The iPod/MINI Connector Reviewed

I've owned an iPod for two and a half years and owned my MINI for just under that. I've grown to appreciate both the longer I own them. Both illustrate how great design, engineering and marketing can create an iconic product. However, it would seem that neither had much in common beyond great design and rabid fans.

Finally in mid-June BMW/MINI and Apple announced that they had secretly been developing a new device that integrates the iPod into the stereo of BMWs and MINIs. While MotoringFile had mentioned an official product like this in the past we were never able to officially confirm anything.

Before BMW and MINI released it's iPod connector kit there were four ways to connect the iPod to the MINI. The first, the dreaded tape adapter, isn't applicable in 99% of MINIs due to the lack of tape players specced in the cars. The second are portable FM modulators like the iTrip. The major drawbacks to devices like these are less-than-good sound quality and significant interference within cities.

The other BMW approved connector is the dealer installed AUX port. The upside on the AUX port is a direct sound input give the listening good quality for the relatively low price of $45 plus installation. However there are drawbacks. For one, the audio many times has to be adjusted on the iPod not to mention the stereo itself. Secondly, you still can't skip to the next track or for that matter control the player at all from the car itself. And finally, there is no ability to charge from the car itself – one had to rely on an after-market option, and yet another device, in the car.

The fourth, and most flexible, way to connect the iPod up to this point is the ICE-Link from Dension. I won't go into details here on the ICE-Link since I reviewed it in depth six months ago. But the conclusion is that, while pricey, it gives you the most flexible solution out there – especially the new ICE-Link 1.1, which features digital sound and a handy cradle.


A quick note – this review is of the BMW/iPod connector. However the BMW and the MINI units are 99% identical and operate with exactly the same functionality (as seen here). MINI units won't be available until September of this year.

The new BMW/Apple device goes about things a little differently than the ICE-Link, however..The idea behind this new unit, as opposed to the ICE-Link, is that you have no interaction with the iPod itself while in use. Instead, you control the iPod using the existing controls on the radio. While this limits the overall functionality of the iPod, it also reduces the chances of driver distraction – increasingly something that our society won't tolerate.


The BMW/MINI iPod connector retails for $149. Installation should take one to two hours at your local dealer. The process is rather simple for those that are do-it-yourselfers. Just remove the head unit and plug in one end of the connector. From there you just run the other end into the glove box where you'll you're iPod will stored while in use. Not as easy as it sounds, but not rocket science either.

Knauz MINI were nice enough to hand over a Jet Black 2004 325ci with the Apple/BMW connector already installed for MotoringFile testing. The device is incredibly easy to hook-up to an iPod once installed. You simply plug your iPod into the glove box connect and turn your radio on. From there you just select mode and on the second click you'll get to what would be the CD changer – now the iPod. Once that is selected, you can choose one through five on the stereo presets which select playlists BMW1-BMW5 on the iPod as well as the ability to play the entire library.


Initially there was some disappointment in the functionality of the unit. However the way the system works makes sense once you're behind the wheel. The overall effect is very slick. Where you'd have to manually select playlists on the iPod with the ICE-Link, this one allows you to operate the iPod (only 5 playlists mind you) completely through the head unit or the multi-function steering wheel. It makes for a clean and clutter-free solution while sacrificing some usability.

The digital sound of the connection is also first rate. I tested 128kbps AAC files, 160kbps AAC files, and 192kbps MP3 files (all encoded with iTunes). All had depth and clarity that sounded close enough to CD audio that most will never know the difference. .

There is room for improvement, however. First off, the ability for the head unit to display song names would be welcome. Secondly, while it will play CDs with over 99 tracks, the head unit doesn't display any track numbers over 99 – something fairly common with MP3 cds. Finally the kit isn't available for cars with a navigation system, satellite radio, or a CD changer.

However it's my opinion that the ease of use and clean installation overcome these drawbacks. Further, you just can't underestimate how nice it is to be able to use the interface of the radio or multifunction steering wheel to control the iPod. It allows you concentrate on driving instead of selecting what song out of conceivably 12,000 you want to hear. And what you hear is perfect digital bliss.

For more information on functionality specifics see the BMW/iPod FAQ on Apple's site. [LINK]

Note: the review was conducted using a third-generation 40 GB iPod and a 2004 BMW 325ci.

  • Stefan

    Thanks for the review. One question though: How long is the connector cable? I use the Proclip Ipod mount for the MINI (currently with an aux cable), and would like to continue to use it with the connector cable, if it's long enough.

  • Steven Diver

    Excellent review Gabe! I have to agree with you that the benefits of less driver distraction far outweight the loss of iPod functionality. I guess in reality, unless you are on a long roadtrip…five playlists of 99 songs should be more than enough (even though you can have more than 99 songs, the had unit will only display 99).

    I like it and I look forward to getting my hands on one come September.

  • Gabe

    I guess I'm not sure why you'd want to use a mount with this system. One of the benefits is that the iPod is safely stowed away in the glovebox. The iPod has no functionality when it's connected so there's no need to be able to reach it during play-back.

  • RB

    I read the article “great design and rabid fans” and comments.

    Why is that Apple gets such acid response from some people? As Matt said “it's just a computer.” Maybe it's because we swagger and wonder why anybody would use anything other. I can't imagine wasting my energy on such nonsense.

    BTW…still haven't got my ICElink 1.1..ordered in JUNE!


  • J

    They are definitely moving in the right direction, but the current functionality can't top a phatbox from It installs in place of a CD changer and offers complete navigation through the stock head unit with voice feedback. Voice prompts are generated on your computer with track/album/artist/genre tags from your mp3s. Volume and track forward/back are controllable from the steering wheel and everything else from the head unit.

    This still beats the ipod adapter hands down b/c you can have an unlimited number of playlists as well as switchting to artist/album modes at anytime. Installation is really easy, since it just plugs in where the CD changer would go in the boot. Hard drive capacities are available up to 80 GB. Since I want to listen to mp3's just in the car, this is ideal.

    Of course, there are drawbacks. Mainly, the system is expensive — 2X to 3X the price of an ipod. It doesn't have the instant portability of an ipod. There's no integration with iTunes. PhatNoise has their own software, a real bummer when everything's in iTunes and you have to import/export. You also can't play DRM'ed AAC files, although the phatbox plays a wide range including wav, ogg, mp3 and content.

    It looks like the killer solution might be the new Alpine unit coming out soon. More flexibility like the phatbox, but lots of integration with iPod. The minor drawback I see is that it treats the iPod as a hard drive which may mean no playback of DRM'ed AAC files from the iTMS. It will be a major upgrade, since you'll have to rip out the head unit and replace it with an new Alpine box. Can't wait to see reviews of that unit.

  • Gabe

    The downside of the new Alpine unit the way the head-unit looks… at least to me. It's not exactly integrated into the MINI's design vernacular.

    Also the ICE-Link kit hts many of the same points that you make for the Phatnoise. You can select any playlist, genre, album, etc from any of your iPod content.

  • ryan

    so gabe, would you choose this over the icelink? having the ipod in front of me in a cradle with the ability to select any playlist is important and i think severely limits the oem solution. also i would rather not have to open the stupid glove box every time i leave the car and want my ipod, it always goes with me… thanks for a great site!

  • Gabe

    ryan – you know I think it's really personal preference. I like the BMW/MINI solution for ease of use and clean installation but I like the ICE-Link for the flexibility. I guess it depends on how much music you have and how much control you'd like to have over it while driving.

  • Mike

    Gabe, did you happen to get any more information about why the unit won't work with Nav? I have an 05 MCS on order with Nav and sure wish I could have this functionality as well. I heard it's a matter of the audio sourcing for the Nav or something? It doesn't seem very logical, and it would seem to me that any reason for that restriction could be easily bypassed with a little tweaking, no? I guess my main question is, how feasible do you think it is that we'll be able to figure out the issue with Nav, and make the two play together?

  • Paul C.

    So where does the unit/cable plug into on the back of the head unit? I did my own install for the aux port so I would think I could do the install for this as well?

  • ChrisW

    Aren't the stock MINI decks said to be manufactured by Alpine (not the H/K upgrade obviously)? If so, too bad they don't include the AI-Net (or whatever it's called) capability so you could add the real iPod adapter that will work with those decks.

