Police scanner apps are a great alternative for police scanner devices, but not all of them are made equal. In the numerous apps we’ve tested, some proved to be reliable while others were completely useless.
To make it easier for you, we’ve listed the best police scanner apps for your smartphone, whether you use Android or iOS.
Table of Contents
Top 6 Police Scanner Apps for Android Reviews
1. Police Scanner! – Best in Connectivity
- Simple, intuitive screens
- Finds channels close to you
- Over 5,000 global and amateur radio channel options on the internet delivered through Wi-fi
- Allows listening to signals in the background (premium version feature)
- Allows you to search for U.S. and international channels
Police Scanner by Logicord is a great police scanner application for Android phones. In fact, it’s one of our favorites on this list. With the app, you can connect to EMS and the police feed. However, the standout feature of this app is the capability to listen to frequencies around the world.
The user interface is easy to use, thanks to the app’s design. It allows you to hear additional feeds in Canada, Australia, Ireland, and Chile – making it a great support if you want to be limited to feeds.
The app also has the ability to listen to signals online in a slower internet connection. It can find feeds concerning your GPS location, further increasing its versatility.
As for the app organization, you can save your preferred amateur radio stations for easy use, and even browse the principal 100 feeds.
One of the best things about the app is that the developers keep it updated. As such, improvements and updates are always added to keep it compatible with most Android and iPhone devices.
- Discover nearby sources
- Real-time action
- Channel favorites
- Reception issues
2. Broadcastify – Best Radio Scanner App Overall
- 6,000 audio stream list
- Compatible with desktop and mobile
- Tracks police frequencies (Learn about frequencies here.)
- Global Feed Catalog
Broadcastify has a huge collection of channels that are sorted based on the user’s county and metro locale. The channels are stable, especially the ones that focus on EMS and fire services. Based on our tests, this is among the most decent EMS scanners today.
The application has a nice appearance design-wise. We found the interface appealing and intuitive, making it easy to use.
Broadcastify also has a website, meaning that you can listen to police scans on your desktop computer. You can also download it on your iPad if you want to free your smartphone for more tasks.
With this app, you can discover over 6,000 streams. This includes local feeds from police radios, aircraft, public safety, rail, and marine live audio. Like most apps on this list, Broadcastify gives you many signal options available for listening.
When we tried out this scanner app, the way the broadcasts are organized is intuitive and easy to understand. You’ll find sections such as Official Feeds, Latest Feed Additions, and Top 50 Live Audio Feeds. To make it even easier, the app also has a Browse By Location feature so you can listen to the police in your area.
When it comes to the price, this app has free and pro version options, where the latter offers no ads and feed archives. We do recommend starting with the free version of Broadcastify first and upgrade once you think the perks are worth paying extra.
- Supports multiple areas
- Multiple ways to listen to news, including iPhone, Andoird, web browsers, or iTunes
- Shows the leading 25 and newest feeds
- Feed options only available on the premium version
- Police shortcodes aren’t available
3. 5-0 Radio Scanner – Best Free
- International feed reception
- Police feeds can be added to a list
- Easy access to online scanner stations
- Location-specific code meanings
- Fast frequency signals
The 5-o Radio Scanner app is a popular one amongst Android and iOS/iPhone users because it has some of the best features for something that’s free.
For instance, you can listen to international radio frequencies, even if you might not understand what’s said in other countries. This can be useful if you understand the language or if you’re a non-native English speaker.
What makes this scanner app unique is you can listen to police channels even when the app is minimized. Other applications usually need to be open at all times for you to hear signals, but this one lets you do other stuff on your phone as you listen to news or communications.
The app offers a lot of info and functions as well. It gives you the ability to look up police shortcodes (187= murder, etc) and communicate with over 5-0 Radio Scanner users. You can also edit your favorites and check out the topmost 100 radio.
So if you want to share recordings and communicate on a live network, the 5-o app is a great choice that’s compatible with Android devices and iPhones. It works with the iPhone X as well.
If there’s a reason to complain, the only issue about it is the appearance. It has oversized buttons that are a bit overdone. And while its fonts and coloring are fine, the upgrades and ads on the free version of the app can be off-putting.
However, if functionality is your main concern, this is one of the best free scanner apps for the iPhone and Android devices.
- Monitors police communication
- Responsive feed recordings
- Can store police streams
- Excessive advertisements on the free version
4. Scanner Radio – Third Best
- Sleep Timer
- Broadcastify alerts
- Easily spot nearby scanners
- Covers 6,000 radio streams
- User Activity Feed
- Listen to live fire and police radio
One thing that sets Scanner Radio apart from its competitors is that you can create mobile alerts to notify you when people are listening to a nearby feed. This indicates scanner activity and can alert you if police are within the vicinity.
