VW iPod adapter: Why won’t it just work the way I want it to?

This pretty much sums up a lot of users’ frustration with product/web usability.  You gotta wonder: why aren’t these guys talking to each other or to us?


When I came across this cartoon I couldn’t help thinking of the iPod adapter in my 2008 VW Passat.  After years of consumer requests, car companies are finally providing an AUX adapter so drivers can easily plug in their portable MP3 players.  If you are an iPod fanatic like me you might actually consider getting a new car just so you can get rid of that old cassette or FM adapter that used to be required to play your device.

You would expect VW to be on the cutting edge of providing satisfying user experiences to their customers, especially coming from a car company with the word “people” in their name (and an ad tagline like “Drivers Wanted”).  VW is so cool it has decided to offer a solution that is meant to only work with the iPod (the VW logo even shows up on your iPod when you plug it in).  Here is how the adapter works (or doesn’t):

–Your ipod is inserted into a small pillbox-sized compartment within your glove box.  No wires are needed in the most current setup since it plugs directly into the “male” end of the iPod adapter.
Broken: you can’t control the iPod from the iPod itself when it is connected.   Even someone on the passenger side must remove the ipod in order to see the screen and once removed it turns off.

–After plugging it in you can only choose from five playlists that you create ahead of time (numbered 1 thru 5) or play your entire iPod song list (number 6) .
Broken: You cannot listen to albums, artists or random songs.  You can’t reach playlists beyond the first 5, which are set up in alpha order (sorry ZZ Top fans).

–To “shuffle” songs, you have to start the iPod in shuffle mode and let it play one or two songs.
Broken:  If you don’t move the audio selector to “CD 6″ quick enough to get it to start playing, the adapter turns off “shuffle” and you get an alpha sort of your music starting with “A.”  I like to hear ABBA once in a while but, please, not everytime I get in my car.

–While your music is playing, the read out in the dash says “Track 01″
Broken: there is no info shown re: song or artist

What’s amazing is that VW has completely thrown out the intuitive features and interface that Apple has painstakenly set up that makes the iPod experience so pleasurable. They’ve put “clumsy mitten-hands” on the iPod interface without any thought about user preferences or desires.

I can only conclude that these choices were made by engineers that were looking to add car audio features not currently offered by competitors but were not considering what people like about the iPod itself.   They would have been better off creating less car audio functionality and letting the driver decide how best to use their own iPod (i.e., just put an AUX jack in the middle console next to the driver that gives us easy access).  Instead, we end up with a very sad robot indeed.

The lesson here is that if you can’t match or improve on an existing well known interface, half-measures are worse than no measures at all.

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76 Responses to VW iPod adapter: Why won’t it just work the way I want it to?

  1. Ryan says:

    That pretty much sums it up. I am not, or was not much of an ipod guy. But when I picked up my ’08 GTI I was genuinely excited about the idea of having any and all of my CD’s in my car at any time. I spent hours loading cd’s onto my new ipod only to find out that I was unable to play them at will in my car. Frustrated would be an understatement. VW got this car so right, how did they manage to get the ipod interface so wrong? Nice to know I’m not alone on this.

  2. Sue says:

    David, so well said! I picked up my new leased VW Passat today. I was so excited to be able to play my iPod without the cassette adapter, and the Passat has a much better sound system than my ’04 Passat. The iPod adapter sucks. I looked to see if I could use the center console Aux plug, but it looks like it’s been removed and covered with a plug? Just wondered what you’ve decided to do – are you using the adapter? Or did you maybe find a better solutioin with a cable? I’m wondering if I should take apart the plug in the center console just to see what’s there…..
    Sue

  3. Sue,

    I’m not sure if the Aux will be functional in the console. Right now, I’m just making the current adapter work. I have an older ipod that I use just for the car that I can leave in all the time. That way it will always stay on shuffle. But it’s obviously limited.

    -DK

  4. Evan says:

    David,

    I have a 2006 Jetta which has the wire in the glove box, but otherwise is very similiar. I too was very disappointed with the whole setup. I will say, however, that at least in my car, if I hold down the CD button (or MIX on some VWs), which turns shuffle for regular cds, it will put my ipod on shuffle. I don’t know if this will work for you, but it’s one thing the adapter was capable of for the 2006 model’s anyway

  5. Jan says:

    Same excitement, major disappointment. In fact, the iPod thing was the reason I bought my first brand new VW (Golf) in the first place. Do you know that in Spain (were I live) they even have a special model named iGolf?
    I was so convinced of getting a great experience I did not even test it (they did not have a model with the ipod linkup in the showroom). First month I wanted to bring back the car every time I drove the car. I’m in my second month now and last week I visited my first showroom again; and it was not a VW dealer. I’m sooo disappointed.

