Galaxy S9 models
Unlocked Galaxy S9 and S9+ handsets in the U.S. now have FM radio. Reuters/Sergio Perez

When Samsung launched the Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones in the United States earlier this year, the phones lacked support for FM radio. This week, the South Korean company is enabling the feature with the aid of the latest software update for the devices.

The activated functionality was first noticed by a Reddit user. The user’s thread has since received attention from other Galaxy S9 owners. Some confirmed that their unlocked handsets are now capable of opening the NextRadio app to access local radio stations. At first only the unlocked version of the phones seem to have gotten the functionality with the update. But one user shared that his non-unlocked version also received the feature upon installing the update.

One Galaxy S9 owner warned that users should see to it that they are in “basic/FM only mode” in the NextRadio app while listening to local radio stations. Failing to do so would result to streaming music over data feed instead of tuning in to the radio.

9To5Google has since picked up the discovery. According to the tech news outlet, the FM radio functionality only works when a pair of wired headphones is plugged into the Galaxy S9 and S9+ devices. The headphones apparently serve as the antenna.

The June update for Snapdragon-powered devices with model numbers SM-G960UI and SM-G965UI basically adds the missing NAB FM API needed to give NextRadio access to the FM radio tuner. Aside from the API, the software update also comes with new security patches that were long overdue.

It should be noted that this is the first software update for the unlocked Galaxy S9 and S9+ handsets in the U.S. in three months. Samsung previously insisted on running unlocked updates through all the carriers in the country for certification, according to Android Police.

In January, Samsung confirmed that its Galaxy S9 and S9+ units for the U.S. and Canada markets would arrive with an active FM chip for listening to the radio. The phones did arrive with hardware support for FM radio reception, but the functionality didn’t work due to the absence of the NAB FM API.