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Media Input doesn't seem to work?? 2021 GTI

vetfever

New member
Location
toronto
Car(s)
2021 gti
Hi Crew,

New to the GTI - I just purchased a 2021 - and tried searching here to no avail, so asking the following:

The media input doesn't appear to work on my car. I have tried USB sticks with music that work on my other cars, as well as an iPod.

When I select "media" on the infotainment screen, I get a "device not connected" message.

Any ideas??

Thanks
 

kevinkar

Drag Racing Champion
Location
United States
Probably depends on the head unit but my Golf R says this in the manual:

Applies to SD memory cards1) and USB storage devices with the FAT16, FAT32, exFAT and NTFS file system:
  • MP3 files (.mp3) with bit rates of 32 to 320 kbit/s or variable bit rate.
  • WMA files (.wma) to 10 mono/stereo to 768 kbit/s without write-protection.
  • WAV files (.wav) (64 - 1411 kbit/s)
  • OGG-Vorbis files (.ogg) (32 - 576 kbit/s)
  • FLAC files (.flac) (maximum 96 kHz).
  • AAC files (.m4a, .m4b, .mp4, .aac) (16 - 400 kbit/s)
  • Playlists in the M3U, M3U8, PLS, ASX and WPL formats
  • Playlists no larger than 20 KB and with no more than 1,000 entries.
  • Maximum of 32 playlists on a data carrier.
  • Maximum of 1,000 folders and 30,000 files on a data carrier.
  • The maximum size of an individual file in the FAT32 file system is 4GB.
So check the manual and make sure if you're using a USB stick or SD card they follow the above. Also, as a check, add some of your music to your cellphone and connect that to see if the car can play from it.
I have an SD card in my car and it works fine.
 

vetfever

New member
Location
toronto
Car(s)
2021 gti
Thank you Kevinkar. Saw this in my OM as well. Just not up to speed on the types of files for music these days. I created my USB sticks with iTunes, and as I said, they played right away on two other vehicles which are GM, a Caddy ATS and on the Alpine head unit in my corvette. So, scratching my head that the GTI would be different.
 

kevinkar

Drag Racing Champion
Location
United States
Grab a spare drive, add some MP3 files to it and see if it works. Maybe the other cars are OK with how iTunes copies the data but VW not so much? I just have folders of FLAC files on my SD card so it's just a standard set of folders. The car sees them just fine.
 

vetfever

New member
Location
toronto
Car(s)
2021 gti
Thanks Kevin. I’ll have to get help with loading MP3 files. Just don’t know my way around such things, but I have people who should be able to help
 

kevinkar

Drag Racing Champion
Location
United States
Thanks Kevin. I’ll have to get help with loading MP3 files. Just don’t know my way around such things, but I have people who should be able to help
It's real easy. Just get a USB thumb drive (don't need a huge one, just something small like 8GB) and pop it into a USB port on your computer. It's likely already formatted for Windows and should be quickly recognized. Then drag and drop some music to it. Even if you're using iTunes, you probably have some audio MP3s somewhere so just toss anything you have on to it. Then plug that into your car's USB port and see if the entertainment unit recognizes is when you switch to Media. It's a lot like using a thumb drive to transfer files from one computer to another except you're not transferring them to the car, just *seeing* them and reading them to play them. Good luck!
 

vetfever

New member
Location
toronto
Car(s)
2021 gti
Yeah, so took my car to a local dealer and the service manager came out and sat with me to try out the various media devices I had with me which included 3 thumb drives with various files on them including MP3 and AAC. He wasn't able to get any of them to work, and came to the following conclusion:

1 - Despite my car being an Autobahn which was the top trim level in 2021, my car does not have the SD drive located in the glove box, so his conclusion is that my car lacks "the module" to play ANY MEDIA AT ALL.

2 - The USB C connector my car does have in the lower cubby at the bottom of the center stack (the cubby with the door) is not functional other than to act as a power supply for devices.

So his conclusion is that without the SD drive in the glove box, my car won't play any other media sources. He blames this on VW's tendency to de-content cars for cost savings purposes.

I am quite shocked at this conclusion. I've owned way cheaper cars dating back to 2014 model years that will happily play content on a USB stick, and that had at least 2 USB ports in the car. Without an SD drive my car only has the one USB C port and it'll only act as a charging port.

When I asked about buying an SD drive and installing it, he said he doubted it would work as the car also needs an "Internal Module" to play media.

This last comment seemed bizarre to me, but then I'm only getting to know the VW brand. My other experience is with GM products including Cadillac and Corvette, as well as Porsche 911's....

Anyway, I don't intend to drop this based on one guy's comments, but would certainly be curious to hear from anyone else who owns a 2021 Autobahn without the SD option...

Thanks All.
 
Last edited:

kevinkar

Drag Racing Champion
Location
United States
Wow. In this day and age with your car being 3 years newer than my Golf R you'd think external media would be in all cars. If mean, if your head unit has a Media button on it it should play external media. Weird. I thought the Autobahn package was "high end"!

Then again, VW does weird things with their entertainment units that make them difficult to pin down exactly what you have, what model it is and what features it has. They name them differently/weirdly too so I find it difficult to know exactly what is in which car. Discover Media, Discover Media Pro, MIB II, etc. Which is it?!?!?!!?

