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Jul 19 2010   8:21AM GMT

Using the iPhone4 with the Mazda MX5 (with optional iPOD connector)

MikeLaverick MikeLaverick Profile: MikeLaverick

IF you bought the TomTom iPhone Cradle. You will find it is DOES NOT supply power to the iPhone4. This is because the iPhone is slightly thinner the 3GS version. There is a simple work around, and you can qualify for a fix from TomTom here:


Well, how’s that for blummin’ obscure blog post title.

This is for a very small number of readers who say yes to the following questions:

  • Own a iPhone4
  • Own a Mazda MX5 (Latest model type)
  • Have the Bose Sound system
  • Have the optional iPOD connector in the glove compartment

My iPOD cable is long enough to be lead outside of the glove compartment, with the iPhone sat on that useless recessed piece of plastic between the gear stick, and the buttons for the heated seats. I think its meant to be an ash tray.


OK. I used to plug in my iPOD to the connector in the glove compartment. And then try and operate it from the Bose in the dash, and the controls on the steering wheel. Despite the quite lengthy (ED. Shouldn’t that read completely confusing?) manual it was pretty much useless. If you have 4,085 songs like I do, there was slim to nothing chance of hearing your latest podcasts or find the right song…

Additionally, after plug in the iPOD you would get a nice big “Mazda” logo and the click wheel would be disabled. So even if your special friend was sitting next to you with the top down (I’m talking about the Mazda, not your passenger BTW). You couldn’t use that.

Anyway, it was my delight that I found of way of having the iPOD through the Bose and still have the click wheel functionality. NOW. A word of caution. You NOT should be thumbing your way through 500 albums while doing 90 MPH on the M1 my friend. Neither you or precious iPhone will live long. However, if the M1 is a car-park then I don’t see a problem in operating my iPhone, taking a leak and taking out a small patio table & chairs set on the hard-shoulder whilst I wait for the jam to pass. Some women appear to be able to apply make-up whilst driving, so I think I move my finger over the iPhone whilst occasionally watching the traffic without being a hazard, and until our government makes it illegal to drive in cars, I think you should be OK. Your not talking on the phone!

More importantly if the touch sensitivity screen works then your delightful passenger can pick out the toons for you. In fact it might be a good reason to have a special friend, merely for them to operate the iPhone whilst you whizz along.

Here’s the steps you take to stop the Mazda locking up your iPhone.

1. Switch on your engine

Note: For some reason plugging in the ipod first, and then turning on the engine causes the Bose to “lock” the iPhone

2. Switch on the Bose

3. Switch to the iPOD source

4. THEN and ONLY THEN plug in the iPhone

5. Acknowledge the two annoying messages about incompatibility and interference

Note: These message seem to pretty much standard on the iPhone. I get them on my Bose Dock Station that I bought from John Lewis. I’ve not found away of stopping these compatibility messages. At the stage you will have a generic message on the iPhone.

6. Press the [HOME] button on the phone

7. Press the IPOD icon…

OK. Yes, I know it sounds a fanny on. And you would not believe how many combination’s I went through to make sure this worked every time! The neighbors most of thought I had screw loose!

As another tip. I changed the auto-lock setting on the iPhone. This is because I frequently found the iPhone locked itself before I found the music I wanted to play. So if I was fiddling with iPhone at a junction, and then moving on, before I stopped at the next junction the damn thing would lock up again. The auto-lock feature is good one, as it prevents me butt dialing my friends and family. But in this case I need it to kick in less quickly…

To change the auto-lock setting you need – Settings > General > Auto-lock

You’ve got a couple of options set it to be 5mins, or set it to “never” and then manually lock the phone with the button at the top of the iPhone4. I’m assuming that this saves power because the screen goes off. And that the biggest down side of using the iPOD connection in the MX5 – no power to your iPhone…

WHEN YOUR FINISHED. Turn of the Bose. Turn of the engine and disconnect the iPhone. This should cause the Bose to “remember” the last place you were at in the iPhone list.

OK. So you don’t have the iPOD connector – what are your options. I spent the money on the totally extortionate TomTom for Iphone kit. It’s very good, but a very expensive piece of plastic.

Laying the “daylight robbery” element to one side, on the plus side it boosts the GPS signal; has built-in speaker (1), charges the iPhone (4/5). The swizzle style connector (1) is best I’ve used, and you can take a bluetooth headseat and pair it with the cradle rather than the phone (3).

The thing to note about this widget is that it DOES NOT come with ANY TomTom software. So you talking nearly £150 for the plastic holder and the TomTom Software from iToons. There are MUCH cheaper options. Like a generic holder from Ebay, and navigation software that’s half the price of TomTom. But heck, your an Apple customer which means like me your mega-loaded and you really don’t care about setting light to your hard-earned cash.

The TomTom for iPhone comes with a standard 35mm photo (a la walkman style) jack. That’s No6 in the image.  Sadly, the Mazda Bose system I have doesn’t have an easy to reach phono connection. The old model MX5 apparently DO have a phono jack, but the new models (like my Roadster Coupe with the funky retractable roof does not). I checked this with my local Mazda dealer who spoke to Mazda. He reckoned I would need to buy a widget that fits to the back of the Bose, and leading as discretely as possible a phono cable that’s in nats whisker of the TomTom cradle. However, when I spoke to the folks at http://www.mx5parts.co.uk/ via email they said I wouldn’t need it. So, I spoke to my brother… who works at Mazda Dealer, has sold the whole Mazda range, and is now a sales manager. I figured a family member might work hard to clarify what the score was.

Anyway, he wasn’t sure – and said he would look into. But in the mean time has recommended I find a auto-audio- place which fit all manner of crazy crap into cars such as plasma TVs and so on. Anyway, when I hear back from my brother and/or the caraudio specialist I’ve identified in my local area – I will let you know how I get on…

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