Bimmerfest - BMW Forums - View Single Post - The Ultimate iPod Info Thread
View Single Post
Old 02-17-2011, 09:36 AM
WilliCO's Avatar
WilliCO WilliCO is offline
1oz perception-1# obscure
Location: Castle Pines, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,536
Mein Auto: 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe
Originally Posted by vtsuisse View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm new, so go easy on me. I'm not new to automotive forums, and so I actually realize there are some that will get exasperated with my post - so be it.

I have read through the 36 pages of this thread and, not feeling like I've gained a lot save for shared frustration, I think that the direct question, plus the addition of a curveball, may make my question post-worthy.

Some background first.

I recently recognized the need to buy a new/another car to use for work. Over the last 5 months since this realization, I've been doing my research and made the decision last Monday which car to buy. That Friday, I bought it.

To commemorate the noteworthy milestone that an additional to my fleet would represent, namely, having now owned one car for every year I've been alive, (37) I purchased a 08 535xi, in Platinum grey and black leather. It was delivered in excellent condition replete with the factory navigation system, 2 slots, but no changer or sat radio. As I listen to Pandora or music from my iPhone, neither seemed important.

(For those interested in the process, I did consider the new 5's, specifically the 550/535 GT xDrives, but my wife suggested that might be her next car, so I demurred***8230

Moving onů. as mentioned, i have the factory Nav. I have the factory bluetooth as well, which integrates with my phone effortlessly and is clear. I also have the usb and 3.5mm jack in the center console, which are nice but useless as neither my iPhone 4 or my iPod Video are recognized. They charge fine, but the car tells me they are incompatible. The iPod acts like it's connected to iTunes, so it can't be charged and used as a player at the same time. and the iphone charges, but the car says I'm SOL.

Despite having been on a number of forums besides this one to discover the answer to this oft asked question,Ii've yet to get a straight, definitive answer of how to appropriately pair my iphone 4 with my car.

I'd like to be able to leave the phone in the console or the glovebox, access the menus from the iDrive unit, and control tracks and playlists from my steering wheel. There is much allusion to this ability, and I've even attached videos of people doing it, but there still seems to be a great mystery on how it's actually been accomplished. Many times the solutions provided are specified, but either the links provided are dead or the unit can't be purchased, is discontinued, etc.

Closest I have to an answer is the 6FL cable from BMW ( which seems awfully simple for $350 and doesn't give a tremendous amount of detail), the Denison 500 unit (which Denison doesn't sell), and the Becker cable.

It seems to me that the easiest fix would be the CD changer emulator. I assume though that there is some programming involved - perhaps that's the reason for the $350 charge converter and audio/usb cable?

After all that, though here is the reality: Ideally, I'd like to play music through the bluetooth (A2DP), which was possible on the last Kia Sorrento I rented for work. In that case, iId quickly forego iDrive compatibility for the convenience of actually being able to use my phone wirelessly.


2008 535xi, 2010 ML350, 1990 RRC
Hey Rob -

There' a lot of information in here and my iPod compatibility competency is losing currency fast - but I do have a few key ideas that may help or disappoint you, maybe both at the same time:

Bluetooth streaming of music is not possible in an E60. They did not outfit the car with the right electronics to do that, even though the Bluetooth certainly works for the phone. Yes, that is silly when you think about how ridiculously good the Ford system is and that you can get Bluetooth streaming in a Kia. Yet, here we are.

Your car may have a USB input but not have the iPod interface - all iPod interfaces look like USB inputs in BMWs, but not all USB inputs are iPod interfaces. The best way to check is to plug an iPod - not an iPhone - into it and see if the system recognizes it as an Pod. If it does not, you can add the iPod interface to your car, which is not inexpensive.

If it does recognize an iPod, you have the iPod interface. But it's not exactly an iPhone interface. I have heard some stories about what it takes to get an iPhone to play music through the BMW interface. Some say that it's necessary to put it in Airplane mode and perhaps follow a couple other steps that make it unusable as a phone, which obviously is a showstopper.

So, if that is the case, or if you don't have the iPod interface and don't wish to add it, you have some other options.

You can move your auxiliary input to the glove box, and you can do that yourself if you are comfortable taking apart your console. I believe that very near the beginning of this thread, Stream posted the schematic and instructions to remove it. I've done it several times and it's not too hard.

Or, you can move it to the ashtray area and invest in a Spec Dock, which is a very tidy OEM-looking iPhone mount that replaces your ashtray. Check out that link. If you were to do that, I would suggest you buy the Spec Dock that carries the auxiliary interface (not the iPod interface; you can buy either). This will provide you with a line-out quality audio output from the Spec Dock into your auxiliary input.

Your iPhone will send whatever audio output it has to send through the audio line out in its dock interface. Music, Pandora, Sirius, maybe even phone calls, although I have not tried one. So you will get all of that via the auxiliary. And, while you would not have iDrive control of your iPhone, the Spec Dock mount's positioning immediately in front of the shifter is almost as good.
2016 Chevrolet Tahoe LT | 2013 535i xDrive M-Sport (Retired) | 2005 545i Sport (Retired - best of the litter) | 2001 X5 3.0 Sport (Retired)

Last edited by WilliCO; 02-17-2011 at 09:39 AM.
Reply With Quote