed it whenever I need and it can always bring me joy, happiness and relaxed feeling. Here is the download link for Podcast, hope you like it as well: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.podcast.podcasts

  6. Jimmy
    November 19, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Try Pure Connect. It's one of the best radio apps available in the market and has a very huge radio station database.

  7. Deby Anderson
    October 19, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Forgot mention oiRadio Colombia, it is totally free and has only the best radios

  8. Lee Bergman
    May 30, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    I realy like Osons Radio Mode Android app music choice found this days, very strange choice of music, some of them never heard off, some famous hits...

  9. Sue
    May 21, 2015 at 12:49 am

    Which one uses the least amount of data or do you think all the apps use the same amount? I can't be bothered testing them all out.

  10. Abrar Khalfay
    April 8, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Forgot to mention Audials radio, available on Android. Its totally free as well.

  11. Abrar Khalfay
    April 8, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Have you tried mytuner radio . Its a similar to Tunein Radio Pro and Xiia Live Pro. Infact I have tried all three of them the pro versions and consider mytuner radio as the best bet so far on android.
    I believe all people would agree, if you want the radio app ad-free then you have got to buy the pro version.
    I would appreciate if you can recommend me any other radio app which is better than mytuner radio pro.

  12. Cuneyt Kaplan
    March 2, 2015 at 2:56 am

    I love AccuRadio over all. The best genres, unlimited skips, no buffering, great song selections, very limited ads and completely free!!

    • Joel
      March 3, 2015 at 2:36 am

      I just saw your recommendation on the other article. AccuRadio has a mobile app too? Very cool. Definitely going to give it a try this week.

  13. David
    January 2, 2015 at 10:30 am

    No love for Spotify? Their pre-built playlists cannot be beat, great music selection, and a superb interface. Its the only one i use, Imac to android phone, i listen to it a couple hours a day.

    • Joel Lee
      January 6, 2015 at 5:43 am

      Hey David. Spotify is a great app. I just chose not to include it here because its radio seems more like a secondary function than a primary one. The apps featured here all focus on Internet Radio as a main feature. :)

  14. Steven Clift
    December 11, 2014 at 5:38 am

    News radio can be way buried in these apps.

    So the quickest way to catch the world headlines is 1 Radio News.

    You can get to it on Google Play via http://1radionews.Com

  15. Slayer
    October 28, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Legendary Radio is very succesful application. record stream with high quality MP3 format.I like this features... I recommend it to anyone...
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sy.legendaryradio

  16. Flavio
    October 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Try WWTuner, the new Radio Tuner for Android:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.WWTuner

  17. monisha
    October 15, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Accidentally cam across this app "FmRadioZ Internet Radio". I am very much satified with its performance and features. Its very simple to use.

  18. Anonymous
    October 14, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    What is the best free Radio App for Android that doesn't use any of my data allowance?

    • Joel Lee
      October 18, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Well, in order to use Internet radio, that data needs to reach you somehow. That's what "data usage" is. If you don't want to expend any of your data allowance, you should enable WiFi and only use Internet radio when you have WiFi access. Otherwise, there is no way around it: you'll need data.

  19. Joel
    October 2, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Hi Bob, good question!

    Yes, Spotify was intentionally left out since Spotify Radio is not the core functionality (though it IS quite useful) and it have too much overlap with Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Songza. Since these apps have a primary focus on the radio-playlist functionality, I decided to include them instead. For what it's worth, I think Spotify is great.

  20. Bob
    September 29, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Was Spotify intentionally left out of the conversation? Because you can totally create Pandora-like radio stations.

  21. vitamin_d
    September 28, 2014 at 2:50 am

    MILK from Samsung powered by Slackr.

  22. R A Myers
    September 27, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    The "best" app would depend on how you want to access the content.

    I choose (to choose) my content by the source, i.e. type (news, C&W) and provider (BBC, WKEZ).

    That makes Tune In my "best" app.

    Bob Myers

    • Joel L
      September 30, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Definitely use the app that best fits your needs. All of the apps on this list are great at what they do. :)

  23. fregada
    September 27, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    friskyradio.com is ad free 24/7 with its own free app.

    • Joel L
      September 30, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks for the heads up. That sounds enticing!

  24. Jamie
    September 27, 2014 at 12:21 am

    I think the current redefinition of 'Radio' is going too far. Obviously any system transmitted over the internet is no longer 'Radio' - think back to why sets were once called 'Wireless' - but to classify an automated personal music stream as 'Radio' is ridiculous.

    To me, Radio has community at it's core. It's about communication and has an element of interactivity with the station / presenters / other listeners.

    I think that if you asked most people to describe 'Radio' they would think first about an fm set in the car or kitchen. To get from that to a highly personalised stream of music with no input from another human being is pushing the definition of 'Radio' into something that it's not. We should think up new words for new things, not change the meaning of something that we already have a clear understanding of.

    • Joel L
      September 30, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      You have a point and I agree to an extent. The other side of the argument is that language itself is malleable and the meaning of words do change over time. I'm not a linguist so that's as far as I can go. Ultimately, I just try to use the words that make the most sense to the most people.

  25. Marcos V
    September 26, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    i still use winamp, to acess the shoutcast radios

  26. A.B. Normal
    September 26, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    DigitallyImported and JazzRadio are my absolute favourites.

  27. Maff
    September 26, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    How can something not available to the majority of Android/Google Play users be the best?
    how can an app that doesn't include 'internet radio stations' (what this is all about) from all over the world, not just a tiny portion (US) be the best?
    that's ridiculous

  28. Paul Harris
    September 26, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Google Play store says this is not compatible with my Nexus 5.
    I suspect that it is because I switched to ART .
    I use Xialive.

  29. Davin Peterson
    September 26, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    iHeart Media (formerly Clear Channel) streams it's own radio only on the iHeart Radio App. For example, you won't find DC's HOT 99.5 or 97.1 on the TuneIn App or any other app. I think they are trying to get everyone to ditch other radio apps and use iHeartRadio.

    The TuneIn app is a vary popular and highly rated app. They have a pro version that allows you to record live radio, something iHeart doesn't have.

  30. Steven G
    September 26, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Samsung Milk, powered by Slacker

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