How to add an OEM ipod cable, MDI interface, aux in, or usb cable to your VW for mp3 player

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This article shows how to DIY install an ipod adapter, aux-in cable for mp3 player, or usb or mini usb cable, for all mk4 VW 1998-2011 and newer and MDI FAQ

Because there are so many aftermarket solutions, this page shows mostly OEM radio or GPS navigation system compatibility.  Most of these items apply to Golf, Jetta, New Beetle, Eos, and Tiguan.  The Tiguan is basically a Jetta.  For Touareg specific information, see the bottom.

aux-in, ipod, and mp3 adapter types for VW:

3.5mm jack

This is a standard headphone jack.  It'll play music clearly but it doesn't allow mp3 player control or charge their battery.  You cannot splice them into CD changer wiring except on 2007 or later because the radios used a CD changer detect logic.  Cars 2007-2009 had an option of aux-in or iPod dock.  The 2007-2009 aux-in is better due to the limitations of the iPod adapter.  If you retrofit the RNS315 GPS navigation radio there's a plug on the front of the headunit.  When using these you have to turn up the volume on the mp3 player to the maximum so that the radio gets a loud signal input.

FM modulator

This sends your mp3 signal over a short range FM radio transmitter.  You tune the radio to a specific frequency to pick it up.  Static is a common problem.  I would get an aux-in before trying these.  VW doesn't make or sell these at dealers as a factory part.

ISA iPod adapter VW# 1k0 051 510 a (1k0051510a)

The iPod Satellite Adapter is a VW part that piggybacks on the satellite radio signal and does not remove any external CD changer, sat radio, or aux-in.  It only works with the premium 7 radio.  It does work with the factory Volk-L bluetooth.  It can show up to 250 playlists, and up to 16 characters of artist/song text info on the radio or instrument cluster multifunction display.  It can also do song shuffle and scan.  While using it, the iPod is locked and the sat radio is bypassed.  The picture below shows what the screen looks like when using the iPod.

If you have internet radio on your iPhone, it will play over the radio.

The only major limitation is that it will not fast forward/reverse in the track.  If you are in shuffle mode and decide to stop shuffle (like if you want to listen to the remainder of the album that the song belongs to), it starts the album at song #1.  Obviously, it won't play satellite while the iPod is plugged in since it's substituting the signal.

If you have the premium 7 and don't want to upgrade to the 2010 and newer radios, this is what I would get.  It will charge 12V iPod so if you have a newer iPod with 5V, see the note below about the voltage step down adapter.
vw premium 7 ipod isa adapter cable

Retail pictures advertising it normally show the stock photo below.
OEM vw isa ipod kit

iPod armrest dock VW# 1k0 857 825 e (1k0857825e) or 1k0857925e

This replaces the 6 CD changer that is either under the center armrest or in the glovebox.  It was optional 2006-2009 for mk5 cars.  It emulates the CD changer.  It's the same as the mk4 iPod kit below but in dock form.  It should work on all mk4, I tested it on a 2005 and it worked fine. The first 5 CDs will act as the first 5 playlists in alphabetical order.  The 6th CD will act like all the other playlists.  It will fast forward/reverse individual tracks.  

The part with suffix 825e will charge only 12V iPod so if you have a newer iPod with 5V, see the note above about the voltage step down adapter or get the 925e suffix part.  It can't show artist, etc. information because it emulates and substitutes the CD changer.  You cannot have both the iPod adapter and OEM CD changer.  The iPod controls won't work when the dock is in use.

Since the mk4 ipod kit says that Volk-L Bluetooth 1k0 051 447(1k0051447) or 1k0051447a  (1k0 051 447 a) will not work with it and this is basically the same thing, I believe this limitation also applies to the armrest dock.

If your car has the MFD2 OEM GPS system, it's plug and play after you remove the CD changer.  If you have a Passat, open the glovebox and pull the CD changer down.

If your car has the premium 7 radio this factory option replaced the Aux-in.

See 1000q: iPod dock installation for detailed instructions and specs on this dock.

Media bay armrest console

If your car has the 6cd changer or MDI under the armrest, it has the media bay armrest, shown above.  If it doesn't it has the armrest shown below.  Golf and mk5 Jetta had the aux-in on the outside of the armrest.  Later sportwagen had the aux-in in the armrest cubby.  An example is shown below.  If you have the non media bay armrest you could hack it apart to fit a media bay but it would look horrible.  I suggest buying a used armrest instead.

