How to Use an iPod With an FM Car Transmitter

by Gareth Downes-Powell
Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

When travelling by car, connecting your iPod to the car stereo can make the journey more enjoyable, enabling you to listen to your own playlists and allowing your passengers to listen in. Although the iPod cannot usually be connected directly to a car stereo, using an FM car transmitter allows any car stereo with a radio to play music from an iPod. This is an ideal solution for older cars, which usually have basic stereos with no CD player, giving limited music choices.

Step 1

Turn on the car stereo, making sure the volume is on a low setting for the tuning process.

Step 2

Switch to the radio on the car stereo and scan through the frequencies until you find a frequency that is not used by a commercial radio station or is only receiving a very weak signal. The best frequencies are ones that also have clear frequencies below and above them for better sound quality.

Step 3

Plug the FM car transmitter in to the iPod's dock connector. If the transmitter has a power supply lead, plug it in to the car's cigarette lighter socket.

Step 4

Change the frequency on the FM car transmitter to match the unused frequency found on the radio. Most car transmitters allow frequencies to be stored so that they can be easily found in future.

Turn on the iPod and start playing a piece of music. Adjust the volume on the car stereo to a comfortable listening level.


  • If possible, purchase an iPod car transmitter that can be plugged into the car's power supply. Some transmitters draw power from the iPod directly and can cause the iPod's battery to drain much faster.
  • If your car transmitter uses batteries, keep a spare set in the glove box.
  • Lowering or removing the car's aerial antenna can improve the reception and sound quality from the FM car transmitter.


Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

About the Author

Gareth Downes-Powell has been writing since 2000. He has contributed to a number of U.K. magazines, including "Web Designer," and has co-written four IT-related books published by Apress and Wrox. He has also worked as a technical editor on a number of titles for U.K. and U.S. publishers. Downes-Powell attended Thanet Technical College, achieving A-Levels in computer science, math and physics.

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