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The Functions of USB Ports in Car Stereos | Good Knowledge Popularization

YuanYuan Liu |

The Functions of USB Ports in Car Stereos

Many car stereo systems are now equipped with USB ports, like the single USB car stereo and dual USB car stereo. The main reason is that it is easy to add another type of input to the car radios. USB has become more or less ubiquitous in a variety of electronic products, including car stereo and MP3 players. So it makes sense for both OEMs and aftermarket manufacturers to adopt the standard. 

In other words, as long as there aren't any compatibility issues, you can use your single or dual USB car stereo to play music from your phone, and the USB flash drive. You can also charge your phone, or charge an accessory device, such as a portable GPS navigation device if your dual USB car stereo supports it. 

 dual USB car stereo


The Main Reason Car Stereo use USB

Over the generations of USB versions, USB has more or less become the most common way to connect electronic devices to other electronic devices and computers, and it’s also the reason why there are so many car manufacturers and aftermarket car stereo manufacturers have decided to adopt it instead of a proprietary connection. There are also some car stereo systems use the dedicated connectors, but more and more new car stereo now comes with USB port, even dual USB car stereo.

Although USB connection can be used for system update, device charging and power supply, and other less common scenarios, the main reason a car stereo uses USB is that it is an alternative way to play music and other audio. A dual USB car stereo can provide more convenience when you want to connect more than one device.

In some cases, especially in an older car stereo, the USB is only be used as an alternate auxiliary input. This car stereo allows you to play music from a mobile phone or an MP3 player, but the car stereo itself does not have DAC or software that can play music.

Most single or dual USB car stereos also include the software or firmware needed to decode and play music files. If your car stereo is in this mode, you can plug in a mobile phone and USB flash drive, or even a USB hard drive as long as it has power available to play music directly from the device.

 dual USB car stereo


Playing Music Via Dual USB Car Stereo 

There are many types of USB car stereo, and every head unit is different. If you want to listen to music via the USB connection, then you may need to change some settings of the USB option. The most ideal and convenient situation is that when you directly plug in an MP3 player or a storage medium with music files, the car stereo will recognize it automatically, and the music will play. However, this is not always the case.

If a mobile phone or MP3 player is plugged into a USB, choosing auxiliary input or USB input is usually simple. Some head units, combined with specific mobile phones, will also include additional functions and may require you to open the corresponding application on the head unit.

Playing the music which is saved in a USB flash drive is more complicated. If maybe everything works well the first time you plug the USB flash drive, or it may require more work. For example, the USB head unit can only read data from the USB flash drive if it is formatted as FAT32 or NTFS. You may also need to specify where to find music on the USB flash drive in the car stereo options, or there is a "sync" option that will prompt the car radio to automatically locate the music on any additional media.

 dual USB car stereo