  • Gabe

    Chris – I believe you are correct.

  • pete

    hey, i bought a new alpine face and cd player which ran me about $550 dollars. it looks awesome, and the colors flow great, and the cd's dont skip like the stock player. plus, you can set the light color to orange and have it match the interior perfect, plus, it comes with an iPOD adapter and cradle which provides power for the iPOD with no need to run off the battery and it looks better since there is only one wire

  • Gabe

    Mike – wish I knew the answer to that.

  • Gabe

    Pete – do you have pics?

  • JB

    Im sitting patiently waiting for my 05MY hyper blue cooper S works due in october, and decided against Nav, so that i could take advantage of the ipod option. (also helped by the chrono pack allowing me to move both gauges to the column yay!) i believe the nav and the changer option are not compatible with the ipod connector as they connect to the same port on the head unit for audio in to the system. This would be the same reason you cant have a CD changer and nav with existing options. I have a 40GB ipod already, and cant wait. I understand that the 6'th playlist if selected on the head unit allows access to the entire track list in the ipod. Any chance of a confirmation Gabe? This may make access to the entire song collection possible, if you thought that was going to be an issue. I dont know how the display of nothing over the first 99 tracks will be an issue or how that will affect things.

  • Mike

    JB, I'm not sure that makes sense… Can't you have both Nav and CD changer? If so, then your theory doesn't hold up, because then Nav and CD changer would have to be on the same input, not possible. Furthermore, even if that's the case, then one could just make a manual splitter between the Nav audio and the iPod. Sure, it would suck because you couldn't get Nav audio while listening to the iPod, but I'd still prefer that over nothing at all.

  • Mike

    Just read the part of your comment that said “you can't have a CD changer and nav”.. hehe sorry 😉 But if that's true, then like I said, it shouldn't be that hard to split the signal and put a manual switch somewhere? Maybe I should talk to Ian C, he's good with all that kind of stuff. :) What info do we have on the type of connection the HU receives in the back?

  • Ian Cull

    The aux input was supposed to be imcompatible with nav also – the reason is simply that the same connector position (but different pins) is used. I guess MINI/BMW did not want to risk their techs combining the pins from two connectors into one – but it can be done for the aux so maybe also for the iPod.

  • Gabe

    JB – okay I'm a little red-faced on that one. I totally forgot to hit #6 on the head unit to see if it played the entire library. I've read reports that it does though.

  • Mike


    Do you think the wiring from the aux input part could be used for that purpose? I'm somewhat ignorant in the ways of things like this, what can I do to make this happen? :)

  • alex

    getting a little off topic, but- any word if the new MP3 head unit will me retro-fittable? I wonder if that may eventually give the capability to display ipod song names, etc. And to clarify- the ipod just displays “bmw” while connected, right? No song name there? (i.e. so even if you kept it out of the glove box, it wouldn't help). I really see the lack of name display as the biggest drawback- can't wait til my dealer has a demo…

  • David Gibb

    The only downer on the whole thing is that the song is not displayed in the head unit. I have so much music on my iPod that I am always wondering what I am listening to…especially if I like it.

  • Kimes

    I upgraded to the HK system in my '05 mcs order. Will the Ipod connector not work on that? I thouht the HK only refered to the speaker count, not the head unit. Did I mess that one up and should I go back to the stock stereo? I think Ipod is more important than a few extra speakers…

  • ChrisT

    From what I understand, you should be just fine with that setup–that's what I'm going to do when I order mine. As long as you don't have the Navigation Unit, CD changer, or satellite radio, upgrading to the HK speakers shouldn't affect the ability to use the ipod connector.

  • JB

    yeah from what i understand, the HK is on the auxiliary output, not the auxiliary input side, so no conflict there. Im still looking into how im going to add two 1000w amps and two 12″ subs to the HK system for the finishing touch… man nothing like that would have ever worked in my bugeye… cant wait!

  • dotBob

    Alpine's adapter:

  • Cessil

    Don't suppose anyone has any news on when and if the UK is going to get the ipod/Mini connector or is this just between Apple and BMW USA?

  • Hollister

    I might have missed the answer I'm looking for…but is the iPod adapter compatible with early MY '02 MINIs? Also… is the ICE link compatible? Thanks!

  • Gabe

    yes and yes

  • copysquirl

    But wait- I'm unclear- does the bmw-ing of the ipod charge it while it's plugged in? because that's my main issue with the aux input installation anyway. At least the IceLink can recharge without running a wire into the glovebox??

  • Gabe

    Yes – it also charges the iPod.

  • RHT3

    Does the MFSW control Alpine head units? If so, its display color matches MINI gauges, it shows song titles and charges the iPod. . .

  • fedward

    The MFSW doesn't directly control Alpine head units. For a U.S. head unit, you can get an adapter that connects an IR “blaster” to the MFSW; you then mount the IR “blaster” somewhere in the car that works well for your head unit (most people seem to settle on the triangle between the shifter and the built-in cup holders).

    If you have a European Alpine head unit, there's a port on the back for steering wheel controls. You can buy an aftermarket pigtail and plug the MFSW into that port and have a hardwired connection. I've asked around, and I can't find anybody who can tell me why the head units with the connections for hardwired steering wheel controls aren't available in the U.S. I suspect there's some DOT regulation that prevents aftermarket connections of that sort, but it doesn't make any sense to me.

    It appears you can self-import a European head unit and buy the pigtails from a friendly U.K. dealer, and then either install everything yourself or pay an installer to do it. You'll lose AM radio (the interval between stations is different) but FM should work just fine (European FM tuners are more finely graded but work on the same frequencies we have here), and all the other accessories should work just fine.

    Once I actually order my MINI I'll be sure to test this hypothesis and let everybody know if it works the way it appears it should.

  • Reid

    If you have a BMW with satellite radio installed, is there an option that allows for an iPod input, given that the aux input is already in use? Maybe an aix splitter or something?

  • Indiren

    Why must the iPod adaptor be plugged into the headunit? Is is just for locating the iPod in the glovebox. Can it be plugged into the CD changer connector already pre-wired in the boot, like ICELINK?

  • Garrett

    My Mini dealer still has no info on the part. Has anyone been able to order one yet directly for a Mini?

  • cafeine

    Do you have any photo of the back of the cd-head unit to see the connectors? thx….

  • Chad

    I have a 2003 530IA. Can anyone tell me why this will not work on my car? I do not have nav, dsp, or a changer. My thought is to hook it up in place of the changer. Would this work? Chad

  • Bill

    Can you install both the Icelink and ipod connector?

  • John

    Maybe Pete is right…


  • JimiH

    Just iPodded my new 2004 325xi this past Tuesday. Great audio quality, no lock-ups, basically thrilled with the convenience and audio quality.

    BUT – Not having the radio display show what song is playing is a real drag. The setup is GREAT in the sense that you create the playlists, and the car sees them as CDs as a virtual CD changer. It SUCKS when you dump the entire contents of a boxed set of CDs (I did one with Led Zeppelin's boxed set, and another with the Time Life 80's collection) and trying to find any song in particular. Try to navigate through 460 songs in a playlist, and you'll see what I mean. It would also be nice if the display would read three digits when the playlist contains over 100 songs (it goes up to 99, then resets to 00, then 01,02,03,etc.) I wouldn't mind memorizing a few track numbers for a few favorite songs, but you have to find them first!

