Download radio stations to your phone for listening offline

When you want to listen to streaming radio stations on your iPhone, but don’t want to run up large data bills the best solution is to download them and save them for offline listening.

Streaming music is the best way to listen and there are many services to choose from. The iTunes store and the Apple Music app are the obvious sources of music, but they are not the only ones are there are alternatives.

You could go over to the dark side and use Google Play Music and why not? It has some advantages over Apple Music. One is that it supports Android and the web, so you can listen to music on other devices and computers.

Another is that you can upload and store 50,000 music tracks on Google Play Music and stream them for free. If you have a CD library and don’t mind spending a week uploading them, the result is your own private and free streaming music service.

A recent feature addition to Google Play Music is the ability to download and store radio stations on the iPhone.

This is very useful for when you intend to go out where there will not be a Wi-Fi network you can connect to. You can download your favourite radio station on Wi-Fi before you leave home or work, and then you can play the music offline and avoid using up any of your data allowance.

It is a great idea, but this only works if you subscribe to Google Play Music. Like the Apple Music app, the best features are reserved for subscribers.

Browse radio station categories

Open the Google Play Music app and tap the menu button to open the sidebar. Press Browse stations.

Across the top is Genres, Activities, Moods and Decades. Select one of the station categories on the list.

 Browse radio stations in Google Play Music Browse radio stations in Google Play Music

Select and download a station

After opening one of the categories, browse the stations and then press the one you want to listen to later.

The station opens and you can listen to it right now by clicking the play button on the right near the top. However, notice the download button just below it. Press it to download the music from this station and save it to the iPhone’s storage.

 Browse radio stations in Google Play Music Download radio stations in Google Play Music

Play the music

When the download is complete, the download button changes to a tick in an orange circle. You can now press the play button and the music is played from the iPhone storage instead of being streamed.

Downloading radio stations will use up storage space on the phone, so you should not download dozens of them unless you have lots of storage space to spare. Tap the download button and there is the option to remove the music.

 Play downloaded radio stations in Google Play Music Play downloaded radio stations in Google Play Music

Another reason for removing the music is to download a fresh set of songs for the station. It will not be exactly the same every time, so after listening to the music today, clear it and tomorrow download a new set of tracks from the radio station.