How Can I Play My iPod in My Car?


From the moment you wake up until the end of the day, the iPod is your trusted companion on and off the road. You can enjoy the benefits of nonstop music while driving on long highways and through busy streets. It is possible to play your iPod in your car.


If you want to give your ears some rest, using your car stereo to play music from your iPod is the way to go. In addition, when you play your iPod in your car, you can also share the entertainment with other car trip companions, making a long drive less boring. Unlike listening on your car’s radio, an iPod lets you enjoy your favorite song collections without any commercial interruptions.

Car Manufacturer Installation

Apple has made it easier for newer car models to plug-and-play the iPod on almost any car brand. Because of the iPod’s popularity, newly manufactured vehicles are offering optional iPod connectivity ready and available for installation at any time. Simply purchase a 30-pin connector accessory to provide an instant link between your car’s audio system and your iPod. Upon installation, the car audio system will instantly add your iPod as one of the audio sources available on your vehicle.

Adapter Kits

While iPod connectivity may come installed on newer car models, car kits are available to support iPod on existing or older car models. For cars that are still using cassette players, a standard cassette adapter will provide connectivity between your iPod and your car audio system. This is an affordable set up even for those buying new cars, but who cannot afford the manufacturer-installed iPod connectivity. Just install a few wires to get the job done. For luxury cars such as the BMW Series 2002, one option is to buy a BMW iPod adapter. It’s a bit more expensive than the cassette adapter, but it offers more flexibility with its steering wheel controls and the option to play your iPod even when it’s not in plain sight. On the other hand, wireless, plug-and-play FM transmitters are also available that are compatible with all types of car audio systems.

Types of Controls

How you can control or operate your iPod while driving depends on the adapter you have. If you have a USB connection, as in the case with car stereos that have built-in iPod controls, it offers the fastest relaying of information between the iPod and stereo. You’ll experience no lag time. Some stereos have built-in iPod controls using either the front- or rear-panel USB slot that allows you to use the cable that came with your iPod to connect to it. In most cases, the iPod controls come in an outboard box that connects to your car stereo and the iPod. This type may exhibit some lag time between song selection at the stereo and playback from the iPod because of the extra steps in the processing chain. The external control box, however, is the most common option for aftermarket stereos and the usual method of controlling an iPod with a factory stereo.


While the iPod offers a wide range of music entertainment on a high-tech level, with it comes potential hazards. A study of 12 drivers conducted by Drexel University in a simulated environment showed that using an iPod while driving had a “significant effect” on driver performance. Searching and choosing songs, podcasts and videos on an iPod while driving caused the drivers to slow down and veer off toward another lane. In addition, an iPod’s screen can become hazy in broad daylight, which may cause difficulty in controlling, risking an accident.



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