Best 4 Free Apps That Stream Local Channels [iPhone & iPad]

Just because you're not home doesn't mean you have to miss out. See the top 3 apps for streaming local channels for free to your iPhone or iPad.

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Five minutes on google and it almost feels like you can stream anything today – from games to webcams to movies. Often though, you might find yourself wanting to stream local channels on your iPhone or iPad but don’t have a good way to do it.

Apps that have been around for a while like Netflix have on demand movies and documentaries covered, but it’s only recently where you can watch live TV for free, as it happens, on your mobile device.

Best Apps That Stream Local Channels (iPhone And iPad)

It’s easy to get confused and lost with the hundreds of thousands of apps available. A good portion of those apps ask for your money before they’re fully useable. That’s not what we’re going to look at – today I’ll show you just Apple iOS apps that are 100% free. Also, I will not take into account any android apps. This is for iOS only.

Bottom Line
Pluto TV
Best Streaming Overall
Bottom Line
An excellent free app that would be popular even if it was paid. Stream many TV channels in HD.
Lots of channels inc. local channels
Little Ads
Good quality
More focused on TV shows that news
Local Now
No Frills Streaming
Bottom Line
Easy app to use and some local channels included. Needs to expand its channel lineup to be competitive.
Easy app to use
Good quality streams
Stream movies and shows
Only one local news channel available for each US locations.
Stream News Clips
Bottom Line
No live streaming, but find the top stories of the day brought to you by your local nearby stations.
Lots of local news video clips
Built for news only
Good variety of news sources
No live streaming
Does not feature anything but news clips

Let’s take a look and check out the best free apps to stream local channels on the iPad and iPhone.

LocalNow (Free Local TV Station Streaming)

As far as free local TV streaming, LocalNow is one of the best.

With most US cities having at least one local TV station listed, this app should be the first one you check out when looking for free apps that stream local TV channels.

When you first open the LocalNow app, you’ll be asked for your zip code so the app can find any local channels that are available. For me, the only local channel that was available was Denver7 News.

LocalNow Main Screen

If you find a channel that you want to watch, rotating your iPhone 90 degrees so it’s in landscape orientation will make the video stream full screen.

LocalNow Full Screen Stream

If you scan through the available live tv streams on the LocalNow app you’ll notice there are a lot of channels available. Rather than having several channels in one location, it looks like there are lots of channels covering lots of geographic areas.

I’m not sure if this was a strategic move or simply that a lot of local stations don’t want their streams included in the LocalNow app.

Download: Download the LocalNow app for free on the App Store here.

NewsOn (Free Local TV Station Streaming)

NewsOn is another free app that delivers live local channels that cover cities all across the US.

It works in a somewhat similar way to LocalNow app, by using your location and matching it with the closest stations nearby.

NewsOn Home Screen Stations
NewsOn Live Stations

One unique feature of NewsOn is its ability to stream the latest newscasts from a few hours ago. For me, there weren’t any local stations streaming live, but I could watch newscasts from just a few hours ago from local stations with ease.

NewsOn Stream Fullscreen

This isn’t as good as LocalNow, but not a bad alternative if you need to catch up on what’s going on and it’s not time critical.

Download the NewsOn app for free from the Apple App Store here.

Haystack Free News Videos (Free Local TV Station Clips)

While Haystack isn’t my top recommendation for streaming local channels live, I had to include it in this list for it’s no-nonsense local video player.

Why is this important? Almost all news websites use ads in their videos to make money, somehow Haystack has made it so that the news station’s video skips all that and you just watch the actual news clip.

Until you’ve had to sit through 30 second or one minute clips just to find out the details of a story, it gets old quick. Haystack makes that problem go away…for now?

HayStack News Main Channel Screen

It does have live TV channels – just not many local ones really. You can watch CBS News, Bloomberg, Euronews and more. There are a sprinkling of local channels, mostly for the Eastern and South Eastern US.

HayStack News Full Screen Stream

Download: Download Haystack on the App Store here.

Pluto TV (Free Local TV Station Streaming)

Pluto TV is the app to get if you’re looking for an easy familiar interface and no-frills video streams. It’s got over 250 channels and to me feels the easiest to use out of the three other apps I’ve shown you so far.

Check out the interface to see what I mean. Pretty straight forward!

Pluto TV App on iPhone

When you do find a show or TV program you’d like to watch, tapping the full screen button fills your iPhone’s screen with the video for easy viewing. I like this app.

Pluto TV App on iPhone

Now, this app doesn’t provide on demand anything. So you have to make sure you’re watching at the program start times so you don’t miss it.

Pluto has a ton of channels on offer that call all be streamed for free, it’s our recommendation if you’re looking for the best app that streams local channels.

Download Pluto TV from the App Store here.


You’ve got four solid options for streaming local tv channels and watching them on your iPhone or iPad.

My recommendation out of the four is Pluto TV.

It’s got a very familiar TV cable box style interface design, where you can see the current show and the next ones coming up. I wasn’t bombed with advertisements either, something that’s sadly becoming a rarity nowadays. You do get ads when you’re watching a stream or video, though, but that’s not unusual.

On top of the live tv channels, you’ll also be able to enjoy top movies and popular TV shows on demand. For a free app it offers unbelievable value.

FAQ: Apps That Stream Local Channels

Here are answers to some common questions we get about streaming local channels on your iPhone or iPad.

Where can I stream local channels for free?

Pluto TV is the best app for streaming local channels for free. Open the Apple App Store on your iPhone or iPad. Search for Pluto TV. It’s 100% free to download and use.

How can I stream local channels cheap?

Use an app like Pluto TV or LocalNow and watch local channels nearby for free on your iPhone or iPad.

I want to watch local channels free without an antenna

The App Store is your friend! Get Pluto TV (free) and enjoy local TV without the antenna right on your iOS device.

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