Ways to connect your phone to the car radio

7 ways how to connect your phone to original car radio

In practice the need to connect smartphone to OEM car radio does not arise very often. Despite the fact that it is possible to do this in several ways at once, due to a number of disadvantages such “synchronizations” are not used for a long time. If you have not yet tried to connect your phone to the boombox, but really want to, then in this article you will find as many as 7 different ways to do it.

how to connect your phone to the radio

Why connect your smartphone to the boombox

It’s likely that you already have a certain goal that you want to achieve by connecting your smartphone to the car stereo. Moreover, you will probably find it in the list below. Since you can solve several different tasks by “syncing” your phone and your boombox, we suggest you get acquainted with all of them.

You can connect your phone to your boombox for the following purposes:

  1. Charging your phone without a charger.
  2. Using your smartphone as a “flash drive”.
  3. Playing back music stored in your phone on your car stereo.
  4. Playing formats not supported by the car stereo.
  5. Playback of analogue radio broadcasts.
  6. Playing internet radio stations.
  7. Playing videos on the big screen of the boombox.

Let’s briefly go over each item, starting with charging. After all, the boombox will really be able to help you out if your phone battery is dead, and you need communication. In this case, the charger for the cigarette lighter socket – was not at hand. If your radio has a USB-flash jack, it is quite realistic to recharge the dead battery with it. However, you shouldn’t count on much in this case, as the current that the USB jack of the radio is able to give is quite modest.

The second, third and fourth items may seem the same at first glance, but it is far from it. You can use your phone as a “flash drive” when your radio does not support full synchronization with external devices. That is, you will be able to play music files stored on your phone as from an ordinary “flash drive”.

If your car radio supports full synchronization with external devices (there are several ways of synchronization), then you can play music directly on your phone, and the car radio will serve only as a sound amplifier in this case.

And the fourth point. Many car enthusiasts think a lot about quality and powerful sound system, spending a lot of money on good speakers and other difficulties. However, almost everyone forgets that the sound quality of car acoustics largely depends on the format in which the music is played. And so popular today MP3-format is very far from high quality. If after it you try to playback on an inexpensive system, for example, FLAC format, it may well be that the quality of your speaker system is good, and the bass and treble appeared. The volume limit of sound without distortion will also fundamentally change.

So, not all stereos can “read” music formats other than MP3. And in order to play high-quality FLAC in the car, you have to connect your phone and play the music on it. And you only use the boombox as a sound amplifier.

The radio in the car is a problem, and many are familiar with it. It doesn’t play at all, or “catches badly”, or not everywhere, or with terrible interference … But with the phone connected to the radio, without any antennas and antenna amplifiers, you can easily listen to both analog broadcasts and Internet radio stations. And the latter to date, there are more than 70,000, while the usual way with a good dislocation you can choose from a dozen or two, no more.

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As for viewing the video clips stored on your phone, you need at least a boombox with a large screen for this. This task does not arise very often, that is why it will not be considered here in detail. But as to playing music and listening to the radio through your phone in the car, here are the promised 7 ways of connection.

Ways of connection of the phone to a radio

At first let’s list them briefly:

  • USB drive.
  • USB with sync.
  • AUX via standard “jacks”.
  • AUX via “tulip”.
  • FM transmitters.
  • Bluetooth.
  • Wi-Fi.

Now in more detail.

USB stick .

To connect your phone to the radio this way you will need a standard cable adapter from mini-USB to USB. Almost all modern smartphones are equipped with them. They are used simultaneously to connect to a charger, a computer, a laptop and so on. If you do not have such a cable, it is not a problem to buy it today.

usb cable to connect your phone to the boombox

Accordingly, to connect the phone via such a cable, the boombox must have a USB connector. It is on all models that support music playback from a “flash drive”. In fact, with this connection, your phone will act as such a storage device. That is, once connected, you can play music files stored in the phone memory on the boombox.

