iPhone 5 Lightning connector compatibility with cars

Filed under: Apple | 15 Comments

I got an iPhone 5 right after getting a Hyundai Genesis and to my dismay the new phone and new car did not work together. I assume other car manufacturers are in the same boat because Apple did not provide any heads up on the new Lightning connector. The Genesis has an auxiliary input as well as a USB input and Hyundai actually included a 30-pin connector cable that oddly fits into both ports. This worked great with any previous iOS device, you get a digital signal right into the head unit and can control playback through the steering wheel and everything else you would expect.

The iPhone 5 does away with the venerable 30-pin connector in favor of the smaller Lightning connector. A Lightning to USB cable is provided in the box for charging and plugging that into my Hyundai Genesis sent the phone into a repeating loop of trying to connect but never making it. Frustrating to say the least, but at least Bluetooth still worked fine so I had music (but no control, over Bluetooth you have to change the songs on the phone and not from the car which is not safe).

I ordered the iPhone 5 along with the $29 Lightning to 30-pin Adapter at the same time, but Apple apparently put more focus on the phone and didn’t start shipping the adapters until last week. It’s now at a 2-3 week shipping time which I assume means they’re selling like hot cakes (no surprise since at this time there are exactly 0 accessories that are compatible with the Lightning connector…) I have finally received the adapter and am happy to report that there appears to be full functionality with my car–the phone shows it has power and playback is controlled through the vehicle. Success. Your mileage may very, all iPod integrations are not the same and it may only be a certain variety that are compatible. All I know is that whatever is in the 2012 Hyundai Genesis is indeed compatible with the new Lightning to 30-pin Adapter Oddly enough, apparently even Hyundai had no idea if it would work or not and were similarly waiting to get their hands on an adapter to find out. Apple really could have made this transition a lot smoother.

Spoiler: the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter is compatibile with the Hyundai Genesis (and likely other models)

Despite the phone now working with my car, I still think I’m just going to go with an iPod Classic and keep it in the center console. 160GB fits my whole music collection and I don’t have to bother with plugging or unplugging anything when using the vehicle. It’s also nice that with the direct connection music starts where I left off and as soon as I start the car (with Bluetooth it defaults back to the radio and if I have to plug in my phone there’s obviously a delay there too).

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15 Responses to “iPhone 5 Lightning connector compatibility with cars”

  1. Bharat says:

    Are you able to listen to the music from your iPod Classic over Bluetooth, or are you using the 30 pin connector cable with it?

    • JG says:

      The iPod Classic does not include Bluetooth so I use the 30-pin. That does have the advantage though of working as soon as you start the car, something that annoyed me with Bluetooth (where you have to wait for your device to pair, select Bluetooth and then hit play on the device).

  2. Joel says:

    Odd. On my car, I can use the steering wheel controls when may iPhone 5 is connected over Bluetooth. It’s a 2011 Sonata Hybrid with the GPS upgrade, and I’ve had no problems. I’m glad to see the adapter works, though. I was wondering, as it doesn’t provide an analog audio output and I assumed that was what the odd cable required.

    Thanks for trying everything out!

    I do miss having the correct info text display when I use Bluetooth. Maybe I should also switch back to using an iPod (I just so love streaming, though).

    • JG says:

      Volume up/down works, but skipping tracks does not. The much bigger deal for me is the info text, having that is a huge improvement.

  3. rgar98 says:


    Do you think this cable will work with a 2011 Tuscon?


    • JG says:

      I don’t know for sure, but if I had to guess I would assume so. I have tried it with a number of accessories and they all seem to work. The only trouble is for when it doesn’t physically fit (if the accessory doubles as a dock/stand the adapter may not work and you’d have to use the cabled version).

  4. Walter says:

    Hi. I have a Hyunday Santafe 2011, and it seems like the lightning to 30 pin does not work. The radio says connected , but dies not register the phone, no music. Can someone help?

    • Jessica says:

      I also have a 2011 Santa Fe and the apple converter doesn’t work with the Hyundai USB/aux chord. Nor does a regular USB chord very frustrating

  5. Dave says:

    I have a 2013 Hyundai Accent and just replaced my 4th gen iPod touch with a 5th gen. I am happy to report that the 5th gen works perfectly when using the cable supplied by Hyundai and the adapter supplied by Apple.

  6. otoniel says:

    Hola tengo un hyundai accent 2012 quisiera saber si a alguien le ha funcionado el adaptador de 31 a 8 pines para el iphone 5s,

  7. otoniel says:

    Hi I have a 2012 hyundai accent would like to know if anyone has worked adapter 31-8 pin for iphone 5s

  8. Robrob says:

    The 30 pin to lightning works in a 2013 Hyundai Genesis! 🙂

  9. Ian says:

    I have a 2013 Hyundai Sonata and an iPhone 5s. The USB port / Lightning Connector worked seemlessly. until that is iOS 8 was released now my music will only play when it feels like it. I was wondering if anyone else has had this problem and if it something that can be fixed with out getting the 30 pin adapter. Or is there a software upgrade that I need to do?

  10. Pedro says:

    I bought a Genesis 2013 car and used my I-4 phone, and could download my cell phone’s phone book info into the car’s dashboard. When I upgraded to an I-5 phone, I was advised by Apple go to “Settings,” “general,” and press “reset,” and the pair the phone. After 6 pairing tries, it paired. Now my cell phone’s phone book is synched to the car. Works fine.

  11. DARinCanada says:

    All functions work with 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring GLS Sport (with double-DIN head unit) + proprietary Hyundai combined USB/aux-to-30-pin cable + Apple 30-pin to Lightning Adapter + iPhone 5s running iOS7.

    Those not working – are you sure you are suing the genuine Apple Lightning to 30-pin Adapter?

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