How to get music files on my Android Headunit?

You have a bunch of .MP3 files from years of ripping your CDs or youtube downloading songs or maybe you even purchased the MP3 version of songs from Amazon. Now you have loads of songs on your laptop and want to play them on your android headunit.

Option 1

For physical mp3 files you have two main choices on how to get the music onto your android headunit to play as you drive.

Copy the mp3 music files to a USB memory stick and then put that USB memory stick into a spare USB port on the android headunit. If you have not yet connected the USB port lead to the rear of the headunit, now would be the time to do it. Site the socket to make it accessible because you may need to remove the USB stick to update the music stored on it.

Cheap Storage

USB sticks are now much cheaper for large capacity storage than they ever were. Avoid unbranded and chinese fake USB sticks, even if they look great value for money, they will let you down. Good branded, genuine USB sticks of SanDisks are a good choice and available on eBay.

USB Advantage

The advantage of USB sticks is that you can have several sticks, each with a different collection of tracks and are easily swapped for whoever is driving.

USB Disadvantage

The big disadvantage of USB sticks for music on your android headunit is you will be tying up a limited number of USB ports just for song storage. When USB ports can do so much more like TPMS or DAB+ the pressure to free up USB ports is present.

Option 2

A second option to getting your mp3 music collection to play on your android headunit is to copy the mp3 files over to it. You need to use a USB port and USB stick, but only temporarily for the copy process. Once the process is completed, the USB stick can be repurposed and the USB port put back into is previous service.


The advantage of using option 2 (copy) is freeing up a USB port for other uses. There are never enough USB ports on an android headunit when there are so many things you can connect, using it just for music seems a bit limiting. The copy process only temporarily ties up a USB port during the actual transfer process.


The main disadvantage of putting your music on the android headunit internal storage is the limited space available. This memory is also shared with apps, so the pressure of storage capacity is real. You can’t just expand the internal memory of your android headunit. It is unlike getting a bigger or just more USB sticks for music.


To transfer the .mp3 files to your android headunit memory, insert the music memory stick into a free USB port, if you don’t have a free USB port, unplug a USB temporarily. Open your file manager, ‘Files’ or find one on the play store if there is not one pre-installed. Use the file manager to navigate to the USB drive, select the tracks ‘select all’ and copy or ‘copy to’ your internal storage. Internal storage could be identified as ‘0’ or drive 0, external SD or ‘storage’. Whatever the file manager calls your storage, it will be the biggest drive of around 32, 64 or 128Gb size.

Pick an app

Now you have the mp3 music files on or available to your android headunit, pick your preferred music player, be it a stand alone app (there are plenty on the play store to choose from) or part of the launcher and enjoy your music as you drive.


Obviously if you subscribe to a streaming service like Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music (free trial), Deezer or Qobuz then music on a USB stick won’t be relevant. You just get a data connection on your android headunit, install the corresponding app for your subscribed music service and stream the songs. No USB sticks required and your memory will be free of cluttering mp3 files.

An staff blogger. I am a multi-skilled dogs-body and I also make the coffee ☕

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