Forums

I really hate that I can not play music from my iPod/phone via USB

I really hate that I can not play music from my iPod/phone via USB

WHY????? every other car that has USB ports allows this function. In other cars, even when connected via bluetooth, you can control/browse music on the device through the car's radio interface. While I like the streaming, and I use it almost exclusively, sometimes I want to hear the entire album or my own playlist!!

EVRider | June 13, 2018

You can hear your entire album or playlist via Bluetooth from your phone, but you have to select the music on the phone. You can use Siri so you don’t have to mess with the phone while driving. Yes, USB playback would be better, but there are other options.

rednairb | June 13, 2018

@EVRider. Thanks! But that doesn't really answer the question. Did Tesla forget to connect the USB port to the Radio? Or is this something they can fix with software? And if it can be fixed with software, why haven't they fixed it? If they didn't connect the USB port to the radio on the earlier models, why haven't they fixed it in later models? Again, this seems pretty trivial, since I have never seen a car (other than Tesla) where you can not control your USB device through the radio. In fact, I would venture to say the whole reason USB ports starting showing up in cars in the first place, is to allow one to play the music from their iPod/Phone. But I can't be 100% certain about that.

I have also never heard of slacker before owning my Tesla. There are plenty of other streaming services I am familiar with. Did Tesla make some sort of deal with Slacker to disable the USB in hopes of getting people to listen to slacker more, and perhaps upgrade their accounts, so they can make playlists, and listen to albums?

SbMD | June 13, 2018

Having a phone mirrored on the display was something that was talked about by Tesla, but has not been adopted for a number of reasons.

@EVRider's points are good ones. I prefer streaming without plugging in to the car. I also prefer Siri voice commands so I can keep my eyes on the road and not risk looking away and sifting through playlists.

There are security implications of having a device plugged into your car and creating an interface between the two. With CarPlay, there are commands which are designed to access other core functions of a vehicle. These can be sandboxed. However, my guess is that these are (purposefully) integrated with other core vehicle subroutines in Tesla, which would create a security risk to open up to the CarPlay API.

In the end, it is far more sophisticated and easier to use voice-controls for music. Works great in my car and with my phone (S85D, iPhone X).

SbMD | June 13, 2018

Also, Slacker has been around well before the release of the MS (founded in 2004, launched in 2007).

Flash | June 13, 2018

I’m truly curious @rednairb, what is wrong with using Bluetooth?

ak | June 14, 2018

I know CarPlay will never happen, but just to remove the misinformation:

CarPlay *can* access your car's features. But it doesn't have to. I had an aftermarket unit with no connection to the car whatsoever except via speaker cables and power, and it worked fine. Much better than the system in the Tesla. I could have connected it to the handbrake (parking brake) or other car systems, but I elected not to, and saw no negative impact.

If Tesla can disrupt an entire industry, and make the fastest production car in the world, I'm pretty sure it's not beyond them to sandbox an app and connect to it via USB securely. Every other car manufacturer can.

Let's be clear - it's not a technical limitation, it's not a security concern, it's not a performance concern. It's a design and direction decision by Tesla specifically not to support CarPlay, Android Auto, or mirroring.

SbMD | June 14, 2018

@ak - Tesla had intended to do mirroring. Sand boxing to further isolate the systems would likely require a major rewrite, and for reasons below may not be feasible. Also a waste of time when they should be working on other high priority systems like AP2.

Tesla (and other manufacturers) have to rely on Apple/Android to clear apps of any malicious code, which is relinquishing a level of control and trust that is not in the company’s best interest at this time.

Currently, a number of low and high level systems are connected in the software, based on some of the feature rollouts for AP2 as well as other evidence. That makes sense given the move towards FSD. The car won’t just drive itself but will also need to do some low level actions on its own (eg wiper activation).

