Apple has come under fire from the National Association of Broadcasters and the FCC over the lack of FM radio access on iPhones. Both groups have criticized Apple's reluctance to activate FM receivers following communications failures inflicted by hurricanes Harvey and Maria. There's only one problem: iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips on board.
While later generations of the iPod nano did feature FM tuning capabilities and used the headphone wires as an FM antenna, the most recent iPhones do not include FM tuners. Apple's official statement on the issue explained that the company does care about safety, having incorporated features such as emergency dialing, Medical ID and emergency alert messages. However, when it comes to FM radio broadcasts:
"iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips in them nor do they have antennas designed to support FM signals, so it is not possible to enable FM reception in these products."
It's unclear if earlier model iPhones had FM chips on board as part of their other radio components. Reports have claimed that iPhones using Qualcomm and Intel Wi-Fi and cellular chips have FM capabilities built-in. Critics have accused Apple of keeping FM radio inactive, ostensibly to keep customers using streaming radio apps and Apple Music.
Other smartphone manufacturers such as LG, Samsung and Motorola offer some models with FM reception. Access to FM radio broadcasts is possible without any Wi-Fi or data connection, and uses less battery power than streaming radio. Although smartphones have become ubiquitous since the first iPhone launched in 2007, battery-powered FM radios aren't exactly hard to find.