I recently bought a car with an iPod dock. When I plug in the iPod disables and I am forced to control it with the car's audio controls. I want to get around this.

Can I simply yank pin 21 from an Dock Connector cable to disable the car's control of the iPod?

Reference: http://pinouts.ru/PortableDevices/ipod_pinout.shtml

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ apple! they are getting nastier and nastier.... and future ipods may do it differently. \$\endgroup\$
    – kenny
    May 5, 2011 at 19:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ See apple.com/ipod/car-integration for more information...I doubt that you'll get any technical data from that page or its links, but it's worth a try. \$\endgroup\$ May 5, 2011 at 20:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that that pinout is backwards replay.web.archive.org/20080514075959/http://ipodlinux.org/… \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    May 5, 2011 at 21:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this really an electronics design question? Looks like consumer electronics to me. \$\endgroup\$
    – Thomas O
    May 6, 2011 at 14:19

3 Answers 3


The iPod normally uses USB, Firewire, or serial when talking to other devices, like your car. Pin 21 is used by the iPod to detect what it's plugged into, not by the car to detect when the iPod is connected. We simply don't know what will happen when Pin 21 is disconnected, but I'll make an educated guess and say that it won't make a bit of difference.

Odds are that your car uses the USB port to talk with your iPod, and detect that the iPod is present. If you disable the USB port (by clipping the wires, for example) the car won't detect that the iPod is present, and thus not enable the iPod as a valid audio input. In short, it probably won't work.

I used to have a car with an iPod dock. When connected, the iPod controls were disabled, like yours, and the car's controls were absolutely terrible to the point of being unusable. So I feel your pain. Now, I won't ever buy a car or car stereo with a device specific MP3 player connection-- just a standard "AUX In" for me.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd guess that it will behave differently. @Oliver - Can you probe pin 21 of your car's dock connector to determine the resistance between pin 21 and its complement (guessing that resistance is resistance to ground), as suggested by the pinouts.ru link? \$\endgroup\$ May 5, 2011 at 20:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Bummer. Though I can force the radio into "iPod mode" so it still might accept audio over the standard audio pins... Maybe I'll get a cable and do a $15 experiment. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oliver
    May 5, 2011 at 20:39

My Kenwood deck has the ability to turn the iPod hands-free mode off and on via the front panel. If your deck doesn't have this ability, you could try and ask the vendor if they can support this with a future firmware upgrade.


If you jailbreak your iDevice you can get rid of this restriction with NoAccessorySpash which is available from the Cydia repo. I had this same frustration and while it's not an electronics answer, it does work.

I didn't write the util, nor am I affiliated with it in any way. I'm just someone happy to have this idiotic restriction removed.


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