iOS 4.1 causing in-car USB playback problems?

According to reports in an Apple Discussions thread and in a separate but similar thread on the PriusChat forums, a number of iPhone and iPod touch users are suffering from in-car USB audio playback issues after the installation of iOS 4.1. Affected users report hearing “scratching” or “crackling” noises when playing back music from an iOS 4.1 device over a vehicle’s built-in USB interface, with one Ford Fusion owner likening the effect to listening to a “scratched CD.” The problem does not appear to be limited to any one brand or major manufacturer, and several users have noted that audio playback via the headphone port or Bluetooth works fine. Notably, one user claims that unpairing his Bluetooth connection allowed audio to play over USB without issue, suggesting the problem may be related to having Bluetooth on and or paired while attempting playback. [Thanks, Doug]

  1. This isn’t a new problem. There are a number of issues with USB playback with iPods depending on the generation of iPod that you have.

    For example, and iPod Touch 2G with a USB connection in my Subaru plays music tracks fine but experiences “scratching” on podcasts. My iPod 5G experiences “scratching” on everything. A newer iPod classic doesn’t experience “scratching” on any tracks.

  2. Yet another reason for me to remain with 3.1.3 – to have my in-car use of the iPhone borked by a supposed improvement would end up with the phone bouncing down the road….

  3. My iPhone 4 just started refusing to play anything but iPod tracks when using my Honda’s USB connection. Attempts to play streaming podcasts through iTunes or any other streaming service start for a second then stop as the iPod playback resumes. This began happening immediately after upgrading to 4.1.

  4. Has nothing to do with Bluetooth on. 2010 Lexus RX350 with 2nd gen iTouch 64gb running 4.1… getting clipping noises with bluetooth off, connected via iPod USB connector.

    It has to do with a direct connetion to the playback source via USB. C’mon apple get your shit together.

  5. I thought it was just a problem with my phone. It is really annoying to hear this. I have a brand new iPhone 4 since my last one had problems and a brand new Toyota camry and still have these issues. My last iPhone 4 however, which was on 4.0.1, did not skip at all. They really need to fix this as It is quite irritating. Sound is much better over USB than Bluetooth.

  6. I’ve been having problems with audio via usb since I updated to ios 4.1. Whenever I connect my 3gs to my radio I get audio for about 2 – 3 minutes then it abruptly cuts out. I’ve tried everything to fix this with no luck. I really wish I would have stayed with 4.0.2.

  7. I’m having similar issues. I’m connecting my iphone 4 with ios 4.1 to an Alpine head unit via usb. Before it was a super clean connection; after the update to 4.1, I hear crackling. It seems to be better when I switch the iphone to airplane mode, but I still get the occasional crackle and i obviously prefer to still be able to use the phone.

    Hope Apple knows about this and is looking into it.

  8. I have a 3GS and started having audio issues with my Alpine car stereo through USB connection when I updated to 4.1. I also have proximity sensor problems now. The screen doesn’t turn off when I hold the phone up to my face. The audio problem bugs me more though. I get static sounds and most of the time I have to unplug and replug my iPhone to get the audio to start playing. They should’ve taken a little bit more time working the kinks out.

  9. I’ve not had a problem going from 4.0 to 4.1 (I skipped 4.0.1) on a 3rd gen iPod Touch, but I did going from 3.something to 4.0 on a 2nd gen. This is with the USB connection on a 2009 UK Ford Fiesta.

    I found that it would only work reliably if I switched the radio on before connecting the iPod. It would randomly either work properly, say there was nothing on the iPod, or lock up the audio unit. I still do that with 4.1, so it might be worth trying if you’re having issues.

    I’ve never had any sound quality problems.

    Sounds like it might be a digital audio issue, which might explain why I’m OK. The Fiesta cable only uses the USB port for charging and control, it has an analogue connection to the 3.5mm input for audio.

  10. I have an iPod touch 2nd generation with 4.1 software… I have a USB accessory part # PXAMG by Peripheral Technology, purchased to install in my 2007 Corvette Z06.. My older 60gb ipod video works fine, as does my daughter’s 3rd gen iPod touch with 3.1.3 software… my iTouch would not work at all with 4.0.x, but now will hook up with full control from the radio, EXCEPT the audio plays through the speaker of the touch, not the radio! I get an error message on the touch saying “this accessory not supported by iPod touch”… my daughter’s does not have this message and works great! Seems like 4.0-4.1 is the issue here too?

