Police scanning app downloads rocket amidst U.S. protests

App Store on iPhone
App Store on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Waves of protest are sweeping across the U.S.
  • It's causing a big rise in the number of downloads of apps that scan police frequencies.
  • 5-0 Radio rose above Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok on the App Store.

Protests in the U.S. have caused the demand for police scanning apps to spike, with one such app rising above Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok on the App Store.

As reported by Motherboard:

The number of users of an app which lets people listen in to police radio broadcasts across the country is nearly doubling every day during the protests, according to its developer. As of Monday morning, '5-0 Radio' had skyrocketed above apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to the most popular paid app, and the second most popular free app on the Apple App Store, according to Apple's own rankings. Other similar apps have also jumped in popularity.

One person told the outlet that they were using police scanners to glean information about planned police action so that they could protect themselves. 5-0 Radio's developer said that this had been the biggest spike in listeners in the 10+ years of the app's history and that in the past four days user numbers had doubled every single day. Other apps including 'Police Scanner Radio & Fire' and 'Broadcastify Pro' have also risen up the App Store rankings. On Sunday, Radio 5-0 registered half-a-million active users. The app relies on volunteers with radio scanners to send feeds to the app, adding all of the feeds to a user-friendly interface. 5-0 Radio says it has also seen a rise in the number of volunteers helping to scan frequencies, including those helping to keep communications open between different hospitals, departments, and precincts.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9