Free Arabic iPhone apps

Just this week I went to Best Buy and got my car set up to play my iPhone through the car stereo.  I should have done this a long time ago and I recommend that any language learner do it too.  Now I can listen to Arabic radio or Al Jazeera in the car.  My commute is about an hour every day and that is time that can be put to good purpose.  This post is about a few of the Arabic iPhone apps that I use in the car on a regular basis.

1. Arabic Radio Stations

The ones that I use are MBC FM and Rotana.  Both of those play mostly Gulf songs which take a while to get used to.  It's very different type of music and before I forced myself to listen to a lot of Gulf music is just sounded like noise to me.  It's all in what you get used to though.  I still don't like a lot of the songs, but 1 out of lets say 5 I will look up on You Tube and add it to my favorites there.  The latest song I found on MBC FM that I like is called شو سوي by the singer اسماء منور .  Stuff by Mona Amarsha (منى امرشا) is good too.  

I've been looking for an Egyptian and Levantine channel to listen to as well.  The best I've found that plays Levantine and Egyptian songs is called ListenArabic.

I found another one called NRJ Lebanon, but every time I've tried it it tells me, "Sorry, no network connection available.  Please try again later."

104.4 Lebanon and Sawt al Ghad (صوت الغد), the two Lebanese radio stations that I've found that work play American music.

Edit: Mark Jacobsen from and a few anonymous readers brought to my attention 2 radio apps that let you listen to a lot more Arabic music than I originally listed.  The apps are Tune In and Yala.  In fact, through both of those you can listen to the stations that I listed, so those 2 apps are really the only ones you need for Arabic radio. 

Some stations that I've tried and like so far and like on Tune In are Sham FM (Damascus, Syria), Radio Orient (Beirut, Lebanon), and Sawt El Hara (Egypt).  It's great being able to listen to the same radio stations Arabs listen to.  Not only does it give you practice with the language, but it gives you a cultural dose too.

2. News Stations

Al Jazeera is the main news station that I listen to.  The language is more advanced than BBC Arabic or France 24 Arabic, so it is what I usually listen to in the car.  Although sometimes I'll listen to the BBC Xtra episodes that you can find on the beebArabic app.  They often have more interesting topics that Al Jazeera but the language is simpler and easier to understand.

3. TV shows

MTV Lebanon is the best app that I've found for Arabic shows.  Everything that's available on their website is available on their app.  You can watch news or TV shows there.

beebArabic which is BBC also has a lot of shows as well.  One of my favorites is simply called 4 تك (four tech) and it's about the latest technology.  It's a lot like the Al Jazeera show عن كثب .  In the car I don't actually watch the shows, but you can still learn a lot just from listening to them.

Anyway, don't waste your time in the car listening to American radio!  You could be bettering yourself by learning a foreign language!


Mark Jacobsen said...

I've been following your site for a while. Thank you for providing excellent Levantine resources, which are so hard to come by. I spent two and a half years studying in Jordan, so know how difficult it is to master dialect.

Have you tried TuneIn Radio Pro? It lets you listen to dozens of Arabic radio stations, categorized by country and city. In the Pro version you can also record and playback clips.

I too am always on the lookout for Levantine stations. Rotana Jordan and Sawt al Ghad are a couple that have programs in Levantine, but you have to catch them at the right time... morning in Jordan seems to be a good time.

My own list of favorite iOS apps is available at my website, Building Peace.

Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

Have you tried Tune In Radio? There are a lot of arabic language radio stations on that app.

Anonymous said...

Is the Yala app not on the iPhone?

Its a great app on android, with on radio stations, on demand songs and videos.

Have you tried Tune in Radio? It connects to a lot of arabic langue radio stations.

The Arabic Student said...

Thanks a lot, guys! Tune In Radio and Yala are both great for Arabic! I'm going to add them to the post because they are much better than the music apps I listed.

Bowman said...

i still can't find a good arabic dictionary (free or not)... any suggestions? i usually just use google translate, but it only works when i have internet (it's an iPod Touch).

Anonymous said...

Hello, I just have discovered your website and I just want to congratuled you for your monstruous work.

I am from France (sorry for my English) and I remarks that you still don't write anything about the occident arabics dialects (Maroc, Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania,Lybia)and I feel a little upset (I am from Algeria) because in one sens that implies that we don't speak arabic in this part of the world.
I understand that theses contries have not the cultural influence of Egypt or Lebanon, and that USA (your nation I suppose) have no historical link with this region unlike at the middle east, but they represent about 60 millionq of natural arabic speakers (1/4 of total), and an expert like you have to know about theses dialects if you want to be complete.

نهارك مبروك إن شأ الله و نزيدوا نطبعواك على كل لي حال

(your day happy if it's pleases God, and we still follow you every way.)

Anonymous said...

I mad i mistake in my message because I don't have arabic keyboard, it was "تبعواك" and not "طبعواك". Please correct if you publish my comment, thanks.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE THIS!!!! thank you!!!!!

I was getting tired of Aljazeera, and this is great for my ammiya.