MDI controller

VW's Media Device Interface.  This was available starting in 2009 but you must have at least the RCD 310 (base Canadian radio w/o multimedia package or European radio), RCD 510 radio (premium 8, standard 2010 or newer), RNS 510, or RNS 315 navigation system to use these.  If you retrofit one of these radios it will work on any mk5 or newer car.  Sellers normally use the stock photo shown right.

The MDI is a VW part designed to work with the car's computers and will display detailed artist, playlist, title, etc. information, on the radio and/or instrument cluster multifunction display.  It gives full control and info for the iPod.  It can also charge the ipod or other device.  It allows mp3 player control using the radio or steering wheel mounted buttons (if equipped).  While using it, the iPod is locked.

The iPod adapter cable plugs into the MDI controller.  If you want a USB, mini USB, or aux-in, you just unplug the MDI adapter and plug in the new MDI adapter with the correct end.  The part numbers are below.

The MDI is located in either the glovebox or under the center console armrest.  If it's in the glovebox you have the regular armrest cubby shown above.  If your MDI is in the armrest you have the media bay armrest.  There are 3 versions, VW# 5n0 035 341 b (5n0035341b), 5n0035342b (5n0 035 342 b), and  5n0 035 341c (5n0035341c).
vw mdi adapter ipod

They were originally installed in a piece of trim which sits in the media bay of the armrest.
vw mdi kit

The newer ones are installed in the glovebox from the factory.  The retrofit kit is also sold to fit in the passenger side glovebox.  If you retrofit it, you also need the wiring adapter.  If you wish to install this style of MDI in a media bay armrest, the adapter (the rectangular black trim visible above trim) to fit it in there may be 1k0 864 255 c (1k0864255c).  It could also be 5n0 035 344 a (5n0035344a) as seen in the above picture.
OEM vw mdi ipod cable

iPod 12V to 5V OEM VW voltage step down adapter

Early iPod used 12V to charge their batteries.  Newer iPod use 5V to charge.  You won't damage your iPod if you plug one into a cable designed for the other, it just won't charge.  VW sells one - the part number is 000 051 443 c (000051443c).  The VW adapter will also work on any aftermarket adapters since it's just an adapter and not unique to VW radios.  You can probably find an aftermarket equivalent.

4th gen Nano, 2g Touch, and 3g iPhone, or newer all use 5V.  Classic iPod still use 12V.

mk4 (1998-2006) VW ipod adapter cable - 1k0051444

There are two OEM options. The mk5 dock is plug-play if your car is prewired for the 6cd changer. The dock is meant to sit in the armrest of the mk5 but since the 6cd changer sits in a cubby in the trunk, it won't look too bad. The other OEM cable that will work is VW# 1k0051444 (1k0 051 444).  The exception is the New Beetle, see below.  Volk-L Bluetooth 1k0 051 447(1k0051447) or 1k0051447a  (1k0 051 447 a) will not work with it.  The stock photo shown right is for this cable.  For some reason, their stock photo is always of a Touareg with tan interior with an iPod classic plugged in.  (The stock photo of the MDI adapter kit is a black interior car).

If you have a mk4 VW (up to 2005/2006 Jetta, Golf, New Beetle, and Passat), you must have a radio that has the 6 cd changer control ability to use the OEM ipod adapter.  This includes the premium 5, premium 5.5, premium 6, entry radio, or MFD (cd or dvd version).  This doesn't mean that the car has to be prewired for the CD changer, it just means that the head unit has to have a CD changer port on the back.

The adapter emulates the OEM cd changer, if equipped.  The first 5 CDs will act as the first 5 playlists in alphabetical order.  The 6th CD will act like all the other playlists.  It will fast forward/reverse individual tracks.  It will charge 12V iPod so if you have a newer iPod with 5V, see hte note above about the voltage step down adapter.  It cannot show artist, etc. information because it emulates and substitutes the CD changer.  You cannot have both the ipod adapter and OEM CD changer. Here is what it looks like on the radio: The interface looks the same as if you were using a cd changer.
mk4 jetta ipod dock

If you have a new Beetle 2003 or later with the premium 5.5 radio, VW says that can use the VW ISA kit.  This substitutes or piggybacks on the satellite radio signal.  The part number is VW 1k0 051 510 a (1k0051510a).  It can access up to 250 playlists, show up to 16 characters on the radio for artist name/song, and playlist up to 8 characters.  It will charge 12V ipod so if you have a 5V ipod you need the voltage step down adapter mentioned earlier.