SomeCarPlay commands look can access the lower level systems. As a result, that could end up as a gateway to disrupting the higher level systems. It may also require Apple to make certain changes in CarPlay to prevent malicious code from accomplishing this. There are bidirectional requirements for CarPlay (and Android Auto) which present hurdles to adoption for Tesla and for other vehicles not yet adopting these platforms.

Security is also a big reason why 3rd party apps have not been accepted by Tesla as of yet, which was also initially one of Tesla’s plans.

Perhaps they will end up opening the car further, but security is absolutely an issue, @ak.

SbMD | June 14, 2018

Look can -> can

rwphillips33 | June 14, 2018

I have not received my MX yet, but I agree with everyone's comments. While I too prefer sending my music to the radio over bluetooth which is great when I am alone. My preference would be to not have every passenger that rides with my connect their phone to my car, so in the case where a passenger would like to control the music from their own phone it would be really nice to be able to just hand them a cable so they can charge and control music at the same time. I just assumed things would work like every other car I've owned in the past few years. I'll get over it, but that is a little disappointing.

EVRider | June 14, 2018

I’ve heard before that Tesla doesn’t support USB iPod/iPhone integration because they would have to pay a licensing fee to Apple. I don’t know if that’s actually true, but I do know that adding this support is not as trivial as @rednairb believes.

@Flash: Nothing wrong with using Bluetooth, but sound quality would be better using USB.

murphyS90D | June 14, 2018

Put your music on a USB thumb drive. The car will play that just fine.

mathwhiz | June 14, 2018

My reason why not is (my guess) twofold... First, I don't think Tesla was keen on paying the Apple licensing fees (depends on car population) and contribute to further driver distraction... Second, although CarPlay (and AndroidAuto, for that matter) is, colloquially speaking, pretty useful, I don't think it fits well with the Tesla nav/entertainment system design. CarPlay makes much more sense for the rest (entirety) of the car industry with their (very lame) system setups... This, I think, is why Elon was talking about the possibility of mirroring the phone's screen. I assume something in the implementation if that may have turned out to be a roadblock...

EVRider | June 14, 2018

@murphy: Unfortunately, my car still has issues playing from USB, and it's worse since updating to 2018.21.9. I know I'm not the only one having issues.

rxlawdude | June 14, 2018

The USB port only recognizes devices that look like drives (i.e., flash drive, low power hard drive). iPhones/iPods don't conform to that standard.

murphyS90D | June 14, 2018

All files on a USB thumb drive should be mp3. A few other formats are supported but I've never had a problem with mp3s. They also must have embedded album art if you want to see it.
The thumb drive must never have been formatted as a boot drive. There is a way to fix that but its too complicated for this discussion. Don't put your entire music collection on the same drive. I use a 16 GB by SanDisk.

jacksan | June 14, 2018

I have done what Murphy has suggested, works well for me too.

rednairb | June 14, 2018

@Flash You are assuming all of the devices I have music on, are bluetooth capable. I have a couple of iPods full of music, which are not bluetooth capable. My phone only has 64GB of memory. maybe a few years down the road, when phones come with 512GB at a reasonable price, bluetooth will not be so bad!

And as @rwphillips33 states, what about people who ride in the car that might want to connect their music (though I think I have just about everything covered :-)). That was something I didn't think of. :-)

@EvRider You are probably correct. I don't have a lot of programming experience, so I have no idea what it would take. I am making an assumption that if all the other car manufactures (NON-TECH companies) are doing it, and then a high TECH company like Tesla comes along and doesn't do it, it must not be because it was too complicated to implement. :-)

Flash | June 14, 2018

Not assuming anything. Just asking for clarification, since the original post did not mention this as an issue. Now that I better understand your situation, I can make a recommendation. It’s been years since I’ve used an iPod, but I do remember there was an option to use them as a usb drive. Might require jumping through some hoops, but that may be an option. Also, there are plenty of iPod Bluetooth adapters out there. Again, a little combersome, but at least you could still use your iPods.

murphyS90D | June 14, 2018

Be careful with bluetooth adapters. I have two of them that the car does not recognize. My Ford recognizes both of them and so does my soundbar in the house.

rednairb | June 14, 2018

@Flash and @murphy Thanks! I didn't know there was such a thing.

