How to Listen to FM Radio on the iPod nano

ipod nano fm radio
iPod image copyright Apple Inc.; antenna illustration copyright Big_Ryan/Digital Vision Vectors/Getty Images
Was this page helpful?

Originally, the iPod nano was strictly a device for playing MP3s and podcasts you downloaded to it. If you wanted to listen to live radio, you needed a different MP3 player or a good, old-fashioned radio. The nano just didn't let you tune in FM signals.

That changed with the 5th generation iPod nano, which introduced an FM radio tuner as standard hardware. The 6th and 7th generation nanos feature the tuner, too.

This radio does more than just pull down a signal. It also lets you record live radio and tag favorite songs to buy later.

An Unusual Antenna

Radios need antennae to tune in signals. While there's no antenna built into the iPod nano, plugging headphones into the device solves the problem. The nano uses headphones—both third-party and Apple headphones are fine—as an antenna.

How to Listen to FM Radio on the iPod nano

Tap the Radio app on the nano's home screen (on the 6th and 7th generation models) or click Radio in the main menu (5th generation model) to start listening to the radio.

Once the radio is playing, there are two ways to find stations:

  • To move one station at a time, simply swipe the dial back and forth across the screen (7th and 6th gen) or move the clickwheel (5th gen). This is the equivalent of turning the knobs or pressing the buttons on a traditional radio.
  • To scan the airwaves and jump from station to station, hold down the forward or back arrow button on the 7th and 6th gen. nano models. 

    Turning Off the iPod nano's Radio

    When you're done listening to the radio, unplug the headphones or tap the Stop button (6th or 7th gen) or click Stop Radio (5th generation). 

    Recording Live Radio on the iPod nano

    The coolest feature of the iPod nano's FM radio is recording live radio to listen to later.

     The Live Pause feature uses the nano's available storage and can be turned on and off from the Radio screen. 

    To use Live Pause, start listening to the radio. Once you've found something you want to record, access the Live Pause controls by:

    • 7th Generation—Tapping the screen. This begins the recording.
    • 6th Generation—Swiping right to left to reveal the second screen of the Radio app.
    • 5th Generation—Click the Play/Pause button on the clickwheel. This reveals a progress bar with a timestamp on it. As radio is recorded, the white section of the progress bar shows how much is being recorded.

    Once you've recorded a radio broadcast:

    • To listen to what you've recorded, bring up the Live Pause controls using the steps just described and click the Play/Pause button.
    • To move forward or backward in the recording, pause the recording and then:
      • hold down the Rewind or Fast Forward buttons on the clickwheel (5th gen).
      • drag the bar back and forth or use the 30 seconds back or jump forward buttons (6th and 7th gen). 
    • On the 7th generation model, tap the three lines icon at the right to access recent stations and tagged songs.

    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.

    Live Pause is enabled by default, but it can be turned off. On the 6th and 7th gen. models you can turn it back on by:

    1. Tapping Settings.
    2. Tapping Radio. 
    3. Moving the Live Pause slider to On.

    Favorites, Tagging, and Recent

    The iPod nano's FM radio lets you save favorite stations and tag songs to buy later. When listening to the radio, you can tag songs (on stations that support it) and favorite stations by:

    • 7th Generation
      • To favorite a station, tap the star next to the radio station number.
      • 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 in the top left corner.
    • 6th Generation
      • To favorite a station, tap the star icon at the bottom of the screen.
      • To tag a song, when the star icon to changes to a tag icon, tap it.
    • 5th Generation
      • Hold down the center button. A menu descends 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.

    See all of your tagged songs in the main Radio menu. You can learn more about those songs, and maybe  buy them at the iTunes Store, later.

    The Recent Songs list shows what songs you've listened to recently and what stations they were on.

    Deleting Favorite Stations

    There are two ways to delete favorites on the 6th and 7th generation models:

    1. Go to the station you've favorited and tap the star icon to turn it off.
    2. Tap the screen in the Radio app to reveal the Live Pause controls. Then tap Favorites, swipe down from the top of the screen, and tap Edit. Tap the red icon next to the station you want to delete, then tap Delete.