Does Using the FM Radio on an Android Phone Drain the Battery?

By Melly Parker

There are many types of Android smartphones that can use FM radio apps.
i Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Smartphones drain battery power more quickly than older feature phones not only because of their brighter screens, but also because of power-hungry apps. When using an Android smartphone, it's essential to monitor your battery use so you don't end up with a dead phone at the worst possible time. Limiting your use of apps that drain the battery – especially when the indicator flashes low – will help ensure you can use your phone when you need it. Listening to the FM radio on your phone uses battery power, but there are ways to mitigate the drain.


Android is a mobile device operating system created by Google. Many mobile carriers and device manufacturers use Android; the variety is one of the reasons that Android has more than 50 percent of the United States' market share for smartphones, followed by Apple. Some Android phones, depending on the manufacturer, come with a native FM app and a radio wire in the phone that allows it to connect to FM radio networks without using data.

FM Radio Apps

There are two kinds of FM radio apps: those that access radio broadcasts online and those that access them over the FM frequency with a radio wire. If you're accessing an app online, it uses data. If not, it doesn't. The reason some FM radio apps require headphones is because the cord acts as the antenna for the radio signal, which doesn't require a data connection.

Battery Use

Anything you do on an Android mobile – including simply checking the time – will use the battery. The system processes required to keep the phone operating use battery life, though the largest drain on the battery is the power required to run the display. When you access the FM radio app – or any app – it takes a small amount of additional power on the part of the battery.


If you want to save battery life on your Android, run the FM radio app with the screen off. The longer you leave the screen on while the app is running, the more battery power you're draining. By going into your settings, you can check the amount of battery power you have left; the operating system also gives you a detailed rundown of which apps are using up the battery power. Apps that automatically update over Wi-Fi and data connections or those that stream audio and video take up more power than apps with none of those functions.