EVRider | June 14, 2018

@Flash: I believe I tried using my iPod as a USB drive in the car and it didn't work, which is why I ended up using a USB flash drive instead.

@murphy: Maybe mp3 files work well in the car, but I don't want to convert my entire iTunes library to mp3's. I already converted the Apple-format m4a files to FLAC, but that ultimately didn't help. I'm trying a different USB drive now to see if that was the issue.

Flash | June 14, 2018

Yeah, @EV, that’s what I meant by jumping through hoops. You’d probably have to convert, organize, and copy your music to the usb part of the iPod. Not something I would want to take on.

@red, definitely read the reviews and I’d recommend something that says Bluetooth 4 or 4.1. Never used one, but I’m sure you want the newer standard.

murphyS90D | June 14, 2018
Flash | June 14, 2018

Ugh. Just read a post that says when the Bluetooth dongle is connected, your phone is no longer connected. A couple of years old, but probably still true. Maybe wait a couple of months or so for version 9 and keep your fingers crossed for some type of usb iPod support. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though.

EVRider | June 15, 2018

@Flash: The owner’s manual is a bit vague about the number of Bluetooth devices you can use at the same time. It says you can only use one phone at a time; it says you can use other devices in addition to phones, but it doesn’t say whether you can use one of these devices and a phone at the same time.

blacktape242 | June 15, 2018

Honestly I never knew that until now. I use bluetooth or slacker.

TeslaTap.com | June 15, 2018

USB drive must be FAT32 (not eFAT or NTFS), and Windows will not by default format any drive > 32 GB as FAT32. More details how to do it it here and some of the other common issues with USB drives on the Tesla: https://teslatap.com/usb-flash-drives-for-music/

Currently Apple's proprietary M4A format will not work (loading errors). MP3 and FLAC are the best choices.

Vawlkus | June 19, 2018

Apple's .ASC format files are hit or miss as well for loading errors.

Tesla's could read iphones IF Apple would stop screwing around with their software updates and restrictions. Put simply: Apple sometimes restricts the availability of their iphones via software updates. I ran into this with my previous car (Ford Mustang with SYNC tech). I'd plug my iphone in and sometimes the car could read it, then a software update would come out and then the car would not be able to read it.
I eventually got fed up and just moved everything over to a thumbdrive and it worked fine from there.

tomturfer | June 19, 2018

Suggestion: Subscribe to iTunes Match which is 24 dollars a year. Then you could Bluetooth your entire iTunes library from your phone via Apple's Cloud. Main downside is you still have to manipulate your library from your phone but the entire library is there along with all playlists and none of your memory on your phone is wasted since it is only accessing the library in the cloud. You also get the added benefit of Apple's "best" sonic version of any song in your library. Works for me.

EVRider | June 20, 2018

@tomturfer: Streaming from Apple Music isn’t a good option if you have a limited data plan.

Vawlkus | June 20, 2018

or limited cell coverage

jacobsonic | June 20, 2018

The inability to control your music in the Tesla is an absolute disgrace. Slacker's song selection algorithm is an embarrassment. the fact that the tesla can't consistently resume play from an USB make no sense. My Audi was capable of this a decade ago. Tesla should either enable the use of Spotify and improve the reliability of USB stored MP3s. .

