In an era where we do everything on our smartphones, it’s only fitting that modern cars are equipped with modifications to facilitate playing music from the smartphone to the car stereo.
But this only applies to recent make of cars as those built more than a decade ago may lack the ability to connect your phone to the car stereo using an auxiliary cable.
How? Here are ways to connect your smartphone to a car stereo even without an aux cable.
How to Connect Phone to the Car Stereo using a Cassette Tape Adapter
Cassette players were the best thing that happened to car manufacturing in the ’70s. If your car is still rocking one, then you’re lucky, as you can easily use it to connect your mobile phone to the car stereo via Bluetooth using a cassette tape adapter.
The adapter converts the electric signal from your phone into a magnetic signal. The signal is picked up by the cassette’s reading head, which transforms it into an electrical signal that can be played on your car’s audio with ease. The device resembles vintage cassette tapes but has a 3.5mm cable attached, and using it is a pretty straightforward process. Here is a brief installation manual for the adapter.
Step 1: Connect the cassette to the phone
The adapter comes with an audio cable that should be plugged into the phone’s headphone slot. If you have an iPhone, there are also cassette tape adapters that come with a built-in Bluetooth receiver.
Step 2: Insert the cassette-shaped adapter
The cassette player on the deck should have a slot where you can insert the cassette-shaped adapter. If inserting it doesn’t automatically activate the tape mode on the player, you need to do it manually by locating tape mode in the audio system menu.
Step 3: Play Music
With everything connected, you have the option to press play on your phone or on the audio system. Either way, you should hear the music from your phone playing on the stereo. It is one of the easiest hacks to set up, and it produces better sound quality.
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How to Connect Phone to Car Stereo Using an FM Radio Transmitter
Not all cars have built-in Bluetooth capabilities. However, your smartphone does, and you can take advantage of that using a Bluetooth FM transmitter, the preinstalled FM radio, and a cigarette lighter. Bluetooth FM transmitters work by receiving the Bluetooth signal from the smartphone, converting it into FM radio waves, and broadcasting them. The waves are then picked up by the car’s stereo, and the Bluetooth connection is complete. Here’s how to achieve the connection.
Locate car’s cigarette lighter port
The transmitter needs a power source for it to work, and a car’s cigarette lighter port provides it for the connection to be successful.
Plug in the transmitter.
After finding the port, plug in the transmitter to turn it on. It will display an FM frequency, which will be used to connect.
Align the frequencies
Switch on your car’s stereo and select FM mode. Then align the frequency in the audio system to the one being displayed by the transmitter. The frequency you choose should not be used by local radio stations, as it may tamper with the whole connection.
Connect the phone to transmitter
Make a Bluetooth connection between your phone and the transmitter. After that, play some music, and you should be able to hear it blast on the car speakers.
If you want clearer audio, ensure that you get a quality transmitter and that there are no radio stations in the area with the same frequency..
Click here to buy FM Radio Transmitter from amazon →
Using Sound Routing Apps
Hands-free calling in cars was considered the best thing since sliced bread when it was first introduced in 2001. This is because it brought new levels of safety to the roads and more convenience to the in-car experience, and the feature is still present in cars produced by various brands.
One disadvantage that users of hands-free Bluetooth have to deal with is that it is designated for calls only and doesn’t allow them to play music on their stereo. However, there’s a solution to that in sound routing apps, which deceive the hand-free feature into thinking that the user is making a call. This is how they work.
Connect your phone to the hands-free Bluetooth
Drivers with hands-free calling capability in their cars keep it on when they enter the car. The connection instructions can be found in the owner’s manual and depend on the make of the car. You can also make a test call to ensure that the connection is successful, and you can talk over the car stereo.
Download and install the sound routing app
Sound routing apps can be found on the internet and in the play store or app store, either for free or just for a few dollars. Ensure the app is installed correctly and toggled on to trick the hands-free Bluetooth into thinking you’re on a call.
Play music from your phone via Bluetooth
Ensure that the sound routing app is switched on before playing music from your phone. However, the sound may not be perfect as the audio system uses a mono channel, which is only one signal.
Using USB Connection to Connect Phones to Car Stereo
Most electronics have USB ports, especially if they are to be connected to smartphones. Modern cars are no different, as they have one installed on the head unit, and we can use this to our advantage when connecting phones to the car stereo without an auxiliary cable.
The port can be used to charge a phone or play music from a memory stick. It also comes in handy when we want to play music from our phones on the car stereo without an auxiliary cable. This is how to do it;
Locate the USB port and insert the cable
To use a USB connection to play music on the car stereo, find where the port is on the audio system. Depending on your car model, it could be on the head unit, glove compartment, dashboard, center compartment, or armrest. From there, inserting the cable should be easy.
Plug in the phone
Ensure that one end of the USB cable is connected to the port on the car before connecting the other to the charging port of your phone.
Once you have connected the cable successfully, you will get a notification requesting access to audio files. Grant access and play music on the stereo from your files or stream it online. Depending on the type of car and the USB cable’s capabilities, some audio systems can mirror the whole phone’s screen on their screen for more convenient access.
From this article, you can see that all is not lost if you want to play music from your phone on the car stereo even without an auxiliary cable. These methods are easy, time-friendly, and will save you a few coins that you can use to ultimately upgrade your car stereo.