Free Apple Music Alternatives For The iPhone

Your iPhone is a great device that doubles as a portable media player, but what options are there for listening to streaming music on your iDevice? 

In the past, the only way to get new songs was to constantly sync the iPhone with your iTunes library, but things can get stale quite quickly. A much fresher way to get your music is of course to use a streaming music service.

The biggest advantage this type of service offers is being able to discover new music. Using a streaming music service with your iPhone gives you an almost never-ending supply of songs. Mobile music continues to see strong growth as more and more people discover the benefits of accessing cloud music on their portable devices.

You might be familiar with Apple Music, but there are many alternatives that now provide a free iPhone music app that can be used to listen to music streams -- either via your Wi-Fi router or through your phone's carrier network.

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Slacker Radio App

Slacker Radio official logo black text on white background

What We Like

  • Interface is well designed.

  • Quality stations and DJ hosted radio.

  • Music news and event coverage.

What We Don't Like

  • Limited number of skips in free plan.

  • Ads in the free plan.

Unlike Apple Music, which requires you to pay a subscription to stream content to your iPhone, Slacker Radio gives you this facility for free, and it doesn't expire.

The free app (which also works with the iPad and iPod Touch) allows you to stream an unlimited amount of music. At the time of writing this article, you get access to over 200 pre-compiled radio stations and listen to your own custom stations.

If you subscribe to Slacker Radio then you'll be able to do a whole lot more. One of the best paid-for features is the caching mode. This lets you store music on your iPhone so you don't have to be connected to the internet all the time.

If you like listening to internet radio, then Slacker's app is certainly worth downloading to your iPhone.

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Spotify App

Spotify logo green text on white background

What We Like

  • Lots of playlists, including community-created ones.

  • Access to some podcasts and even audiobooks.

  • Videos of interviews, events, short films, and more.

What We Don't Like

  • Lacks live radio stations.

  • No music news and other information features.

You don't have to pay a subscription to stream music. The app allows you to listen to Spotify Radio for free.

The free streaming level doesn't expire and you can also create playlists. To stream to your iPhone you can either use your wireless network (Wi-Fi) or carrier.

Also available via the app is the ability to download songs using Spotify's Offline Mode. This is a feature that requires a subscription but is great for listening to your favorite tracks when you can't get an internet connection.

The Spotify app for the iPhone can be downloaded directly from the App Store using your Apple device. If you don't have an account, then you'll first need to sign up using your Facebook account or email/password.

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Pandora Radio App

Pandora logo light blue text on white background

What We Like

  • Lyrics for songs.

  • Song recommendation feature is very good.

What We Don't Like

  • Ads and limited skips in the free version.

  • Browsing lacks categories, making it less intuitive.

  • No live content.

Using the free Pandora Radio app, you can use your Apple device to find and listen to millions of songs in radio style.

Music discovery is driven by Pandora Radio's powerful Genome system which intelligently suggests relevant content. This personal internet radio service learns what kind of music you like via a user-friendly thumbs up/down interface so you get more accurate results over time.

If you're looking for a completely personalized music listening experience, you'd be hard pushed to find a smarter discovery engine than Pandora Radio.

The free Pandora Radio app allows you to stream music via Wi-Fi or your phone carrier's network. Even though there is a skip limit with this service, it's still an excellent choice to use with your iPhone which won't cost you anything.

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Last.fm App

Last.fm logo white text on red background

What We Like

  • Uses your personal music library and habits to generate music recommendations.

  • Can stream music from Spotify or YouTube using the app.

What We Don't Like

  • Lacks extra features like live music and lyrics.

  • Browsing for music isn't as easy as it should be.

This last app may not be a streaming tool in the true sense of the word, but it is worth installing on your iPhone. If you're already familiar with the Last.fm music service then you'll know how good it is for music discovery, social networking, and keeping a log of all the music you listen to via various digital music resources.

It's a great tool for re-discovering the music you've already got, but in a more organized way, and it's constantly scrobbling (the logging of songs to give users a way to see their music listening habits and get music recommendations). Once you have downloaded the app to your iPhone you can get music recommendations based on your scrobbled profile data. This works particularly well with Spotify so you'll always have an up-to-date list of suggestions.