You can also use a Phatbox.  This is a hard drive that emulates a CD changer.  It's not a bad unit but I wouldn't buy one because a small handheld mp3 player with the iPod cable does everything the phatbox can do and a lot more.  It's also a lot more portable and can be used outside of the car.

Mk5 (2005.5-2010), mk6 (2010-present), and newer ipod adapter cables, for Jetta, Tiguan, Eos, Passat, CC, and Golf

If you have a mk5 VW (2005/2006-2009/2010 Jetta, Rabbit, Passat, Eos, or Tiguan/Touareg) without an MDI, you can still use the mk3/mk4 ipod cable.  The exact OEM cable depends on what radio or navigation system you have.  See below for a more detailed break down.

All VW and Audi TDI 2010 and later came with an MDI controller w/iPod adapter and aux-in 3.5mm jack in the center console or glovebox so changing the adapter to something like a mini usb is plug-play.

This chart below is for North America.  If you are in Europe, the RNS 310 and RCD 310 is also MDI compatible.

premium 7 RCD310 premium 8 MFD2 RNS510 RNS315 2009-10 Touareg
It came with: . . . . . . (base radio, not nav)
aux in  Maybe, see note 1 Yes Maybe, see note 3 No but can add Yes Yes. No
in dash 6 CD Yes No Yes No, single No, single No, single Yes
armrest CD changer No No No Yes No No No
MDI No Maybe, see note 5 Maybe, see note 7 No Yes, see note 2 Yes, see note 2 With tech package
w/iPod adapter cable No Maybe, see note 5 Yes No Yes Yes With tech package
w/armrest iPod dock Optional No No Optional? No No No
. . . . . . . .
You can add: . . . . . . .
1k0051444 No No No Yes No No No
1k0051444a No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
1k0857825e Yes, with wiring No No Yes, plug-play No No No
1k0051510a Yes No No No No No No
000051444m No, see note 6 No? No Yes No No No?
Phatbox, see note 4 No ? doubt it ? see note 4 Yes ? see note 4 ? see note 4 No?

Note 1: Jetta and New Beetle that were built sometime during late 2006 (not model year, build date) started showing up with 3.5mm aux-in ports in the glovebox or under the dashboard console area.  Many Jetta were sold with a promotional guitar that plugged into this port.  It later moved to the center armrest.

Note 2: Early MDI were under the center armrest and took up the CD changer slot.  Late MDI and Touareg MDI used a smaller unit that sat in the glovebox.  The Late MDI may not be compatible with RNS510 built before 2-1-2008 and/or with firmware lower than 1100.  2010-2011 Golf MDI were under the armrest.  The 2011 Sportwagen MDI was moved into the glovebox.

Note 3: 2011 Sportwagens moved the aux-in from the outside of the center console/armrest to the inside of the armrest cubby (I think) and the MDI to the glovebox.  2010 Jetta, 2010 wagons, and 2010-2011 Golf have it on the outside of the center armrest console and the MDI is under the armrest.  If you have the RNS315 the aux-in jack is on the headunit.

Note 4: The Phatbox was a mp3 player that emulated a cd changer.  It's plug-play if you have a MFD2 but I would much rather have a handheld mp3 player since the phatbox is a big brick that you have to store under the seat and will only work in your car.

Note 5: The RCD310 was only available outside of the US as a base radio.  In Canada you couldn't get it with the MDI but you could get it as an option to the RCD310 outside of North America.

Note 6: While this cable is only designed to work with the MFD2 aux, if the radio has an external sat module you can just depin the sat radio audio signal plugs and put in the aux pins.  More details under "Using with another radio".  I don't know if the Touareg and RNS 310 have internal or external sat radio modules.

Note 7: The MDI was optional depending on the model and trim.  Most radios that came with a RCD510 came with the MDI.  Most TDI had it standard.  The exception is the sportwagen - you could buy these with the standard RCD510 radio but without the MDI.

If you have the premium 7 radio (in-dash 6 cd changer built in, no touchscreen, equipped 2005.5-2009)

vw premiunm 7 radio headunit

The best solution is: VW's ISA cable (ipod satellite adapter), 1k0 051 510 a (1k0051510a).  This adapter only works on premium 7 radios with satellite.  It will charge 12V ipod so if you have a 5V ipod you need the voltage step down adapter mentioned earlier.  Details of operation were at the top of the page.  You can still keep your satellite but you have to unplug your iPod to listen to sat radio.

DICE sells a number of iPod kits that work like VW's ISA cable.  It charges both 12V and 5V ipods.  It displays text info and also includes an Aux input.  It also replaces the sat module.  However, some require removal of any external cd changers.

