How to play music from phone in new (to me) Honda Civic
December 18, 2016 5:42 PM   Subscribe

A couple of weeks ago I bought a 2012 Honda Civic sedan. It has AM/FM radio, a CD player, and a USB port. The only other sound option, beside radio and CD, is AUX. My phone is an Android (low-end LG).

I managed to figure out that I can use a flashdrive, loaded with music, in the USB port to play music. That's an OK option, but the only way to control it is to scroll through all the many folders and songs, which feels awkward and tiresome. I tried using a headphone jack--one end in my phone, the other end in the headphone (AUX) jack in the car, and set the console on AUX, but nothing happened. Silence. My teen son thinks it's because it's not an iphone. Is this true? I would dearly love to use my phone to play stored music, as well as streaming (I think that's the word--I mean playing Pandora radio or podcasts through my phone). I'm a terrible luddite about the technology, including the language to use, so I feel like going to Radio Shack or something will be futile, as I don't really know how to talk about it. Are there adaptors or something I need? Help!
posted by primate moon to Technology (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I am a Honda driver. Plug your Android into the USB. It should most likely work fine with the system navigation. If not, cue up the music you want first, so that it's playing on the phone already, then plug it into the USB. That will definitely work.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:51 PM on December 18, 2016

The AUX jack should work regardless of the audio source. If this is a new car, take it in for a warrranty repair.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:51 PM on December 18, 2016 [5 favorites]

Was your volume on your phone turned up? If you use headphones on low volume it may have been too low for the aux to amplify. At least on my 07 Cobalt my phone volume needs to be all the way up then I can adjust the stereo volume. I think it's the same in our '12 Hyundai.
posted by Crystalinne at 5:58 PM on December 18, 2016 [6 favorites]

What happens when you connect your phone to the USB port and press AUX? That'd be my first choice of connection—it will very likely both charge your phone and feed digital audio to your car stereo. Hopefully you'll be able to control the audio selection via your phone's music or podcast playing app, rather than through the nested folder interface.

Here is Honda's Technology Reference Guide for the 2012 Civic Sedan LX and HF. It only really addresses iPhones and USB drives, unfortunately. If, instead, your sedan is an EX, EX-L, Si or GX with navigation, things looks a bit brighter, and Bluetooth Audio may be an option for you.

Other manuals can be downloaded here.
posted by mumkin at 6:00 PM on December 18, 2016

You know, I didn't even try connecting the phone to the USB port; my son has been insisting that it won't work, that it's only for iphones, so I didn't even try! I will tomorrow morning. Thanks for the (obvious) suggestion!
posted by primate moon at 6:07 PM on December 18, 2016

You have to crank the audio up on your phone for any sound to appear on your Aux channel (on your car stereo). I've also had an issues in different Hondas where the stereo jack does not play stereo.

You could always get a Bluetooth receiver that plugs into your Aux port.
posted by My Dad at 6:12 PM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

It's not just for iPhones. If anything in fact android phones have tended to work better with proprietary car head units in Japanese cars until very recently. Android is popular in Asia. My 2014 Mazda had all kinds of iPhone issues (over Bluetooth) until a 2015 software update. Androids had no issues.
posted by spitbull at 6:22 PM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah you very well might want to get an inexpensive Bluetooth to aux unit.
posted by spitbull at 6:25 PM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

Be sure to get one that you can return. When I tried one it was susceptible to horrible alternator whine.
posted by rhizome at 6:46 PM on December 18, 2016

The AUX port is 100% not an iPhone thing. You could literally plug anything with a headphone jack into that port. Try turning the volume up, as others have said.
posted by cnc at 8:24 PM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

I tried using a headphone jack--one end in my phone, the other end in the headphone (AUX) jack in the car, and set the console on AUX, but nothing happened.

In my 2013 Fit the headphone jack and the usb are both on the aux port, and I'm pretty sure the usb will take priority, so assuming things are set up similarly if you had your flash drive plugged in at the same time, the headphone jack might not do anything. It definitely should somehow, unless something is broken.

I'm less confident than the other responders that any arbitrary phone will work with the USB plug; looking at the instruction manual for my car, it describes itself as specifically being for "ipod"s or flash drives, so it might depend on exactly how the phone's filesystem interacts with USB. I've also heard complaints about this on hondas from that era. It's worth a shot though.
posted by advil at 9:12 PM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

As a note for the volume/aux issue - try plugging your phone into the aux port, then starting the music, then turning the volume all the way up (using the phone's volume rocker), then messing with the car volume. In that order, you will know that you're manipulating the right volume settings. If that doesn't work, also check your phone and the aux cable by plugging the same cable/phone combo into another aux import jack like a basic speaker or tv or something.

Aux ports definitely should work regardless of source - not an android/iphone issue (the usb port could be anything, but do try it as well!). If it isn't working, consider bringing it in to be serviced or complaining to the entity that sold you the car (note that I have no grasp of the legal stuff there, but it would be considered a nonworking part same as any mechanical thing. Less dangerous, but still broken.)
posted by R a c h e l at 6:20 AM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Depending on your Android version, you may be prompted (on the phone) once or every time to give permission for the car to access your music (etc.). So check your phone screen.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:50 AM on December 19, 2016

I had this exact setup for four years. 2012 Civic sedan, AUX port, headphone jack, Android phone. R a c h e l's tips are good. Also, make sure the jack is seated correctly in the AUX port; mine tended to come loose at intervals. For what it's worth, my phone never worked with the USB.
posted by basalganglia at 6:15 PM on December 19, 2016

« Older SongFilter: "The X Riff"?   |   Rare, hand-made electric guitar: fret repair in... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.