Using a Hard Drive / Large USB stick in a Volvo

Does anyone use a hard drive or large USB stick to play music files in their Volvo.

We’re just trading our BMW X1 in for an XC40. The portable hard disk unit with about 17k tracks that works in the BMW wasn’t recognised in the Volvo. My online reading suggests the limit is 15k files. I’ve now slimmed down the contents (FLAC files). Is there hope that this will work? What do you use?

My Ford only recognises ~4k files, it just seems to ignore the extra tracks, but will play the others. In the end I wrote a script that syncs the drive from my master music source, and ignores a load of Artists that I list in a file. But that’s a real pest, as if I buy more music, I have to decide which artists take the penalty.

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Bumping this to the top as I’m still in need of inspiration & help! Car has arrived and I’m without non-radio music.

The slimmed down hard disk still wasn’t recognised, nor were a couple of small memory sticks with MP3 files on them. There’s no error message when I plug an iPod classic in, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to look at or play the files.

Both issues could be down to the usb c / a adapter cable, but I doubt that as it worked in the X1.

My other avenues are swapping my phone for a much larger capacity one, or try a different type of mobile player.


Should just work according to Volvo!

I just googled into the Volvo online manual. Sounds like you’ve read that, as it lists the 15k files limit.

Looks like a specific (white) USB port must be used for AirPlay, but that’s not relevant here. Ports on rear of tunnel can’t be used at all.

According to Volvo you just plug in the device then use their USB app as player.

For an iPod there seems to be a different dedicated app.

I take it these apps aren’t finding anything with your USB stores connected?

Thanks, Iain. As you say, I’d looked at this, but hadn’t spotted the bits about Media Player. I haven’t seen this on the central console, so perhaps it needs downloading. I’ll have another look for it! That sounds a little more hopeful for getting the iPod working.

The online info doesn’t really give any info about what type of files it’ll play - FLAC, MP3 or Apple (lossless or otherwise).

No idea, sorry!

You can see in the online manual there’s an “Applications” view

Shows USB and iPod apps among others.

Edit - found this
Swipe from right to left across the centre display’s screen in order to access the app view from the home view. Apps that have been downloaded (third-party apps) and apps for embedded functions, such as FM radio, are found here.

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Its probably of little help, but I have had no problems playing files from CD rips in VW cars (a 59 plate Golf - and more recently several Scirocco’s), from a USB Stick. The VW thinks its a iPod…

The only problem I had was with my current 16 plate Scirocco -

I use an ipod touch in my xc40… initial connection is found on the left menu of the sensus panel along with radio funtions. Once you activate the ipod option it connects automatically from then on… Does your xc40 run sensus or andriod auto which volvo have switched to? Sensus is left to right to get the connection option

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I found it too! Mrs B. is out in the car at the moment, but I can try the ipod when she’s back.

Sweet. Hope it works :crossed_fingers:

Thanks, Deeg. I had no idea this element of the menus was there, and the garage certainly made no mention of it. I guess they’re just used to people playing from their phones via bluetooth.
I’m also intrigued as to whether Tidal and/or Spotify can be installed as apps. After that it’s finding out how they use data to download the files.

I just noticed that the manual says for RHD cars to swipe the other way!!!

Why not just say “swipe towards the driving position”…

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Not sure. It’s nine months old so I’d expect it to be the latest. How can I tell?

Native Spotify is available on mine but not checked for tidal. Theres two usb ports below the screen in a cubby hole… you can use either for connection but one has a white boarder, if you plug an applecar play device to that jack you will get an option to switch to carplay and the use the tidal app on the phone

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Does the Spotify require you to have an in-car SIM? I’ve been reading about that but not sure if mine does. I’d guess it must because it has Google maps working.

Not sure how to tell if its running sensus…

These are the three menu panels

If it is but as you have google maps rather than sensus navigation i image its running android.

If no tethered phone then yep you need a sim card fitted, its found under the floor of the boot on mine. They shipped with a vodaphone sim and one was given away with a service each year if undertaken by a volvo dealer but I switched to the 3 network data only sim card as i had better coverage.

Yes, mine must be Android as the screens look totally different. I don’t seem to be able to find a Media Player. I have downloaded and installed both Tidal and Radio Paradise. Tidal worked, at least to play one or two tracks (which must mean there’s some sort of SIM present). RP said it wasn’t working at present - I’ll have to check that one again later.
My son works for Volvo in Sweden so I’ve set him off looking for solutions. He points out that I’m not the typical user and plugging in a source for thousands of tracks is unusual. A large capacity iPhone would certainly work, but I’ll carry on digging and experimenting.

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I messaged the support folks through the website. Their response…

I have been advised the ability to play via USB media was an available feature on models up until the model year 2022. Since Volvo Cars have transferred from the Sensus infotainment software for the new Google Android-powered system. The Google platform allows drivers to perform more functions using voice control, such as sending text messages, setting the temperature, and selecting music which will allow drivers to keep their focus on the road. For Model Year 22 vehicles onwards using the Google Platform, we moved away from USB media playback and have moved to Bluetooth and streaming services, the USB ports are only used for charging devices

That’s disappointing. I’ll have to try connecting my phone and using Apple CarPlay. If that works I’ll perhaps look for a larger capacity phone - I’m probably due a newer one!

In my wife’s car I connected an iPod Touch years ago. It has lots of music loaded on it and it just stays in the car independent of her iPhone, which she can also use for hands free calling and satnav. It’s not a Volvo, but if iOS devices work you could buy a used one with high capacity instead of an expensive new phone.