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How to Update Firmware on Pioneer Car Stereo?

Pioneer car stereo is a popular car audio brand, and it can function perfectly for a long time.

In some cases, however, your Pioneer car stereo may need software updates to work with the latest features and accessories. But how can you update the firmware on the Pioneer car stereo? Let’s find out below. 

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To update your Pioneer car stereo, you first download the latest firmware version to a FAT 32 formatted thumb drive. Then connect this thumb drive to the Pioneer stereo and update its firmware.

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Tip: Remember that the radio will forget all current settings when you do software updates, so if you have any pre-set configurations like a crossover, EQ time correction, etc., they will all erase.

If there is something that you don’t want to lose, then take a picture of it on your mobile phone and reconfigure these parameters after the firmware update.

In this article, I will show you the step-by-step process for updating firmware on Pioneer car stereo.

Can You Update a Pioneer Radio Firmware?

Lately, there has been a rise in the number of Pioneer owners who want to update their stereo systems.

This might be since some people have become a little more tech-savvy, but it could also be due to the improvements in technology.

You can update Pioneer radio firmware. Pioneer car stereo uses a USB connection to update the firmware in the device. This means that you will need to download the latest version of their firmware and use a pen drive or thumb drive that has been tested for compatibility before you can update your firmware.

To perform the firmware update of pioneer radio, you need the following:

  • USB or thumb drive – The USB drive should be empty (does not have any files) or formatted to FAT 32. If the USB contains important data, copy it to your computer before formatting. 

Here is the step-by-step process for updating software on your pioneer stereo:

Format the Thumb Drive

I recommend formatting your USB storage device before installing the firmware into it. If you don’t know how to format your pen drive, then here are the steps:

  • Insert the thumb drive in the USB port of your computer or laptop.
  • Then go to “My Computer” or “This PC” and right-click on your pen drive.
  • After this, go to “Format,” and a format window appears in this window under “File System” select FAT32 from the dropdown. Then click on “Start.”
  • A warning message appears, click “OK,” and the formatting process starts.

After completion, your USB is empty and ready to install the firmware. 

Check Current Firmware Version

First, you have to check the existing firmware version of your pioneer stereo. To check the current software version, follow these steps:

  • Click on the Home button to go to the main screen. Then touch the setting icon. It will open the “System” window.
  • Scroll down to the bottom and click on “System Information.”
  • Click on “Firmware Information,” and it will open the firmware information screen, and you will see the current firmware version of your stereo.

Download the Firmware

In this step, we download the firmware from the official pioneer website. One note is that you should only update your firmware if the existing version is less than 8.12 or 18.00 – 18.11.

  • You will see “CAR” on the website header, take your cursor, and select your device category. In this case, we are using Pioneer AVH 2550 NEX DVD receiver. So, you will choose “DVD Receiver.”
  • Now scroll down to the bottom of the web page and pick the pioneer stereo you have. For example, I will select Pioneer AVH 2550NEX, and it will open a web page containing all the specifications of this stereo.
  • You will also find the firmware version listed on this page. Scroll down and find “DOWNLOAD” on this page. Click on it, and you will see a Zip file of the firmware starting a download into your computer. You may have to agree to the terms and conditions.
  • Once downloaded, copy the file into your thumb drive without making any folder.

Update The Firmware

Here are a couple of points that you should keep in mind while updating the firmware of your stereo:

  • While the firmware is updating, do not turn off your stereo, and make sure not to disconnect the USB storage device from it.
  • You should always update the firmware when your car is stopped, and parking brakes are engaged.
  • Also, disconnect all the external devices from the stereo while updating its firmware.

With the firmware downloaded to your thumb drive, you are ready to update the firmware of your stereo. 

Here is the step-by-step procedure to update the firmware of Pioneer stereo:

  • Plug in the pen drive into the USB port of the stereo.
  • Hit “Home,” then touch on “AV” and hit the source off. This will turn off your audio source.
  • Click on the Home button, touch the setting icon, and open the “System” window.
  • Scroll down and touch “System Information.”
  • Then click on “Firmware Update,” The firmware update screen opens.
  • Click on “Continue,” and it will display warnings. Next, click on “Start,” If the stereo shows an error, try using another thumb drive or USB port.
  • Now your stereo will start updating its firmware. Make sure you are doing it in a place where your battery won’t go dead. The firmware update can take a while, so wait until the progress bar reaches 100%.
  • After this, the stereo will display the message “It succeeded.”
  • Once you have reached this point, go ahead and disconnect the USB
  • The radio will go black, and this is where people will start panicking. Don’t panic, let the radio reboot. Do not press any button, and do not touch the display when the screen is blacked out.
  • After rebooting is finished, the stereo will turn on automatically. However, it may take 2 to 3 minutes to reboot, so be patient.

Congratulations, you have successfully updated the firmware of your pioneer stereo, and the good news is the steps to update Pioneer AVH120BT, Pioneer DMH1500 NEX are the same

Confirm the Firmware Update

If you want to make sure if the software update takes place or not, check for the firmware version of your stereo.

Here are the steps: 

  • Go to the “System Information” screen by following the steps listed above.
  • Click on “Firmware information,” and you will see a new firmware version.

What Does the Pioneer Firmware Update Do?

Pioneer does its best to keep its radios updated with the latest software and features. You can find the latest firmware version on their official website.

Firmware updates are essential for all Pioneer stereos, as they ensure the program in them operates properly and gets rid of inherent bugs. In addition, a firmware update adds new features to the stereo and makes it more user-friendly without any need to upgrade the hardware of the stereo.

The Pioneer firmware update aims to improve the performance of your product by optimizing and enhancing it with new functionalities.

The Pioneer firmware update also ensures that your product is well protected while you are using it.

It can also prevent you from any risks of using a third-party device that could cause severe damage to your product.


Due to the advancements in technology, the stereos that we use today will likely become outdated or irrelevant one day.

To cope with advancements in technology, you either have to replace old hardware with new one or update the device firmware.

Updating to the most recent software will not only save you a couple of dollars, but also, you can enjoy advanced features in the same device for a longer time.