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How to stream and download music to your mobile phone for free (Android/iOS)

Want to fill your ears with tunes on your daily commute, but too skint to pay for a monthly subscription? We've rounded up the best free music streaming apps that you can download for your mobile phone, whether it’s an iPhone or Android handset.

The selection of music streaming services out there is still expanding at a scary rate, with dozens now offering a massive collection of tracks to enjoy via your mobile devices. Spotify, Deezer, Amazon and a whole bunch of other are in competition for your cash and your listening time; and they're on the whole tough to choose between, as you'll see in our guide to the best music streaming services.

However, if you want to enjoy a premium service, you'll have to pay a premium price: normally a tenner a month for full access. You can cut the cost a little by grabbing a family plan instead, and sharing with others. But if you have no savings to spare, you'll want to look at free options instead.

Here we show you the best ways to enjoy free music on your smartphone, using Android and iOS audio streaming apps.

Check out our quick guides to copying music to your Android phone and copying music to your iPhone, for offline listening.

Radioplayer (iOS, Android)

This free radio streaming app allows you to listen to UK digital channels from the likes of the BBC on your mobile phone. Hundreds of stations are available, along with a massive selection of podcasts too. All of the major music genres are covered, as well as the usual selection of news, sport and talk radio.

You can set up your favourites, cast to speakers and other audio devices, check out recommendations based on your listening habits and control via your Apple Watch. Pretty good functionality, for free.

TuneIn Radio (iOS, Android)

Like the Radioplayer app, TuneIn gives you access to a massive collection of digital radio, including popular UK stations from the BBC, talkSPORT and Absolute Radio. This time you can also enjoy global channels too, giving over a hundred thousand stations to choose from overall.

Thankfully TuneIn is still free to download and use, while a paid subscription also opens up NFL and MLB commentary and over 40,000 audiobooks. That'll cost you a tenner a month.

BBC iPlayer Radio (iOS, Android, Windows Phone)

If you enjoy the Beeb’s radio output, then the iPlayer Radio app is an essential download. You can live stream all of the BBC’s radio channels and also download your favourite shows to enjoy offline, including dramas, comedy shows and of course music mixes. The Windows Phone version misses out on some of the functionality of the iOS and Android apps, but still gives you full access for free.

SoundCloud (iOS, Android)

SoundCloud is a great way for budding musicians and DJs to share their work with the public, and in turn it’s a solid app for streaming free music to your mobile. Every taste is catered for, with the ability to search for particular genres and eras of music. You’ll even find some awesomely bizarre mash-ups, such as the Walt Disnizzle Disney/Hip-Hop fusion.

Deezer (iOS, Android)

You can listen to Deezer’s 43+ million tracks free of charge, although you will have to put up with ads in between the music. Still, non-subscribers can create playlists and enjoy the lyrics feature without paying a penny. A subscription removes the ads and allows you to download tracks, while bumping up the audio quality.

Google Music (iOS, Android)

Sign up for a Google account and you can upload your own music collection to the Google servers, and then stream your tracks to your iPhone or Android phone using the Google Music app. It's quick and easy and completely free. Check out our guide on how to use Google Music.

Got your own favourite free music streaming apps? Let us know in the comments below.

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