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      06-29-2011, 01:08 PM   #1
XenaBimmer
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Playing music through aux in vs. usb port

I know it's possible to play an mp3 player (ipod, etc) through the aux in or the usb ports in the armrest, however, I'm wondering what the difference is. By plugging into the usb port, are you able to access the playlists and things on the BMW sound system and select/play music through there (vs. having to select and play music directly from the mp3 player if its only plugged into the aux in port)? Are there special cables needed for the usb port, or can you just use the Apple usb cable that plugs into the bottom of the Ipod (same cable you would use to plug into a computer)?

Sorry for the novice questions, just trying to figure all this out
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      06-29-2011, 02:12 PM   #2
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You can use the white USB cable providing you have the tech package. If you don't you should use a BMW Y cable. Don't use the aux as there's no need and you get no iDrive control.
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      06-29-2011, 02:13 PM   #3
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You can also use no cable at all and stream audio from your iPhone/iPod touch but again control is limited although that will change with iOS 5
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      06-29-2011, 02:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfax View Post
You can use the white USB cable providing you have the tech package. If you don't you should use a BMW Y cable. Don't use the aux as there's no need and you get no iDrive control.
What option was part of the tech package that allows you to use the Apple white usb cable? (I have the nav w/ no tech package so I'm guessing that's not an option for me). What is the BMW Y cable? Does it charge the Ipod as well? Why use that vs. just plugging the mp3 right into the aux in port?

This car has so many tech goodies that I'm just trying to sort everything out; it's a little difficult reading through the manual for these things since some items are optional and sometimes I'm not sure if my car has them or not LOL, and the manual isn't the best at explaining things--it's pretty vague at times


In the second reply you mentioned streaming audio, do you mean via bluetooth?
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      06-29-2011, 02:29 PM   #5
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Slight derailment, but if you do use the aux input at some point then I discovered that if I left an audio cable plugged in to the aux port it muted the smartphone source, regardless of which input was selected on the iDrive. Took me ages of plugging the iphone in and out of the cradle and switch settings before it occurred to me to just input the audio cable from the aux port.
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      06-29-2011, 05:42 PM   #6
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If you plug your iphone/ipod into the usb you get access to the idrive commands allowing you to make song selections on the car's screen. I can't remeber if plugging into the usb allows you to pick your own playlists but the idrive's screen is pretty thorough allowing you to narrow down your searches from all/individual artists to picking out individual songs or albums.

In addition I'd assume usb's sound quality would be better than just aux but I've only tried aux once so I'm not positive. The tech package doesn't mention anything about ipod intergration so I guess you might only need the stand alone nav to be able to plug in apple's white usb cord.
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      06-29-2011, 05:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XenaBimmer View Post
What option was part of the tech package that allows you to use the Apple white usb cable? (I have the nav w/ no tech package so I'm guessing that's not an option for me). What is the BMW Y cable? Does it charge the Ipod as well? Why use that vs. just plugging the mp3 right into the aux in port?

This car has so many tech goodies that I'm just trying to sort everything out; it's a little difficult reading through the manual for these things since some items are optional and sometimes I'm not sure if my car has them or not LOL, and the manual isn't the best at explaining things--it's pretty vague at times


In the second reply you mentioned streaming audio, do you mean via bluetooth?
Refer to this thread

http://x3.xbimmers.com/forums/showth...kage+white+usb

It would appear from this thread that categorically you need the tech package in the US to be able to use the standard white USB cable, otherwise you need the BMW Y cable. This is down to the ability to decode the digital signal through iDrive. I think this is part of option 6FL

You should have been given a BMW Y cable if you needed one by your dealer/CA/chief muppet
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      06-30-2011, 04:10 AM   #8
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In the UK at least, if you have any of the Nav options you automatically get BMW's Combox technology which is what you need to use the White USB cable just plugged into the USB port.

If like me you have no Nav option you need a Y cable which plugs into both USB and AUX (and the iPod/iPhone). In the UK BMW do not supply that cable even though it is essential for iPod/iPhone users. I got one FOC from Sytner by asking nicely and repeatedly.

Both options allow pretty comprehensive control of the iPod/iPhone music including your own playlists. If you have the Nav/Combox/White cable option you also get album artwork which I do not.

On my iPhone 3Gs it does charge the iPhone but very slowly, for instance when using TomTom software the battery remaining charge still reduces even while plugged in to charge!! This is just because you only get 500 milliamps from the USB port which is barely enough to charge an iPhone 3Gs/4, but is more suitable for iPod Touch.
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      06-30-2011, 06:51 PM   #9
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It's a pity we need nav to get combox on the X3. My Z4, which doesn't have nav or idrive, is combox equipped and has some nice iPhone/iPod integration features.
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      07-01-2011, 10:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XenaBimmer View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfax View Post
You can use the white USB cable providing you have the tech package. If you don't you should use a BMW Y cable. Don't use the aux as there's no need and you get no iDrive control.
Does it charge the Ipod as well? Why use that vs. just plugging the mp3 right into the aux in port?
The USB cable does charge your iPhone, however, they recommend that you do not use the USB cable to charge your iPhone, rather using a dedicated car charger.
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      07-07-2011, 09:35 AM   #11
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I got my car last week and may have a couple of tips for people that are freaks about their music collections, but don't have Nav/tech package.

I have an HTC thunderbolt and before reading this thread I thought I'd be able to hook my phone up directly to the USB. Because I'm stubborn I tried it anyway...and it didn't work. I was pretty bummed because I wasn't able to see song titles through streaming bluetooth....and I still had to search for songs on my phone (not through idrive).

So I then tried to just hook up a jump drive...and taaadaaa....it worked! I went to the store immediately and bought a 32 gig drive and transferred 30 gigs of music to it and now my idrive pretty much operates exactly like an ipod.

A couple of tips......

you need to be patient when plugging in large amounts of music. It took about 5 minutes for all that music to register into idrive.

the album art only shows up if it is embedded into the id3 tag of the mp3. (I think this is the proper terminology) I know that there are apps that search and apply the artwork automatically, but I'm trying to find one that will do this via the computer. If anybody knows of one please let me know.

.....a couple of more benefits about the jump drive is that you can leave it plugged in and it doesn't take a charge. Hope this helps all the music nerds out there!
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      07-07-2011, 09:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerfan View Post
the album art only shows up if it is embedded into the id3 tag of the mp3. (I think this is the proper terminology) I know that there are apps that search and apply the artwork automatically, but I'm trying to find one that will do this via the computer. If anybody knows of one please let me know.
Refer to this post and in particular Dale Preston's free application for embedding album artwork in ID3 tags. I have used this successfully - it updated my entire collection en masse for artwork (all you have is a jpg in each folder)

http://x3.xbimmers.com/forums/showpo...40&postcount=1
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      07-07-2011, 01:28 PM   #13
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thanks sfax! I'm trying it out right now. The only other ones that I could find only allowed me to get art one album at a time.
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