Police feeds can also be browsed by the frequencies nearest you any time. For instance, you can detect frequencies based on location, greatest 50, and the source (i.e. Broadcastify, RailroadRadio, Scan BC).
Scanner Radio also offers a multitude of features, including the ability to receive a notification when users tune in to a particular station. You will see nearby scanners as well, making this a versatile app for Android users.
While you can’t listen to every scanner frequency out there, Scanner Radio gives users access to over 6,000 channels. You can also use the emergency guide to listen to EMS, fire, police, aviation, and rescue dispatch channels.
As you probably know, these channels follow a code. But with the emergency guide, you will be able to understand the communications happening on-air.
- Access to popular servers
- Fast frequency finding
- Streaming Quality
- Police codes aren’t local to the feed
5. Police Scanner X – Best in Broadcasting
- Quickly finds police signals any time
- 10 Police codes included
- Save favorite channels
- Connect to multiple police stations
- Top 50s
Police Scanner X has a custom stream player for better battery savings and faster playback. When searching for signals, you have access to the top 50 local signals. If you choose to do so, you can save your favorite ones for later.
For most people, it can be hard to notice the police codes at first. The Police Scanner X, unlike other apps, includes the 10 police radio codes you can use as reference. With this guide, it will be easier for you to hear the chatter on the police radio.
Now, what police stations are spotted on this app? Users can connect to Madison, Newark, and Cleveland police, and more. As such,, users can stay connected to police broadcasts and networks.
You should consider getting the Police Scanner X if you need quick signals in your home. Android users will benefit from this app because the viewing of signals takes just under 3 minutes. So if you want fast signals from a responsive system, Police Scanner X is a great choice.
- System connectivity
- Reads police signals
- Good audio quality
- Bad user interface
6. Scanner 911 – Runner up, Best Overall
- Built-in equalizer with amplifier effects
- Includes a list of “ten codes” to understand the action nearby
- Searches for scanners in every city or county
- You can listen in the background while using other apps on the phone, (e.g. music)
- Lock screen controls and headset buttons
When it comes to reliable performance, Scanner 911 comes out on the prime ranks. It launches quickly and smoothly to show you a menu offering feeds, recording capabilities, popular channels, and other features you’d want from the best police scanners.
Out of many radio scanner apps on Playstore and Appstore, Scanner 911 ranks as the best police scanner app of 2020. That’s an obvious edge, and it’s mainly because of the value and user experience it provides.
So in case you were wondering which is the best police scanner app according to Playstore and Appstore, it’s Scanner 911.
Beyond the basics, this is well designed. It offers police codes within a given stream and shows the popularity of each radio feed within your county. Users can also customize their skin to increase readability or visual appeal. Plus, it comes with Material Design and equalizer.
However, our favorite feature is the Scanner 911’s map integration. Once you open up a stream, your iPhone reveals a map that shows the feed’s coverage area. In our tests, this feature is one that’s easy to use.
While it might sound inconsequential, it’s good to have a reference map to see alert locations when you hear a buzz on the radio. This app allows that as well.
You might want to consider getting this app if you want something that’s readable, intuitive, and will give you access to customized channels. Scanner 911 does a great job of streaming radio while providing a friendly user experience.
- User interface
- Map integration
- Customized sleep timers
- No signal in larger cities
Q: How do police scanners work?
A: Police scanners work in a way you can use them to listen to different channels including police ones.
Aside from these apps, you can also do radio scanning using your PC. See our article about online police scanners to learn how. But if you want a physical police scanner for your vehicle, remember to purchase good antennas so you maximize your scanner.
Conclusion – what is the most recommended app?
There is a myriad of police scanner apps that are on the market all over the world. So yes, police scanner apps work and it is legal to listen to different channels with these devices.
If you want an app for iPhone/iOS, go with Broadcastify. It’s the most reliable police scanner app for Apple iPhone. For our Android fans, Scanner Radio is a better choice.
But no matter what scanning app you choose, you’ll find it easier to pick up signals when traveling on the road. This makes scanning easier too, unlike going through all the hassle of programming a police scanner radio yourself.
Curious about it? Read this: https://www.ratedradardetector.org/police-scanner/how-to-program-baofeng-UV-5r/.
If you have any questions about getting new police scanners for your phone, ask us in the comments below!