Stream live music, podcasts and radio on your iPhone

Stream live music, podcasts and radio on your iPhone

Most people don’t really use AM and FM radio anymore, but streaming live content is hardly dead. Many podcasts stream live – and you can still tune in to radio stations online. Broadcasts, an app by independent developer Steven Troughton-Smith, makes it super easy to listen to live music and stream radio on your iPhone.

Let me show you how it works.

Stream radio on iPhone

First, download broadcasts from the App Store. It’s a universal app for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, CarPlay and even Apple TV. It’s free to try with no ads, and you can have up to five stations. If you like the app, you can unlock unlimited stations for just $5.

Browse and add a station in Broadcasts
Browse thousands of radio stations in Broadcasts.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Then open Broadcasts and press Scroll through. You can find stations sorted by country or type, or search by name. You can select any of these popular radio stations to start listening immediately by pressing Play button, or press Add… to keep it in your library.

Add audio live streams

If there’s an online program you listen to that streams audio directly from their website (unlike YouTube or Twitch), there’s probably a link you can copy to add it to Broadcasts. Streaming from broadcasts is a much better experience than streaming from a web browser. You don’t have to worry about keeping the page open in Safari, you can pause the live stream and pick up where you left off, and you can easily AirPlay to your headphones or speakers.

This will vary by website, but you need to find the URL the content provider is streaming from. You can probably Google it for the program you’re looking for. You should find a URL that looks like one of these:

Adds a live phish music station to broadcasts.
You can add any live music stream from the internet. It doesn’t have to be Phish; it could be a good band.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Open Broadcasts, tap + and press Add manually. Give your live stream a name and paste the URL you found. And, if you want, press Add artwork.

Check the sound

Use the sleep timer, history, or Show in Apple Music features from the Now Playing screen.
Use the sleep timer, playback history, or Show in Apple Music features from the Now Playing screen.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

At any time, you can tap the mini player at the bottom of the app to expand the audio controls. (Just swipe down from the top or tap the artwork to minimize it again, much like Apple’s own Music and Podcasts apps.)

If you like to play music before bed, you can use the sleep timer. Press moon icon and enter a duration.

Press list icon on the right to see the history of which songs this channel played, or see the current song on Apple Music.

There’s also a Shazam button. If you don’t see it, turn it on Settings > Enable Shazam. If you press the Shazam button, your device’s microphone is used to try to identify the song being played (if the station doesn’t tell you the name). I haven’t gotten this to work properly, but it’s a beta feature.

Broadcasts Mac app alongside MiniPlayer.
The mini player can resize to a tiny window that you can throw in the corner. Or you can keep it floating on top of other windows.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

As mentioned, you don’t have to stream radio exclusively on your iPhone. And on Mac, you get one more practical function. If you like to stay tuned to the same station for a long time, press Command+0 (⌘0) to display the mini player. You can resize it very small and keep it in the corner of the screen. Tap the pin icon in the top right to keep it floating on top of other windows.

Organize your live stream library

Edit the artwork for a station.
You can create your own fun little icon to represent your stations.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You can always edit the name and artwork later. Tap and hold on a station and tap Edit. Press Add artwork and you can create your own photo combining emoji and a color background (or use artwork stored in your photo library).

Create a collection and organize your stations.
Keep your stations categorized.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You can also sort the live streams into collections. Go to Collections tab and press + to create a folder and give it a name. You can tap on the collection and tap + from here, or you can go back to yours Stationstap and hold on one you already have and tap Move to collection.

By Steven Troughton-Smith

Broadcasts is created by Steven Troughton-Smith, a well-known iOS hacker and independent developer. When I chatted with him for this article, he said that in the upcoming Broadcasts 3.1 update, users can expect to see an in-app user guide.

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