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Old 09-27-13, 02:32 PM   #1
Lobsterboy
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Default iPod Issues?

My wife is leasing a 2013 Rx350 with the standard audio system and for the most part likes it. However, the ONE thing she wanted most of all in her new vehicle was the ability to listen to playlists on her iPod. That's where the trouble starts.

Yes, the iPod is easy enough to connect. She has an iPod Classic whose software is fully up to date - as verified by the dealer. She has it connected via the 30 pin adaptor into the USB port and it displays just fine on the console. She normally leaves it connected while parked during the day and overnight. All good thus far. However, occasionally, the iPod will start up when you turn the vehicle on, and play for about 15 seconds. Then, the entire audio system will turn itself off. She can turn the audio back on and see her FM, satellite and other audio devices, but she cannot get it to re-connect to the iPod. She has even tried disconnecting the iPod from the cable after these incidents and when she plugs it back in, it still does not see the iPod on the console. The only thing she can do is turn the entire vehicle off - essentially rebooting the entire audio system which does resolve the problem.

So, being the smart guy I am, I went out and purchased an iPod Nano for her. It even has Bluetooth which was easily connected into the system. However, my observation is that the Bluetooth connection does not have the full functionality of the wired connection. She primarily listens to playlists which do not seem to come up via the Bluetooth. So, we went back to plugging it in via the new 'Lightning' connector. This works better than it did with the iPod Classic in that it hasn't crashed once it the vehicle has started. However, occasionally, when she starts the car, the audio system is off even though she left it in the on position the evening before. My question here is whether the iPod's battery drains overnight which causes the audio system to not be able to recover the iPod channel, so it just doesn't turn on. My secondary question is whether turning the car off while the iPod is playing should pause the iPod so that the iPod battery doesn't drain?

We have taken it back to the dealer and talked to the Technology specialist a couple of times and he's checked with other dealers and headquarters but no one else seems to be having this problem.

Overall, the vehicle is great. It looks sharp, drives very nicely, and all that. However, my wife is at wit's end on this. The one thing she wanted in a car, doesn't work how it should. Her feeling is that it's a $50K car - how come they can't get the stupid iPod to work? Me, being a Technology dude, fully expects little issues like this. She doesn't and is about ready to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Apologies for the novel sized post, but am curious if anyone else has had (or heard of) similar issues? Solving this could be good for the prospect of my continued marriage.
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Last edited by Lobsterboy; 09-27-13 at 02:59 PM..
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Old 09-27-13, 02:49 PM   #2
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I kind of gave up on the stock navigation system, as it never works on the first try with my iPhone 5. I just curse at people at Lexus and give it a few reboots via the volume ****. More often than not, I'm half way to work by the time Pandora starts playing. Granted, my wife drives this vehicle as well and there's another phone paired. Never the less, from technological standpoint, it has been a big letdown.
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Old 09-27-13, 03:51 PM   #3
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OP, let me see if I can try to help, or at least give some ideas. I have Mark Levinson in my 2013, so that is a difference, but there are some similarities here...

I have an iPod Classic with 700+ albums and more than 100 playlists permanently connected via the 30-pin connector an also HAD the "the truck looses the iPod" symptoms. It was resolved with an update to the firmware I had done as part of warranty a couple weeks ago. See THIS POST that describes he problem I had and the solution.

On your second question(s)... I have not tried a nano, but agree the Bluetooth connectivity is more sensitive and my perception (but if anyone wants to debate me, I won't play their game) is it also has less functionality than a hardwired connection. I know for a fact the location of my streaming device makes a huge difference, eg if the device is in my pocket, it is more problematic than if I have it on the passenger seat, and what I have next to it in the center console makes a difference as well. There ARE antennas and all that goes with that involved, as you know, so be sure your wife is giving the nano a chance in that regard and not stuffed in her purse with all sorts of metal around it. Anyway, if I stream music from say my iPhone5 or if I listen to music from my hardwired iPod Classic, and turn off my truck, the song will restart at the point (within reason) it was when I the RX comes back on. Same thing if I listen to a song on my iPhone5, perhaps with earphones, then pause it, then without doing anything to the phone, simply start streaming music from it to my RX... The song picks up from where it was. The other part of this question deals with battery draining... I don't see how the iPod battery would be drained if you were streaming music and turn off your RX, as long as you have sleep options set on your iPod properly (has nothing to do with the RX). As far as if it's hardwired... My perception is the truck does keep some connection going with the iPod for some amount of time after you turn the RX off... (FWIW, my former BMW did as well.). The RX has to read in a bunch of the playlist and album info every time you plug it in... Don't ask me specifically what it does read in and not -- I don't know that, but what I do know is with my iPod Classic with the 700+ albums, it can sometimes take 5 minutes or more (20+ mins for some functions like voice control) before some iPod functionality becomes available IF I have disconnected it from the RX and plugged it back in. My MBZ operates similarly... The cars I believe try to act smartly and only rebuild their internal directories of stuff from the iPod IF they believe it may have changed... Be that because you disconnected it, or maybe the iPod battery runs out -- but just turning the truck off should not cause an issue from what I've experienced. The RX also has a lot of sophistication to make sure auxiliary systems don't drain the RX battery so you wouldn't be able to start it ... I'm not sure if that relates to the iPod connection, but would not be surprised.

