Traveling with a GPS and an iPod


I have recently found myself traveling to new locations that I have never been to before. For these treks, I usually take my Garmin Nuvi 360 GPS which I hook up using my tape adapter. However, this knocks out my normal use of my iPod for music and podcasts on my trip. Perhaps you are like me and would like to still use your iPod while you are driving.

There are several ways around this. Anyone could simply print out directions and refer to them while driving. While this is the easiest solution, it also makes me uneasy in the car when the directions get local or off-highway. If you can easily read directions while you are driving in a town, this might be the way to go.

I could get a new GPS that can control my iPod like a TomTom. This makes me think I should have picked up a TomTom instead of a Garmin. A GPS that permits the use of an iPod is a great idea. TomTom is supposed to be making a GPS that allows you to dock your iPod into it (Link), although, I do not know when it will be available.

Everyone could wait for Apple to come out with its own GPS/iPod device. There were rumors of this device, but no official word exists. This would be very interesting if Apple did indeed create a GPS system. Personally, I do not suspect that Apple would be introducing a stand-alone GPS system, but would expect Apple to integrate GPS into the very popular iPhone. The iPhone already has multiple functions, why not add one more thing?

Hackery is always a solution. Connecting both the iPod and the GPS through a tape deck or auxiliary in. My car does not have an auxiliary in, so I have to use my tape deck adapter. I am sure with a trip to Radio Shack, I could create or pick up a mixer. Connect the GPS into the mixer, connect the iPod into the mixer, and make sure the GPS can be heard over the iPod. A more advanced solution would involve a dock connector that would pause the iPod while the GPS outputs a signal. I don’t know if I have the know-how for something like that, but I’m sure someone out there does.

I have been using another method to ensure hearing the iPod and the GPS. I attach headphones to my GPS and place one earbud in my ear for GPS notifications and plug the iPod into the tape adapter. I have tried using the built-in speaker of the GPS, but that means I have to listen to my music at a very low volume. If anyone has other ideas how to put together an iPod and a GPS let everyone know in the comments section.



The Behringer is much too much for the car/dashboard. I’m thinking something designed for do it yourself videographers. I did find an AZDEN CAM-3 mixer but the output volume is extremely low, too low to use. The idea of splitting the iPod & Treo headphone feeds into a cassette adapter doesn’t work. You’re actually not splitting but combining signals and the just doesn’t work. But thanks for input. Keep the ideas coming.


If you were willing to spend a slightly higher amount of money, then you could buy an entry-level mixer like my (Behringer XENYX 502), a 12V DC to 120V AC adaptop, two 1/8 inch (headphone size) to 1/4 inch cables, and one RCA to 1/8 inch cable. That is really overkill for such a small task, but if you have similar equipment already, then you’re all set.


what would be the outcome if the tape adapter was connected to a splitter. One of the male ends would attach to the Ipod and the other would attach to the garmin headphone port. Also, if the garmin blue tooth was activated would you get Ipod through the speakers along with garmin directions which should both get quieter if the phone was used? that is the way it is suppose to work if the FM transmitter was used without the tape adapter…

If this feasible or too many apples getting in with oranges?


I have a Treo with Tom Tom software/hardware on it in a cradle that has a built in speaker. This works pretty well but I find myself not listening to the GPS guidance at all and just watching the visual cues. This leaves my iPod connected to the cassette adapter as well. I bought an iPhone too and now my Treo is a glorified stand-alone GPS until iPhone unleashes that feature. I have been trying to find an off the shelf mini 1/8″ mixer as well because I want to listen to my XM MyFi, Treo/GPS & iPod together but I haven’t been able to find anything that will work. So if anyone has any ideas please let us know!


Stan, you’re right, road maps have been around for a long time!
I’m not being sarcastic when I say to people with printed directions: Pull over for a moment and re-read the directions, then keep going.
So many times I’ve seen people at traffic lights, reading the very same maps – the light changes – they ignore the frustrated drivers behind them.
To those drivers; you’re NOT losing your place in line! If you pull over, you can calmly make sense of the map, get your bearings, THEN get back into the traffic flow, with a little more confidence and as a safer driver.
I think there’s something to the joke that men refuse to acknowledge that they’re lost.
I drive an old beater unworthy of a GPS system, but as someone who has ridden motorcycles for a long time, I’ve gotten used to the idea of pulling over and rechecking my directions.


Ramón, I understand and appreciate your concern for safety while driving. I was recently hit by someone who was one their cellphone. I know that too much is going on in most cars. But what are we supposed to do when we have to go places we have never been. It is not always possible to remember the directions step by step and not everyone has a GPS that tells you turn by turn. Also people have been using printed directions for an extremely long time. Road maps are sold at nearly every gas station in this country, and that is the same as printed directions. Also GPS devices which display maps cause people to look at them and read them as well.


I can’t believe that you would actually even plant the idea of referring to printed directions while driving, ANYWHERE!!!
I live on a very busy street of San Francisco and the terrible drivers that live here as well as the out-of-towners are visible from my windows doing the very thing you suggest.
BAD advice! There’s enough already going on in most cars. The last thing that they should be doing is reading and driving; along with applying makeup, eating and drinking, trying to attend to children and pets, rolling joints, CELLPHONES, supporting their heads with their left hands and general inattentiveness to their surroundings when they should be paying lots of attention to the road. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye – seen it.

Bill Green

Actually, the iPhone probably does have GPS capability. The FCC has mandated that all phones (since the early 2000’s, can’t remember the exact date) have the ability to find their location and relay that over the network, for 911 purposes.

Most phones – CDMA, especially – use GPS, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the iPhone is one of them. GSM phones, however, tend to use a method called Multilateration to find their location, so there’s a chance that the iPhone lacks GPS…

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