Do Android phones have FM transmitter?

An FM transmitter is a device that broadcasts audio from a smartphone or other audio source through an FM radio frequency. This allows the audio to be played through any standard FM radio receiver, like a car stereo. FM transmitters are useful for streaming music, podcasts, audiobooks, and other audio content from a phone to an older car stereo that doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity or a direct USB input.

On Android smartphones, FM transmitters have been included as built-in hardware features on some models, as well as available as software-based apps using the phone’s existing hardware. FM transmitters offer a convenient way to play audio from an Android device through a car or home stereo system. They transmit the audio over an empty FM radio frequency so the stereo can receive it like a normal FM radio station.

History of FM Transmitters on Phones

FM transmitters first started appearing in mobile phones in the early 2000s. Some of the earliest phones to offer built-in FM transmitters were Nokia models like the Nokia 808 PureView, Nokia N8, and Nokia N79. These phones allowed users to play music or other audio from their phone and transmit it to nearby FM radios. The feature became popular for things like playing music from your phone in the car over the stereo.

Other phone manufacturers like Sony Ericsson and Motorola also started including FM transmitters in select phone models in the mid to late 2000s. The feature was marketed as a way to wirelessly play and share music from your mobile device. It became a common inclusion, especially on Nokia’s smartphones and multimedia phones. Though early FM transmitters had limited range, the feature gave users a convenient way to broadcast audio before Bluetooth streaming became widespread.

Android Support for FM Transmitters

FM transmitters allow you to play media from your phone over an FM frequency so it can be picked up by a nearby radio receiver, like your car’s stereo. Support for built-in FM transmitters in Android phones has varied over the years.

In the early days of Android, several phones included FM transmitters like the HTC Hero and Samsung Galaxy S. However, FM transmitter support started declining around 2011. By 2015, very few Android phone models still included built-in FM transmitters according to Quora users [1].

Some notable Android phones that have included FM transmitters are older Nokia models like the Nokia N8, Nokia 701, and Nokia N85 according to one list [2]. A few newer Samsung Galaxy models also supported FM transmitters such as the Galaxy S4 Mini, Galaxy S5, and Galaxy S6 according to SlashGear [3].

However, FM transmitter support in Android phones has declined in recent years. Most modern Android smartphones do not include built-in FM transmitters, instead relying on wireless connectivity options like Bluetooth, WiFi Direct, and NFC for audio streaming.

Benefits of FM Transmitters

FM transmitters provide several key benefits for Android users who want to play audio from their phone over speakers. One of the biggest advantages is the ability to play music, podcasts, and other audio through a car’s stereo system ( FM transmitters allow wireless audio streaming from a smartphone to a car stereo by transmitting the audio over an empty FM radio frequency.

This allows the car stereo to pick up the smartphone’s audio like a normal FM radio station. So Android users can easily play their downloaded or streamed music through their car’s speakers without any wires. FM transmitters are also useful for streaming phone audio to wireless Bluetooth speakers or headphones (

Limitations of Smartphone FM Transmitters

One of the key limitations of using a smartphone as an FM transmitter is the short transmission range. Due to FCC regulations on transmission strength from consumer devices, most smartphone FM transmitters have a range of only a few feet (1). This means the phone has to be very close, often within 12 inches, of the car radio receiver in order to get a clear signal. Having the phone so close can make it inconvenient to control music playback or change settings on the phone.

Another limitation is sound quality issues. The low-power smartphone FM transmission signal is prone to static and interference, especially from other radio stations operating on nearby frequencies. The limited transmission range also means the signal has a higher chance of being blocked by objects in the car, leading to intermittent cut-outs in the audio (2). While the sound may be passable for talk radio and podcasts, music listeners will likely notice a significant decline in audio quality from compressed smartphone FM transmission.

Software-Based Alternatives

Since most modern Android phones lack built-in FM transmitters, many users turn to software-based apps that can transmit audio over FM radio frequencies using the smartphone’s headphone jack antenna. There are several apps on the Google Play Store that offer this functionality such as FM Transmitter, Simple Radio, TuneLink, and FM TRANSMITTER PRO.