My suggestion is to push your dealer on if there is a firmware update to the head unit... My 2013 RX450h (again, it has ML and is with Nav -- not sure if yours has Nav or not -- so is a difference from yours), but was made the first week of production back in 2012, and there was at least one firmware update that fixed at least my problem and part of yours...

Hope that helps some way. Good luck. This whole infotainment thing is problematic... Dealers, be that Lexus, BMW or MBZ that I've dealt with over the years always cringe when an IPod or SiriusXM issue come up... Unfortunately, they are the hardest for all of us to deal with on interconnectivity and "where is the problem" sorts of issues.
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Old 09-27-13, 04:39 PM   #4
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I've had issues with trying to connect MP3 players and Ipods to my Lexus RX350. I've tried three MP3 players and three Ipods with no success. The last is an Ipod Nano, and the Lexus shows "no music found". I never thought about waiting long enough for it to read anything, but will try that next. I am now using a flash drive that works fine. I stubbornly want an Ipod to work, but that does not seem to happen.
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Old 09-27-13, 06:36 PM   #5
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...also, just for the record, and not saying this is the case with any posters here... but for future readers having iPod connectivity issues:
  • Ensure your specific model iPod or "i-Device" is supported per your Lexus User Manual. Get on Lexus.com, go to to the Owners section, and then click on the Owners Manual section and do a quick search to find what is supported on your specific model-year.
  • Make sure you have the latest and greatest update to the OS driving that "i-Device" via iTunes. It amazes me how many people over the years don't do that simple and automatic step FIRST, and assume they have a problem with their vehicle.
  • If you're not using iTunes to put and maintain the music on your "i-Device" as some do, you are on your own, and your results will vary. Try the "real thing", ie iTunes FIRST, to reformat and then place the tracks and playlists on your device, then let's talk about what's happening. There are too many variables with 3rd-party alternatives -- some that never come back with a reported solution.
  • When you make your post, please specify your RX model, model year, and if you have Mark Levinson and/or Navigation, along with the specific Apple "i-Device" you are using (Android and other MP3 players not using the true Apple iPod and/or 30-pin hardwired connector have potentially different issues and solutions), and if you are streaming or using the physical 30-pin connector with or without a Lightning Adapter. Those seem to generally be the variables that matter -- at least the ones I can right now remember until someone else chimes in.

IMO, I'm pretty happy with what my 2013 RX450h can do with my hardwired iPod Classic and my iPhone5 physically connected or streaming music. Sure, as has been discussed elsewhere, the interface could look and act a lot sexier (like my MBZ does), but I don't complain too much about music functionality with either of my Apple devices on my 3rd Gen Lexus RX.
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Old 09-27-13, 07:10 PM   #6
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Good notes, BertL. If I were to add anything to your list it would be that after following all your instructions if you are still having a problem to take a look at the cable being used to connect the iPod. Is it some third-party knock-off or is it an actual Apple cable? Have seen some of the cheap cables cause all sorts of headaches in the past.
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Old 09-27-13, 07:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RX330inFL View Post
Good notes, BertL. If I were to add anything to your list it would be that after following all your instructions if you are still having a problem to take a look at the cable being used to connect the iPod. Is it some third-party knock-off or is it an actual Apple cable? Have seen some of the cheap cables cause all sorts of headaches in the past.
YES! Good catch. Those cheap knock-off cables have been plaguing users for years now, and many issues have been resolved with paying a few dollars more for the real thing. TU!
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Old 09-27-13, 08:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BertL View Post
YES! Good catch. Those cheap knock-off cables have been plaguing users for years now, and many issues have been resolved with paying a few dollars more for the real thing. TU!
Back at you...

Have even seen where an old Apple 30-pin cable being used on a newer device, newer but prior to the new Lightning connector, caused a number of gremlins from time-to-time. Newer cables never seemed to cause issues on older devices, just the other way around, and Apple is notorious for changing specs with little notice or warning.
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Old 09-27-13, 08:16 PM   #9
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Thanks, Bert and RX,

My Lexus is a 2013, and this latest Ipod Nano is from Hong Kong, certainly not an Apple. I can't even get it to play songs to the computer now. Think the trash can is a good place for it.
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Old 09-27-13, 09:08 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by nmtomcat View Post
Thanks, Bert and RX,

My Lexus is a 2013, and this latest Ipod Nano is from Hong Kong, certainly not an Apple. I can't even get it to play songs to the computer now. Think the trash can is a good place for it.
If you are buying an Apple iPod Nano from Hong Kong there is a good chance it is not even a real Apple product. If it is an Apple look-alike product it may still be of some use, though will more than likely have limited functionality and perhaps only by using a mini jack audio cable from the headphone port on the device to the AUX port on your RX.