However, there are several “buts”. Firstly, for the music stored on your smartphone to be recognized by the boombox, the files must be in a format supported by the device. Most often, inexpensive models support only mass MP3. On such boomboxes, music in a higher quality format can not be played via USB connection.

But it will definitely be possible to recharge the battery of your smartphone in this way. Current, as mentioned above, such connectors give a small – well, if about 500 mA (network chargers give 1000-3000 mA) – but, nevertheless, a little restore the charge, though, get.

USB with synchronization

This way is technically implemented similarly to the above. That is, the smartphone is connected to the radio via a standard USB cable. In this case, the boombox itself must be able to recognize the devices connected to it. Unfortunately, inexpensive models and fake copies of branded boomboxes are not able to do this almost universally. But the branded ones do it without any problems.

With this connection, the phone can be used in two modes. Either as a storage device, or as a player. The latter significantly expands the possibilities of the system, since it will be possible to play music in any format, including those with high quality (the same FLAC), without any problems.

Your phone will also charge when connected in this way. And no matter how you use it – as a storage device or as a playback device.

AUX via standard “jacks”

This connection method as well as the following one implies using your car radio only as a sound amplifier. That is, the music will be played by the program on the phone and the output signal will be amplified by the car radio and played back by the speaker system.

aux jack cable to connect your smartphone to the boombox

It is worth noting at once that, despite some inconveniences, this method has a lot of advantages.

  1. Firstly, it is possible to play music from the phone, saved in any format, including high-quality.
  2. Secondly, with this connection you can listen not only to recorded tracks, but also to the radio. And not only analog, but also digital.
  3. Third, contrary to some opinions, the quality transmitted via this connection is not lost, that is, it does not deteriorate. Rather, on the contrary, this method can be considered the best in terms of quality of the sound signal.
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In order to connect your phone this way there should be a jack with a 3.5 mm jack on the front panel of the boombox. You can see these plugs on any household headphones. And to connect your phone to the stereo you will need a cable with these “jacks” at both ends. It, too, no problem today you can buy for cheap.

To connect, you need to insert one end of the cable into the headphone jack on the phone and the other end into the corresponding jack on the radio. In this case, it is very important to switch on AUX mode on the radio, otherwise you will not see any result. Or rather, you won’t hear it. How to turn it on depends on the boombox model. But the result is almost always the same – on the screen you will see an inscription that this mode is enabled.

Now the boombox will amplify and play any sound signals coming from the phone – music files played by the program, regular radio, Internet radio, and even incoming calls.

When using this method of connecting your phone to the boombox, it is important to choose an application for playing music files or radio that is able to work when the phone screen is off. Otherwise no battery will last long.

AUX with Tulips

If you want to connect your phone to the radio via AUX, but the jack on the front panel is not present, do not get upset prematurely. After all, even the cheapest models and outright knockoffs of branded boomboxes have AUX input. If it is not on the front panel, look at the back of the boombox, where it connects to the speakers and power.

aux tulip cable to connect to the radio

As a rule, if AUX is available at the back of a speaker, it is not a 3.5 mm jack, but a Tulip jack. And in this case there will be not one, but two connectors (for the left and right channels) – according to the standard they may be white and red. To connect your phone to them, you need a cable with a standard jack on one end and two “tunnels” on the other.

Functionality is similar to the above – the radio will amplify and play through OEM speakers absolutely all the sounds coming from the phone.


The fashion for so-called modulators or transmitters is already passing, but they are still sold in a huge range. The principle of their operation is simple. A sound signal is applied to the transmitter (or it can itself play music from the storage device), which is converted into a radio signal and transmitted into the air. You can catch this signal with the car stereo by turning on the radio and tuning to the appropriate frequency (as a rule, it is written on the display of the transmitter).

FM transmitter

Disadvantage of this method, perhaps, is only one. It is a noticeable reduction in the quality of the transmitted audio signal. In addition to low volume and unimportant frequency characteristics of the sound can also various interference, such as from the phone itself, when it will call or receive messages.