GunnerD | June 20, 2018

I have Car Play on an aftermarket Pioneer system in my 1 series BMW. I find it marginal at best. First off, your phone needs to be plugged in, no wireless connection. Once started, it sort of takes over the unit and it can be hard to control other functions of the head unit. It may be better integrated when OEM. It is also short on and highly controlled for content. I autocross my 1er and it would be awesome to be able to integrate Track Addict or Harrys Lap Timer but Car Play wont allow it.. Most of the APPs supported are streaming music sites and how many or those do we need. In summary, it is not much better than your phone by itself.

daisyjillit802652 | August 16, 2018

It is not easy to do that due to the DRM copyright protection of Apple Music, but that doesn't mean it is impossible. I follow the tips to convert Spotify Songs to USB and now I am able to play it on my ipod, iphone and so on. For more tips, you can also visit. https://www.drmare.com/apple-music/sync-apple-music-to-ipod.html

davidahn | August 16, 2018

@EVrider, BT isn't necessarily lower quality than USB; depends on the codec. Even high bitrate MP3's have audible compression artifact especially in the highs (cymbals, high hats are grating w/ MP3, a lot less with AAC or aptX).

I stream Tidal Hifi to my MS over Bluetooth, so it is being recompressed into high-bitrate AAC (since Tesla doesn't support aptX), but it is AUDIBLY better than MP3's @320 kbps, and frankly indistinguishable from uncompressed CD quality 99% of the time.

EVRider | August 17, 2018

@davidahn: Even when BT steaming is lower quality than playing from USB, most people wouldn’t notice the difference while driving, so they should do whatever’s ost convenient. Unfortunately the USB loading errors are still a problem.

TeslaTap.com | August 17, 2018
abriolitto | September 25, 2018

Mezrahi’s song has been steadily climbing the iTunes charts, sitting comfortably at No. 30 as of this writing. Which is pretty impressive considering its a completely silent track — no lyrics, no beats, nothing. Mezrahi’s success speaks to a couple things: more people are circumventing their vehicle’s infotainment system in favor of their phones. And while they may be frustrated by the lack of flexibility surrounding autoplay, it’s not a deal-breaker. They’ll literally pay money to download a silent track to hack the problem.
FetLife  IMVU Canva

peter.s.athans | September 25, 2018

+1 on the frustrations of not being able to play music off my USB-connected iPhone, for two reasons:

1) Bluetooth was never intended as a high-fidelity audio connection. Given all the effort and $$$ put into the
Tesla's audio system, it's a shame to limit your music playback with an inferior phone connection.
2) All of the music I like is already on my phone. I shouldn't have to put effort into transferring files to a USB device, keep it updated with my phone, and carry it between the house and car.

Ultimately, I think the perfect solution would be to have the Tesla include some extra storage (1GB?) onboard and then to automatically sync my iTunes music files each night while it's connected to the home network. With an advanced technology company like Tesla, this shouldn't seem unreasonable.

But in the mean time, I'd settle for simple USB playback from my phone, like so many other (inferior) cars do...

poloX | September 25, 2018

I don't understand. You can play all via BT. Why do you need it connected? I put all musics in a USB stick and plug them BOTH in and Both work. This way, I don't even need my phone. So USB ports do connect to the audio system. I play Youtube music on my phone and use the car speakers daily, via BT. I don't understand why a USB cable is wanted here.

yraegel | December 29, 2018

It would be nice to be able to plug in a 5th Gen iPod and leave it for example. Why should I have to transfer the entire library to a USB memory stick? And let's be honest, FAT32?

TeslaTap.com | December 29, 2018

@yraegel - You might try complaining to Apple, as to why the iPod will not provide a USB file based music interface as other POD players used to. I suspect it will fall on deaf ears as Apple would rather companies pay various licensing fees rather than use any free standards.

As for FAT32, I'm fairly sure Microsoft does not offer a license for NTFS or eFAT for free. You can use a drive formatted for ext4 in the Tesla, a more modern format than FAT32, but Windows doesn't understand it. Not sure about a MAC and ext4.

yraegel | December 29, 2018

Thanks TeslaTap. Given that Apple has relatively popular devices for audio playback, I'm pretty hesitant to blame them. Every other vehicle I have owned with USB has been able to play most common devices through the stereo. Even AUX connectors provide more functionality. No one I know carries a USB stick with music regardless of filesystem. Not very compatible with Bose headsets - just a ridiculous example. Using cables as opposed to radio signals wherever convenient typically saves energy consumption. Since it's a battery powered car that has to be considered however minimal it may be. I think this is all moot at this point, I wouldn't expect change that is considered "backwards".
Happy to format a drive in ext4, really not convenient though is it?

yraegel | December 29, 2018

...also just to be clear, not being facetious - I don't believe you're indicating an Android device will play over USB, are you? Not really sure this is simply an Apple/iPod topic.

