Often referred to as an auxiliary jack, the aux input is the most appropriate name for this standard communication port. This asynchronous (non-charging) additional audio port that allows an electronic source to play through your stereo.
Ultimately this allows the driver to connect the following sources to their car system:
- MP3 Players
- Smart Phones
- Portable Music Players
An aux input is a simplistic audio connection identical to the headphone socket. By pairing with an Aux-In cable, the interface allows you to input sound from any media device. The same concept can be applied to computers and TVs, since their Aux inputs allow for externally connected devices to play through. Unfortunately not all stock stereos come with this capabilities, but after market manufacturers have created devices that enable even the oldest factory stereos to be aux compatible.
There are two types of Aux inputs being used in cars. They include the RCA and the 3.5mm normally labeled as AUX or Aux IN. Certain cars locate the Aux on the center console while others place it at the glove box or armrest. The 3.5mm Aux input is the most common type and looks like a standard headphone socket. All you need is a 3.5mm Aux audio cable to go in between the Aux input in order to connect the media player of your choice.
Functionality of Auxiliary Inputs
No matter what type of AUX input you are using, they can only transfer audio data from your media device to your car stereo. As such, you can only play music, podcasts, audiobooks or any other audio file through the speakers. Auxiliary inputs also let drivers transfer audio from other things like phone calls, Spotify and other applications such as Google Maps.
Additionally, the direct audio line from the AUX, provides exceptional sound quality. It is up to your media devices to convert the audio signal from digital to analog because the AUX input only accepts analog sound.
Since Aux inputs only work by transferring data bit by bit, media playback information isn’t displayed on your dash screen. If you’re connected to your stereo only through the aux – you can’t see maps navigation or the song title from your music playlist. Most recommend using a phone mount, particularly for push-button, non touchscreen users so they can use their device hands-free for safety reasons.
Furthermore, no charge is provided to your device while it is connected to the Aux. This input is only designed to relay analog audio signals to your car stereo. It is worthy to note that the AUX cables only connect to the headphone socket leaving the charging port available. (You’re out of luck as an Apple user unless you have a charging mount)