  6. Well said that man.

    I purchased a new Golf GTi in 2007 with iPod integration which is a really neat hidden doc in the central console. But the integration is rubbish, no ID3 data passed. Honda and BMW can do it, I even think the new Vauxhall models have superior digital player integration, why not VW?

    My dealership (Colbornes, Guildford) even advised me that track data would be pulled through into the dashboard display when I ordered the car — this was a complete lie! I have asked several times since about a firmware or hardware upgrade but my requests are met with a lack of comprehension and zero information.

    My only explanation of this giant oversight is that I think the same integration is used whether an iPod or the alternative generic USB connection is installed (alternative players iRiver et al have substantial market share in mainland Europe I believe). This keeps the pricepoint down (thought the £100/$200 factory install price tag was very reasonable) but the compromise is untenable.

    Has anyone seen the ‘concept’ VW iPod integration codenamed ‘Gypsy’? See it here: http://news.cnet.com/1606-2_3-6052333.html — now, if they had put 1% of the effort they put into this concept R&D into the consumer product I’m sure we’d all be a lot happier!

  7. Gavin,

    Thanks for the video link. What you are pointing out is one of key problems with automakers: the lead time between “concept car” functionality and reality is way too long or non-existent. Concept cars are created for PR value. It’s up to managers with true vision to move innovations into the mainstream. It took automobile manufacturers 5 years after MP3 players became widely available to put a simple AUX input on the front of their factory car audio components.

    BMW is the exception to the rule: they made real efforts to get wtih Apple’s interface years ago and their investment has paid off with first-to-market bragging rights and much higher customer satisfaction in the audio dept.

    -DK

  8. paul n says:

    well said. The interface is nothing short of a disgrace. Functionally it is actually as bad as they could have made it, and they have the cheek to charge £129 for it. Worse still, im finding that on the option 6 alleged shuffle mode, the shuffle is not the ipod shuffle but some crap attempt at a shuffle, how else do i end up having to listen to the same songs frustatingly often when i have nearly 5000 songs on the ipod. I love my new golf, and i love the functionality of an ipod, but i feel really let down by vw with this. I will probably change cars in around 2 years, and if vw dont upgrade this poor facility in their new cars then my next purchase will be with a competitor that has.

  9. Kyle says:

    I just got an ’08 Jetta here in California and had the same response. I mean really. It has Folder and Catagory buttons on the stereo, so I just assumed I was good to go. But no, these are for MP3 cds. Really? MP3 cds? I remember when those were relevant… 10 years ago! Come on VW. I have to imagine a software/firmware update could fix this. I love my new car, but this is a major disappointment.

  10. Michael says:

    I bought a 2005.5 Jetta recently and had them install that damn wire for $300 – big mistake, piece of ****

  11. Warren says:

    Just found this blog posting and wish I had seen it before bothering to obtain an iPod to go with my 2007 GTi. I love the car but the head unit is somewhat retarded. I got rid of Sirius a couple of months ago and got a used iPod Nano from a buddy. The result total crap. The trick of playing in shuffle mode if the iPod is set to shuffle only when plugging in is pretty much the shame as not shuffling at all.

    I had hoped after reading online how it worked that I could just build 5 genre based playlists and be good to go. Not being able to shuffle those 5 playlists makes the Nano useless in the car. I am ever more jealous my wife’s simple aux audio-in in her GLi. At least if I could see the iPod, I could make it do what I wanted.

  12. Warren

    No worries. Just …
    1) Set your ipod to shuffle song mode (playing your entire song list)
    2) Start playing the first song – you can even press >> to make sure that the next song is on shuffle mode
    3) Plug the ipod into the VW adapter
    4) Choose CD selector #6 (you have to do this quickly or you’ll lose it)

    It should stay on shuffle song mode after the first song as long as you don’t remove the ipod. It won’t shuffle between playlists (even Apple won’t let you do that) but at least you can shuffle your entire ipod.

  13. mike belles says:

    well I’m glad I’mm not the only one.
    Just got my 09 Sportvagon last sunday and couldn’t wait to see how this ipod thing will work.
    It’s now wednesday, and the dealer still can’t tell me why the damn thing won’t work. He says it won’t work with the nano(3rd gen). Is that true?
    I’m starting to hate my jetta.

  14. Asgeir says:

    Finally I decided to search the web about this problem- and I am pleased AND disappointed to see it is not just me with those worries. I live in Norway -and nearly 1 year ago I bought a new VW GT- and ordered it specially with an iPod input – which I thought sounded like a good Idea. At that time I did not own an iPod – but was planning to, since I’m a music lover. Believe my frustration – I experienced all the earlier comments in this link, and I think it is wrong from the VW dealer to sell this accsessorie- it is simply a bluff-I think I might call it swindle since they take extra money for it.
    Nevertheless- I hoped someone had found a way to hack their way into the software, because I believe it has to be a software issue – since many brands makes it work. Bad deal VW / Apple ?

