Should You Use Your Mazda’s USB Port or AUX Jack for Music?

By Product Expert | Posted in Mazda Technology, Stories of Interest on Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 at 6:47 pm
Benefits of USB Port vs AUX Jack for Playing Music in the Car

Benefits of USB Port vs AUX Jack for Playing Music in the Car

If you drive one of the new Mazda models out there, you’ll have two options for hooking up your smartphone or portable music playing device to your vehicle: a USB port or an AUX jack. The thing is, when comparing the benefits of the USB port vs the AUX jack, neither is necessarily better for playing music in the car. That said, let’s explore the differences between the two options and once we’re finished, you’ll likely find that you have a personal preference.

[Read more: Here’s how to listen to Pandora in your Mazda]

Sound Quality Between Car USB and AUX Jack

Some drivers care little about sound quality, as long as there is no static or the sound doesn’t cut out. Regardless of how you’re listening to music in your Mazda, you shouldn’t have to worry about that.

But because the USB and AUX jack are two different connections, those who do place sound quality as their primary concern may find that they have a preference for the USB input. Generally speaking, a USB connection should provide the best sound transfer while limiting manipulations that could affect the sound quality.

Music Controls Using USB vs AUX Jack

mazda infotainment commander control knobIn either case, controlling your music should be easy. When it comes to the AUX jack, however, you’ll need to use the smartphone’s on-screen controls in order to select songs, change songs, etc.

This might be fine for many drivers, especially those who expect to have a passenger controlling the music that gets played, as they will have more convenient access. Should you use the USB port, however, you’ll be able to use the vehicle’s audio system and steering wheel controls, a convenience for drivers but something not necessarily designed for passengers.

Moreover, in the case of using a USB memory stick, there is a disadvantage. When restarting the vehicle, the system will play the first audio file on the list rather than starting at the point in the song or playlist where it left off. This is never a concern with the AUX jack, since it is completely controlled by whatever you have on your phone.

Use these voice commands to take control of your infotainment experience

A USB Port Can Charge Your Smartphone While You Listen

Though the AUX jack has its own advantages, the one benefit that causes many people to choose the USB port over the AUX jack is the ability to charge their phone while listening to music. This is especially beneficial on long car trips, as you can play your music while keeping your phone charged all through one cord. Plus, you’ll likely be using a cord that came with your smartphone when you bought it rather than having to buy a separate AUX jack cable.

As you can see by comparing the benefits of the USB port vs the AUX jack for playing music in your car, while there is nothing wrong with the AUX jack and it does have its advantages, many drivers will opt for the USB port. It’s just one more way your Mazda is equipped for driving in the 21st century. Be sure to return to the Mazda of Lodi blog for more on life with your Mazda.

9 Responses to “Should You Use Your Mazda’s USB Port or AUX Jack for Music?”

  1. Allen Speck says:

    I just bought a 2017 Mazda3 Touring sedan. When I connect my Android phone via USB cable, most of the time the car’s entertainment system will not play the music on the phone. I was only able to get it to work two times. It will always play the music via Bluetooth, but the sound quality is not nearly as good. I’d like to put my music on a USB thumb drive but I’m afraid it won’t play on the car’s entertainment system.

    Either I’m doing something wrong or Mazda hasn’t fixed this problem. You shouldn’t have to be a computer genius to make your music play in your car. This has been a problem for several years and even very computer savvy people haven’t been able to make it work properly:

  2. I was spoiled using my iPhone and the USB receptacle to listen to podcasts and music from the phone. Now I have upgraded to Pixel XL with SuperSpeed USB and my 2014 Mazda 5 Sport flashes “Check USB” — it won’t play content from the phone. any suggestions?

  3. Barry Young says:

    I just bought a 2017 Mazda3 Sport Hatch. My iPod is an old school Classic (160 gig). When connecting via USB, the audio quality is pretty dead, very compressed and a crappy bass response, even after adjusting bass and treble on the cars “head unit”. Connecting via Aux, the sound is better, louder, livelier, with a bass response that threatens to blow speakers, depending on what EQ is selected on the iPod. Most of the time I find I have to reduce the bass setting on the cars “head unit” all the way down to -6. What gives? Shouldn’t the USB connection give better fidelity? I guess I can live with the aux input for better sound, but then I don’t get track/artist information on the heads up display. What needs to happen to get better fidelity from the USB side?

  4. Lin Marino says:

    Just load your music on a USB thumb drive with a Fat32 format in either MP3, WMA etc format. Works great, you can shuffle the music and the quality is great, album art loads easily. Don’t load it into folders, just upload them as independent files.

  5. dwight says:

    what is the maximum size for the usb device? 8, 16, 32, 64 gigabytes?

  6. Chris says:

    Dwight, I use a 64GB USB formatted using Fat32. You’ll have to use third party software for that. Google Fat32 format 64GB.
    Also, using the AUX input instead of the USB, music from the iPod is MUCH louder!!!! Can’t really tell if it’s any clearer or not.

  7. sabina luu says:

    I have the 2018 Mazda 3 hatchback and the USB DOES NOT CHARGE THE PHONE. This article is inaccurate! I have been told that I need to use an adaptor under the console to charge my phone. Please do not put misleading articles online. Thanks!

  8. Ross Lahlum says:

    I just bought a 2019 CX-5 Grand Touring, and I really like it. I have ripped a lot of my music to .wav files, and then converted them to .flac to save space. I plugged a usb drive with a mixture of .wav and .flac files into the console and it played them all. Great, I thought, I’ll convert them all the .flac to save space. BUT – now that they’re all .flac, it won’t read them. I know, the manual doesn’t say anything about being able to play .flac files, but it did play them when there were .wav files present on the same drive! Anybody understand how that can be?
    If anybody from Mazda is reading this, please get your software to work with .flac files! I don’t want to downgrade to .mp3 just so I can have music in my car!

  9. Shane says:

    2020 CX-5 here, tried using the USB to play music, it reads the folders (albums) and will play the one .mp3 I loaded on the USB. Will not play the lossless files I have.

    Before you go on about “no need for losses in a car etc etc” almost all my files ar lossless for home use. So that’s what I’m dealing with here.

    is there a way to play lossless files on the USB? perhaps I missed a simple step.

    Thanks folks.

    *note, I use .m4a

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