Playing music through USB?

Playing music through USB?

I assume that streaming is possible both via the car's LTE and through Bluetooth-connected devices, but what about using a USB stick loaded with mp3s? On the same thread, does anyone know if the car has a 3.5 mm aux input?

carlk | 10 August, 2017

Yes you can plug in your USB stick into the USB port to play, mp3, FLAC, WAF and probably some other music file types. Bluetooth works too but audio quality is not going to be that good. Slacker streaming is available, and free on S/X, too. It used to be of lower audio quality but recently I found it almost as good as lossless FLAC files in my USB stick. It does not have 3.5mm aux input.

Darkon | 10 August, 2017

Does anyone know how well an iPod Classic works through USB with the S/X (or possibly even the 3)? Also, is there a USB port in the glove box (where I can hide and lock the iPod Classic)?

rxlawdude | 10 August, 2017

@Darkon, not well. Reports from other iPod users suggest the car doesn't have the protocols to recognize the device for playback. You can charge it via USB. Instead, load your content onto a USB flash drive.

But I'm not as positive as @carlk that it's the same as the Model S and X. Any official documentation would be helpful, @carlk, if you have it.

bp | 11 August, 2017

The media player only uses USB to access files. You should assume you can use the USB for music from a thumb drive - and use USB to charge smartphones and tablets, but not for music.

If you want to play music off a smartphone or tablet, use Bluetooth - which will stream the audio from an app running on your device.

On the latest S/X cars, there are 4 USB ports - 2 in front and 2 in the rear. The front ports can be used for charging or for music (thumb drive). The back ports are only for charging.

For Bluetooth, you can only have 1 device connected at a time. Whichever device you are using for BT music, also is the device being used for phone, contacts and calendar.

Clearly Tesla could provide more functionality - but it requires software development - and it's reasonable for them to prioritize on items such as autopilot and supporting the Model 3 console display (no dashboard, landscape orientation).

stevenroglen | 11 August, 2017

Are newer model iPods compatible?

JuJo0 | 11 August, 2017

That's a shame. I'm one of the very few people who uses an iPod touch as a main source of music (separate from my Samsung Galaxy s7 as my smartphone). My Civic can use my iPod touch as USB music and my phone as bluetooth at the same time, which is very useful.

Hoping for support for that in the near future. But I suppose it'll be okay if not. :(

brianjdoherty | 12 May, 2018

We had a 7th-generation iPod nano in our Model S. It is the only iPod that has Bluetooth, and it worked fine. Unfortunately it just died, and they don't sell it any more. All the older iPods we have sitting around don't work via USB cable. BTW, JuJo0, an iPod Touch should have Bluetooth.

EVRider | 12 May, 2018

You can pair a Bluetooth-enabled iPod (or other music player) and your phone at the same time. I assume the car will mute/pause the music source when you make or receive a call in the car.

oragne lovre | 12 May, 2018

For those music lovers who like to hear all whistles and bells, I recommend you download your favorite music into a USB, using lossless format such as FLAC. The Tesla 3 premium audio system would do justice to your favorite music.


EVRider | 12 May, 2018

If you decide to go with music on a USB drive, see this article first:

Note that Apple M4A files from iTunes don't work reliably in the Model S/X (they used to work fine a couple of years ago). I don't know if the Model 3 is different. Until the problem is fixed, you're better off using one of the other file formats.

dgstan | 12 May, 2018

> You can pair a Bluetooth-enabled iPod (or other music player) and your phone at the same time. I assume the car will mute/pause the music source when you make or receive a call in the car.

This intrigues me. So, is it now proven that I can have a passive BT music player connected at the same time as my phone in a Model 3? Use the phone for calls and the other device for music. This is ideal and would put to bed one of my chief concerns.

I was thinking of using a USB drive, but understand that the functionality is limited. No shuffle, it doesn't pick up where you left off, takes forever to load, incompatibility with various files types, etc.

Using a separate BT player (for example, an old 256GB iPhone 7 I have sitting in a drawer) dedicated to music only would give me the ability to stream Pandora or load up the player with thousands of songs and use its functionality to shuffle songs/artists/etc.

Please tell me this is true!

EVRider | 12 May, 2018

@dgstan: The manual says you can have multiple Bluetooth devices connected at the same time, and they specifically cite the iPod Touch as an example. I don't yet own a Model 3 so I can't tell you if it really works as documented.

Note that you do get shuffle (and repeat) if you use a USB drive, and it only takes a long time to load when you first insert the USB, and sometimes after rebooting (based on my Model S experience). USB will not resume from the exact spot where you left off, but will resume at the beginning of the same track.

It should be easy enough to try out the Bluetooth option when you get the car, and if for some reason it doesn't work, explore the other options.

Fortunes | 12 May, 2018

My gripes at the moment with USB are the weird mishandling of compilation albums (each track shows up as a separate album) and lack of playlist support. Fix those two things and it would meet most of my needs.

oragne lovre | 12 May, 2018

You may want to look at this free ripping software

It's not perfect; it requires some manual typing and it's slow in copying files.

sbeggs | 13 May, 2018


EVRider | 13 May, 2018

@Fortunes: The link I cited earlier (this one: has some tips for working around some of the limitations of how songs on USB are organized. You won't see playlist support for USB playback -- for that you need to stream from a device (phone, iPod Touch, etc.) using Bluetooth and select the music from the device.

mptan8 | 30 May, 2018

does anyone know how to set the Model X to automatically play your USB music files, memorize the last file played, and continue to play the next file when you return to drive your car (any time or even next week)?

at this time, I have to take several step to play USB music when I get into my car. Next time I drive, I have to do the same thing again. it does not memorize the last music played, and does not move to the next file in line!


EVRider | 31 May, 2018

@mptan8: If you really have a Model X, why are you asking here? On the Model S/X, USB playback starts at the beginning of the song that was playing, not exactly where it left off. You can pause playback before you get out of the car and sometimes that will let the music resume from where it stopped.

mschapir | 15 June, 2019

I took delivery on a Tesla model 3 about a week ago.

I installed a SanDisk USB 3.0 USB drive to use dashcam and sentry mode, and use it to play music on my model 3. I formatted a single partition in FAT32 using diskutil on my mac. The sentry mode and dashcan work. However, the Media Player does not see the plugged in USB drive? The owners manual does not cover this.

How should the USB drive be set up, for sentry mode and music? Is it possible to use a single USB for both purposes.

leo33 | 15 June, 2019

The music has to be on a different partition (or drive) than the TeslaCam.

EVRider | 16 June, 2019

The manual does say you can’t use the same drive for both music and the dashcam, but it doesn’t tell you about the partitioning workaround: “Caution: Use a flash drive that is dedicated to dashcam only. The flash drive cannot also be used to play media files, and Tesla is not responsible for any personal files becoming lost or corrupted.”

mschapir | 17 June, 2019

Thanks leo33 and EVRider.

Using a MacBook Pro with MacOS Mohave I:
Formatted a disk using the Disk Utility app. I formatted it for FAT32
Disk utility would NOT let me create 2 partitions.
I then used the Terminal app and typed the following command:
diskutil partitionDisk disk2 2 MS-DOS TS 90g MS-DOS TSM 30g
I then created the TeslaCam folder in Partition TS for sentry mode.
I then transferred my music from iTunes to my TSM partition.

It works.

EVRider | 17 June, 2019

If you can spare both front USB ports, it's probably safer to use separate USBs for music and video (that's what I do). Even with separate partitions, listening to music while saving video on the same USB seems like a lot for the one USB to handle, especially when you consider there are sometimes issues with just music or just video.