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      01-29-2009, 09:10 AM   #23
I can't belive this car is a 4 door family sedan.
John@BMW's Avatar

Drives: 2008 M3 sedan, '96 M3
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Atlanta

iTrader: (1)

This should answer all of your questions- Here is the Service Bulletin for the USB/ipod interface- read and enjoy!

This Service Information bulletin supersedes SI 65 08 07 dated May 2008.

designates changes to this revision

USB Audio Interface

E90, E91, E92, E93 *(3 Series) from 03/2007

E60, E61 *(5 Series) from 03/2007

E63, E64 *(6 Series) from 03/2007

E70 (X5) *from 4/2007

E71 (X6)

E82, E88 (1 Series)

*Only with USB Audio Interface (option 6FL)

The USB Audio interface is only available as a factory-installed option and cannot be retrofitted.

The USB Audio Interface allows the connection of compatible MP3 players, such as an Apple iPod (Generation4 or higher), to the vehicle and operates it through the vehicle's audio controls.

In addition to MP3 players, audio files on USB sticks can also be played through the USB audio interface.

Only audio files can be played. Accessing other files such as videos is not possible.

The USB audio interface currently supports the following compressed formats:

MP3 (mp3)

AAC (aac, m4a, m4b)

WAV/PCM (wav)

WMA (wma, asf)

Playlists in M3U format

NOTE: WAV files are not supported in playlists.

It is possible to access all stored audio data directly through a playlist, as well as searching for genre, artist, album or title. However, the sorting and displaying of audio files in the vehicle can only be carried out correctly if all the data stored on the MP3 player (e.g., ID3 tags) contains only Roman characters. Playlists must contain absolute path indications if the audio file is not located in the same directory as the playlist itself.

Storage of the device and first installation

Observe all operating and storage instructions for the device if the iPod, MP3 player or USB stick is stored in the vehicle. It is recommended not to store iPods, MP3 players or USB sticks in the vehicle for any length of time, since extreme environmental conditions (temperature, humidity) may cause damage to the device.

Upon initial connection of an iPod, MP3 player or USB stick containing large amounts of data, audio files can be only accessed through the directory structure of the device. The search by genre, artist, album or title only becomes available after the corresponding file information has been transferred to the vehicle. The performance of an iPod, MP3 player or USB stick in the vehicle (such as duration of synchronization or operation speed) depends on the storage capacity and technology of the device, as well as the number and the format of stored audio files. For example, the synchronization of a USB stick with 8 GB of flash storage can take up to 10 minutes; longer synchronization times could be due to device specific characteristics. During this time, music titles can be selected through indexes and file names.

Should the interaction of an iPod, MP3 player or USB stick with the USB Audio Interface not function correctly, it may also be due to defective or unsupported encoding of audio files (e.g., bit rates bigger than 256 kbit/s).

For questions, please contact your local customer service directly or via email at:

Compatible devices

Due to the variety of MP3 players and USB sticks and their technical differences, faultless operation with the USB audio interface cannot be guaranteed for all devices.

For a list of compatible and/or recommended USB devices, please refer to the BMW USA website:

For more detailed information on how to operate the connected audio device (iPod, MP3 or USB device) through the vehicle audio system, refer to the Owner's Manual.

The message "Incompatible Device" indicates the usage of an incompatible type of device.

IMPORTANT: The playing of audio files from mobile phones equipped with a USB interface through the USB audio interface is not recommended. The receiving or placing of phone calls cannot be guaranteed, because some mobile phone models exclude Bluetooth functionality in conjunction with a USB connection.

NOTE: Charging the device through the cigar lighter should be avoided because of possible audio distortions caused by the cigar lighter.

Apple iPod devices

Identifying iPod models:

iPod shuffle (with flash storage).

NOTE: Can only be connected and used as "USB Mass Storage Class" devices along with a USB cable, if the File Allocation Table (FAT) format is used.

Details for using the iPod as a "storage drive" can be found online:

Information on how to detect the software version of an iPod is available online:

NOTE: When the iPod is connected to iTunes through a PC, iTunes is capable of automatically updating the iPod software. This could adversely affect the interaction of the iPod with the USB audio interface.

Apple iPod devices must be connected to the vehicle through the adapter cable provided (Y cable from 30-pin-connector to USB and AUX-In).
It enables quick access to the iPod's audio files and also charges the iPod while connected to the vehicle via the USB connector. In addition, copy-protected music files can also be played.
IMPORTANT: If the provided adapter cable for the Apple iPod is not used, iPod devices can only be used as a "storage drive" with the FAT format; the operation of iPod devices under MacOS is also not possible.
Refer to the Aftersales Business Development & Marketing BMW Dealer Bulletin 65 04 07. See Attachment A.

iPod devices can be disconnected from the vehicle at any time.

Only the audio content of videos can be played.