    If you have a Bluetooth phone kit installed -“MOO WHOO WHOO WHOO HA HA HA HA HA!” – you're probably in for a real installation fiasco! I spent 8 1/2 hours at the dealer waiting to get the radio and phone working properly after installing the iPod kit. Seems that their gurus in Germany give out information on a need-to-know basis when things just don't seem as compatible as they should be. First, iPod kit in, but they told me that radio wasn't shutting off when the ignition key is turned off (or when the door was opened). They said they have seen this in at least one other car, and they could fix that soon, but not immediately. They suggested that I remember to turn off the radio when exiting the vehicle, and told me they'd be in touch as soon as they were aware of a fix. They had an open trouble ticket with something called PUMA (or something similar to that – their tech support folks back in bimmer homeland). I begrudgingly said “alright”. I got in the car, and found what they said to be true, but also, my phone wouldn't work. Push the buttons on the steering wheel, and it was as if the Bluetooth ULF didn't exist. They explained to me that by me uninstalling the BMW Assist module and installing the Bluetooth ULF, the car needed to be coded differently in order to work properly. I found that to be half true – my phone worked fine before I put the car in their hands, but not after they installed the iPod kit. Was told that they'd re-code the car to properly define the U:F, and all should be well. It wasn't – they also needed to modify some pinouts in the dash to complete the task at hand. Almost two hours later, I was told that the radio turning off problem was solved by swapping two pins in a harness in the jack, and the phone should now be OK. Got the car back again to found what they said to be true about the car recognizing the fact it should have a phone and the radio powers up an down as it should, but then I had no audio for the phone in the car. Almost two more hours later, everything was fine, after they consulted Germany for some guidance on the harness pinouts. A tall, thin German man who spoke broken English assured me, “No more surprises, everything is fine now”. He was right. But from 8am until 4:45pm hanging out at the dealer waiting for it – Geez! I did, however get to look at almost their complete product line of cars, got to ask a lot of questions and meet a bunch of new people. In retrospect, I should have used some of that time to test drive a Z4!

    Anyhow, in short, PROS are fantastic audio quality, unparalleled convenience, iPod is out of site and secured away in the glovebox. CONS are no visual indication of what songs is playing other than a track number, iPod is not securely mounted in the glove box (probably not a problem if you don't take turns at warp speeds, but after all, that's what bimmers were made for, right?!? :-), cannot create an “on the go” playlist that the car will recognize (would be good idea for the sixth playlist, perhaps?). Anoth consideration is whether or not to let your iPod “live” in the glovebox. Tempting as it sounds, car interiors are subject to extreme temperatures, and probably exceeds the safe zone for the iPod.

    I appreciate what Ryan had to say about the track name not being diaplayed could be considered a safety perk, but I agree that we disagree. My radio displays caller id when a call comes in, it displays the song name when the FM radio is playing, and it could also display the timeif I like. l'd like to reserve my choice of whether or not to be distracted by the track name. Holding the iPod with an iTrip installed one hand while holding the steering wheel in the other, and trying to find a song while driving SHOULD BE more illegal than using a cell phone! I've tried that, and find it to be extremely dangerous, especially at highway speeds (that's what bimmers were made for right?!?!? :-). Having both hands on the wheel and glancing down at the radio display periodically seems like a much safer alternative!

    One last thing, slightly off topic – with a phone installed, you might find yourself making a few unexpected calls if you like to “palm the wheel” on turns. I know I did…

    Be well, stay safe, and rock on!


  • Joe W.

    Jimi H- sorry to hear about the headaches with the install of the hands free. Was that 8.5 hours of labor in which you had to pay for!? Since I must admit, my current status of knowledge pertaining to the possiblities for accessorizing like the iPod and bluetooth hands free kit is for the most part based on the experiences of your information posted herein, I must say, with a slight cringe, that it seems the sort of unconfirmed factor plays such a significant role here given the installation and usability. I guess what I mean to say is that I do have an '05 MCS and was bucking on not only the Bluetooth but the iPod. I do have the Nav. System as well. My wife has a 330 XI, an '01 and upon the release of the iPod originally, come to find out it was of course a year too old for her model as a result. The 330 XI is incredible through the turns by the way, a great ride. Having heard the iPod was to be an integrated part/ accessory into the BMW's and MINI's, we had satisfied our craving by deciding the MINI to be outfitted. However a blanket of insecurity hovers here after reading your experience and leaves me with questions based on a headache free experience and compatibility problems with the accessorized components as previously mentioned. Am I out of luck with these possibilities in addition to the Nav? I was originally under the impression upon the release of the iPod kit several months ago that it was in fact “good to go.” I understand “kinks” to be worked out, ergo what the dealer had told us, yet he could not confirm its availability or the rapport with the Bluetooth Phone Kit. Are they holding off on its release to accomodate the underlying issues? Kindly settle my nerves in this respect. Was tremendously looking forward to a trouble free experience, Bluetooth and iPod. Thanks for your time. Regards,

    Joe W. Miami, FL

  • Gretchen

    I just recently took delivery on my 2005 MC and paid for the iPod adaptor…It looks as though they installed just an AUX port :( obviously not what I wanted. Does anyone know if or what kit I can buy to listen to my ipod in my Mini? Thanks, Gretchen

  • Rick

    Instead of using the playlists, can I reach inside the glove compartment, manually select a song on the already-plugged-in ipod, and have that song play over the car speakers? Unless I'm misunderstanding what this thing does, the main problem with the BMW ipod adapter is that you have to plan out in advance (at home, using iTunes to create your BMW1-5 playlists) what songs you want to be listening to when plug your ipod into the car. Music in the car is all about mood and spontaneity, so if I can't at the very least manually select a song on my ipod while it's plugged into the car (while at a complete stop of course) then no deal. You're better off with just installing the older Aux-In adapter in your Mini.

  • Melanie

    I am waiting for delivery of my MCS Cabrio (in December – arrgghh!) and have been trying to figure out what I want in terms of an iPod connection, weiging the pros and cons of the available options. On the iPod lounge website, I came across this new product and wonder if anyone knows anybody that has one – unfortunately, it is not (?as yet?) available for Minis; I have written to the company to ask if the have plans to make it available for us Mini folks… It sounds like a very nice compromise between the best of both the ICElink and the BMW iPOD connections, and is less expensive.

    Here is the info: August 2004 Neo Car Audio releases Neo iON Car Kit

    The Neo iON provides direct connection to most factory and aftermarket car stereos. When connected your car stereo buttons will control the iPod, the iPod battery will charge, and the sound will play from your car stereo speakers. The adapter includes a 11.5' (3.5M) cable that plugs directly into the iPod. The other side of this cable plugs into the CD changer port on the back of the car stereo – there is no FM modulation. Once the cable is plugged in your car will charge and power your iPod, as well as control it (Next/Previous track, FF/RW) using your car stereos existing buttons (steering wheel controls if you have them). The New iON Car Kit is compatible with 3G/4G iPod and iPod mini. The Neo iON retails for $189. The Neo iON provides direct connection to most factory and aftermarket car stereos. When connected your car stereo buttons will control the iPod, the iPod battery will charge, and the sound will play from your car stereo speakers. This is the best iPod Car Kit available on the market.


    Compatible with iPod 3rd Generation, 4th Generation, and iPod Mini.

    Works with most vehicles – plugs directly into the CD changer port.

    The adapter includes a 11.5' (3.5M) cable that plugs directly into the iPod. The other side of this cable plugs into the CD changer port on the back of the car stereo – there is no FM modulation.

    Once the cable is plugged in your car will charge and power your iPod, as well as control it (Next/Previous track, FF/RW) using your car stereos existing buttons (steering wheel controls if you have them).

    Who Else Does This? BMW is currently the only car dealership offering a solution similar to ours. It can be found in your local dealership for $149 + $150 installation (required). Check out their website for more information.

    Unlike the BMW adapter our unit does not disable the display and buttons on the iPod itself, you will continue to see the artist and song information and have full control over your iPod using its buttons.

