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I know I can download apps such as Wunder Radio or iHeartRadio that tune in to the same signal over the internet as is being broadcast over commercial FM stations, but I want to use my iPhone to receive input from a real FM tuner.

Many times smaller stations do not stream and often other services, such as audio of TV on a Gym, some museums and traffic warning stations as well as conferences where live translations in several languages are broadcast over different FM frequencies.

Is there a particular app for this or maybe a third-party device I can purchase?

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The iPhone does not contain any hardware to tune in and receive FM radio broadcasts. –  Wheat Williams Apr 14 '12 at 18:04
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3 Answers 3

The only iOS device that features a built-in FM tuner is the iPod nano, since the fifth generation (the tall "candy-bar" style before they shrunk to the square shape). The sixth generation (current, as of this writing) iPod nano still has the FM Tuner.

It is impossible to merely download an app on any iOS device (iPod touch / iPhone / iPad ) to accomplish this with any modern/iOS device because you have to have the physical radio that can tune FM/AM radio bands. Now, if they streamed to some network location which an app can easily access...

I would like to mention also that the Griffin and Belkin products in The Apple Store ARE NOT tuners. They are transmitters. They broadcast (short range) on FM frequencies, so you can tune in using your car stereo, or perhaps some kind of radio tuner alarm clock you may have in your house.

The iHome speaker does appear to do FM tuning, but that is likely not practical in the example you're asking about. Go with the iPod nano.

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Plus 10 for the nano. Wear it as a watch and listen to FM when you need it. –  bmike Apr 15 '12 at 0:02
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I use one mac with a RadioShark connected to capture FM signal.

Once your mac has tuned the station of choice, you have several options to get that signal to your iOS device. I use Airfoil for Mac and Airfoil Touch on iOS to receive the signal.

It's only a matter of time until someone releases hardware specific for the task (hello kickstarter) unless someone with deeper wallets brings something to market. The new low power bluetooth protocol would be excellent for this sort of dedicated device once the hardware to support it is being manufactured on a wider scale.

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No way you can do it on iPhone, unless you purchase an FM receiver such as the Griffin iFM Radio Receiver for iPhone and iPod

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Does this receiver work with any new iPhones? My recollection was it only supported older phones, but I can't find the specs anymore as it's not currently for sale from Griffin. –  bmike Apr 15 '12 at 0:00
    
I am not too sure as well. I listed that product as an example of FM receiver –  revolver Apr 15 '12 at 13:07
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