Last Updated: April 24, 2014
It’s a natural: If you're using an iPod to listen to your favorite music, wouldn’t you also want to use it to listen to the radio? Many MP3 players have built-in FM radios, but the iPhone and iPod (with one exception) don't. There are lots of iPhone apps that allow you to listen to AM and FM radio over the Internet, but those require an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. What if you don't want an app or have an iPod that can't run apps? In that case, you need an iPod radio adapter.
Since the iPod is decreasing in popularity, it's unlikely that new FM tuners will be released. Many of the options listed here are older products or discontinued--both of which can mean good prices, though it also makes them hard to find. It may take a little searching to track these products down, but if you're really dedicated to getting radio on your iPod, it will be worth it.
1. iPod nano
Since the 5th generation iPod nano, Apple has been including a very full-featured FM tuner with the nano line. The tuner itself is terrific: in addition to the expected features, it offers recording of live radio and tagging of songs for later purchase. When you combine this with all the other excellent features of the nano, and its relatively low price, this is certainly the best bet for anyone looking for an FM radio for iPod.
2. iPod Radio Remote, by Apple
This remote plugs into the dock connector of any iPod Classic (or earlier) or iPod nano. With it installed, you can tune to any FM station using the remote or the clickwheel. In a nice touch, Apple offers two tuning styles: digital or with a "dial," mimicking the tuning experience of classic radios. As well as working as an FM tuner, the radio remote (which is powered by the iPod) serves as a remote control. This means more cables to potentially get tangled in, though the product’s weight (15.7 grams) is a nice compensation. The iPod Radio Remote works in the US/Canada, Europe, and Japan.
Apple has discontinued the radio remote, so you'll need to look to secondary markets to find it.
3. iFM or Navigate, by Griffin Technologies
Longtime iPod accessory maker Griffin has two options to get radio to your device: the iFM or the Navigate.
The iFM is very similar to the iPod Radio Remote. It sits inline with the headphones, connects to the iPod through the dock connector, is powered by the iPod, and supports US, European, and Japanese radio bands.
Compare Prices on the iFM
The Navigate adds an in-line remote control and a small OLED display to tell you what's playing either on your iPod or on the radio (if you're listening to an RDS-compatible station). The Navigate's a bit more expensive, but it's got more features, too.
Compare Prices on the Navigate
Both models work with the iPod Classic, iPod nano, iPhone, and iPod touch. Both models, however, have also been discontinued.
This Chinese-made iPod and iPhone radio looks like it might be hard to get support for (and seems kind of generic), but its low price and compatibility make it somewhat attractive. The remote sits inline between the iPod and remote and allows you to control your device or listen to FM radio. It's compatible with the 3rd generation nano and up, iPod touch, iPhone, and iPod Classic.
It's unclear whether this product is still being made or if it has been discontinued.
This product is only available in the UK. That may be OK, as it doesn't seem to elicit many positive reviews.
Though the FM Xtra achieves the same result as Apple and Griffin’s products—getting FM radio to the iPod—it does it in different ways from the other products on this list. It connects to the iPod’s headphone jack. This makes it compatible with more iPods, but it also means that you’re forced to use the included headphones, rather than ones you choose. It is also battery powered (two AAAs), rather than drawing its power from the iPod, meaning that it’s likely to be heavier than the competition.
Digisette does not seem to have a website and the product seems to have been discontinued. Look for it, if you want to, on the secondary market.