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USA Spec iPod® Interface for BMW

Connects your iPod to select 1998-up BMW DSP-style factory radios

13 Reviews | 3 questions - 8 answers

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Item # 581PA12BMD

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Overview

Our take on the USA Spec iPod® Interface for BMW

You have a factory radio in your BMW, but that doesn't mean you have to leave your iPod at home. Install USA Spec's iPod interface and listen to your favorite tunes through your car's speakers. You can control song selection, and up to five different playlists right from the radio, including shuffle mode. And with your iPhone® connected, you can even stream music from popular Internet services like PANDORA®, Livio Radio, iHeartRadio, and more. The interface also charges your iPod while it's connected.

You have a factory radio in your BMW, but that doesn't mean you have to leave your iPod at home. Install USA Spec's iPod interface and listen to your favorite tunes through your car's speakers. You can control song selection, and up to five different playlists right from the radio, including shuffle mode. And with your iPhone® connected, you can even stream music from popular Internet services like PANDORA®, Livio Radio, iHeartRadio, and more. The interface also charges your iPod while it's connected.

Note: While most iPods will work with this interface, you should check the "Details" tab to see if your iPod is compatible. If you have a newer iPod/iPhone device with a Lightning connector, then you will also need Apple's Lightning to 30-pin adapter.

This interface works with DSP-style BMW/Mini Cooper radios, and is not compatible with any factory radio that has GPS, satellite radio, or a CD changer. Please enter your vehicle information or call an Advisor at 1-888-955-6000 to find out if this adapter is compatible with your vehicle.

Absolute must buy if you own any BMW. Great way to seamlessly charge your phone and play music.

Graham, Vienna, VA

What's in the Box:

  • PA12-BMWdsp iPod-to-BMW interface with song title display
  • 72" iPod interface cable (CB-PA85)
  • 15.75' Adapter to BMW radio interface (CDL-BMW)
  • 14.75' Digital audio cable (CDL-BMD)
  • Digital cable coupler
  • Owner's manual
  • Design Change Notice sheet

Product Highlights:

  • iPod connection adapter for select BMW DSP-style factory stereos
  • track up/down, fast-forward, reverse, and shuffle play
  • use up to five playlists (select five favorites, or Auto Playlist will let you choose from the first five on your iPod)
  • when iPhone is connected, you can stream tunes from popular Internet services like PANDORA®, Livo Radio, and iHeartRadio
  • Dual Mode lets you control everything via the iPod itself, giving you access to all playlists
  • compatible with all iPod and iPod mini models equipped with a dock connector and iPod software update 2004-04-28, or higher
  • auxiliary input (RCA connectors) for another audio source
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
Reviews

USA Spec iPod® Interface for BMW Reviews

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(13 Reviews)
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Features

Overview: The USA SPEC PA12-BMWdsp interface connects a compatible iPod to select BMW and Mini Cooper OEM audio systems with DSP or for radios that require Digital Audio Input. (Radios that do not have DSP or do not require a Digital Audio Input should use the PA12-BMW (item # 581PA12BMW).) It is not compatible with BMW systems having navigation, DVD, satellite radio, or CD changer. Its on-board software translates commands from your factory radio's CD-changer controls into commands the iPod understands. This interface enables the iPod to take the place of a BMW CD-changer and provides the following benefits:

  • Directs the iPod's audio output to your factory audio system for optimal sound quality
  • Supports your iPhone's audio streaming apps, such as Pandora, Livio, iHeart Radio, SiriusXM & more (in Direct mode only).
  • Controls the iPod via vehicle's radio and steering wheel controls (when applicable)
  • Charges the iPod's internal battery; charging stops automatically one hour after the iPod is paused, the iPod goes into sleep mode when charging stops

Vehicle Compatibility: The interface is compatible with the following vehicles:

  • 1996-2005 BMW 3 Series
  • 1999-2006 BMW Z3/Z4
  • 1998-2003 BMW 5 Series
  • 1999-2006 BMW X3/X5
  • 2002-2006 Mini

Note: Please consult the Crutchfield Car Selector to see if your vehicle is compatible.

iPod Compatibility: The PA12-BMWdsp is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features when connected to a compatible BMW factory radio (as of 3/4/2015):

iPod/iPhone Model Generation Tested Version Media Type Control Type Display Type Charge
Audio Video Head Unit iPod/iPhone Song/Artist Text Track Info
iPhone 2G 3.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
3G 4.2.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
3GS 5.1.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
4/4S 7.1.2 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
5/5C5S* 8.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
6+/6* 8.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
touch 1st 2.2.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
2nd 4.2.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
3rd 5.1.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
4th 6.1.2 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
5th* 8.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
nano 1st 1.3.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
2nd/3rd 1.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
4th 1.0.4 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
5th 1.0.2 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
6th 1.2 PC Y N Y Y Y Y Y
7th* 1.2 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
classic 80GB 1.1.2 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
120GB 2.0.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
160GB 2.0.4 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
video 5th 1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y Y

Notes:

  • *Requires Apple Lightning to 30-pin Adapter (sold separately).
  • Apple iPod/iPhone software updates may change functionality results. If you download a newer software version, you may need to reset the head unit and your iPod/iPhone to regain functionality. If this doesn't work, you may need to wait until a newer software update is available.