These apps allow you to play music or other audio from your Android device and transmit it over an empty FM frequency so you can tune your car stereo or other external speakers to receive the signal. The main limitation is that reception quality heavily depends on the headphone cable acting as an antenna, so results may vary. Overall these apps provide a free software-based alternative to hardware FM transmitters, with some ads and limitations.

Hardware Accessory Options

For Android users who want dedicated FM transmission hardware, there are several accessories available. These allow you to transmit music, podcasts, and other audio from your Android device to a nearby FM radio.

One popular option is the Guanda Bluetooth FM Transmitter ( This small device connects via Bluetooth to your Android phone and then broadcasts the audio over an FM frequency you select. It features a display screen and buttons to control music playback and manage phone calls. The Guanda plugs into your car’s 12V outlet for power.

There are also FM transmitters like the Nulaxy Wireless In-Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter (, which connects via a 3.5mm audio cable instead of Bluetooth. This can provide lower latency audio transmission compared to Bluetooth if that’s a priority.

With dedicated FM transmitters like these, you get excellent sound quality and transmission range up to 10m. Just make sure to find an empty FM frequency in your area first. The accessories also typically have useful features like USB charging ports for your phone.

Newer Alternatives Like Android Auto

New car technology like Android Auto provides an alternative to traditional FM transmitters for many Android users. Android Auto allows you to connect your Android phone to your car’s infotainment system, either wirelessly or via USB. It brings your apps and services to your car’s dashboard screen.

With Android Auto, you can easily access music streaming apps, navigation apps like Google Maps, and other apps optimized for driving without handling your phone. This reduces the need to transmit audio from your phone to your car stereo via an FM transmitter. The direct wired or wireless connection provides higher quality audio and video compared to FM transmission.

As more new cars add Android Auto compatibility, owners of Android phones will be able to connect seamlessly. For older cars without built-in Android Auto, aftermarket head units with Android Auto are available. So the technology provides an alternative to FM transmitters for many situations.

The Future of FM Transmitters on Phones

FM transmitters have declined in popularity as streaming technologies like Bluetooth and WiFi Direct have advanced. Most modern Android devices released in the last few years no longer include built-in FM transmitters due to the prevalence of streaming options.

Bluetooth and WiFi allow phones to wirelessly stream audio to speakers, cars, and other devices without the limitations of FM transmitters. Bluetooth audio quality has vastly improved over early versions, making it an attractive alternative. Additionally, technologies like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay allow direct integration and control between smartphones and car infotainment systems.

According to a market research report, the Bluetooth FM transmitter market is expected to grow significantly from 2024 to 2031 as more car manufacturers integrate Bluetooth connectivity into vehicles [1]. This further reduces the need for basic FM transmission.

While some enthusiasts may still prefer FM transmitters for their simplicity and cost, they are likely to become a niche product as streaming becomes more ubiquitous. Phone manufacturers are shifting focus away from transmitters and towards improving wireless streaming performance and integration.


In summary, the landscape of FM transmitters for Android phones has evolved over the past decade. While earlier Android phones often included built-in FM transmitters, support has dwindled in recent years as smartphone makers focused on newer features. Now, only a handful of budget Android models still offer built-in FM transmitters.

For most Android users, FM transmitter functionality is limited to third party apps and external hardware accessories. Software-based transmitters rely on the headphone jack and have limited range, while dedicated FM transmitter dongles can broadcast more reliably but are an added cost. Newer solutions like Android Auto provide some of the functionality of FM transmitters without the need for separate hardware.

It seems unlikely that built-in FM transmitters will make a comeback in flagship Android devices. The trend is toward wireless connectivity standards like Bluetooth and WiFi Direct for audio streaming. However, FM transmitters still serve useful purposes for some consumers, so third party options will continue meet that niche demand for the foreseeable future.

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