Not so long ago, phones themselves were endowed with a similar function. That is, they were able to transmit sound to the airwaves. It is possible to find such devices today. But it does not make much sense, because the disadvantage of this technology is the same as the external transmitters – poor quality of the transmitted sound.

By the way, much more often transmitters and modulators are used not for connecting your phone to the boombox, but in cases when the latter has no slot for the “flash drive”. If you exactly want to connect your phone it’s better to use a USB cable, AUX input or one of the following described below.

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Bluetooth .

This method allows you to fully synchronize your smartphone with the radio. You can play music, radio and talk without distracting from driving. But in order to establish such a connection, your car stereo must support the “bluetooth” connection. Unfortunately, most inexpensive models and imitations of the “company” are deprived of this function.

Everything works very simply. It is necessary to turn on Bluetooth on the radio and on the phone, and then the device itself will offer you to synchronize them. After a successful synchronization in the future, they will “find each other” independently, as soon as you get into the car with the same smartphone and turn on the radio.

The functionality of this connection is very wide. You can use the boombox as a sound amplifier, playing music or Internet radio on the phone. It is also possible to control the process from the boombox. Amateurs go even further, bringing remotes on the steering wheel, which allow you to easily control music without any wires, not distracting from the driving.

You can listen to anything you want – from music in any format to radio over the Internet.


Connecting the phone to the radio via Wi-Fi, if the head unit allows it, is carried out similarly as in the case of “bluetooth”. Therefore, there is no point in describing this method in detail. As for the other described methods, then, as can be seen from their description, each of them has both disadvantages and advantages.

In particular, if you want high quality sound you should stop using transmitters and modulators. You’ll also have to give up the popular and easily accessible MP3 format. Music in this format, even though it takes up little space, but on an inexpensive speaker system it does not sound very decent. And, in fact, on an expensive one, it does not sound very good either.

The most convenient (and without loss of quality) are connections via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. But they, unfortunately, are not available on all boomboxes. The classic in the form of AUX is probably on all models. And apart from the wire, which you will have to constantly connect and disconnect, this method has no disadvantages. As well as USB, if your radio supports a full-fledged synchronization with the external devices.

How to connect the phone to the boombox: all available ways

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Hello all! Come to think of it, not long ago the presence in the car radio, capable of playing CDs, was something incredibly prestigious and inaccessible to most mere mortals. But technology advances with amazing speed. And now in order to play your favorite song in the car, it’s enough to have your smartphone.

Let’s talk to you today about how to connect your phone to the car stereo. Let’s try to consider all the actual ways that allow you to connect these two devices, and be able to listen to music.

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I want to note that the smartphone in some cases allows even without the presence of a modern audio system in the car with easy access to a huge media library. This is where a smartphone and one of the connection methods that suit you can help.

phone to the radio

Connection methods

I want to note right away that there are many ways. At the same time, sometimes you can use several connection methods on the same boombox. If it doesn’t see one method, use another. Or choose the one that you consider the most practical and convenient.

It does not matter what kind of car you have. It can be a Renault Duster, a domestic Lada Vesta or Lada Granta. Some have a separately purchased boombox, while others make do with the regular system.

There is even a variety of car stereos themselves. There are a few of the most common brands:

  • JVC;
  • Samsung;
  • Kunwood;
  • Pioneer;
  • Prology;
  • Sony;
  • Alpine;
  • Terra;
  • Sho Me, etc.

There are different versions, models and generations. Even with Chinese obscure origin radio, bought for Chery Tiggo, sometimes you can connect your Android smartphone in a couple of minutes. Brands and models do not play a key role here. The task is always the same. You need to somehow connect your phone to the system.

phone connection

Conventionally, all methods can be divided into wired and wireless.