Text Display: The PA12-BMWdsp displays text information of artist name and song title on BMW's Business CD radio models. The Business CD radio has a rectangular-shaped faceplate, a Function button on the radio which must be pressed twice consecutively to activate and complete a task.

Modes of Operation: The PA12-BMWdsp provides two operation modes:

  • Direct Mode: all control functions on your iPod are available, you can search and select music on your iPod directly just as you would when using it as a portable unit, you can also still use the track up down, fast forward and reverse button on your radio to control music playback
  • Dual Mode: the iPod is operated and controlled like a factory CD changer, you can access up to five playlists on the iPod, in Hybrid mode the controls on the iPod are also active. (May be referred to as Hybrid Mode in some manuals.)

App Streaming (in Direct Mode): Direct mode also lets you listen to the sound from your iPhone's downloaded music apps (such as Pandora, iHeart Radio, SiriusXM, etc.) through your factory head unit & speakers. You will continue to control your iPhone's apps & view song/artist information from its touchscreen.

Note: Your iPhone will need an active Data Plan account with connection to the Internet via 3G, EDGE, or WiFi. You will also need applicable music service accounts.

iPod Playback: All audio tracks on the iPod will be played at Disc 6. The track order is determined by the default order on the iPod. Selecting discs 1 through 5 on the factory radio will allow playback of 5 playlists on the iPod if the Aux Input is not used. You can select a playlist by pressing the Disc Up or Disc Down buttons.

Playlist Names: In order for the adapter/factory radio to recognize a playlist, it must be named BMW1... through BMW5... Text can follow the BMW name and number, such as BMW3_artistname or BMW2-jazz. For a given disc slot (1-5), if there is no playlist named BMW followed by that number, that disc slot will not be available.

Auxiliary Input: In addition to the iPod input on the PA12-BMWdsp there is an auxiliary input (stereo RCA) for use with another source, such as a DVD system, satellite radio, or game system. The aux input is selected at CD 6 Track 1 using the factory radio controls. This aux input can be used with or without the iPod connected.

Note: When the Aux input is used, the "All Tracks" playlist is moved to Disc 5, and playlist "BMW5" is lost.

Controls: The factory radio's controls give you access to the following iPod functions:

  • Scan: plays first 10 seconds of each track
  • Random (Shuffle): songs are played back in random order
  • Track Up/Down: skip tracks forward or backward
  • Fast Track Search: skip 10 tracks at a time forward or backward (i.e. 04, 14, 24...)
  • Fast Forward/Fast Reverse Play: while in Random mode you can fast forward or fast reverse through the current song

Note: Repeat play is not supported by this interface. Switching to another source, such as AM/FM, CD, or Cassette, puts the iPod into pause mode.

Our Product Research Team

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Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

wanted to utilize Ipod in car [ JEFFREY  Mar 02, 2016 ]

3 questions already asked

yes [ KURT  Dec 14, 2014 ]
Kim-I wish I could answer your question, but the first unit lasted 4 days and then died. The replacement lasted for 3 days before it died,and I returned it for a full refund. I have a 2001 bmw 325ci convertible without navigation. [ joseph  Dec 11, 2014 ]
Hi I have no idea, I only use for ipod. Sorry [ ANDREW  Dec 11, 2014 ]
I am hooked to the cd changer wire in the trunk music is good for i4 and i5 but the integrated phone won't work with this setup, I think there is alternate wiring to use the steering column [ JOHN  Apr 26, 2014 ]
Yes...hands free operation works, and the unit has a mic that you mount to you sun visor or other handy spot. [ GREG  Apr 24, 2014 ]
It did charge my iPhone 5 after placing a 5 adapter on to the connecting cable [ VIREN  Mar 03, 2014 ]
It worked. It charged. Poor sound quality. User unfriendly controls. I returned it. [ CHARLES G  Feb 21, 2014 ]
I do not know if this adapter will charge an iPhone 5S since I do not have one of those phones. [ DIANE J  Feb 21, 2014 ]

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