  15. Mikko says:

    Same story here as well. Happy to have a brand new Golf Variant but every time I enter a car I feel frustrated due to crappy iPod adapter. In Finland model year ’09 has AUX-IN as a standard but despite of that I wanted to have iPod adapter to ensure seamless and more safe option to manage my music library while driving. How wrong I was. Now I have a very expensive power adapter/aux-in cable and no real integration in place. Somebody in Germany should be really ashamed…

  16. Carl says:

    Same here guys! Just leased my new 2009 GTI and the iPod adapter is ****. The car I test drove had an auxiliary input jack and that’s what I planned on using with my iPhone. The car I actually leased, include the iPod adapter which was a non-issue. However, when I got home and realized VW yanks out the auxiliary input in exchange for the iPod adapter option, which they charge you for, I though, “What the ****!” I bought also bought an extension cable, thinking I could use my phone, while connected to the adapter. Crap, crap, crap! Why did they remove the auxiliary input jack? That’s all I wanted in the first place!

  17. Jason says:

    I feel like an idiot.

    I bought a used 2007 Passat fully loaded, great car. This week I had VOK-L installed and the iPod adapter. Not only did the rip a small whole in my leather seats doing the install but the iPod adapter sucks more than I imagined…

    I read the blogs but man!! The thing takes nearly 3 seconds just to skip to the next song! I hope WV has plans for a firmware upgrade or a fix… I can live with 5 playlist if they just fixed the shuffling and skipping issue.

    Oh well!

  18. Woody says:

    Hi there,

    I have an adapter in the glovebox. Everything was working perfectly, however all of a sudden it seems to be skipping tracks every 10 seconds, then some will be on for longer then skip, some will play virtually the whole song then skip. Then next time the car starts it will be ok.

    Anyone know about this problem? Any cures? I have shuffle and repeat selected to off however it seems to select ‘repeat all’ on my IPOD for some reason. Don’t know if this is causing it?

    Thanks
    Andy

    • Woody,
      The skipping may be be due to your ipod coming loose from the connection. As for the “repeat all,” that’s probably the VW adapter resetting your ipod (mine takes it off of shuffle mode) Not much you can do about that.

  19. Doan says:

    Hi David, it’s Sue here again. I’ve had this crummy glove box ipod adaptor in my VW Passat since I got the car in May. I’ve had it back to the dealer 3 times for repair/replacement. Most of the time it works, but three times it just STOPS working. The only workaround with this thing is to manually set up 5 playlists in iTunes, which I’ve done. The problem is when I go on a long trip, and want to listen to different podcasts or audiobooks, there is NO WAY to access anything other than those 5 playlists. Why, oh why can’t I just have a little AUX plug to plug in my ipod (and CONTROL everything from my ipod), like they do if you don’t get this expensive upgrade? I don’t care if I can’t control it from my radio….. I just want to be able to get to the other stuff on my ipod that’s not on these 5 playlists. Not to mention that every time I take the ipod in and out of this ‘very delicate’ holder in the glove compartment, I wonder if it’s going to work again the next time I put it in. I don’t take it out very often, as this is an older ipod that i just use for the car. I’m very happy with the car, just hate this piece of cr@p adaptor. Can someone tell me how I can get that AUX plug that they covered up in the center console to work?

  20. Hassan el sharkawy says:

    hi guys
    i have a 2007 passat and my nephew got me the adaptor as a gift, i didnt plug it yet to the car, but after reading your comments i think i wont plug it.
    i just want to know something,
    is it able to plug it to my audio cd player, or it must be a mp3 one?

  21. Matt says:

    That’s really frustrating, I made the same mistake too! I just bought the adapter and thought I could manage it just like the iPod. do you think there is a way to have VW or Apple improve this stuff in some way?

  22. Mike Sage says:

    Yep I am with you guys.I got my adapter installed on Friday and I will be taking it back on Monday.Not being able to play the songs I want to hear totally defeats the purpose of having the adapter!I wish I had of researched it more before I had it installed I would have saved myself the aggravation!

  23. Waseem Coverdale says:

    I am glad I found this blog. I can take this frustration to another level. I purchased my ’08 Passat (my first VW) because the dealer told me that with the Volk-L Bluetooth adapter, I could stream audio “through my great VW stereo” (according to the brochure). I ordered the Volk-L the same day I picked up the car. 4 weeks later and $550 I found out that the Volk-L only streams audio to the 2 front speakers and in mono! You have got to be kidding me ! Both the dealer and VW America have taken the “oh-well” attitude. This is really a huge turn off for an otherwise dream machine. I am glad you saved me from compounding my first mistake.