TeslaTap.com | December 29, 2018

Some Android devices (i.e. phones) do play via the USB connection, but it's hit and miss - depends if the manufacturer enabled it or not and not a specific issue with Android, as the OS supports it.

I do agree it is always better to support more formats/methods of connection, just not expecting much via Apple/Tesla due to Apple planning on being a direct competitor to Tesla. Apple's entry into the car market may find other manufacturers dropping Apple in time. If Apple drops it's plans for an EV, perhaps Tesla will add Apple support, but it could be years before anyone knows Apple's EV plans.

It's similar to why I expect no automaker has elected to use Tesla's Supercharger network - as Tesla being seen as direct competitor no matter how good or extensive the charging network is.

ak | December 29, 2018

My iPhone works just fine with my girlfriend’s Kia. It did with every rental car I’ve had in the states in the last five years too, which is probably around 30. In fact, I struggle to think of any car with a USB port that couldn’t play music from my iPhone or iPod, except my last 2 Teslas.

Even my Peugeot 206 had an aftermarket stereo that cost less than £100, and could interface properly with my iPod.

Too suggest this is Apple’s fault is at best misguided, and at worst disingenuous.

I agree Tesla won’t support Apple properly - it is evidentially obvious this is a decision they’ve consciously made. And maybe it’s because of competitive advantage, who knows? But I think they’re wrong to punish the user and leave it open for other manufacturers to have that competitive advantage.

Tesla is busy making fart apps. That’s what they’re prioritising.

TeslaTap.com | December 29, 2018

@ak - All those cars that support Apple have licensed Apple software and integrate it into the head end. Clearly it's a marketing advantage for those car makers, but it doesn't come for free as it required licensing and software development to make it work.

Yep, I do blame Apple, when there was a well established, simple alternative that Apple purposely excluded on newer devices. That forced many go to Apple and license there proprietary interface and write special software specific to Apple. The old non-proprietary standard, supported by Apple in the early days, just makes the USB connection look like a file system with songs in files like a standard USB flash drive. It required no special software by media players.

yraegel | December 29, 2018

Yeah, farts are always fun. The notion that this is somehow competitive is part of the issue. It is really about simply playing music. Any digital format has been defined for a long time now.
I'm still enjoying the newness of my MX and I can play all the music I want. There really is no problem worth complaining about. Ford SYNC works well for me, an older version of Jeep/Chrysler UConnect did not. USB versus Bluetooth is a relative argument that has to include power consumption in my opinion here.
Rock on

yraegel | December 29, 2018

@TeslaTap.com - I won't disagree. Give me an AUX input. How rudimentary is that these days? It would be an improvement over the inability to play music via a cable. I love Bluetooth but don't want to depend on it. Give me options.

TeslaTap.com | December 30, 2018

Tesla audio options include:
- Bluetooth
- USB flash drive (FLAC, MP3, AIFF, OGG, WAV, etc.)
- Streaming (Slacker USA)
- FM HD
- XM (all new S/X vehicles now)

Options considered obsolete, but may still appear in some cars:
- 8 Track
- Cassette tape
- CD
- AUX jack

Yep, some automakers still hang on to old standards. Nothing wrong with that if you only look at technology once every 8-10 years or so, as most of the current car industry does. As car owners shift to a younger demographic, I'd say bluetooth is by far the most common in use today. Not a big Bluetooth fan myself, but it is easy.

Pages