There are many ways to play music from your iPod or iPhone through your car stereo.
One of the most popular is using an auxiliary cable, but what if you don’t have one or cannot connect it to the radio? Let’s find out how you can play iPod through car radio without aux.
In general, there are three ways you can connect the iPod with a car stereo without an aux cable.
- use the cassette adapter
- use the FM transmitter
- use the FM modulator
While the cassette adapter is the cheapest option, finding a radio with a tape recorder can be difficult. A better option is using the FM transmitter, but additional wiring can look bad on the clean dashboard. The best option that provides the best quality signal with the least interferences is using the FM modulator.
As an Amazon Associate, ImproveCarAudio will receive a small commission from qualifying purchases made through the links in this article.
Tip: If you are looking for a temporary solution without extra wiring, the fastest connection type you will get when installing the FM Transmitter.
I often use NULAXY, and although it may not have the fanciest screen, it does a great job during day-to-day driving, showing on the display exactly what I need.
In the article below, I will explain different ways of connecting the iPod to the car stereo when the aux wire is unavailable.
How Can I Connect My iPod to My Old Car Stereo?
There are three main ways of connecting the iPod to the car stereo, and for each, you need to have a small device added:
The car cassette adapter is the easiest and least expensive way to listen without aux for an iOS device, but you can only do this if your head unit has a tape player that is next-to-impossible to find nowadays.
While the cassette adapters were originally designed with CD players in mind, they work just as well for any media or an MP3 player with a 3.5mm audio jack.
They do this by tricking the heads of tape decks into thinking it’s reading some old-fashioned tapes so you can get decent quality sound from your phone while using nothing but an app on its screen.
You can stick a tape into your car’s cassette player and plug that into the audio jack on an iPod. It doesn’t get any easier than this.
If your car’s head unit was made in the last 20 years, it almost guarantees that there is an FM transmitter you can use to listen through any MP3 player.
If this isn’t possible in your car with an AM-only unit or no microphone input at all (such as trucks), consider upgrading the radio.
FM transmitters are like pint-sized radio stations in that they broadcast on the same frequency range as FM radios.
These handy little devices work well enough, although it’s a good idea to keep them away from big city areas where there may be too much noise pollution for their signal to penetrate through properly.
To set up an FM transmitter, connect your iPod (usually via Bluetooth pairing or the earbud jack) and tune it to a free frequency.
Next, you need to find some open airwaves that will work for broadcasting.
Once this has been done, then go ahead and turn on both devices. Now you can enjoy music from your iPod.
For those looking to upgrade their car audio system with something better than what they currently have, an FM modulator is the only way ahead.
FM modulators work like transmitters, but instead of being wireless, solid wires are connecting them to the head unit and the car antenna.
The benefit of using an FM modulator is much better audio quality than from an FM transmitter with less signal interference. Another advantage is the clean installation since all of the wiring is hidden behind the dash.
Can I Connect My iPod to My Car via Bluetooth?
You can connect your iPod with Bluetooth to play music through your car speakers by using an FM modulator, and to do it, simply pair the FM modulator with iPod and play music using your car stereo.
Remember that FM modulators play audio through FM waves, so when a call comes in, it plays music over the FM radio frequency and interrupts the song playing in the background.
If this happens, you will not be able to play music while answering a call, but at least you will be able to answer the phone hands-free and play music again when the call ends.
What’s the Best Option for Listening to an iPod in a Car?
If you want to play iPod in your car, the simplest and the cheapest option is to get a cassette adapter. This is probably your only option if you have an older model with a tape deck, but it will work just fine.
The sound quality of the cassette adapters leaves something to be desired, but they are generally inexpensive and easy to find.
Your next best bet are FM transmitters, which send the audio signal from your iPod over an unused frequency on the FM dial.
They do not play in high fidelity like CDs or other digital files, but most models allow you to play while receiving calls on your cell phone if you pair them with Bluetooth technology.
An FM modulator is an excellent choice if you live in an area with a crowded FM dial or want to have less interference from outside sources.
It requires taking off your car’s dashboard but will grant more signal strength and less noise than when using transmitter devices for broadcasting music on the radio waves.
As you can see, connecting the iPod with the car stereo without the AUX wire is not as difficult as many may think.
However, if your stereo does not support an AUX connection, use one of the above simple methods, and you will be surprised by the results.