You can use the mk4 iPod cable w/quadlock connector plug (1k0051444) but I wouldn't because it just emulates a CD changer.  I would get the ISA cable.  Volk-L Bluetooth 1k0 051 437 (1k0051437) or 1k0051437a  (1k0 051 437 a) will not work with it.  The first 5 CDs will act as the first 5 playlists in alphabetical order.  The 6th CD will act like all the other playlists.  You cannot see the track or artist information.  It will charge 12V iPod so if you have a newer iPod with 5V, see the note above about the voltage step down adapter.

If you have the ipod dock under the center armrest 1k0 857 825 e (1k0857825e), it acts just like the mk4 iPod cable, only it's a dock instead of a cable.  You can have either aux or ipod dock but not both since they use the same spot.  You can add it later but it requires you to swap the armrest to one that can fit a cd changer/ipod dock/MDI dock.  See 1000q: ipod dock installation for details.

You cannot use the VW MDI.

You cannot use the Phatbox.

Some late 2006 came with female aux-in (require a male-male plug to use with iPod) in the glovebox or under the dashboard console area.  They originally came with a promotional guitar that plugged into this port.

If you have a 2005.5-2006, I would get the ISA cable.  It's pretty good because it displays artist, playlist, etc. on the radio.  The radio has black buttons and is shown above left.  You cannot splice into any aux-input, if equipped.  The head unit cannot play mp3 CD.

If you have a 2007-2009, you can use VW's cd emulator ipod cable or the factory CD changer or an aux-in.  You cannot more than one of these because they occupy the same slot.  The radio has silver buttons.  A better solution is to use VW's ISA ipod kit.  There's an mp3 label above the CD slot - this means the cd player can play mp3 CDs.

VW also removed the CD changer detect logic from the radio.  This means that you can splice or remove the existing iPod adapter wiring to add your own 3.5mm aux-in.

If you have the MFD2 OEM GPS system (color screen, not touchscreen, optional 2005.5-2009, for touareg see below)

The best solution is: an aux-in with either a male 3.5mm jack (like a headphone cable) or iPod male plug.  The other end only works for the navigation radio because the 18 pin connector is unique to nav radios.  The OEM 3.5mm cable is VW# 000-051-444-m (000051444m).  It's pretty cheap so this is a good option.  You can also find generic 3.5mm aux-in cables on ebay that are cheaper than the OEM part.  If you have an iPod I suggest getting a generic aux-in cable with an iPod end.  These won't have any more function than the 3.5mm aux-in but they give a clearer signal and you don't have to turn the volume on the iPod all the way up.  This lets you keep the armrest CD changer.

Because it's basically a headphone outlet, the iPod is not locked while it's plugged in.

To use this aux in with any other radio, you must first figure out if the radio has an internal or external satellite radio module.  If it has an external module you can depin and replace the sat radio plug's left, right, and ground wires with the aux in pins.  Don't remove the other pins.  Most of the radios have CD changer detect logic which prevents you from using aux-in with the cd-changer plug without the detect logic handshake.  I believe the later radios removed this but I'm not 100% sure.

To use the aux-in, from the CD screen, there's a contextual button to go to Aux.  See more in 1000q: MFD2 VW GPS FAQ or if you have a European unit.
vw mfd2 gps cd changer aux

If you already have the aux-in cable and are swapping in the MFD2, someone named Jetturbo found that you just need to swap the plug end to make the cable work.  The 18 pin aux plug is VW# 7m0-035-727 (7m0035727).  Just depin the old connector and repin it into the new plug.  If you buy the whole male 3.5mm aux cable it includes instructions but here they are if you just buy the plug: the black wire goes in slot 2.  The white wire goes in slot 11.  The red wire goes in slot 12.  The stock photo which sellers typically use is shown right.

While there are aftermarket solutions ipod adapters that take the spot of the Aux plug, they cost around $200 and don't do anything more over the 3.5mm aux-in other than charge the battery.

You cannot use VW's ISA ipod cable for the premium 7 radio.

You cannot use the VW MDI.

You can use Phatbox with the MFD2 - it plugs right into the CD changer cable.  You must remove the CD player to use it. 

You can use VW's mk4 ipod cable but it just emulates the cd changer so you would have to remove the CD changer.  Read the section above for more description of function.

You can remove the cd changer in the armrest and put in VW's ipod dock 1k0 857 825 e (1k0857825e).  It's just the mk4 ipod cable in dock form.  In either case, you must remove the OEM 6 cd changer in the armrest.  See 1000q: ipod dock installation for the detailed installation procedure.  If your firmware is at least 47, you can play audio CD in the single disk slot on the nav.  See 1000q: MFD2 firmware check for more details.

