How to Connect Phone to Car Without Bluetooth

Car dashboard with lit-up buttons.

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Bluetooth is a terrific technology you can use at home, work and the gym. One of the best places to use it is in your car. Listening to music or a podcast is an excellent way to pass the time, whether on a cross-country trip or driving across town. Unfortunately, a lot of older cars don’t have this technology. You have to get creative, so follow this guide to see how to connect phone to car without Bluetooth. 

1. FM Transmitter

Among the easiest ways to connect your phone without Bluetooth is by using an FM transmitter. These transmitters have low power and broadcast a signal to your car. Some of these devices go into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter for a power source. Others are wireless and only require batteries and a connection to your phone.

FM transmitters are a pretty simple answer if you’re wondering how to connect phone to car without Bluetooth. Start by turning on or plugging in your transmitter. Choose an FM station on the device and choose the same one for your vehicle’s radio station. Be sure you pick a station your area doesn’t use. Then pair your transmitter with your smartphone and play music. Now, you can jam out to your favorite songs.

2. USB Cable

If you drive a newer car but don’t have Bluetooth, try using a universal serial bus (USB) cable. USB cables are one of the most prominent pieces of equipment. USB 1.0 runs at speeds of about 11 Mbps, but newer versions can reach up to 480 Mbps, so check which one your car can use. You should be able to find USB cables online or at local retailers for a low price.

To use USBs in the car, find where the port is for the audio system. The location will differ depending on your make and model. The dashboard is the most likely place, but it could also be in the console or around the armrest, glove compartment or audio system head unit. Plug your phone into the USB and use the other end into the port. For iPhones, you’ll need an adapter for the lightning port. Then allow your system to access your phone’s music files.

3. Cassette Tape Adapter

Now, let’s talk like old heads with cassette players. Kids these days will never know the struggle of manually rewinding a tape. If you drive a car with a cassette player, you can still defeat the question of how to connect phone to car without Bluetooth.

First, you’ll need a cassette tape adapter. These cords are handy because you can connect modern devices to an old-school setup. Once you have the adapter, plug it into your phone’s headphone jack. Again, iPhone users may need a special plug for the lightning port. After making the connection, find tape mode on your car’s audio system and hit play. Cassette tape adapters bring an old-school feel, making long trips more nostalgic with friends.       

4. Sound Routing

Let’s stick with the theme of older cars. Bluetooth has been around since the late 1990s. Automakers began implementing Bluetooth phone calls in the car, allowing drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and limit distractions. Unfortunately, you can’t play music through this feature unless you find a workaround.

One trick you can use is downloading a sound routing app. This method is easy because you don’t need to purchase any adapter, cable or transmitter. Your car will think you’re making a phone call, but you’re playing music. You’ll only get mono sound quality and not stereo. But this method is an easy fix if you drive an older car without Bluetooth. 

5. Auxiliary Cord

The last method is one of the simplest. If you have an auxiliary or aux cord, that’s the most direct way to connect your phone to the car. Find an aux cord at the store, preferably a long one, so your friends in the backseat can participate. Plug one end of the aux cord into your stereo system and the other into your phone. Now, you can play music after pushing the AUX button in your car.

Methods like aux cords are preferable to Bluetooth because wireless connections can be a liability. Using Bluetooth can make your phone or mobile device vulnerable to cyber theft. Hackers are intelligent enough to hack into wireless connections and can see sensitive information like passwords. Using a wired connection like an aux cord isn’t so bad.

How to Connect Phone to Car Without Bluetooth: Easy Workarounds

You take pride in your car, whether a 2022 or 2002 model. It’s the machine that helps you get around town in style. One drawback of driving older models is that playing music from your phone is harder. Use this guide to see how to connect phone to car without Bluetooth.

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