3G iPod car audio compatibility

Q: I have a third-generation iPod and I have a hookup on my car radio, a Clarion DXZ575USB that is supposed to allow me to control the iPod directly from the car radio. However, the iPod that I have is not working properly in this regard—it will let me turn on the iPod manually and play it through the radio, but the controls on the car radio itself do not actually work for the iPod. I was told it needed to be updated as it is a 2.3 firmware version and needs to be higher. How do i update it?  I have restored it and that did not help.

– Rodney

A: Normally, the latest firmware is applied via iTunes 7, or by using a standalone iPod Updater application for older versions of iTunes. A “Restore” will normally apply the latest version of the iPod firmware.

In this case, however, v2.3 is the latest version of the firmware for the third-generation iPod. Clarion’s support site does not seem to provide any specifics on which iPod model is required for their system, although some other dealer sites list third-generation iPod compatibility. Based on the information that your iPod requires an update, it is possible that the advanced control features may not be compatible with third-genreation iPod models.

If you know anybody who has a fourth-generation or later iPod model, it might be worth trying a later model to see if this makes a difference. If a fourth or fifth-generation iPod does not work, then it is possible that the source unit itself or the iPod interface may be the issue, since these features should definitely be supported on later-model iPods.

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