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Apple Urged To Activate iPhone FM Radio Chips After Hurricanes
By Seung Lee
Posted: September 29, 2017 9:26am PDT

When the Big One strikes California, FM radio likely will be your only way to stay informed about the disaster. While many may think they need a bulky radio, most smartphones -- including iPhones -- have FM radio chips embedded in them to transmit radio signals.

While Android manufacturers quietly allow users to enable the chip and unlock the FM radio tuner, Apple has not budged. Following the destruction wreaked on Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico by three separate hurricanes, the chair of the Federal Communications Commission voiced frustration at Apple for not cooperating.

"I applaud those companies that have done the right thing by activating the FM chips in their phones," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement. "Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted doing so. But I hope the company will reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria."

Apple on Thursday responded with a blog post about its contributions to the disaster relief to all three hurricanes. It donated more than $13 million and quickly worked to turn Apple stores into spaces with free Wi-Fi and charging stations.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the FM chip.

© 2017 San Jose Mercury News. Syndicated here under contract with YellowBrix, Inc. All rights reserved.

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