  • JimiH

    Hi Joe, Sorry for not responding sooner. From what I've been told, the iPod kit cannot coexist with premium sound, NAV, Sirius Satellite radio, or the 6 CD changer. I didn't get billed the 8.5 hrs labor – I bargained to have an aux input kit installed free in the car. The iPod kit was announced to be released in 7/12, and I was picking up the car on 6/26. I told them I'd rather wait for the iPod kit if the aux kit hadn't already been installed. I was told that the iPod kit could be substituted for the aux kit in the deal we had arranged, provided I pay the labor. I negotiated paying half the labor, as the published shop time for the iPod kit was double the amount allocated to install the aux kit. Long story short, I paid a little over $72.00 using that arrangement. The dealer ate the rest of the labor costs straighting out the problems edscribed when they tried to put it all together. The skinny on the iPod and Bluetooth kit coexisting is that there were additional pinout mods that needed to be made, and that info wasn't published in any documentation the dealer had on hand. Consulting BMW in Germany provided the answer. If you do put an iPod kit in a car along with Bluetooth, I'd recommend telling the dealer that there is a known anomoly with the two, and it might save time and grief to consult Germany for that info before discovering it the hard way. On a slight other note – to NAV or not to NAV… I opted not for the BMW factory NAV, but opted instead for a Magellan Roadmate 700. I cannot say enough great things about this unit. My thought were that I'd rather spend a lot less (Magellan unit is 1499 list, I got mine for 1088 from GPS World Supply in TX via internet order) on a top of the line portable unit and be able to use it in rental cars/other vehicles. I usually fly whenever I'm going on vacation or business trips, and I usually don't get lost in my own car – it's when I'm in strange far away places that I could use some help figuring out where I'm going. Having the unit plugged into the cigarette lighter is a little less attractive then an in dash unit, but the portability outweighs it for me. Oh, one other thing about the Bluetooth kit, it interfaces with NAV to provide voice commands of some of the NAV features. This is all documented in a manual that comes with the BT kit (entitled “Voice Recognition System” or something very similar), but I haven't seen any mention of those freatures elsewhere. I do remember reading that you can zoom in and out with the maps, but don't recall what else it does with respect to NAV. Also, not all BT ULF modules are created equally – the one I have is part number 84-21-6-945-387. To see probably more than you ever wanted to know about this particular unit, look at eBay item number 7925947404. The auction has links to other useful info. For all you “do it yourself'ers” out there, it's almost common knowledge now that you can take a bimmer equipped with BMW Assist, swap out the Assist module with the BT ULF in the trunk, install the BT antenna in the console under the rear ashtray, and cut a hole in the console under the armrest to install the pairing button, and VIOLA, you have Bluetooth. One thing I found out later – do that, and it works. When dealing with the iPod issue detailed above in my other post, I was told by the dealer that the coding for the ULF is different than the coding for the Assist module. They coded it properly wile fixing the other problem(s). Another thing, there are two opions in the coding for BT – one for installation with a pairing button, the other for an eject box. In case you're interested, I bought my ULF from the same person holding the eBay auction for the item above, and then bought an installation kit from (for $165)just to be certain that I had all the necessary parts when I started the installation. You can get by with less than the full installation kit – you need the BT antenna, the mounting bracket for said antenna, the pairing button and its adapter wire. The BT ULF can use the same mounting bracket that the Assist module is using in the trunk, the microphone is already in the headliner, and all necessary wiring is already there. By buying the kit, I ended up with an extra bracket, an extra mic and some extra docs in installation (which can be found online). Installation took me about an hour and a half, the only time I was nervous was when cutting a hole in the console. Screwing that up might have left me with an unsightly mess on the console. I used a cordless dremel tool with a cutting wheel to cut the hole in the console using a template supplied in the installation kit, and all went well! Basically, I was BT'ed for 340 for the ULF and 165 for the installation kit, supplying my own labor. Getting this done at the dealer would have cost me about double. (I also self-installed an alarm kit and had the dealer code it for $75 labor – much cheaper then have it dealer installed! – about $200 for the kit, and $75 to code it. Dealer wanted about $600 to install it for me.) If you already have NAV, the iPod kit won't be an option (at least at this time), but I'd definately think about the BT kit! I did, and I have absolutely NO regrets! Be well, and good luck!

  • Melanie

    As an update to my last post, I called Neo Car Audio in San Diego this morning. The Neo iON is not YET compatible with the HK stereo – but is with the standard stereo, with an adapter. The salesperson assured me that they have had a lot of requests for it for the HK system in the MINIs and “are working on something compatible”. As far as a projected timeframe, she said, “they like to get these things out before Christmas!” I'm not getting my car till then anyway, so we'll see..

  • Melanie

    As an update to my last post, I called Neo Car Audio in San Diego this morning. The Neo iON is not YET compatible with the HK stereo – but is with the standard stereo, with an adapter. The salesperson assured me that they have had a lot of requests for it for the HK system in the MINIs and “are working on something compatible”. As far as a projected timeframe, she said, “they like to get these things out before Christmas!” I'm not getting my car till then anyway, so we'll see..

  • Jeremy

    I have been using the Dension Icelink for my BMW and it has worked perfectly since ive had it. It has great audio and controls and you can still use the ipod controls and screen for when i am stopped or if a passenger wants to use his ipod or operate mine.

    With the Bmw kit i had. if a passanger with an ipod came into the car, we would not be able to use it because of the playlist issue….very annoying.

  • Tom G

    Just to clear a few items up on the Dension ice>Link for the Mini:

    • The ice>Link is compatible with ALL Cooper/Cooper S

    *Compatible with DSP (Digital Sound Processing)

    • Compatible with Navigation Displays

    • Compatible with OEM-Sirius Radio

    • Compatible with OEM-Bluetooth

    As for the Bluetooth/Navigation options, you will need our Trunk Mounted kits in order to retain Bluetooth and NAV voice prompts. Be sure to know your plans up front in order to get the right kit for your Cooper.

    I think this covers all flavors of the Cooper/Cooper S platforms ;P

    Any questions regarding the ice>Link can be emailed to me at or via phone @ 562.595.5153 x115.

  • Megan

    This is probably the dumbest question I could conceivably ask, but will the MINI iPOD converter work with iPod Mini units as well?

  • Gabe

    Megan – not a dumb question. Yes it will work.

  • Russ

    I had the ipod adapter installed in my 2003 BMW 325cic back in August while my car was in for it's 15,000 mile oil service and soon afterwards I started having problems with my alarm going off for no reason. My car has been at the dealership for over a month off and on..I think I've only had it for a week since the end of September. :-( I'm convinced that the problem is related to the ipod adapter but they keep insisting on replacing everything else…the alarm, the control unit, the door latches, etc. Has anyone else had problems with their ipod installs?

  • Race

    Has anyone attempted to install the bmw Ipod interface themselves? Thanks.

  • http://n/a bmw

    A lot of people installed bmw ipod interface themselves – it's not that hard.

  • Steve Madonna

    Will the dealer sell me the ipod kit? I asked my dealer how much the install was and he quoted me $475!!! I'd rather just take a shot at it… 😀

  • Melanie

    I know there has been a lot of talk about the BMW-iPod kit, but as I posted earlier, there is an easier alternative that will soon be available (in early December) to Mini Cooper owners with the premium sound system. It's the NEOiON system. I spoke with them today and it is expected to be ready about the first week in December. Unlike the BMW-iPod unit, their unit does not disable the display and buttons on the iPod itself, so you can continue to see the artist and song information and have full control over your iPod using its buttons. You can also control it by the steering wheel controls. It connects via an 11.5' cable that plugs directly into the iPod. The other side of this cable plugs into the CD changer port on the back of the car stereo, so it's MUCH easier to install and can be done without having to have a dealer hook it up, (with that added expense.) It also charges the iPod as it's being used. The salesperson told me it will probably cost around $209. Since there is no installation fee, it's in total, less expensive than the BMW-iPod kit and offers, IMHO, an advantage in that the playlists are visible to be read off the iPod. The disadvantage is that there is no stereo display, but with the current BMW product it only shows the song numbers and no titles, anyway – so I'm not sure why that's so great… Anyway, I plan to order one and will let you all know what I think of it.

  • Gabe

    It's also pretty much identical to the Dension ICE-Link which has been out for a year.

    Also it's worth noting that the MINI iPod adapter should also be easily installed outside of the dealer.

  • Melanie

    Gabe, Does the Dension allow you to also control the iPod via the steering wheel controls? (the NeoiON does)

  • Gabe

    yes – you can read a full review here and check out the updated version here.

  • Melanie

    Gabe, since my last post, I have just done that…I see what you mean – the NeoCar product sounds just like the ICElink – I'm not sure why I thought they were different. Plus, since the ICElink has been around for longer, it presumably has more of the bugs worked out of it (hopefully!) I was trying to decide whether to get the dock cradle or firewire connector. I do plan on mounting the iPod by using a Proclip product. I also DON'T want my iPod charging when I don't need it to. It seems as though if you get the cradle, then you have two mounts stuck somnwhere in the car – one for the dock and one for the mount you would use when you didn't want it to charge. So, no dock for me. Now, second problem is, do I want to connect it to the back of the stereo or to the CD changer in the boot? Not having ever done either, what is your opinion about the ease (time, hassle factor) of one vs. the other? It seems to me removing the radio would be much more difficult. I have been to the Dension site, but the ONLY model listed for Mini Coopers has the “radio-end” connection. I know I read where another poster got the version that hooked to the CD changer in the trunk. What version is that one? (Most versions listed were for BMWs) Any thoughts/comments much appreciated.

