How to Connect Android Phone to Car Stereo via USB

Alex Clarkson
Alex Clarkson

Driving is better when music is involved; it’s simple as that. Listening to music while driving is one of the easiest ways to alleviate the stressfulness of daily traffic. It’s even better if you get to play the music you like, instead of what’s on the radio. But connecting your phone to the car’s stereo might be a bit complicated if you’ve never done it before.

In this article, we’ll explain how to connect your android phone to a car stereo via USB since it’s a pretty straightforward and quick process to perform.


The process of connecting an Android phone to a car stereo via USB is usually the same for all cars, Android phones, and USB-equipped car stereos. However, not all car stereos come equipped with a USB port, so we’ll also cover how to connect your phone using an AUX port and your phone’s 3.5mm audio jack.

Steps to connect your android phone via USB

This connection method implies that your vehicle’s stereo device has an input USB port, from which it can access mass storage. If you’re unsure whether your vehicle’s stereo has a USB port, please refer to the respective user manuals.

Step 1: Identify your ports

Before we continue and attempt a connection, it’s essential to establish which USB ports respective devices come equipped with.

It’s an industry’s standard for automotive stereo systems to use female USB A-type input ports, which are usually easily accessible. For the most part, they’re located on the front of your car’s multimedia panel or your stereo’s front panel.

On the other hand, Android phones use several different USB ports for charging and data transfer, so it’s essential to identify the one on your device. For the most part, newer Android smartphones feature USB Micro-B port, aka micro-USB (almost exclusively, since 2008), and USB C-type (since 2024). If you can’t identify these ports by yourself, please refer to your smartphone’s user manual, or research the information online.

Step 2: Find an appropriate cable

Almost all Android smartphones ship out with a charging/data USB cable, which you can use to connect the Android phone to a car stereo. However, some exceptions apply. For example, if your Android device uses an older USB Micro-B port, you won’t be able to listen to streaming audio from Spotify, Pandora, or any other platform.

USB C-type cables support streaming audio services and allow you to enjoy both .mp3 files and audio streams. Of course, your device has to be equipped with an appropriate cable connection slot.

As we previously mentioned, your phone’s charging/data cable will do the trick. In most cases, they’re equipped with USB-A/USB-C or USB-A/micro-USB connectors.

how to connect android phone to car stereo via USB

Step 3: Connecting Android phone to car stereo

Use your phone’s cable to connect the phone with your vehicle’s audio. Ensure that your car’s stereo is working and that its input settings are set to “USB” or “external storage.” If the system’s input setting isn’t correctly set, your phone might ignore the connection.

Step 4: Tweak your phone’s settings

Once the physical connection is established, your Android should acknowledge the connection by displaying a small USB icon in your notification bar. Open your notifications, and select the “USB Connected” entry.

The main idea is to set up your smartphone to act as mass storage and allow your car’s stereo to read .mp3’s of it. This almost certainly includes your smartphone’s micro-SD cards, but some models allow the stereo to encompass the device’s internal storage as well.

Step 5: Enjoy your music

At this point, your favorite songs should be indexed, which allows you to enjoy them through the vehicle’s speakers. Depending on the vehicle’s stereo system, you might need to organize your audio files by metadata, but you should navigate them with ease in most cases.

enjoy music in car

Steps to connect your Android phone without a USB

Unfortunately, some car stereos don’t have an input USB port. Luckily, all post 2005 car stereos have a built-in AUX (auxiliary) input jack, which in most cases use a 3.5mm audio jack, identical to your smartphone’s headphone jack. In this segment, we’ll discuss connecting your Android phone to a car stereo if the stereo doesn’t have a USB port.

Step 1: Identify the goods

All post-2005 car stereos feature a built-in AUX port, whether in the form of a 3.5mm audio jack or through a radio connection facilitated by a third-party device. If your car’s stereo is pre-2005, you can have an AUX cable mounted on the existing stereo by a trained professional.

Still, the main issue here lies with smartphones. Most Android devices still ship equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack that allows you to listen to the music through the AUX port. However, some premium models ship out with Bluetooth-enabled audio capabilities and don’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack.

These devices can be connected to your car’s auxiliary input by using a third-party device that would facilitate a Bluetooth-to-radio connection. Some newer car audio systems are Bluetooth-enabled, which simply allow you to connect your phone directly to the car’s stereo through Bluetooth.

Step 2: To cable or not to cable

If your vehicle’s stereo has an AUX port and your phone has a 3.5mm headphone jack, you can simply connect them using an appropriate cable. Unfortunately, these cables aren’t standardized for shipment with either the smartphone or your car’s stereo, so you’ll have to purchase them separately. Simply connect both ends to respective devices, select your inputs, and play the music on your phone like you would when using headphones.

The second option is using a Bluetooth-to-radio device, in which case you physically connect the device with your car’s stereo and via Bluetooth to your phone. The device usually powers from the vehicle’s power outlet and converts Bluetooth signals from the phone to radio signals picked up by your car’s radio. That way, you can stream the audio through via Bluetooth and listen to your favorite music through the stereo’s speakers.

The third option includes Bluetooth –enabled car audio systems. Bluetooth connections between Bluetooth-enabled car stereos and smartphones are pretty self-explanatory. Just adjust the input on your car’s stereo, and connect the two.

Step 3: Enjoy your music

After the connection has been established, all you need to do is enjoy your music and your ride.

Final Thoughts

Driving, even though peak traffic, can be an enjoyable experience if the music is right. Radio-show enthusiasts will tell you that radio’s our most enjoyable achievement, but it’s always better to bring your own music than listen to what is served. And now that you know how to connect an Android phone to a car stereo, you can.

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