Took me a while to realize my car has navigation that requires the maps SD card to remain inserted thus taking up one SD slot whereas other head units are almost identical if not visually so but they have internal storage that you use the SD card to update the data and you can remove the SD card after. Why is that a difference for cars in the same year I don't quite understand. Just a money thing I guess.
 

vetfever

New member
Location
toronto
Car(s)
2021 gti
Agree with all of the above. My head unit has a “Media” button that when selected tells me there is no device connected despite having tried multiple devices which are known to work on other cars.

So weird. I’ve ordered a high speed data cable to see if maybe that is the problem. Have never needed this in my other cars, but worth a shot I think.

Stay tuned!
 

brentgti

Go Kart Newbie
Location
North America
Car(s)
GTI
North American 2021 SE and Autobahn GTIs switched from MIB2 to MIB3 (the Autobahn trim's MIB3 should be a Discover Media), which is why there are no longer SD card slots. As part of the switch, the MIB3 units offer wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay along with a USB-C port which can be used for wired Android Auto/Apple CarPlay if preferred.

I don't have a MIB3, so I don't have much insight; however, there are multiple forum threads from UK owners complaining of similar issues with USB media playback. One person suggested trying to format the USB drive as exFAT and another suggested it was a software issue (even though MIB3 is supposed to be able to receive over-the-air updates). Volkswagen of America has a TSB for MIB3 issues that outlines how to check your current software version here (page 2): https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2023/MC-10239652-0001.pdf. If your unit has an older software version, perhaps the dealership could update the software which might fix the issue (although I do not know if there is a similar TSB for Canada).

Beyond the software and USB drive, it might be interesting to try to connect an Android or iPhone using a USB cable to ensure that the USB port is functioning correctly. It should do more than just charge a connected device.
 

kevinkar

Drag Racing Champion
Location
United States
Beyond the software and USB drive, it might be interesting to try to connect an Android or iPhone using a USB cable to ensure that the USB port is functioning correctly. It should do more than just charge a connected device.
This is definitely worth a try to determine if the car will play "media" through the Android/iPod connection which would indicate it CAN play external media but that won't necessarily tell you it will read and interpret the media file or is just playing an audio output from a cellphone. But that could indicate it will play external sources which is not the best option but it would allow you to connect a device with music files and playlists and simply set that to "play" when you drive. Similar to my SD card which as all my music on it in a standard artist/album folder structure but also contains playlists the VW can read properly and I just play those playlists which are everything set to random (took a bit of work on PC to use a program to list all my music, randomize it and create playlists that work but it does what I need it to.)

And this is not much different from my 2005 Corvette which needed an add-on module to allow an iPod to be connected and hidden in the car but it would play that through the head unit no problem. Just had to add the unit into the system. 2005 technology. Apparently better than 2021 VW tech!
 

vetfever

New member
Location
toronto
Car(s)
2021 gti
Thanks Gents. Good info. I’ll continue to pursue. I think the biggest challenge, that we’ve probably all experienced, is to find people who work in dealerships who are as knowledgeable as we enthusiasts are, or are willing to take the time to learn about the product they sell and are supposed to support.
 

GTIsea

New member
Location
PNW
Car(s)
Mk7.5 SE
I have a 2021 SE (USA, MIB3) and am able to use the sole USB-C port with a USB stick loaded only with my music files. When I was testing this out, my notes say it worked with the stick formatted MacOS, MS-DOS or ExFAT, and I have a mix of MP3, AAC and WAV files. However, it does not see mono MP3 files but mono Apple Lossless was fine. It didn't see Apple volume partitions. Folders seemed OK, but it only plays within that folder and you have to manually navigate to a different one (IIRC).

I have no idea if these foibles are more strict than other cars. I'd reformat a few drives and stick a few music files on at the root level for testing. In the end, you may have a defective port or something. Do you have all the software updates?

I've run into a few more weird things with the playback, such as the random play getting stuck on a few songs the next time I start, but I'm not holding my breath for fixes. It took 2 years to get the HMI display.
 

kevinkar

Drag Racing Champion
Location
United States
I've run into a few more weird things with the playback, such as the random play getting stuck on a few songs the next time I start, but I'm not holding my breath for fixes. It took 2 years to get the HMI display.
I'm not sure who makes the system (Panasonic?) but I have around 30,000 songs and I set them to random. Every few days the system would freak out and start at the very first song on the SD card again so I had to continually get to the "random" button and get that going again. Only solution was to generate a random list of all files and split that into several hundred playlist files so I now listen to it all via those playlists. When one ends, I just change to the next playlist. That was after plugging in an iPod set to random but that was a fail because the iPod's random algorithm was not very random and played songs from the same artists repeatedly. Artists I like to be sure but I didn't JUST want to listen to that artist. So not sure how Apple thinks "random" is supposed to work.

The point being the VW systems seem to be decent but every system has its issues and this one is no exception.
 

GTIsea

New member
Location
PNW
Car(s)
Mk7.5 SE
Some people would say to just use Carplay, but I wanted my tunes available without needing to have the phone connected. It is annoying to have only one USB port and no analog input jack or SD card slots, but that's life.
 
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