    I was really hoping for a better customer experience from VW.

  24. AMaxwell says:

    Well, I am really glad I found this blog, and also very disappointed in VW’s iPod adapter after reading this. I am about to place an order for a new 2009 Passat and I was automatically going to get the iPod adapter, but know I’m thinking sticking with after-market.

    I currently own a 2000 Jetta TDI and I’ve had an iPod interface in it for the last 4 years. At the time, Alpine had already recognized the value of iPod integration so I bought a new Alpine head unit (CDA-9835) and their iPod adapter. It’s been amazing! Everything, song names, playlists, artist, is displayed on the head unit display and everything can be controlled as from the head unit. My iPod (40GB 4th gen) remains under my seat at all times and I never have to touch it. The Alpine connector is identical to Apple’s connector and it never comes loose.

    Alpine’s latest head units have been improved further by improving the speed of the interface and some units will even display the album art. My unit is the original iPod adapter they introduced, so it’s a bit sluggish when scrolling through long lists consisting of almost 40 GB worth of songs. But it has no limit on playlists and uses the ones directly from the iPod, so this is a quick workaround since it makes for smaller song lists.

    Here’s a link to their current iPod compatible offerings – http://www.alpine-usa.com/US-en/products/series-c.php?category=IPOD.

    I think I’m going to skip the VW iPod adapter, and replace the whole head unit in my new Passat with a new Alpine stereo, therefore ensuring I’ll have full control of my iPod, and likely get a better sounding stereo out of it as well.

  25. Bryan says:

    I have a 2008 Eos with the iPod dock located in the center armrest between the front seats. Back in Nov. I drove from Virginia to Florida and the shuffle worked great – playing hundreds of songs without me ever having to touch the actual iPod. Now – why I’m not sure – the shuffle will only play 99 songs and then it will repeat itself with the same 99 songs – actually it skips tracks 1 and 2 on the repeat.

    Any ideas why? Have a changed a setting somehow? Assistance with fixing the shuffle feature to the way it once was would be greatly appreciated!

  26. Caroline says:

    I had my Eos since Sep. 2008. It came with iPod adapter but I never was able to use it because simply I cannot fit my iPod Nano 2Gen into the iPod slot that they provide – it seats too deep inside the armrest.
    So, I made the research and finally found the solution. It is called GROM USB MP3 car kit:
    http://gromaudio.com/store/usb_adapters/grom-usb-vag.html
    Here instead of using your precious iPod you use simple USB stick – and viola! It plays the music, the sound is great and you can browse the songs and switch between them the way you like.
    I found it great and now I take my iPod only when I run or commute :)

  27. Russ says:

    The workarounds people suggest speak well of their positive attitudes, but let’s face it, VW (and others) have screwed this up badly and disappointed many people. What don’t they get about millions of iPods sold and used daily? This new interface is WORSE than a simple audio input. It totally limits functionality turning a great device back into a “shuffle.” I even bought a docking cable from Cablejive, which I thought this would allow me to change songs manually on the iPod while plugged into the car, but alas when plugged in, the iPod controls are shut down. That was a wasted $30 to add to the cost of the “upgraded” docking station.

    Also, the VW input jack drains my Nano battery. It’s as though the unit is always “on” even when the car is off. I don’t think it’s playing music, but maybe just displaying the VW logo on the Nano screen.

    Anyone else have this iPod battery draining problem?

  28. Caroline says:

    Gee, I guess there is only one way – to get the aftermarket iPod adapter like Grom Audio one.

  29. Doug says:

    2009 Jetta TDI owner who saw the iPod adapter option as a selling point – insert here the rollercoaster ride of excitement turning to horror as in all above posts – WTF!!?? I am disavowing my German heritage until we get a firmware update. This afterthought of an interface does more harm to the car than if the pistons came thru the hood every 10,000 miles. At least I would be able to find appropriate DeathMetal on my iPod while waiting for the free Customer Satisfaction service truck. Someone please let me know when this is fixed so I can truly bond with my otherwise wonderfully engineered vehicle – until then I am keeping it at arms length.

  30. Eric says:

    Just bought a 2009 GLI that came with the IPod adapter in the armrest storage. Haven’t tried it yet (got the car yesterday) but not looking forward to the experience. I’m not even sure I have the correct cable to plug into the adapter – which cable do I use? The VW Manual doesn’t have any information whatsoever about the radio or IPod adapter.