  • Ratphink

    I'm considering this, but let me get this straight first. Since the stereo can only display 99 tracks, your limited to 99 tracks for each playlist? So there's no chance of just shuffling playlist 1 with all your music on it (over 99 tracks).

  • las vegas 5

    Why isn't the 5 series included in the list of compatible cars?

  • John

    I just had the iPod installed in my Z4 and every time I have the iPod connected I hear background noise. Can someone help, BMW does not know what is wrong.

  • Lee Ann Rucker

    I got the icelink that connects in the trunk, I think because I said I had nav. Dension's order page is rather hard to figure out.

  • Mark

    I recently had the IceLink installed in my 2005 BMW with Harmon Kardon system and while it functions pretty well, there are still a few “bugs” remaining. Occasionally, the unit will spontaneously disconnect and revert to the radio. Even more annoying, however, are IPOD clicking and and engine noises coming through the speakers between and during the tracks. I don't know if this is a grounding problem or not. No one at Dension was able to explain, saying that “one will always hear the sound of the IPOD changing tracks.” I hope not. Any ideas out there?

  • John P

    I have a Z4 and the BMW iPod adaptor and am experiencing the background noise as well. Unusable in my opinion — even with background road noise! If someone comes up with a solution, I'd love to hear it.

  • Jason

    I recently had an iPod adapter installed in my Mini Cooper. I plugged in my iPod and got no signal from the stereo. Luckily I hadn't left the dealer lot yet. I brought it back in and they hooked up an iPod that one of their techs had. It worked like a charm. I figured maybe I had some setting wrong or needed a software update. Not the case. My iPod is the new 40GB with the most current software. I've tried plugging in friend's iPods and those work. My firewire at home works for updating and charging.

    I'm not sure what to do…exchange my iPod citing these problems or remove the adapter and get my money back. Have you heard of any problems like this with the 4th generation 40GB iPods?

  • thanared

    hey jason.. got a 40 giger also, 4th generation, just paid bmw 400 large and my ipod wont work.. really sucks

  • Rick

    Maybe I missed something, but according to the apple-site the connector’s only compatible with 3-series newer than 2002. Is this true or is it also compatible with my 2000 3-serie witch does have a multi-functional steering wheel?

  • Gabe

    The Apple site is correct. All other compatibility info is on the iPod site listed at the end of the article.

  • JH

    Recently had one installed in my 05 MCS. Works great. No problems so far. Endless music at my fingertips.

  • Keith

    We’re a 2 ipod family (20GB 2nd generation, and 5GB ipod mini). We got the dealer installed BMW adapter put into our 2004 cooper S, and it works great with the ipod mini.

    The negative is that I can’t connect my older ipod due to the different connector type. Anyone know of a converting cable/device of any sort?

  • Denise Kusel

    Who would have thought that the MINI/Apple iPod link would get us ready in advance for the iPod Shuffle and NOT being able to see the name of the song playing. Actually, I thought I would miss not knowing the song info, but I don’t.

  • MG

    Just had the ipod adapter installed in my 330xi. Question. Isn’t the ipod supposed to turn off (and stop charging) when the car is turned off. I’m worried it will drain my battery if left in the car overnight.

  • Paul A.

    I’m in the 1% (“The first, the dreaded tape adapter, isn’t applicable in 99% of MINIs due to the lack of tape players specced in the cars.”). Had an interesting experience when my MINI dealer tried to install the iPod interface. They 1st said it won’t work b/c I have a CD changer in the boot. I told them to unhook it and see if it works. They then told me it won’t work b/c I have the cassette instead of the CD in the HU. Is this right? If so, are my only options the AUX input or the IceLink+ installed to the CD changer in the boot?

  • rich

    What about iriver users? I’d like to connect my iriver mp3 player into the mini’s stock CD HU. It has digital in/outs. Do I need to order and get installed an aux switch or is there a digital input in the back of the HU? I’ve been searching everwhere but can find very little info on the HU. Thanks to anyone who can help.

  • Gabe

    Rich – your only option (other than an FM transmitter) is the AUX port from MINI. There is no standard input on the back of the HU.

    The upside is that it’s only around $35-$50. The downside is a lack of charging and HU control.

  • Al's Z4

    The third-generation IPOD must have software v2.2 or later or iPod mini software v1.1 or later. However, for the Z4 owers like me with the Preimum sound, it will not work. A few custom shops can come up with a rig but watch out if you have a warranty. You won’t have full functions of the iPod thru the radio/stereo. You’ll have to manually change the ipod itself. The FM transmitter is crappie. I spoke with a tech and he stated if you have bluetooth in your car, you will get interference on it and on the radio when using the iPod in FM mode. Don’t know. I’ll wait for BMW & apple to come up with a real fix.

  • Deandra

    hi was that your i pod mini because most of them have the poine edges and that one does net look like that please tell me

  • Deandra

    is that a mini ipod because most of them have the pointe looking edges is that true or thats just the picture please help because i was going to get the ipod please help me thanx

  • JamesH

    If anyone wants info on how to install on a 3 series business unit with Bluetooth phone – Take out BT connection from radio turn it 180degrees and then take out pins from connector from ice link and insert upside down to how they were into the spare sockets on the bluetooth connector into the radio and hey presto, the phone and the ipod work, this took us about two hours to figure out, I wish dension published useable instructions….

  • Paul A.

    I now have a copy of an internal bulletin where the subject is “MP3 Player will not work on vehicles with an In-dash Cassette Radio” This is an OCT 2003 bulletin, so presumably it was for the AUX input, but seems to also preclude the OEM adapter from being used.

  • Stuart Diamond

    Ihave a BMW330 -04 and a new razor v3. My Bemer service today told me the bluetooth kit is in and it’s not the phone as much as the service (sort of makes sense). I just gave up sprint which I own stock in because of their rediculus customer service ( where they must be trained to lie) (miss the great reception though) i live in s.e. Florida any advice would be appreciated, by the way I have the Ipod connection and it waqs wort waiting for.

  • Eric Lavoie

    There is rumour going aroung that the 2005 Cooper S will come with the Aux Audio Input standard, can anyone confirm ? I am anxiously waiting for my new car in replacement of an 2002 Copper and want to know if I have to by the extra connaction or not.

  • Gabe

    It will continue to be available as a dealer option but it will not come standard to the best of my knowledge.

  • John

    I’m having the same 3rd Generation 40GB Ipod BMW Interface problems that have been mentioned in other posts. Had it back to the dealer – they couldn’t find any problems. I’m ready to start trying some grounding with the connector to bleed off the noise. the system works great other than that tape deck noise!

  • John

    Does this unit work with the old style ipod? I have one of the early ones that does not have the single plug connection on the bottom of the unit — it has a wirefire connector on top of the unit. Is there an adaptor that enables this technology to work with the older style ipod? Thanks!

  • Gabe

    John – unfortunately there is no way to use one of the earlier iPods. I’d either recommend upgrading or looking at what Dension has to offer.

  • Boutros

    I have the MINI iPod interface in my 2002 MCS. It almost works and when it does, it sounds great. The problem is the audio drops out for 1-3 seconds per track in the RDN (random) mode. The iPod continues to play (the song has moved on when the audio returns). I have played a 40 gig iPod Photo, a 20 gig 4th generation click wheel iPod and a 4 gig iPod Mini and all have the same issue. I have had it back to the dealer several times. They replaced the entire interface without curing the problem. They replaced the head unit but it displayed error messages. Now they want to remove the interface and refund my money.

  • Hammarskjold

    I have a 2002 325i with a Harman Kardon sound system. My iPod works well — except in random mode.

    In random, it cuts out almost every song for a few seconds, returns, then cuts out briefly before resuming play.

    The dealer replaced the connector once, but the problem remains. To confirm that the problem wasn’t my iPod, I borrowed a friend’s new iPod — it just arrived this week and also has the latest firmware — and the unit would cut out only while on random.

    The dealer claims no one else has had this problem while in random mode. How about anyone out in Webland? Any suggestions? Would it be worth it to get a car stereo place to check things out? My car still has warranty left, so I’m a little leary about this, although it’s been a few months and the problem persists.

