How do you use your Windows Phone headset? The chances are you don’t bother with it at all – but as well as piping music to your brain and acting as a hands-free kit for making calls, the headset also doubles as an FM radio antenna.
It’s time to plug in the headset and start enjoying the special features it delivers to your Windows Phone experience.
Opening FM Band Radio On Windows Phone 8
Although present on Windows Phone 7, the FM radio band was removed from the initial release of Windows Phone 8, only restored with the GDR3 update. If FM radio isn’t active on your device, open Settings > phone update > check for updates to see if the update is available for your device yet.
The native FM Radio app can be found in the app list. You’ll need your headset connected to listen, as this doubles as an antenna. You can also use the switch to speaker menu item to listen to playback, although your headset will need to stay connected.
Tuning into a station can be achieved by using the arrows to jump to the next strong signal, or dragging your finger across the frequency meter in the middle of the screen. This can also be used to fine-tune the reception. When you’re happy with reception, tap the Add Favourite button; favourite stations are listed in the Favourites view, and favourite stations can be pinned to the Start screen via the Settings menu. Depending upon where you are in the world, you may see some station information displayed courtesy of the Radio Data System, which will be saved in the Favourites screen.
Volume controls work in the usual way; when your phone is locked, using the volume controls will display a mini player with tuning and playback controls.
If you have strong reception for your favourite radio station, the Windows Phone FM Radio app is a battery-friendly way to enjoy it.
Should reception not be working out for you, but you have a strong mobile Internet connection, our look at methods for streaming free music to your Windows Phone should help.
Wearing & Using The Headset
When you connect the headset to your Windows Phone, as well as recognising that the microphone component always sits below the right earpiece (thereby saving you the effort of discerning the small “L” and “R” labels), you’ll notice the small button on the mic.
This is multi-functional, depending upon which app you’re using.
For instance, with the radio app open, the button will toggle pause and play, while a long press will open Cortana, Windows Phone’s voice-activated personal assistant. Incoming calls can be answered with a single press of the button.
Audio Settings: Enjoy Your Audio
If you’ve got your headset attached, you’ll probably want to ensure the best quality audio is being pumped into your skull.
You can enhance this in the Settings > audio screen, which is split into two sections, equalizer and enhancements. In the first screen, a selection of preset equalizations are available, tailored for music genres and listening modes; a custom setting is also available, where frequencies can be adjusted by dragging a finger up and down the display.
The second screen, enhancements, enables you to enable Dolby Headphone for improved sound quality, Audio levelling for a consistent playback volume and the Flip to silence toggle to quickly silence the ringer (useful for meetings, for instance, but irrelevant to your headset).
Using A Headset On Windows Phone? Stay Safe!
One thing you should certainly avoid with your headset plugged in, is listening to music with the volume too high. There is no built-in safety feature warning you that the volume might be excessive for prolonged listening, so do ensure that you don’t overdo it.
On the other hand, every audio device in Windows Phone 8.1 (which you can upgrade to before its full release) has its own volume setting, a feature that should prove useful if you’re switching between wired and Bluetooth headsets.
Have you enjoyed FM band radio on your Windows Phone, or have you completely ignored the headset? Let us know your thoughts.