  31. Eric,
    Not sure about your configuration but there must be an online manual that will help (this is the one I have: http://www.discountcarstereo.com/pdf/vwrpcpod.pdf). Post a note to let us know if VW has changed its interface; from other comments on this post it’s pretty clear that they’re due for an upgrade. PS: I recently installed an Alpine car stereo in my Jeep and love the added $35 iPod adapter. Once you plug in your iPod and starts to play, the head unit displays the artist, album, song, and time clock, and it has search capabilities and let’s you turn the “mix” on and off. Not as clean as Apple but it does the job).

  32. Jodie says:

    O.K, at least now I know that I’m not retarded! I thought maybe I just couldn’t figure it out, that surely an integrated iPod adapter would allow me to use my iPod on my stereo LIKE AN IPOD! No. I got my 09 Jetta TDI 2 days ago and this was one of the things I was super excited about, what a let down. I suppose I can live with the playlist thing if I have to, but can anyone tell me how to pause? I listen to audiobooks and podcasts all the time and I would like to pause the playback if I get a phone call, simply muting the audio doesn’t really work for me.

  33. Jodie,
    Here’s what I do: turn it off (press the volume/on/off knob). Pretty poor “pause button” but that’ll do the trick. BTW, I’m glad that somebody out there is buying a car and moving the economy forward. Thanks.

  34. Jodie says:

    Thanks David. I found that enabling the bluetooth also works (at least to pause for phone calls!). I was on the VW website and found an adapter for my adapter that says it will let me view artist and song info, shuffle, etc. Just wondering if anyone has tried this fix before I spend the money. I would hate to be disappointed again!

  35. Skip says:

    I was looking at a 2009 Passat today and got curious about the adapter so I grabbed my Nano and put the sizer in and connected. What a disappointment! Even the salesman seemed to be stunned that it didn’t work as we kept hearing the same song come on again and again. Either that or he was a great actor. This is a very enlightening thread and one alternative I found that might fix the problem is http://www.autosoundcentral.com/Peripheral_iSimple_PXAMG_PGHVW1_p/pxamgpghvw1.htm

    I will absolutely not buy a Passat with the adapter installed. This is 2009 and I agree that VW truly dropped the ball here. I would be demanding a refund if I had been sold that option. Shameful. Anyone think the above might add good Ipod functionality to the 09 Passat?

    • Skip, The iSimple sounds like a good solution if you don’t mind spending the $139 plus installation. More important: it provides an AUX jack if you want to bypass its direct connection. This is a nice feature if you want someone to control your playlist from the backseat.

  36. Tony says:

    Just picked up my 2009 TDI and hit the net searching for what I assumed I was doing wrong. I am at a loss to understand how VW could sell this “mitten handed” accessory. Yet again I am reminded that the expression “it’s better that nothing” is not always true. I would have paid nothing for nothing, but this extra adapter set me back $190. Damn. I replaced the entire stereo in an older VW and the unit WITH Ipod adapter was $150 and tells me titles/artists/etc and lets me pick from ALL my playlists.

    What a let down.

    • Guy Carr says:

      I have an 09 CC with the same problem. My older classic video Ipod would not work but I plugged my sons brand new little shuffle with the little docking/charging USB cable and you could control it the way you want.

  37. Jason says:

    Yes, same thing here. I bought a 2009 sportwagen yesterday and couldn’t believe how short sighted the ipod implementation was. I was searching around hoping to find some good news about a firmware update of some sort when I found this post.

    Well, here is too hoping that someday a firmware update does show up. I don’t see why it couldn’t be fixed by VW via software… perhaps it was rushed to market. Let’s cross our fingers.

  38. gtin00b says:

    Shuffle works fine. Hold in the CD button for a couple of secs and the mix control comes up. If you make 5 smart playlists on itunes by genre what’s the problem?

    • Skip says:

      The problem is you’re driving down the road and you want to hear a specific album … you can’t. I spend that much on a car, I want to be able to control my music.

      I’m still looking at a Passat, but I’m going to have to install the after market item I posted above hoping it will work. The dealer set a car up with an upgraded Ipod adapter but its functionality was still very limited. No stop function and all you could do was access playlists and then cycle through them. I stand by my original post … VW was clueless on this one and somebody somewhere in Germany should be an ex employee for allowing it to happen.

      If you’re really upset, then you should check into getting the aftermarket adapter installed. Sounds like just what I’m wanting if it works as advertised. I gotta buy the car first though. :-)

  39. Diego says:

    USA Spec released their new iPod adapter. It allows the Playlist mode, using CD Changer buttons 1-5, and now button 6 allows you to “DIRECT CONTROL” the ipod, while it charges. Still no MP3 data, since the VW stereo (Monsoon) does not support text, but this is a BIG plus. I just had had it put in my 06 golf. This Rocks!