    Many thanks!

  • boutros

    Hammarskjold, I am both releived and sorry to read your post. It describes exactly what I am experiencing. After my last posting, I reported this to MINI Customer Relations and Services. They forwarded my email to the Service Manager at the local dealer. when i contacted him directly, I was told me to rest assured that removing the system and refunding the cost was not what he wanted to do. He is placing a PUMA (?) report with BMW to research the issue. I think the problem is either the BMW firmware or the head unit.

  • Hammarskjold


    Perhaps there’s a solution at the Bimmer forum listed below. It’s the BMW iPod installation instructions from July 2004.

    The way I understand it, the installation might not have been done exactly as per instructions, such as removing pins from some location numbers and insterting them in DIFFERENT locations. The relevant instructions begin at No. 10.

    What do you think? I might take these instructions to the dealer and see if they can double-check all connections. It’s possible that with just 1 wire not in the right spot that the iPod and the HK unit can’t communicate properly, hence the problem in random mode. Weird thing is I didn’t notice your problem before posting mine!!!

    You wouldn’t believe — or maybe you would! — how much time I’ve been giving to finding a solution. As a tech told me recently, they get all the bulletins but never really work with iPods and such on a daily basis, so it’s hard for them to master everything quickly.

    Here’s the address to check out:

  • Boutros

    Hammarskjold: Thanks! I will definitely visit the dealer with this information within the next few days. I have a Mini Cooper with the stock radio, not the HK but I was told the interface is the same as the BMW interface. If nothing else, it can be a starting point for them to contact BMW. I agree that the low frequency of iPod interface installs does not build up a comfort level with the process. I will post the results of my visit to the dealer.

  • Wilson

    I have scrolled thru this thread and have not found out the answer to this question. Can you install the IPOD adapter as well as a AUX Input in a H/K MCS Head Unit. Oh, I also have the NAV. Thanks

  • Boutros

    Hammarskjold and other interested parties, my issue has been resolved! The reason the iPod was having audio drop outs in the RND mode was simple and somewhat embarassing to the dealer that did the install. They never disconnected the 6 CD changer in the boot. The iPod Interface connection replaced the 6 CD changer wiring harness at the head unit but it needs to be disconnected at the changer as well. They pulled the plug on the changer in the trunk and everything now functions as advertised!

  • John Alteen

    Hi, Just received the BMW/i-pod adapter for my 2003 330I. The only probelem is that there a zero install instructions included. Can ayone help me with the wiring instructions here?



  • Hammarskjold

    For anyone interested, my iPod is working properly now! As in Boutros’ case, the dealer didn’t disconnect the K-Bus line going to the CD changer in the trunk. This is crucial for your iPod to work properly. When the dealer did that on Tuesday morning, everything worked A-OK. And that’s music to my ears.

    For John, it sounds as if you want to do a self-install, which is courageous. Here are links to the BMW instructions and to instructions from a private citizen (I believe in California, as there’s a phone # with a 714 prefix):

    Just remember that if you have a 6-CD changer in the trunk to disconnect the K-Bus cable on the back of the radio and in the trunk.

    Good luck!


  • tim

    John, You can also just ask the bmw dealer for a copy of the instructions. The box says for them to give you a copy of the instructions. If you email me, I have scanned the instructions into pdf, which is a bit clearer than the one posted on the link above.

    I agree with the above review…it is nice to have it integrated.

    Does anyone else find that the converter box is noisy though? it sounds like a loud cd changer.

  • John Alteen

    Thanks guys, I think I have everything I need to tackle it now. Im sure you’ll be around if I need ya…

    I’ll let you know how it works out….

  • Bob

    My my iPod adapter in my new 2005 Cooper S worked great for the 1st 2 weeks with my iPod mini. Today it worked in the morning with out any problems. This afternoon the ipod no longer shows “MINI” when its plugged into the adapter and now does not work. I’ve reset the iPod and still no luck. Any ideas to get it up and running again? Or do I have to take the MINI to the dealer.. yuck.

  • Bob

    The iPod adapter for the MINI Cooper seems to have failed in some way. Plugged some of my friends iPods and they don’t work either. The iPod does get power from the connector but the car stereo does not see the iPod attached.

    So its scheduled for a checkup at the dealer. Bummer.

  • Robbie

    I have a similar problem Bob. I just got the iPod adapter installed today in my 2002 MINI Cooper and it doesn’t recognize that it is plugged in. I have also tried to reset it, even through a reinstallation process and still no luck. I hope that we both find the source of the problem from the dealer.

  • Bob

    The dealer could not find anything wrong with the iPod adapter or its wiring. They replaced the car stereo and the iPod adapter worked fine.

    Lucky the whole thing was still under warranty, otherwise that little swap out would have cost $502.

  • Brian

    Gabe or anyone else out there:

    My MCS with the HK and Ipod Adapter is coming in this week and I need to know how to set up the playlists.

    1. Is the protocol the same as the BMW – do I use the same naming convention (BMW 1) or is there something special for the MINI?

    2. Will the adapter recognize a “smart playlist” or just the regular “drag and drop” playlists?

  • Bob

    Brian ~

    The prefix for your playlists is “MINI 1”, “MINI 2”, etc.

  • Betsy

    I have a 2005 Cooper S that came with the ipod adaptor, I have an ipod mini, it had been working fine for about a month but now when I try to play it, the readout on the stereo system continually says “no disc”. Do you think something happen to the connector? If I unplug the ipod it works fine.

  • Peter Wiltshire

    I’ve read through most of the notes hear, but still can’t be sure whether I can use the official BMW ipod adapter in my Mini as I have SAT NAV and HK – I don’t have a CD changer. Can anyone help me?

  • Janner

    I have a 3-series BMW with Bluetooth phone. I have an dension icelink running firmware 2B1 which shows track names (ID3 tags) on the radio: it’s great. Except when the tracks change or the track name scrolls across the radio I get loud popping or clicking; the noise isn’t through the radio and doesn’t occur if you disconnect the bluetooth phone.

    Anyone else with this problem? Anyone with a solution?

  • Dede

    I picked up my 2005 MCS last Wednesday (yeah!!!!)with HK, Nav, and iPod adaptor and so far, everything works wonderfully.
    Great sound quality from stereo and iPod, and Nav is functioning well. While it’s correct that the stereo only displays tracks 1-99, it seems that it will play all of the songs on the iPod. I scrolled up to song 248 and the stereo kept forwarding and playing the next track. Don’t know if it will play all 10,000 iPod songs, but must say that hitting the forward button on the stereo became tiresome quickly. I have the 40GB iPod photo. I change the order of the songs on MINI by re-sorting them in iTunes – but there is also a “random” mode on the stereo that I haven’t played with yet. P.S. I live in the Bay Area and ordered from South Bay Mini in Torrance, CA (no markup over MSRP and 12 week delivery). HK and Nav were factory installed but dealer installed iPod for me. Apparently South Bay Mini did a great job.

  • PD

    Does anyone know if the ipod is supposed to pause/turn itself off and stop charging when the ignition/car is off?

    I am worried that the BMw dealership in the UK hasn’t installed it properly and that it may result in a flat battery if the ipod left in the car and continues to charge.


  • Daniel


    I’ve just ordered an 05 MCS with Nav. With the iPod connected, do you see the track names through the Nav?

    Does anyone else know?


  • Fernando Birra

    What about using an archos player or recorder instead of the OEM CD changer?

    All the features from the IPOD-BMW set plus:

    • ID3 tag information display on headunit, NAV display, OBC, MID.

    • Virtual CD changer magazines (not limited to 5-6 playlists)

    And all this solution is free and the interface can easily be built by anyone.

    Check here:

  • Newbie

    Anyone got word on how the iPod works in conjunction with the 2006 BMW 3 series. Looks like it’s only the audio-out of the iPod goes into the aux input jack in the armrest. This sucks though…no control of the iPod…any way to get the control you had in the 2005 with the interface adapter. My thoughts are if you don’t have the cd changer, there should be an open input in the stero for use….anyone tried the adapter set up as they did in the 2005? Looking for help…..Thanks

  • Dave

    Hank Aaron Mini in Atlanta wants $150 to install the iPod adapter. Is this ‘fair market value?’

