For the first few years of existence, the iPod nano was strictly for playing MP3s and podcasts. If you wanted to listen to the radio, you needed another MP3 player or a regular, old-fashioned radio. That changed with the 5th generation iPod nano, which introduced an FM radio tuner. The 6th and 7th generation models offered the tuner, too.
But this FM tuner does more than just pull down a signal. It also lets you record live radio and tag favorite songs for later purchase.
You'll find the Radio menu item--or, on the 6th and 7th generation models, the app--on the nano's home screen. In order to listen to the radio, though, headphones must be plugged in to the nano (because they function as an antenna). You can use practically any headphones; either third-party and Apple headphones are fine.
When you first click on the Radio menu item, you'll be able to tune to different channels by moving the clickwheel left and right (5th generation model). On the 6th and 7th generation models, use the touchscreen to swipe the dial back and forth to find stations.
When you're listening to a channel, but want to switch to a new one, double click the center button to bring the tuner back up (5th generation) or simply tap the screen (6th and 7th generation), or click the Hold button if the nano's screen has locked.
When you're done listening to the radio, be sure to click Stop Radio (5th generation). Unlike listening to music on the iPod, you can't just click the play/pause button to stop the feature. On the 6th and 7th generation, just unplug the headphones or tap the Stop button.
Recording Live Radio
The nano can use its built-in storage and FM tuner to record live radio. This feature, called Live Pause, can be turned on and off from the Radio screen. To do that, you have to make sure that the feature is enabled. It's turned on by default, but if it gets turned off, you can turn it back on (on the 6th and 7th generation models) by going to Settings -> Radio and moving the slider to On.
To record the station you're listening to on the 5th generation nano, click the Play/Pause button on the clickwheel. This will bring up a progress bar with a timestamp on it. As radio is recorded, you will see the white section of the progress bar moving to the right.
On the 6th generation nano, find the station you want to listen to. Radio can't be recorded unless you're listening to the station, so if the music isn't playing, tap the Play/Pause button to start listening. Then swipe to right to left to reveal the second screen of the Radio app. This is the Live Pause screen.
On the 7th generation nano, just tap the screen to bring up the Live Pause controls.
Once you've recorded radio, you can do the following:
- To listen to what you've recorded, simply click the Play/Pause button.
- To move forward or backward in the recording, hold down the Rewind or Fast Forward buttons on the clickwheel (5th) or drag the bar back and forth or use the 30 seconds back or jump forward buttons (6th and 7th). The recording must be paused to move back and forth in it.
- To stop the recording, tap the Play/Pause button.
- On the 7th generation model, tap the three lines icon at the right to access recent songs and tagged songs.
Losing the Recording
You'll lose the recording if you tune to another station, turn off your nano, leave the radio app, run out of battery, or keep the radio app paused for 15 minutes or longer.
Favorites, Tagging, and Recent
The nano's radio also allows you to create favorite stations and tag songs for later purchase. When listening to the radio, you can tag and favorite songs by:
- 5th Generation - Hold down the center button, a menu will descend from the top of the screen letting you favorite the station, tag the song, or cancel. Click the center button to make your choice. You can remove favorites from the same menu.
- 6th Generation - To favorite a station, tap the star icon at the bottom of the screen. To tag a song, look for the star icon to change to a tag icon and then tap it.
- 7th Generation - Tap the star next to the radio station number to favorite a song. To tag a song, wait for the name and artist of the song to appear in the top section of the screen. Tap the tag icon.
Song tagging is not available on all radio stations.
On the 6th and 7th generation models, to remove favorites, go to the station and tap the star icon a second time. Favorite radio stations are accessible from the main Radio menu. When you're listening to a favorited station, you'll see a star next to the station number.
Tagged songs are accessible from the main Radio menu and have their name saved so you can investigate them, and perhaps buy them, later.
The Recent Songs list shows what songs you've listened to recently and what stations they were on.
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