MP3 devices

MP3 players can be connected to the vehicle through an aftermarket USB cable.

These devices will then also be charged through the USB connection.

IMPORTANT: Copy-protected music files are not supported for these devices.

Devices with "Media Transfer Protocol (MTB)" cannot be used with the USB audio interface.

This applies especially to devices with the "PlaysForSure" logo. To convert the device into "USB Mass Storage Class" mode, refer to the owner's manual of the MP3 player.

The MP3 player needs to be formatted with the FAT file system. Only the files of the first partition will be displayed.

NOTE: During synchronization of an MP3 player with a PC, the software of the MP3 player could be automatically updated.

This could adversely affect the compatibility of the MP3 player with the USB audio interface.

USB devices

USB sticks can be connected directly to the USB Audio Interface.

On 3 Series vehicles only, the provided adapter cable has to be used when connecting a USB stick to the USB Audio Interface to prevent damage to the USB stick when closing the arm rest.

These devices will then also be charged through the USB connection.

IMPORTANT: Copy-protected music files are not supported for these devices.

USB hard disks and USB hubs and/or card reader with several inputs cannot be used with the USB Audio Interface.

IMPORTANT: The use of USB sticks with an integrated hard disk is not recommended, since tests have shown that their audio quality may not be acceptable.

USB sticks need to be formatted with the FAT format. Only the files of the first partition will be displayed.

Due to the variety of USB sticks on the market and their technical differences, faultless operation in the vehicle can only be ensured through testing the product in the vehicle.

Technical limitations of the USB audio interface

The connected USB device is not recognized and cannot be selected as an entertainment source. This is with the USB device connected at vehicle start-up, or if the USB device is connected with the ignition on (KL15):

Not all USB devices are compatible with option 6FL. Please refer to the latest list of compatible and/or recommended USB devices. Refer to the attached compatibility charts.

For diagnosis of the USB audio interface connection, please refer to SI B65 07 08.

A track cannot be played and/or is skipping:

The file has an invalid format (not mp3, wma or aac), is corrupt, or protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM).

Playlists, genres, artists, albums and tracks on USB devices are not displayed:

Only Roman text characters are supported. Other character sets (Greek, Japanese, etc.) cannot be displayed.

Time period differs for playlists, genres, artists, albums and tracks on USB devices are displayed:

The time period for playlists, genres, artists, albums and tracks on USB devices to be displayed depends upon the number of audio files on the final device. In the case of a device with 80GB storage and 15,000 audio files, for example, this could take several hours.

The iPod can't be fully operated through the vehicle audio system:

For use of an Apple iPod, it is recommended to use the "Adapter cable for Apple iPod" (Y-cable). If the Apple iPod is connected using the USB connector cable supplied with the iPod, the iPod is activated as a USB MSC device. This is only possible if the iPod has been configured accordingly, using iTunes, and formatted using an FAT file system (Windows systems only, not Mac). In addition, no access to the playlists is possible in this operating mode and the DRM-protected audio files cannot be played.

Distortions through the audio system when the device is connected to the cigar lighter for charging:

There are malfunctions and audio interference, if a device is connected to both the USB connector and the 12V socket. Depending on the model, the USB devices may be supplied with power by the USB connector itself. This means that no additional power connection is required, nor is one recommended.

USB hard drive is not working correctly:

Trouble-free operation of USB hard drives cannot be guaranteed. The power supply of the USB is not sufficient for most hard drives. Audio interference may also occur. The use of hard drives is neither supported nor recommended.

iPod 3rd Generation is not working:

iPods of the 3rd generation are not supported.

With the CCC head unit, the browsing history is not stored. For example, if the list of artists is browsed and an artist is selected, the cursor will appear at the beginning when returning to the artists list.

Normal operation.

There are malfunctions if a mobile phone is connected to the USB Audio Interface and paired with the Bluetooth hands-free system:

Some mobile phones deactivate Bluetooth if connected to USB.

Known issues

Intermittent inability to select and/or activate categories such as playlists, genres, artists, albums, and tracks after starting the vehicle with the USB device already connected. This occurs if very few audio files (less than 70) are stored on the USB device:

Disconnect and/or reconnect the USB device, or store more audio files.

During operation, the entertainment source spontaneously switches from the audio device (iPod, MP3 player) to FM radio:

Program the vehicle with Progman V27.1 or higher. Refer to SI B65 30 07.

Message "Reading data" is permanently displayed:

Make a new selection; disconnect and/or reconnect the device; change the entertainment source and change back again; allow the vehicle to enter sleep mode.

Message "No supported audio files found" is displayed when a playlist is selected:

If playlists and audio files are stored in different folders, absolute paths must be used, e.g., /dir1/dir2/track.mp3.

Interference is heard instead of an audio track after a vehicle start with a USB stick connected:

Select a new track manually, or skip forward or back.