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iHeartRadio brings some of the best of traditional radio to your car with Android Auto

iheartradio
iheartradio

It's always been sort of a dark horse in my book, but iHeartRadio definitely has solidified itself as a capable go-between for the legacy terrestrial radio business, and the future (or present, really) of streaming music. And now that it's available as one of the launch partners of Android Auto, iHeartRadio brings that future to your car in a new way.

As we continue our tour through Android Auto apps, we've learned to live with a bit of redundancy in our radios. We've got more ways to listen to more things than ever before. And so the question become which apps do we truly need, versus the apps that are kind of getting in the way.

Let's take a quick look.

One quick note: Be sure to use the regular ol' version of iHeartRadio (opens in new tab), not the TV or "auto" versions.

So one thing that quickly became apparent to me: Your car isn't really the place to get to know iHeartRadio, insofar as the app is concerned. That is, it might feel a bit sparse when it comes to picking through genres and suggested bands and such. And it sort of defaults to obvious choices when you start a station based of a particular band. Foo Fighters>Nirvana>Soundgarden>Pearl Jam>Candlebox, etc. I'm not against taking a trip back to the '90s, but c'mon. (And for the love of all that's holy, there's more to the 1990s than Stone Temple Pilots, folks.)

And figuring a way out of that rut definitely isn't something I want to do when I'm sitting in the front seat of my car. I get the feeling that if I already were a dedicated iHeartRadio user I'd have a much different experience. So I'd recommend using the app outside of the Android Auto realm at first.

The app itself is easy enough to use in the car, though. Menus are done as Android Auto menus are done, though the custom icons in the lists were a little annoying for me and felt out of place. In addition to streaming music and the streaming versions of terrestrial radio (which definitely is fun to explore), there's rudimentary podcast support. All the big names are there, but for me it's still easier to just use a dedicated podcatcher. And for what it's worth I've added the Android Central Podcast to Spreaker, which powers iHeartRadio's podcast listings, but I've yet to be able to find it in the app.)

So the tl;dr here is that iHeartRadio fans will definitely get something out of the Android Auto app. But if you're not a regular user, you're probably going to be underwhelmed at first. If you're just looking for Internet radio, I'd probably look at TuneIn instead.

8 Comments
  • iHeart radio is a horrible mess on my Galaxy 4. It stutters and quits and I have to keep restarting it and if it wasn't for ONE station that only broadcasts on iHeart because the company has an exclusive, I would never use it. TuneIn is my go-to but even Simple Radio is worlds better than iHeart.
  • Tune In is the best, deleted iHeart way back Posted via my LG G Pad 7.0
  • For those with tmobile, iheartradio is on the free streaming list. Could be a great way to keep up with a favorite local station while traveling. I've also heard some talk radio shows recently talking about being on iheart.
  • Finally! A way to listen to local radio while I'm in the car! Posted via Android Central App
  • If your car has a crappy tuner in it, (mine is due to the stubby antenna that you can't replace unless you want to do bodywork) yes, it is nice. If you like local radio that is. Right now the best I get on the tuner is static with some noise resembling talking or music. Or I can spend ~190mb a month (2 hours a day, 5 days a week) streaming the radio I like to listen to in "HD" quality through my phone to the BT in my stereo. I don't go over my 5gb limit on my data plan.
  • It just seems like a lot of radio stations only stream live exclusively to the iHeartRadio app. At least in Nashville. Not a big fan of that since I like other apps better.
  • I use iHeartRadio daily on my way home from work. The tuner in my car sucks, it is basically a connection method from my phone (music) to my speakers for me. If I try to use the radio portion, I get static more than radio. Enter iHeart. I can get my local stations, in "HD" quality by streaming them. It is great until I get a call. I answer and then get off the call, and iHeart goes back, but is too stupid and thinks the stop was due to a network outage of the station (not 4g) and dumps me to some random station. I then have to wait for it to start the stream (Can't cancel the interface won't respond to the stop button or any other button), then stop it, go back to my "favorites" (which it does not dump me to one of those, ironically) and then pick the station I was listening to previously. One might ask, "why don't you just listen to that other station?" My answer is I am listening to local talk radio, and I can't listen to that person on another station. I don't want a random station it thinks I will like, I would even be ok with it cycling through my Favorites. It always picks this "Rock 105.3" station. I wish there was a way to "lock" it to some "presets" like a real radio has. As in it will not move from those presets when the stream fails.
  • It seems odd to use an app for radio, but I do use it from time to time. For me though it's for the stations that play dance music. Where I live we don't have any stations that play that type of music. So it gives me a chance to listen to some new stuff. I will admit though I tend to use all access for my commute more than anything. But it's nice to have the option.