  11. Same here. Same awful crackling sound after the iOS 4.1 update on my 3G iTouch. 3.1.3 worked flawlessly. I hope they put a rush on fixing this problem.

  12. Apple, please please please fix this. iOS4.1 was not good and we want our audio to function as it did before. If I could downgrade back to 4.0.2 I would not be so upset, but once you update you are STUCK!


  13. I have the same “crackling” noise with my iPhone 3GS playback through my Pioneer headset via USB after upgrading to iOS 4.1. Playback on 4.0 and 4.0.x were fine and clean.

    Didn’t help even after killing every other app off the “multitasker”.

  14. I have the same problem. I’m very unhappy with my iPhone 4 with 4.1 iOS. I too can’t get a downgrade (which is an upgrade at this point) to 4.01 or 4.02 to work.

    So far I can’t find any solution and am starting to get angry. I had spent a lot of money on iTunes for songs before going on vacation only to discover my iPhone can’t do a basic function (yet again).

  15. I have a same problem Ipod Touch 3nd generation with Onkyo ND-S1 terrible crackling noise after 4.1.Impossible downgrade 4.1 back 4.02.

  16. Uhm. I think the crackling sound is lame stock decks. I don’t get any kind of crackling/static sounds with my Clarion VX400. But I am experiencing since updating to 4.1 on the iphone 3g I use solely for song storage now flat out stops playback and seems to disconnect entirely. Need to have it out of glove box so I can see if it actually randomly rebooting or what is going on. On the bright side since I save my hashes I can downgrade the software pretty much as far as I want to :).

  17. Beyond a poor quality problem here. No audio through USB car stereo connection after 1 minute, although the iTunes selection continues playing in iPhone. This is in a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ where the USB into a Bose system worked fine until 4.1. Advanced to a Senior Advisor at Apple because of continuing Bluetooth headset issues after 4.1, who said he had spoken with GM dealer yesterday and was told GM knows about the issue and is working on fix in affected vehicles.

  18. Well, this is kind of neat. I just received an e-mail from Apple stating that my thread on regarding this issue, even though “These areas are intended to address technical issues about Apple products.”

    I’m sure we’ll all have to live with this for the next couple of weeks until 4.2 comes out.

    This is my first and last Apple product.

  19. ^FIXED

    Well, this is kind of neat. I just received an e-mail from Apple stating that my thread on regarding this issue was deleted, even though “These areas are intended to address technical issues about Apple products.”

    I’m sure we’ll all have to live with this for the next couple of weeks until 4.2 comes out.

    This is my first and last Apple product.

  20. good to hear I’m not the only one having issues. My iPod Touch 3rd gen worked perfectly fine in my trucks stereo over the usb connection before upgrading to 4.1. Now, while playing a song, it’ll cut in and out at random times. I’ve verified that my kids iPod nano plays fine. I’ve also verified that my iPod touch plays fine when docked elsewhere over the USB connection. Strange that it’s only affecting playback on my Pioneer head unit. Is there an easy way of reverting back to 4.0 for the time being?? Thanks!

  21. I have a 3g ipod touch and a pioneer avh-p3100dvd before 4.1 it played great after I get a skipping and crackling. I took it to an apple store they tested it and replaced it under warranty I got home with the new one and it does the same thing. So it does not seem to be player specific, but more of an overall usb playback problem.

  22. Same problem. Worked fine in my car, I downloaded 4.1 and ever since the music crackles and sounds awful. This needs fixed NOW. Apple has killed the reason I have and iPod in the first place. I have a 32G Ipod touch, no bluetooth so that is not the problem. Not a happy camper.

  23. same problem pioneer avh4100
    music skips and makes me really mad
    thanks for the corrupt update apple that just rendered my ipod virtually useless
    i guess back to cds for me
    ps if anyone figures out how to fix this please tell me
    this is a tragedy in my book

  24. I have a feeling the clipping sounds and the shuttoff of sound on GM cars has to do with something Apple has done to try to fix low volume playback complaints. Somehow the signal back to the car’s playback system may be so overdriven than the GM cars simply stop playing it, and the others actually make the crackle and pop sounds that GM’s system is trying to protect from. If so, the fix shouldn’t be too difficult. I would think they just have to turn the gain down a bit.