If you cannot afford a new Apple product and still desire one, consider purchasing a refurbished one direct from Apple which comes with a full 1-year warranty. Inventory comes and goes so you have to sometimes keep checking the online store to see what is available. They also make available product several generations old with the same full warranty that you can take to the Apple Store for support help if needed.

http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/ipod

As for your device nmtomcat, I would reformat it and reinstall any music desired. See if it plays through your headphones. If it works that way then get the appropriate cable and use the AUX port for connectivity. At a minimum, any MP3 music device should be accessible in that manner -- just not controllable.
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Old 09-27-13, 11:11 PM   #11
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"Make sure you have the latest and greatest update to the OS driving that "i-Device" via iTunes. It amazes me how many people over the years don't do that simple and automatic step FIRST, and assume they have a problem with their vehicle.
If you're not using iTunes to put and maintain the music on your "i-Device" as some do, you are on your own, and your results will vary. Try the "real thing", ie iTunes FIRST, to reformat and then place the tracks and playlists on your device, then let's talk about what's happening. "

Good advice, Bert. Could you please tell me how to do the above? First, how to update the "I-device" and then how to put the music on my Ipod using Itunes. I buy my songs from Itunes and it sends them to my computer, but then I have to manually transfer them from the computer to the Ipod.

Thanks,

Neal
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Old 09-28-13, 12:08 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by nmtomcat View Post
Good advice, Bert. Could you please tell me how to do the above? First, how to update the "I-device" and then how to put the music on my Ipod using Itunes. I buy my songs from Itunes and it sends them to my computer, but then I have to manually transfer them from the computer to the Ipod.

Thanks,

Neal
Neal, you mentioned previous that your device is not from Apple and as a result it is not an iPod. You perhaps own some other type of MP3 music device. Perhaps it even looks like one from Apple. However, if it does not have the Apple logo then it is just another MP3/music player. While Apple's iTunes software can see third-party devices it can in no way control and work with them as they can iPods, iPhones and iPads. They have no interest in doing such. They want you to not only use their software and services but to also buy their hardware products. The process you are using to copy your music to your MP3 player is probably the only way it is going to happen.

If you post a photo of the front and back of your player we might be able to tell you what you have.

In the meantime, sounds like you need to crack open the Owner's Manual which came with your device. That or find a teenager willing to help you out.
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Old 09-28-13, 06:16 AM   #13
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^^ Yes, ditto to what my friend in Sunny Florida says.

For clarity, just to avoid confusion, references to "i-Device" in my post above is my short hand to say "a supported Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod". I tend to call the real thing an iPod, etc just that -- and any other non-Apple device an MP3 player.

Neil, if you had a real iPod Nano from Apple, the instructions that came with it have you connect it via the provided cable to your PC/Mac and iTunes when you purchased it. Formatting and then transfer of your selected music is prompted and automatic from there. I've really never had any major issues. Apple.com has the user guides if you want to see how it works - HERE is the 6th Gen Nano version if that's what you have -- look at p17 for installation instructions and use with iTunes. You and your wife's lives should be simple if you have a real Nano and do it that way, especially since you buy your music from iTunes.

Any other look-alike or generic MP3 player is a whole other ball of wax -- not supported by Lexus (or any vehicle mfgr) through the proprietary and licensed Apple iPod interface. INSTEAD, there is generic support for such hardwired "non-Apple" music devices on an RX via what Lexus calls the AUX input. You may want to try that. Instructions for connection and use begin on p481 of THIS MANUAL. I personally don't have experience using the AUX port, as I have only Apple devices in recent years, and started trying to assist here when I saw references to Nano and iPod. From what I've read in other threads, some folks have gotten non-Apple MP3 players to work with their vehicles, but IMHO, results vary, just as are the number of possibilities. Lexus or any vehicle mfgr can only do so much creating a generic method to get these devices to work when standards become fuzzy in their implementation by each of the MP3 player mfgrs. The cable thing we've mentioned is a great example -- a 97-cent knock-off from China via Amazon may charge and work in some situations, but there are documented examples where replacing it with the real thing all of a sudden made the device fully functional inside the vehicle.

Continued good luck with resolution! I'm headed out-of-town tonight and will be without my RX for a week, so may not be back on this thread for a while...
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Last edited by BertL; 09-28-13 at 06:23 AM.. Reason: Changed context with iPod possibilities
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Old 09-28-13, 06:50 AM   #14
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Thanks a lot, Bert!

At this point, I think I'm going to buy a new Ipod Nano and quit messing with the MP3 players, used Ipods, and Hong Kong things. If I counted my time, I have spent much more than the new one will cost. I'll let you know how it goes.

Neal
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Old 09-28-13, 08:49 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmtomcat View Post
Thanks a lot, Bert!

At this point, I think I'm going to buy a new Ipod Nano and quit messing with the MP3 players, used Ipods, and Hong Kong things. If I counted my time, I have spent much more than the new one will cost. I'll let you know how it goes.

Neal
I suspect you both will be really happy with a real Nano, especially when you see how easy it is to update it with music/playlists, but BEWARE, now your big decision is what color do you get to suit your wife!
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