wikiHow to Hook up an iPod in a Prius

If you want to hook up your iPod into your Toyota Prius, you have several options. Here's what to consider and how to proceed. You'll be listening to your iPod collection while riding in your Prius in no time! Note: see Tips below if you have a 2006 or later model Prius.


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    Find out what year your Prius is and what sort of radio you have. Then look below at all the options, they will vary in price range and are sorted in order. Ironically, one of the cheapest solutions on here has equal sound quality to the most expensive option.
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    The first and easiest solution is to fall back on the standard cassette adapter. Obviously you need to have a cassette player. Griffin Technology has a $30 cassette adapter, that senses what you are doing with the tape deck and translates that to the iPod (FF, REW, Pause, etc.). Regular (non-automated) adapters can be found on eBay for $1-$10 (including shipping!). Cassettes do not have the best sound and can be finicky, but it gets the job done with no installation. This unit has not been shown to be compatible with the Toyota Prius.
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    Look into using an FM transmitter. Monster and other brands make very nice models that include the transmitter and chargers all in one. Audio quality can be poor, especially in cities or areas that have tons of radio stations. At the very best you are only going to achieve FM radio quality which isn't that great. You tune your car stereo to a specific channel to hear your iPod. This is the no frills and no extra installation method. Consider getting an iPod remote if you would like to control your iPod from your wheel without having to look down. While not perfect it allows you to change the tunes without having to take your eyes off the road.
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    Find an auxiliary (AUX) sound input device for a Prius or a compatible Toyota adapter. This connects to the back of the Prius radio using a specific Toyota cable. Multiple companies sell these "Aux In" adapters. You can access the data by tuning to Sat1 or Sat2 and receive a pure audio input from your iPod or other device. This lets you have a clean and very good sounding input but no special control of the device. Different versions exist, supporting headphone jack, RCA connectors, etc. Some people also use this with DVD players. Adding a Video Input mod would let you play video on the Prius screen. This is the cheapest solution for the best audio quality. You can also listen to anything compatible with your input cable. Installation is necessary and you will still have to have a separate charger and control the unit by hand or remote. If you are willing to do some installation work but are on a tight budget this is the way to go for excellent sound quality.
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    Research two other products: iPod2Car and DICE Electronics. These are interfaces that use the existing car's CD changer interface to control basic iPod functionality. For the Prius that means steering wheel controls, and touch screen. Unfortunately it might mean losing the ability to control your existing CD changer standard in most 2005 models. The device is more or less faking that the iPod is a CD changer. So none of these models will let you see the current song or utilize the Prius touch screen to access specific iPod data. This method is also rather expensive ($200), and you will have to purchase an auxiliary in. As of 11-25-05, the iPod2Car site says it is not compatible with any model of the Prius.
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    A more expensive but slightly more featured option is produced by Vais Technology called the SLI. The SLI, like the options above, allows you to control your iPod with the steering wheel and controller using the same CD exchanger technique. Only this unit will display the song names from your iPod. The SLI does have integrated power and AUX-in built into the unit. The technology allows you to keep all factory installed components (such as 6-disc CD changer, CD/DVD changer). When you connect SLI to the audio system, your car recognizes it as an additional CD or MD changer. The unit costs $299.99! And It is the most feature filled product currently on the market.
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    Wait for the Coastal Tech iPod interface; This is a custom designed system specific for the computer that the Toyota Prius uses. When it's released, it will allow you to fully control your iPod with the touch screen and wheel as well as keeping your existing CD changer functional. Integration into the car will be flawless. It's as if Toyota supported the iPod in the first place. Look at Coastal Tech's website for more info. This is the only interface that will fully display songs, play lists, etc. on the Prius screen. Installation is required but very simple as it's designed for the Prius specifically. NOTE: The Coastal E Tech iPod interface mentioned above is generally considered (at least on Prius-related websites) to be vaporware and will never be released.


  • Note: The above method will produce undesirable background noise if you use an iPod charger while also using the Aux In jack. This noise is caused by a ground loop through the charging cable and the audio cable. The ground loop may be broken by using an isolated audio cable, a device that contains transformers to pass the sound signals without electrically connecting the iPod to the Aux In jack. Crutchfield sells such a device, the PAC SNI-1/3.5 Noise Filter.
  • Note: There have been rumors, including on this Wiki, that the 2007 or later model Prius, has an iPod interface upgrade available for the car that you can have dealer installed. Toyota knows nothing about this!
  • Note: If you have a 2009 Prius, Toyota makes an iPod interface. [1]
  • Note: If you have a 2006 or later model Prius, you may have an AUX IN plug built into the car. No modification or extra equipment is needed. You can find it inside the middle console in the front seat. Just use your standard cable with a 1/8" mini-stereo plug on each end to connect it.


  • Make sure any unit you buy can be returned for a full refund. User forums vary from "dreadful" to "beautiful" when describing the same FM transmitter unit.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • iPod adapter

Article Info

Categories: IPods | Toyota Prius