  • Rabbit Louis

    Just perused the thread re: interface of iPod w/HK in Mini Cooper. I’m using a 3G iPod in a 2005 Cooper S. After a couple of weeks of smooth operation of all functionality, I began experiencing problems with the Random mode function – stopped working, malfunctioned, etc. Lo and behold I believe I solved the problem by undoing the lock mechanism on the top of the iPod unit, which I activated a while back thinking it would keep the iPod from receiving any false manual input while bouncing around in the glove box. With the lock function turned off again, Random play resumed proper functioning through the HK/in-dash control panel. Sidebar: initially I nearly velcroed the iPod in place in the glove box, but thankfully figured out that the best solution there is to slip it into the little pocket on the inside of the glove box door panel. Happy motoring!

  • Rabbit Louis

    oops — should have mentioned that my random play problems described above only occurred on playlist 6 mode – i.e., when playing my entire ipod library (36gb & over 9K songs)… just to clarify!

  • busternme

    Interested to hear more about iPods suddenly not working. I have an iPod mini and had the interface installed in my 2005 at the dealer before taking delivery. Worked great for the first few months and I took to leaving it in the car over night (with no problem with the car battery). Suddenly the iPod did not get recognized by the interface. Other odd things wer that the iPod woudl start to play once it was fully charged in the normal AC charger, and it stopped holding a charge for more than an hour. I just got a replacement iPod from Apple, which I have to format and load.

  • busternme

    The replacement iPod doesn’t work in the Mini Cooper either. I won’t leave an iPod plugged into the car any more – not because of concern for the car but because of concern for the iPod.

  • RedRedZimmer

    Hey guys… fitted my 2003, 320 with the BMW IPOD adaptor yesterday evenning, with a little help from my local dealer… and their special terminal removal tool the whole proceedure took around 2 hours. Things you need to know.

    Ask for the upto date instructions from your dealer when you collect your adapter, they seem to change weekly!!.

    The main block on the rear of the head unit will require four pins being removed, you will damage them if you try and you need to reuse them in a different connector.

    My car has the bluetooth phone kit, two wires (black and yellow) need to be removed and replaced in the same position on the new loom connector.

    If you have a CD changer in the boot, you will need to undo the bolts and remove the two clusters of wires found on the back of the CD changer unit, THIS IS IMPORTANT and is not shown in the instructions.

    I am no wizzard at this and following the instructions carefully seems to have worked well.

    My experience so far is that sound quality and functionality are both acceptable although the lack of track information is annoying, and the volume does not compare to the output of the CD changer. Because the IPOD is completely taken over by the car, no volume adjustment is available on the IPOD to remedy this.

    Things that concern me

    Even when the car is switched off, the player continues to play in the glovebox and takes a charge. This, in turn, means that after about 10 minutes the alarm on the car sounds. It seems that a solution to this is to change to radio before switching off.

    If anybody has any other ideas about how to resolve this, please post a reply!.

    Also, the hide away box that the IPOD and the new loom plug into seems to be prone to the connectors falling out.

    I think that some people problems may be down to this.

    I live in the UK. Anybody from anywhere that wants any advice… just let me know, I will help if I can!!.



  • Ivanov

    Anyone knows about the three pairs of jumpers inside the apple ipod adapter? Just opened it and found they’re in the far side from the to-radio/to-ipod connectors and wondering what if…

  • Chloe

    Hi ! I got my 2005 Mini last june (so nice…) I currently use the itrip to listened to my ipod but you know… Do you think I should have the ipod adapter installed ? Do you think a better system will come up soon ? I find it a bit strange that you can only listen to 5 playlists Why not the entire library ?? Not mentioning the fact that the names of song/artist do not appear on radio display…

    I live in Paris and french dealers don’t seemed very aware if the system is really efficient (they just want to sell it…!) or sometimes hardly know how the ipod works…

    What do YOU Pros suggest, please ? Should I do it or no ? thanks guys

  • blalor

    Chloe, I’d suggest you take a look at the Dension ice>Link: Plus. It gives you the option to listen to any playlist, or the entire iPod. If you get yourself a post-April ’05 head unit, you should be able to have artist and track names displayed there, as well.

  • Chloe

    Blalor…merci beaucoup ! I read on the website there are a few dealers in paris

  • Chris

    Hi, I yesterday got my Nov 04 316ti fitted with the iPod interface for my 40Gb ipod (one of the first ones) at my BMW dealership. As above with a few of the other posts I’m getting a horible background interference noise. Today my car is back in the garage and the guys don’t have a clue what’s causing it. My CD changer is completely disconnected apparently and still the noise continues.

    Is there a solution for this problem???


  • Dave

    I have a 2005 MCS with the factory iPod kit and the H-K stereo. I have used the iPod constantly for the past 6 months with no problems. It has not been out of the glovebox for weeks. This is a fantastic solution for playing music in a car. Who cares about track names? You don’t get those with a CD changer, which is what the iPod emulates. I think the ability to control it with the head unit or the steering wheel controls is much better than trying to find tracks on the tiny iPod screen. Much safer to use while driving. Plus, the sound quality with the H-K system is fantastic.

  • Yegor
    What do YOU Pros suggest, please ? Should I do it or no ? thanks guys

    Hi Chloe.

    I have BMW/MINI iPod adopter in my ’05 MCSa. I like it very much, despite some missing features. However there is something else I would like to have. It’s Harman Kardon Drive+Play. I ordered a 2006 MCS JCW and HK iPod adopter, but canceled both orders waiting for ’07 MINI. The HK’s iPod solution just came out and not sure if it’s being shipped yet. I couldn’t fined any reviews, since it’s a new product. On my opinion, this must be the best solution: it’s made by HK and MINI provides HK head units. I would give a try.

  • NIck

    Yes but does this include the european BMW 1 series??? There is no information on this. As i understand it is not sold in the USA… Could this maybe be a reason why it is not made for an ipod???

  • Jason

    I hear an annoying noise (whirring, beepy, weird stuff) between songs and into the first 5-10 seconds of each song. This doesn’t seem to happen when the iPod doesn’t have to access the hard drive. I’m using a 3G iPod. Could this be the problem? Do new iPods do this also?

  • Nick

    I have a 2005 M3 with Harman Kardon/Sat Nav/bluetooth and am considering buying an Ice Link Plus. Has anyone had experience (good or bad) with the Ice Link in this car ? Thanks

  • Richard

    WORK-AROUND FOR BMW IPOD ADAPTER!!! Restore the functionality of your clickwheel, etc., and use your ipod as YOU like in your BMW with the factory kit!

    I have to credit my boss for this (he’s a podder as well), but I was showing him my new ipod/BMW adapter fresh from the dealer last week, and complaining about the ridiculous 5 playlist/entire ipod playback constraints with the new BWM adapter. He was as incredulous as I that they would do this (obviously done for safety concerns), because it renders the ipod little more than a larger-capacity CD Changer and eviscerates the spontaneity we all love about having complete acces to your music library.

    Anyway, we were driving and he started messing with the ipod, and all of a sudden, the main screen came up, with all menus, etc., and the clickwheel functions fully restored! I asked him what the hell he did, and we stopped and worked to replicate the process. After about 5 minutes of trial and error, we figured out the following procedure to circumvent the BMW protocol and allow you to use the ipod fully, with the benefits of hard-wire connection and charging:

    For my 60GB video ipod, you simply press and hold the play/pause portion of the clickwheel, plug in the cord to the base of the ipod, wait for the screen to go dark (while still holding down play/pause), and then press the menu button. Viola! Your ipod now exits the “BMW/Mini” screen and works as normal. We had the radio on, but not on the AUX/CD changer function while we did this.

    Don’t ask me why this works, and I have no idea if it will work with your particular ipod/car, etc., but I hope so. If not for this discovery I was going to return the BMW adapter to be removed and try an Ice-link or wait for a better alternative to come along. For the record, the white Apple pin connector cord is a problem, as it’s not insulated/grounded properly to avoid some electronic noise as mentioned above.

    My set-up: 2002 BMW X5, no NAV, no DSP; 60GB video ipod; BWM ipod adapter. Good luck!