Today we’ll look at the following ways of connection:

  • By means of a USB cable. It is actual, demanded, not very difficult. Although with its own disadvantages;
  • Via AUX. Also a common option with its own features;
  • Through the radio. Yes, you can connect even this way. Soon you will know what we are talking about;
  • Through the bluetooth system. Category of wireless connection;
  • Via tulips. Not the most popular way, but it is impossible to ignore.

Now let’s try to look at each variant briefly, but clearly separately. And then everyone can make conclusions and take the final decision.

phone connection

Objectively one of the most current methods of connection. Standard USB cable allows you to connect your phone or just a computer flash drive.

There is a special cord, one end of which looks like a USB connector, and the other is designed to connect to the phone. Keep in mind that older boomboxes can not synchronize with smartphones, so they perceive the phone purely as a storage device, that is, a memory card.

After connecting the devices by cable in the settings of your gadget, look for the section with USB connection. Then the data transfer menu is started. This will allow the audio system to perceive and play the audio files available on your phone. But the control is available only through the radio on older systems. If it is more modern, you can synchronize and use the device somewhat more effectively. This opens up access to control from two devices at the same time. Another advantage is that in the process of playing the phone will charge in parallel. Slowly, but at least the smartphone will not lose its charge.

The only minus is one. This is a dependence on the cable, which can get in the way. If the cord is short, you will have to disconnect the cell phone in case of an incoming call and then reconnect everything and start the music again.

connect through usb cable

In the case of USB it is better to take a full-fledged flash drive, record your favorite music on it, and leave your smartphone on hand for other purposes.

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This is a special connector, available on car radios. Almost the first functionality that allows you to connect your phone and the audio system in the car. If there is no AUX on your car, it is somewhat strange, because such connectors have been used since the days of cassette recorders.

In fact, it is a round shaped plug with a size of 3.5 mm. This is what you use when you connect headphones. It is not difficult to find the appropriate cable in stores. And the connection is incredibly simple. You take a cord, one end goes into the phone and the other into the stereo. That’s all, you are ready to listen. Only the smartphone itself acts as the controlling organ here. You will have to switch tracks through the built-in player or application. That is, the audio system itself acts as a speaker with an amplifier, where you can adjust the volume.

telephone connection through aux cable

The option is very good and convenient. Extremely easy to connect and disconnect as needed.

Given the number of advantages, the demand for AUX connection remains.

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Bluetooth .

A modern wireless connection option that allows you to connect two devices without the use of cords and cables.

  • But here it is important that the bluetooth is on the car stereo itself. Your smartphone probably has it;
  • Next, the port is activated on the audio system;
  • In parallel, the bluetooth is started on the phone;
  • The device is paired with each other;
  • This creates integration between the devices;
  • The smartphone is put away as it is controlled through the audio system;
  • The connection makes it possible to listen to music and watch videos;
  • In some cases, the boombox can be used as a speakerphone.

Of course, the smartphone will not be charged, but the battery wear will increase. But not so much that after a couple of hours the battery will run out.

Convenient, practical, functional and versatile. But it is suitable only for modern car radios.

telephone connection via bluetooth

Transmitters, tuners and emulators

Now briefly let’s go over three more variants. They are not the most optimal, but all the same have the right for existence.

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  • Emulator. Universal music reader, which has connectors for AUX and USB. There is an ISO output on the back of the radio, to which the emulator is connected. The cable is included. The connection is not the most convenient, but then you can use the phone, MP3 player and flash drives;
  • Tulips. If there are RCA (tulip) jacks in the armrest, you can use these to connect to your phone. It is important to take a cable with tulips on one end and a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the other. And the connection does not always work clearly by color. Try different combinations;
  • Transmitters. These are devices that connect the phone to the audio system, even with just a regular radio receiver. It is the radio receiver that is needed here. You can learn more about transmitters here .


That’s it. I think we’ve covered all the existing ways to connect the two devices.

If you know any other ones, write them in the comments. We’ll figure it out.

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