  40. Diego says:

    I Should specify, DIRECT CONTROL means you use your ipod interface instead of the stereo.

  41. Michael says:

    I have a 2006 VW Passat, the radio has a 6 CD changer in the radio. There is a cable going to a CD changer area in the glove box. This is used for a separate CD changer if you have the navi unit with the radio. Anyone know if the USA Spec (PA11-VW6) unit can be plugged into that cable in the glove box or do you have to remove the radio and plug into the back of the radio? It sounds like the USA Spec unit is the best option any other opinions?

  42. Danni says:

    I realize this is an age old post, but I just wanted to say that my 2009 Passat (European) with the RCD510 head unit and the MEDIA-IN option works beautifully with an iPod. I can play by artist, album, genre, all songs, podcasts – the same options that I have on the iPod itself, but controlled from the touch screen and steering wheel, with the iPod nicely tucked away in a subcompartment of the glove compartment.

  43. Andres says:

    I got a 2008 Jetta and was super exited about the iPod adapter. What a disappointment when I plugged my iPod for the first time. No song names? No Artist? Please VW, issue a firmware update or something!

  44. Footy says:

    There is a workaround so you can pick what you want to play. It is not perfect but it does work on my ’09 Polo GTI with the ipod adapter.
    When I want to play something, lets say an album, I unplug the ipod, go to the album, press play and then plug the ipod back in. It will play the album through the CD6 option as soon as you plug it in. The next and previous buttons will move to the next or previous songs on the album.
    If you want to change the album, then unplug it and choose another album, press play and plug it back in. It’ll play straight away.
    It will work with any playlist, including the on the go playlist. Songs, Albums, whatever you start playing will go through the adapter.

  45. Footy says:

    I forgot to add that I tried that on an iPod classic as well as an iPhone. The only thing with the iPhone is that the alert “the iPhone doesn’t work with this adapter” appears on the iPhone screen. Press no and it’ll start playing.

  46. Dagon says:

    ++;
    I’m frankly surprised this was even allowed to be released to public, the interface is really that bad.

  47. Mark B says:

    This works on my ipod nano in my 2009 gti with ipod adapter. its a little tricky but if you get the hang of it you can control your ipod from the ipod itself.
    I bought an ipod extension cable(cablejive.com) plugged it into the armrest ipod outlet. heres the tricky part. as you are plugging the extension into the ipod hold down the off button (play/pause) the ipod should turn off as you insert the jack. as it turns back on hit the menu button a few times and the ipod should be functional. i read this in a different post and it works. Good luck

  48. Sue says:

    Does anyone know if this http://www.cablejive.com/extendercable.html will work? I’m thinking I could plug this into the glove compartment and just keep my ipod outside the glove compartment – just like the aux cable would do.

  49. Clive says:

    I am glad I found this blog post. I was going mad trying to work out WTF the cable did. I have a 2006 GTI and an Touch (3rd Gen). The cable is complete unusable. Pointless piece of junk.

    It doesn’t even charge the iPod, at least I could have used it for that!

    A great car spoilt by a crap iPod interface.

  50. Sue says:

    Just an FYI…… I bought the cable above…… don’t buy it!!! The ipod is still controlled by the stupid VW interface!!! And when you close the glove compartment so that the ipod can be OUTSIDE the glove compartment, it cuts the cable. I wasted $$$$$.

  51. CJ says:

    I am glad to know I am not alone in my VW-iPod grief, but I have a problem no one has mentioned yet. I am on my third VW adaptor. Each has burned out in 5 months. The last time they replaced it (both replacements free) they suggested that 1) I not leave the iPod connected when the car isn’t on and 2) my old iPod was causing a power surge and frying the connections – get a new iPod. The Mac store is conveniently near my VW dealer, so off I went. It’s been working fine (I’ve learned to live with the interface as Footy says above) and I’ve removed it most of the time. A week ago, it started to fail – if I turned the system off, moved backwards in a podcast, whatever, the connection would be lost. Anyone else have this problem or have a solution?

  52. SJ says:

    I have just bought the latest iPod nano, to use in my 18mo Golf2.0TDI…. BUT, the VW cable now won’t charge the iPOD, making it virtually useless! Help!!

  53. Shamus says:

    Hey,
    I have a passat 2.0 cc with an aux input in the centre console, I have tried a plain phono lead, connecting from the headphone jack of the I phone 3gs to the aux in, yet I cannot select the aux option on the touchscreen multiple media interface, I guess that the mmi doesn’t recognise the device

    any idea what I need to connect the I phone into the mmi to listen to the audio files, I know this will work off the I phone battery

    any help would be great

    cheers

  54. Shay Simoni says:

    I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)Have you tried the ipad? you can get one free at FreshGiftCard.com

  55. SantaMonicaVWman says:

    Not selling this at all.