  • James

    I’ve got an late-05 MCS Convertible with Nav, Boost, Bluetooth + MINI Ipod apaptor. I’ve tried:-

    press and hold the play/pause portion of the clickwheel, plug in the cord to the base of the ipod, wait for the screen to go dark (while still holding down play/pause), and then press the menu button.

    but cant seem to get it to work – anyone else tried it? I have an Ipod Nano with FW 1.1 FTR.

  • Barry

    I have a MCS and it works like this …. Turn your radio/CD player on, make sure the ipod is turned off. Plug in your ipod and the screen should display a green battery symbol. Press menu and you have all the ipod functions and total control. I must admit on the odd ocassion it does go to a white screen with a ‘tick’ and dislays ‘mini’, but just unplug the ipod and repeat the above.

  • Vlad

    Hi..How play video on Ipod 30gb connected to Dension Ice-link…I have BMW M3 2001 5th Ipod and Ice-Link…Thank you

  • Spike

    Richard–thank you, Man! I’m a new MINI owner (motored for 902 miles so far) and I absolutely love this car EXCEPT for that dang iPod adaptor. It aggrivates me that I’ve lost so much control over what to listen to and when. I’m really close to asking for my money back on this adaptor but then I found your message tonight. Wow! Is it that easy? I also have a 60GB 5G iPod and I can’t wait to try this myself in the morning.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • John David Dunson

    I just went to the BMW site ( and there is a video showing some “accessories manager” guy using what looks like a fancy BMW navigation system to control an iPod. CD 1 shows all your playlists, and you can use them like normal. And it shows song title and artist name. CD 2 lets you browse by artist, CD 3 lets you browse by album, 4 genre, 5 podcasts, and 6 selects 500 songs at random from your entire library. He also said some BMW that doesn’t have the fancy navigation thingy can access “the same functionality” through the radio. oh, forward, back and volume controls on the steering wheel work too.

    So it looks perfect. The only thing is, he didn’t say anything about the Mini Cooper. I’m supposed to be getting mine in June, so if nobody knows anything, I’ll post an update then.

  • Aris Navarro

    Hi Richard, Thanks for info about the WORK-AROUND-FOR THE BMW ADAPTER!!! It really works… But now how did you extend the factory installed wire so that it will reach the driver-side seat. My wire is only long enough to reach the glove compartment. Does anyone know how to extend the ipod dock connector?

  • Andy

    I had an I-Pod adapter installed recently in my bmw, and it works great. However, now my stock HK stereo won’t turn off when the turn the car off (and remove the key in the ignition). I could walk away from the car for the night and the radio would play all night long!!! What’s wrong?

  • Luke

    Hi All, can someone tell me why my 5G 60 GB vidoe ipod does not work with the BMW audio link? Thanks

  • S1500

    Hey Andy,

    You’re not the only one with the “radio stays on” symptom. I installed the adaptor on my ’02 MCS and the radio now runs independently of the ignition. Really annoying. That, and it likes to shut off after 20 minutes on its own while blastin’ tunes.

  • Paul

    does anybody have the wiring instructions to connect the kit to the bmw business radio

  • Ali Fancy

    For Richard,

    Thank you very much for posting the “WORK-AROUND-FOR THE BMW ADAPTER”. I had almost given up on the IPOD Connection!

    I used a similar method to you (small variations): 1. Start the car 2. Turn the radio on to FM or AM but not CD. 3. Make sure the IPOD is off. 4. Plug in the connector to the IPOD 5. As soon as the battery symbol comes up on the screen, push the “menu” button on the IPOD.

    It works! Full control from the IPOD. Steering wheel functions also still work and you can increase/ decrease volume / change songs etc….

    Also possible to set up an on-the-go playlist and move between songs from the buttons on the steering wheel.

    Specs on BMW 2005 X3, no navigation equip.




    Just installed OEM ipod inteface in 05 cooper and followed the instructions, but now the ipod switches the radio off after about 15-20 mins of play,it also does not turn off with the ignition key. Did i do some thing wrong with the install, called the bmw dealer and they said they never have that problem when they install them, help!!!! thanks andrew

  • andrew wilkins

    just re-checked all my wiring for about an hour,it was correct,re conected everything and still the same problem,then i checked the fuse panel in the drivers side footwell and found a 5 amp fuse for the radio had blown must have been while i installed the interface put the spare fuse in and now the radio turns off with the ignition and i suspect i will not have the ipod switching off after 20 mins of playing hope this helps anyone with the same problem andrew

  • Steve

    This site has the best option for getting an Ipod in a Mini or a BMW. I is a simple direct hookup that charges while it plays and allows you to completely control the Ipod using the actual Ipod or by using the radio buttons. The hookup is very simple – it just attaches to the empty 6 CD changer outlet typically in the trunk or under a seat so you don’t have to take out the dashboard usually to hook it up. It’s the best deal out there and a snap to hook up and use.

  • http://link taufic

    i just have a question for those who have hooked up their ipods on the stock head units. i have an 03 bmw 330i, w/o dsp/ w/o a cd changer, w/ a harmon kardon system. im planning to connect a 30 gb ipod to the stock head unit but am so confused with the tons of aftermarket connectors out there. i saw one running at $100 at a local best buy store in southern california. its iSimple ipod interface for 1997-2005 bmws made by peripheral electronics. does anyone know if this specific connector works on an 03 bmw 330i? if no one has encountered such a product, would anyone suggest a good connector at that? the one with the least complications? would anyone suggest just hooking up a cd/mp3 changer(alpine cha-S634) rather than an ipod interface since ive read a lot of electronic problems with the ipod and head unit? or maybe just simple changing the whole head unit to lets say an alpine 9857 so there wont be a risk of any electrical/electronic issues?

  • dave

    I am trying to find out where the cd changer cable is on the Mini Cooper S Convertible with HK HU. Anybody know?

  • Victoria

    I’m currently waiting on the 2007 328xi coupe and I was wondering if it was worth calling up my dealer to ask if they could install something to connect my ipod to the cars music system. But i do have the navigation system and was wondering which people think would be the best option for me. But I live in L.A so, by the sounds of it, the FM adapter doesn’t seem like it would be too good, which is a shame cause at home in my mini its fine. But please if anyone has any ideas, they would be appriciated!!!! Cheers

  • Doug in LA

    My question is opposite of anything above (I think). I bought a used 2004 325i with iPod attachment dangling in the glove compartment. But my AM radio reception, which I use while commuting, is next to nil. The dealer says it is that way because the previous (original) owner put tinting on the rear window, covering the built-in radio antenna. Is he telling it like it is, or is the installed iPod, which I will never use, cutting off the AM signal?

    Right now my solution is to wear a headphone radio, which gets stares, and the reception isn’t that great.

    Any way to bring the AM radio signal into my car without costing very much?

    Thanks! Doug in LA

  • Tommy

    Hi all,

    I have recently purchased the BMW Ipod connector interface from my local dealer and I am having problems installing it. I have removed the head unit and connected the white cable at the back of the head unit but there is nothing happening!

    There are three small cables which look as if they should be connected somewhere but I am unsure as to where???

    Can anyone help? My car is a 2001 mini cooper.

  • Craig

    I’m plagued with electronic on my OEM iPod interface. Not loud, mind you, but very annoying. I have a 2006 MC with dealer-installed OEM BMW/MINI iPod interface and with 2 iPods–3rd gen. 40 gig iPod and 2nd gen. Nano iPod, I hear (like Jason) an “annoying noise (whirring, beepy, weird stuff) between songs and into the first 5-10 seconds of each song.” Both iPods do it, but I notice it more with the 40 gig than with the 4 gig iPods. Are otherd hearing but tolerating this sound? I hate to. Mentioned above is an inherent flaw in the white cord design (” the white Apple pin connector cord is a problem, as it’s not insulated/grounded properly to avoid some electronic noise”). So does BMW / MINI have a solution for this since 2006? Or should I tolerate the noise. It’s just subtle enough that non-audiophiles might not even pick up on it until you pointed it out. Are there cable upgrades since 2oo6? Are other OEM users hearing this sound? Or not? Should I ask them to rewire or upgrade the wire? Thanks, Craig

  • NiKo

    IT BLOWS!!!!!! People with over a gig of music will never find the track they are looking for.

  • Samantha

    I recently bought the ipod adapter for my 2001 330i. Does anyone know how to install it? I cant find intstructions anywhere!

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