You don’t have to be an investigative journalist or a private eye in an old noir film to use a police scanner, nor do you need to splurge on a stand-alone device just to get the inside scoop. The right smartphone app will allow you to eavesdrop with ease and stay informed about the goings-on in your neighborhood, including emergencies and current road conditions. For your convenience, we’ve rounded up the best police scanner apps below.
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This app lets you listen to live audio from police and fire scanners all over the planet. You can select from thousands of feeds, find the current top 100 feeds, search for your favorites, listen in the background, and even locate your feed on the map. The premium version is $5, and a yearly subscription costs $40.
This highly rated Android scanner lets you listen in on live audio from over 7,000 police radio scanners, fire scanners, and amateur radio repeaters worldwide, mostly in English-language nations. The app lets you view the top 25 most popular police scanner radio stations, save your favorites, and tune into air traffic, rail, marina, weather, and emergency radio stations.
Scanner Radio lets you browse a variety of channels worldwide, view the top 50 scanners and recently added scanners, and target your specific location. You can also find public safety, air traffic, and marine scanners with the app. You can receive notifications when major events or emergencies take place, and it supports Android Auto. The $3 pro version removes ads, includes push notifications, and offers the ability to record audio. You also have the choice to only remove ads without new features for $2.
Broadcastify offers 6,500 global channels for you to listen to, each sorted by country and metro area. The app’s interface is clean and easy to read, although the media player has bulky buttons. Channels focus on fire and emergency services as well as aviation, rail, weather, marine, and amateur radio streams, and you can even search for channels near your location and establish a favorites list. The free version includes ads, which you can remove for $3 with the pro version.
5-0 Radio Police Scanner
One of the highest rated iOS police scanner apps available, 5-0 Radio Police Scanner features worldwide coverage of Fire, EMS, and Police feeds. The app even features the ability to start your own custom feed and boasts an organized list of broadcasts by country. The app will notify you of any notable events on any of its feeds with its “Feeds with Active Alerts” system. A convenient perk is that you don’t have to keep the app open to listen to the feed—you can run it in the background, but still scroll through social media or text messages at the same time. Like a lot of free apps, you’ll encounter plenty of ads, but you can always upgrade to the ad-free version for $5.
Scanner 911 has a sleek design that makes it easy to navigate, regardless of what kind of smartphone you’re using it on. Sound quality is generally good, and the app features numerous options to adjust the audio settings. This highly rated scanner helps you find nearby scanners or search anywhere in the country, listen in the background, adjust the sound with a built-in equalizer and amplifier, control the stream with lock screen controls or headset buttons, and view 10-codes to stay current with the local action.