    But could we replace our existing old-school ipod dock, with this one to finally have direct access and info on our head-units?

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/maintenance/how-to-install-an-ipod-dock-to-your-car-2

    http://www.pac-audio.com/

    Anyone go down this road. The head-units are lovely esp with the premium sound amp…this could be the icing on the cake?

  56. Jim says:

    Finally bought the Ipod for the 08 VW… After a lot of curse words the little blank blank still does not play all the songs, or let me choose from a playlist, nothing! If I have to hear that same band all the way home again today, I am going to scream! So, if you happen to see someone in a VW sreaming, blowing the horn and saying profane words about Ipod and VW- it’s just me!

  57. Ben says:

    I have a 08 Golf TDI, uses the same ipod dock as in the video, if you want random tracks im sure you just press the mix button on the top left of the deck then skip forward.. i find this useful when i find an album i think i might like to listen to as i can press mix again to turn it off and let the album play though.
    it would be nice to get onscreen data thou, as i have 70gbs worth of music, podcasts and audiobooks.
    Cant VW do a firmware update?? they do on the bluakpoint (spelling?) Satnav system on the older GTIs??

  58. It’s been two years since I created this post and it doesn’t appear that VW has provided any firmware or other “fix” for its customers. Unfortunately, this is the way third party solutions often work (or don’t). I won’t invest in a new install to replace this unit because the car is on lease. The one saving grace here is that the CD player is also an MP3 player. Put about 100 DRM-free MP3s into an iTunes playlist, drag and drop them into your CD software (e.g., Sonic), burn them to a regular 700mb disk and you’ve got a mini player. Make multiple disks, and depending on the size of your collection, you can replicate most of your ipod for about 50c a disk. I know this is a step backward (car stereos could play MP3 disks 10 years ago) but it removes the frustration of relying on the iPod interface and requires only a little planning ahead.

  59. LL says:

    I have had this same problem with multiple iPods/phones since I got my 06 GTI in early 07. The best solution I have found is an iPhone or an iPod Touch with the software 3.0.0. When the OS 3 came out the new search bar (to the left of the home screen, similar to spotlight on a mac) let you search for music and start it playing while the phone was still plugged in. I was ecstatic but then Apple updated OS 3 to 3.0.1 a week later and it stopped this from working!!! They did something to make it so when you click on a song in the search it would just flash and not play anything. So I downgraded back to 3.0.0 recently and it works again. It’s not perfect but it’s better than unplugging the phone everytime you want to pick new music. Here is a link to how to downgrade your phone http://lifehacker.com/5572003/how-to-downgrade-your-iphone-3g%5Bs%5D-from-ios-4-to-ios-313
    Follow these instructions but don’t get the 3.1.3, get the 3.0.0. Yes you will be running an older OS and yes a few apps might not work but it was a small price to pay to be able to control what music I’m listening to in my car.

  60. Joe says:

    This is a great topic, and I am surprised VW have sat on their hands and have done nothing!

    I called VW and spoken to the dealer directly, and I am treated like an absolute idiot. They say “Many people know this limitation and don’t mind”. Yeah right. I didn’t know that when I paid AUD$350 for an iPod Adaptor, which cost more than the iPod itself!

    I have asked if they have a software update, and they don’t care!?!?!?! Is this how ou treat customers?

    The reason we have iPods is simple. To be able to listen to thousands of songs via any playlist, artist, whatever. Also, we like to know what is playing, something VW thinks is not important (strangely, the MP3 CD player tells you).

    Can we receive a refund if we make a complaint to Consumer Affairs? The brochure clearly DOES NOT say anything about its limitations. I have 65GB of music, and I am loathed to burn the whole lot on CDs.

    We should DEMAND A FIX or REFUND from VW. Clearly, this iPod adaptor is an absolute dud.

  61. Joe,
    I feel your pain. This is something that my company tries to convince our clients every day: it starts with listening to customers. And, negative experiences can be extremely powerful, especially re: seemingly small aspects of the overall product experience. While VW is most certainly performing in-depth research on every aspect of the their cars’ driving features to assess customer satisfaction, they probably don’t realize that they may be losing customers because of frustrations with the “radio.” Companies that start with understanding the total experience – regardless of where it comes from – will be the ultimate winners.

  62. Justin says:

    Totally agree and am so glad I didn’t get the VW iPod interface. And way too expensive too. I have a VW Golf 2.0TDI and my wife found Grom products like others have mentioned as well. My 2 cents: excellent sound, easy install, and great value for money. You can get them in Australia now at http://www.cushieaudio.com.au.
    Beats the shipping costs from the USA.

