How to Connect your iPod to Car Stereo

You don’t have to spend a fortune on upgrading your car’s factory stereo just to enjoy listening to your iPod’s playlist. 

There are various methods you can use to connect your iPod to the car stereo system, although these will differ depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

The good thing is that you don’t need professional help to get this done; you can go about it all by yourself. This post looks at the different tips and tricks on how to connect your iPod to a car stereo.

Connecting via a 3.5mm Fm Transmitter

This is one of the easiest ways to listen to your iPod’s playlist through your car’s stereo. The first thing you want to do is plug the car stereo’s FM transmitter into your iPod’s headphone socket. 

Tune the car stereo into a different frequency from the one that is playing on the radio station then set the car transmitter to this very frequency. 

At this point, your music will be transmitted to the stereo. 

Transmitters typically come with programmable slots that allow you to save clear stations. This way, the music comes out clearly regardless of the location you’re in. 

Connecting via Bluetooth

If you’re driving a relatively new car model, it may come with wireless audio streaming capabilities. This allows you to connect to your iPod via Bluetooth without having to deal with the clutter of wires.

The first step is to activate your car stereo’s Bluetooth so that it’s discoverable on other Bluetooth devices. Your car user manual should provide you with all the specifics regarding this procedure. Usually, you should access the system “Menu” to find the Bluetooth option before moving to the “Wireless” or “iPod Options”

On the home screen of your iPod, open the folder named “Settings” then under “General”, select “Bluetooth” and click on the switch beside it. 

Select your stereo device when it shows under “Devices” and clicking on it should establish the connection between your car stereo and your iPod. 

At this point, you should be able to play your favorite songs and use your vehicle’s factory radio controls to adjust your iPod. 

Connecting via USB Input Jack

The newer car models in the market are fitted with a USB jack in the factory radio system. If your car falls under this category, you’ll be in a position to plug your iPod directly into the car’s factory radio USB input. 

Begin by connecting the USB cable. Use a USB charging cord (lightning cable) to connect your iPod to the vehicle’s factory USB input. 

Normally, the method enables information from your iPod to be visible on the car’s factory radio display. If you want, you can even charge the device directly via the USB input. 

One thing to note is that you should turn the iPod volume to maximum to allow for total control through the car’s interface.

How to connect your Ipod to car radio

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Connecting via Cassette Player Adapters

If your car has a cassette player, it might seem like the stereo system is out of date. However, you can still make a connection to your iPod with the help of a cassette player adapter. 

For this, you will need to get a cassette player adapter with a 3.5mm auxiliary plug. 

First, insert the adapter into the cassette player slot, the same way you would an actual cassette.

Plug the cable into the iPod to establish a connection, and you’ll be ready to start enjoying your music.

This method makes it possible for you to control the iPod through the radio panel; you want to turn the device volume to maximum!

Connecting via CD Changer/ Satellite Radio Adapters

This is a nice option if your car is equipped with a satellite radio antenna input or CD changer input. It can allow your iPod information to be displayed directly on the car’s radio display.

The first step is to purchase the adapter, but before you do this, remember to consult the car manual in advance to get the right kind of adapter. The stereo iPod adapter you buy should be determined by the model of your car, so be sure to look at the car manual for the best choice. 

The next thing is to install the iPod adapter. This is done by removing the car’s factory radio and replacing it with the iPod adapter. 

You should be able to access your iPod’s settings on the radio panel after a successful adapter installation. You’ll also be in a position to adjust the volume, as well as the settings via your car radio panel. 

Something to note is that these kinds of adapters need either a satellite radio antenna input or a CD changer input. 

Also, be sure to disconnect the car’s battery when uninstalling and installing the adapters to the car factory radio for your safety. Doing this with the cables still in your car when it’s running puts you at risk of electrocution. 

Connecting via CD Changer

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Connecting via 3.5mm Aux-in

This is probably the simplest way of establishing a connection between your iPod and the car stereo system. It is also compatible with all models of iPods in the market, which makes it suitable for most users. 

The only thing is that some cars have hidden AUX ports that you may not be able to make out easily. In some, the port is located in the center console, some in front of the system while others have it in the glove box. 

But older car models may not have this AUX port, especially those produced more than three to four years ago. Luckily, you can fit the car with an after-market stereo system to use this method of connection. 

The auxiliary, usually labeled “headphone jack” is a standard feature in most vehicle models today. Simply plug one end of the auxiliary cable into your iPod and the other end into your car’s AUX port to connect. 

Connecting via DVD A/V Cable Connection

If your car is fitted with a rear cabin DVD system connected to your factory radio, it is possible to buy an A/V cable set and use it to connect your iPod to the car’s stereo system. 

This also enables you to use the existing hardware in the car, and you will require a DVD A/V cable set with a 3.5mm plug to get started. 

Install the A/V connection by plugging the audio cables into the DVD entertainment system’s input jacks (A/V). 

Once connected, you can start enjoying listening to the songs on your iPod via the car stereo. 

If you’re not sure where to locate the manuals, refer to the car manual guide as these can vary between different models.


So, if you are dying to listen to the songs on your iPod while driving, any of the methods above will enable you to make the connection between your iPod and the car stereo system. 

This way, you can enjoy jamming to the hits on your playlist without the interruption of commercials as is the norm on FM stations.

Barry Allen

About the author:

Barry Allen

I grew up to be a self-proclaimed stuck-up audiophile, and I – partially – blame Pinnacle Speakers for it.

The whole point of me starting this website was to keep the tradition going. Although the means have changed, the mission remains the same: Bringing „sterling sound“ as they once put it into home theaters and sound systems worldwide! 

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