  25. I have similar issues. I have talked to tech support and went in to the Apple store today. I made them swap out the unit and with 4.1 on both units I have identical problems with both units. It is not related to hardware but IS a software issue. Apple’s stance on this issue of “we don’t care what problems we cause our consumers” needs to stop. All of my interfaced devices are less than a year old and everything worked fine before the update. With my Pioneer AVH-4200 I get periods of 2-6 seconds of random silence at random intervals. I have tried all settings possible. I have the same issues with my Bose dock. It is not a minor annoyance; it is an unusable audio device.

  26. USB interface to Pioneer Receiver drops all sound after a minute or so of playback. All displays (TV, Receiver, and iPhone) indicates playback is running fine.
    Tried with both 3GS and 4 phones. Confirmed problem with Pioneer technical support.

  27. “Apple’s stance on this issue of “we don’t care what problems we cause our consumers” needs to stop.”

    Guess you have to ask yourself if having a device which allows you to play your music smoothly is more important than having the latest bells & whistles that iPOS4 brings to the table.

    iPOS4 basically crippled my 3G iPhone and thankfully I was able to go back to 3.1.3 with no problems.

    From the minute Jobs uttered his brusque response to the attenuation problem it was obvious that Apple don’t give a damn.

  28. I have a Lexus LS460 with a usb adapter. I have used an iPod Touch and an iPhone 4 with the adapter for months with excellent results. As soon as I updated to ios4.1, the sound quality went to hell in a handbasket (scratchy and crackling noise to the point where I can’t stand to listen to it). Please fix this right away, Apple!

  29. I am glad to hear that it is not just my problem. I was heart broken today when my iphone 4 seemingly took over my camry, audio streaming music, and not allowing my ipod to play like usual. I couldn’t figure it out, and spent a couple of hours reading through my car manual and resetting my iphone and ipod!

  30. Anyone that is having problems getting their devices to even connect to their deck try Hard Reseting your device while plugged into your deck. It doesn’t fix the Crackling and Skipping noises but it does in some occasions allow you to connect to you deck again. Fixed the Error 16 for me on my Pioneer deck. Good Luck

  31. Same issue here with 3GS and 2010 Nissan Altima with non-nav factory Bose. Worked perfectly until last week when I finally upgraded from 3.1.3 to 4.1. Songs/podcast now skip and after3-5 minutes sound just cuts out but sceen on dash still shows couter moving as if song or podcast is playing. Come on Apple, get on the ball and get this fixed.

  32. I read a (sort of solution) for the problem. The solution stated that the problem was stemming from the way in which iTunes 10 was handling the iPod Sync. So I downloaded an old version of iTunes (iTunes 9.2) which solved the problem for some (not all) of the skipping in playback. It still happens in some song but it has been dramatically reduced.

  33. Just had a new Pioneer AVH-P3200DVD installed with lots of other things to go with it (speakers, subs, amps). Sounded great until I hooked up my iPod touch. Husbands little Nano works fine with it, kinda wish I didnt upgrade to the iOS 4.1. I always just cancel that stupid box when it pops up in my way instead of upgrading. Hope they fix this soon since my whole system cost way too much to have to listen to it with my crappy iPod.

  34. I also have this problem (iPhone4 iOS 4.1). Here’s to hoping iOS 4.2 fixes it. BTW, mine “skips” whether the blue tooth is connected or not.

  35. Both mine and my friends iPhone 3gs have been affected by the 4.1 update. We get frequent buzzing, crackle and short cut-outs of audio when playing music through the USB in most amplified systems, including my JVC car stereo.
    It’s probably a conflict in the new firmware, where something added or changed is affecting or sharing the audio process before even hitting the cord connecting it. Hoping 4.2 has this bug fixed!!!!

  36. Just upgraded my iPOD Touch to 4.2.1 Seed, the problem finally went away…:) Spent $99 to join Apple iOS developer program in order to get access to the 4.2 beta 🙁

  37. I took back my post (#39), the problem came back and getting worse as time goes by :((!!! iPOD TOuch 4G running iOS 4.2.1, Onkyo ND-S1 co-ax or optical input into DAC

  38. An interesting observation. After I powered off iPOD Touch, turned it back on, now the jitter problem seems to be gone again. No idea what is going on! 🙁 Well, at least I have been able to enjoy music without crackling sound for past 30 min…

  39. Well, I think I found the solution 🙂 After upgrading to iOS 4.2.1, if the problem comes back, just reboot the iPOD… it has been 20 hours since my last rebooting, and everything is fine so far… :):)

  40. I have a 4 gig Ipod 2nd Gen. It will not work at all in my 2012 Toyota Camry, even though the manual says it should. When I plug it in via the USB port it doesn’t even register on the display.

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