The MFD2 GPS navigation can have (iPod dock OR mk4 cable OR armrest CD changer) and aux and satellite at the same time.

If you have a:
-RCD 510 premium 8 radio (in-dash 6 cd changer built in, color touchscreen, equipped 2010-present),
-RNS 510 OEM GPS system (large color touchscreen, optional 2009-present),
-RNS 315 OEM GPS system (small color touchscreen, optional 2011-present),
-or RCD 310 or RCD 210 (Canada or Europe):

RCD 310 radio and RCD 510 radio
rcd 510 rcd510 and rcd310 rcd 310

RNS 315 GPS and RNS 510 GPS
rns315 rns 315 and rns510 rns 510

If you had one of these radios you car came with an iPod adapter VW# 000 051 446 c (000051446c) with the MDI in the armrest or glovebox.  The exception was some sportwagen, Canadian base cars w/o multimedia package, and European cars.  In Canada, the base radio was the RCD 310. The optional multimedia pack added the RCD510 and MDI.  Outside of North America, you could also get the MDI as an option to the RCD310.

If you retrofitted any of these radios to your older mk5 car you can use the VW MDI.

If your car came with any of these radios it should also have a 3.5mm aux-in.

If you want to change the iPod adapter, the part numbers are below for:
-mini USB: 000 051 446 a (000051446a)
-USB adapter: 000 051 446 b (000051446b)
-3.5mm aux-in: 000 051 446 d (000051446d)

I also see the part numbers below but verify them with your dealer before ordering.
iPod adapter: 5n0 035 554 (5n0035554)
USB adapter: 5n0 035 558 (5n0035558)

If your car didn't have an MDI you can use the iPod adapter cable 1k0 051 444 a (1k0051444a).  It cannot be used in conjunction with a CD changer.  It's basically a CD emulator like the mk4 cable except that it works on the newer touchscreen radios.  Unlike the MDI which give full control and info, this cable only gives basic control and info like track and playlist.  I suggest getting the MDI controller over this.

You cannot use the mk3/mk4 ipod cable w/quadlock connector plug (1k0051444).

Your car came with an iPod adapter with the MDI in the armrest or glovebox.  You should also have an aux-in.

If you retrofitted one of the GPS systems to your older mk5 car, you can only use VW's MDI interface.

If you have a Touareg and want to add an ipod adapter cable

The VW ISA kit will not work on any 2004 or newer Touareg.  Those are only for premium 7 radios on Jetta/Golf/Eos/Tiguan.

In my opinion, unless you have the RNS510 GPS or plan to add it, I would go aftermarket for an ipod adapter.  If your car is 2007 or earlier, you will need a newer CAN BUS module if you add the OEM VW GPS RNS 510.

If you have a 2004-2008 with MFD2 GPS navigation system

There are aux-in adapters that will plug into the back of the radio.  I don't believe VW sells any so you have to look to the aftermarket.  You could use the mk4 iPod kit 1k0051444 but see above for the limitations.  It also removes the CD changer and satellite radio.

Also, many Touareg with the Navigation system already have RCA plugs under the armrest.  You just need to get an adapter to a 3.5mm jack.

You can substitute an external CD changer for a Phatbox but see the notes earlier about limitations.

If you don't have the MFD2 GPS in your 2004-08 Touareg

The only kit that will work is 1k0051444, the mk4 VW iPod kit.  It is not compatible with satellite radio or an external CD changer.  If you have the MFD2 you can use the Phatbox.

If you have a Touareg 2009-2010 and want to add an ipod adapter cable

If your car came with navigation (the tech package), it already has the Touareg MDI VW# 5n0 035 342 b (5n0035342b) and ipod adapter VW# 000 051 446 c (000051446c).  (I also see 5n007 342 as an older part number).  If you wish to change the adapter cable, see the part numbers above for Jetta/Golf.

If your car didn't come with the tech package you have to retrofit the RNS510 GPS navigation system to add the MDI and iPod adapter.  The MDI will not work with the base radio.  You can use the mk4 CD emulator ipod cable but it removes any external 6cd changer.  Because of the limitations of the emulator cable, I would rather go aftermarket if you don't have the MDI.

I have also seen the following info for the Touareg but I'm not 100% sure what it is.  VW# 1k0 051 445 is a 550mm long quadlock cable.  000051444k is an iPod adapter.

Is your car slightly different?  Share your experience at the forums linked at the top.