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How to background stream internet radio on your iPad

24 August 2010 17,729 views 25 Comments

Until iOS 4.1 arrives on the iPad, you can’t listen to internet radio and use another application at the same time. Or can you? If your favorite internet radio broadcaster offers clickable m3u or pls formatted streams, then you can listen to it on your iPhone OS-powered iPad, iPhone or iPod touch and keep working in another app — sweet.

One of my favorite internet radio broadcasters is Soma FM, whose stations are available as radio presets in the desktop version of iTunes. On the iPad, however, listening is an “either or” proposition as iPhone OS 3.2.2 doesn’t support background processes for internet radio apps — you listen to the radio and do nothing else.

Like SomaFM? Consider getting the SomaFM Radio Player ($3.99), available on the App Store

Moreover, Apple won’t bring background processing support for streamed audio apps to the iPad until it releases iOS 4 this Fall. Still, there is another way.

How are you doing that?

That said, fire up your iPad and point Safari at Soma FM’s Groove Salad and it will begin playing. Better still, you can switch to another application and it will keep playing.

Wanna watch Tech News Today or MacBreakWeekly (live stream page) on your iPad instead of cluttering up your Mac’s screen? Yup, it just plays and you don’t need no stinkin’ Flash to do it.

See also: Cool iPad Tricks: Background Listen to a Video Podcast

The catch here is that the audio from a live video stream won’t keeping playing when you switch to another app. Alas, there is a separate link for an audio only stream that will.

So, there are literally thousands of live internet radio and podcast streams out there that will play just fine in the background on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch without a special app, jailbreaking or the newest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. Check out ShoutCast (you’ll need to change some settings) where you’ll find tons and tons o’ free and ad-supported stations streamed in the accessible .pls format.

Tune in and enjoy…

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