  63. Eddie says:

    Great Find here. Too bad it’s too late for me. I’ve a leased GTI (2009) and 13 months left on lease.
    I own a Nano (16GB), Touch (16GB) and several older (dead) 30/40GB Clickwheel models.
    I have an early CableJive adaptor.

    Big Fails:
    - VW Dealership (stealership) for sales rep swearing his IPOD works great (failed to disclose model and car year).
    - VW for falsely advertising (unless the unit is 100% integrated…it doesn’t work) iPod integration. But should they blame Apple?
    - Apple changed the pins! Who changes a product engineering without either advanced support or facilitating a corrective solution to the change (firmware or adaptor)???
    - Cablejive for $25 adaptor that just flips a pin, and not integrating this in a longer cable (two separate parts/purchase)

    It drives (pun) me nuts that a random day may cause shuffle to break. I cannot try the “trick” report here because it is a PITA to pull the nano out to change any setting, then get it to fit the CableJive and re-seat in the armrest. DO NOT ATTEMPT WHILE DRIVING unless the passenger is handling the nano-reseating.

    I am writing VWoA with a complaint because when my lease is up, is there a guarantee a new ipod (NEW 2010 Touch/Nano) will work in next VW lease/model? And yes, IT IS IMPORTANT.

  64. Carol jane says:

    I have a touareg and an iPhone. All I want to do is stream music on pandora from my iPhone while driving my touareg. While getting an oil change, I had the dealer install the iPod adapter which is just a cord in my glovebox connected to the radio. All it will do is play my one song on my iPhone. When I try to stream music from pandora it will play pandora for a few seconds and then go back to my one song. How can I get it to stay on pandora? Not happy. Anyone else have this problem? I test drove a Mercedes GLK recently and it had an adapter in the glovebox too and had no problem streaming music from my iPhone. Why won’t my adapter do the same? I am going to try deleting my one song so that it has nothing to play on my phone in hopes that it will stay on pandora. Does anyone have any solutions to this?

  65. Laura says:

    I’m curious if anyone has had a problem with their Ipod ceasing to “connect”, for lack of a better term? I bought my 08 Jetta, and just like a girl, one of the biggest “selling points” was the convenient Ipod dock in the center console. It ever so conveniently stopped working about 3 weeks ago. I have a lot of miles on the car dispite having only had it for 18 months, and am out of my warranty. I took it to my VW mechanic (has worked solely on VW since 1968), and they tried all the fuses, then hooking it up to the computer where they got a messege of “no external cd drive connectivity”. He then made a call to someone he knows who works at a VW Dealer, who told him “She needs a new Ipod Charger, we have them on the shelf. They are $504. We sell them all the time.” I don’t know a whole hell of a lot about electronics or these matters, however in my mind, that theory doesn’t hold water. The Ipod is charged completely and works “stand alone” or in various other docking stations that I own, but does not go thru to my radio now all of a sudden. My mechanic doesn’t seem to like this answer either, and frankly I find it odd that they made a point to say that they sell them and have them on the shelf. This was factory installed, not after market. Can anyone enlighten this dumb blonde?

  66. Daniel Akero says:

    I also use an iPhone and really want to use my Spotify through my stereo. I used to have a Golf with an aux in, so I was able to listen to Spotify, but I now have an 09 Polo Match which came with the iPod adaptor as standard. When I first got it I used to be able to play Spotify, it would autostart the iPod player but I could just hit play in Spotify and it would override. I took the car in to get an error on the digital dash display fixed and since I got it back I can’t get it to work with Spotify anymore.

    Carol, did you find a solution with Pandora? Or anyone else?

  67. Caroline says:

    Daniel, I think you can use this cable – C-IPD2Jk from GROM Audio:
    http://gromaudio.com/store/accessories/cable-c-ipd2jk.html

  68. Stephanie says:

    I have a 2007 VW jetta and I love the car. There is the aux jack in the glove compartment where i can or thought i could hook up my ipod and play it throughout the car. I was given the aux cord and i plugged it into the glove box and then into my ipod. i was told from the manual that i have to hold the cd button and it is just supposed to start playing however absolutely nothing happened…sooo is this because i am doing it wrong or i need a different cord to connect the two?? just curious as to if anyone could help…thanks!

  69. Andrew says:

    I have had the same problems listed above. Has anyone tried the iPod dock (female) to male 1/8 inch standard audio jack converter? I figure the female end will slip down in the arm rest and I can have my iPod outside to control it. Since only sound (not data) can be passed through the 1/8th inch part, the car should not have the ability to disable the control of my iPod. Has anyone tried this? It seems like it would work…

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