Apple Lightning to 30-pin Adapter compatibility with existing home and auto accessories

Posted by Paul Braren on Oct 15 2012 (updated on Apr 27 2016) in
  • Apple
  • iPhone
  • Mobile
  • Reviews
  • Let's start with the new Lightning cables and connectors.

    The first 2 devices are apparently electronically and functionally the same, just one is a longer, flexible version of the other. My tests so far seem to back this up.

    Lightning to 30-pin Adapter $29.00 Apple Part# MD823ZM/A (on Amazon here)
    Note, this device won't fit if you have any case on your iPhone 5, not even a thin bumper, making the short cable version a better choice for most


    Lightning to 30-pin Adapter (0.2 m) $39.00 Apple Part# MD824ZM/A (on Amazon here)
    Note, the plastic around the Lightning connector is thicker on this cable, compared to the Lightning to USB cable your iPhone 5 came with, seen by comparing the 2 photos below. This is something to be aware of, as you shop for cases or auto kits that may only fit the narrow connector Lighting cable your iPhone 5 came with!


    Lightning to USB Cable $19.00 Apple Part# MD818ZM/A (on Amazon here)
    This 3rd device one is the same as the cable that came with your iPhone 5 (or iPad mini or 4th gen iPad).


    Here's my pre-order of my Lighting to 30-pin Adapter cable. Yep, it took 3 weeks for the order to come in, and the local Apple store still hasn't received any (as of Oct 17th 2012 original publication of this article):


    The actual in transit time from China to Connecticut was remarkable: only 24 hours and 8 minutes, and I didn't pay expedited shipping, wow!


    Seems it'd be a bit more "green" if they had instead put a few hundred thousand of these on a ship a month ago, for easy US availability at iPhone 5 launch.

    Glad to say the wait was worthwhile, since the accessories I've tested so far seem to work just fine. I get to "recycle" my existing devices, which is good news, especially given auto installs tend to be quite pricey to fix. It's quite likely that whatever works with this stubby cable will also work with the hunk-of-plastic (with a chip inside) as well.

    Am I happy I have to buy new adapters, and that none are available from CableJive in black quite yet? No. But at least getting my old devices working has proven to be relatively painless. More about compatibility with car audio systems here.

    Here's my list of self-tested items so far, which I'll continue to update over the coming weeks, as my extended family members have other devices in their homes that I'll get to test out as well.


    Teac HD Radio Receiver HD-1

    I mentioned why I'm using this device, back in July of 2011, in my brief article, Remote control your iPhone audio stream, for FM radios anywhere in your house. And I'm happy to say, it still works great!  Remote control pause/play/back/forward buttons all work fine. So does the line output to the whole house FM transmitter. No hum or static. Nice!


    JBL On Stage Speakers for iPod

    Works fine, with either Lightning adapter, although the cable version is recommended to take strain off the connections, and because it'll work with most cases, which have a hole to allow Lightning cable to seat properly, without having to remove the case.

    (pictures below do not show the required AC adapter)



    I've tried a variety of mounting systems for my extended family's dashboards over the years, and have found the build quality and rigidity of the ProClip systems to be well above and beyond, with temporary yet solid mounting solutions that don't require a professional, and don't damage the dashboard.

    Once you size up what sort of mounting plate you want to snap into the seams in your dash, seen here for example:

    Honda Civic Hybrid - 2006-2011 - ProClip Center Mount
    Item #: 853808

    I temporarily retrofitted my existing iPhone 4 cradle:
    Apple iPhone 4 / 4S with 2nd Gen.Bumper Case - Adjustable Holder with Tilt Swivel and Pass-Through Connector
    by removing the 30 pin adapter from the base (screw driver and pliers), giving me a workable solution until my new cradle showed up, described next...

    Next, you choose a cradle for your iPhone 5, click here to see the wide variety of types they have available. I went with one that'll accomodate a variety of case sizes that may come and go in my family, given many of us share the same vehicle.

    Apple iPhone 5 - Adjustable Holder for Cable Attachment with USB Cig Plug Adapter
    Item #: 514426

    This device only fits the Lightning to USB Cable Part number: MD818ZM/A that came with your iPhone 5!

    View product pictures and video demonstration of how it's intended to work (even with bumpers/cases) by clicking the link above, or this photo below:


    Apple iPhone 5 - Adjustable Holder for Cable Attachment
    Item #: 514434
    This device only fits the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter (0.2 m) Part Number: MD824ZM/A, it does not fit the smaller Lightning cable that came with your iPhone 5!

    I had originally purchased item# 514426, assuming it'd fit any lightning cable. I was wrong. But ProClip support was aware of the issue, and handled the matter extremely quickly, given they admitted the 514434 went on sale a few days later, so I'm not the only one who assumed incorrectly. Worked out great, since I had another car to install an iPhone kit into that just had a DC accessory outlet, so I kept both kits, happy end of that story.

    View product pictures and video demonstration of how it's intended to work (even with bumpers/cases) by clicking the link above, or this photo below:


    Neo ProLink v2 iPod to Acura/Honda - PODHON3-15V2

    Steering wheel control works well (Ch+/Ch- skips to next song, goes back to last track), universally, not just for music, but any audio the iPhone 5 is playing (Podcasts with 3rd party Apps, etc). Even better, just turn off the key, it pauses. When you return to the car and return the iPhone to the cradle/Lightning connector, just drive away, the audio picks up right back where you left off, automatically. Exact same behavior I enjoyed with the iPhone 4 for 2 1/4 years now, now with my new iPhone 5. This works because my Honda Civic with Navigation "thinks" it's operating the optional CD-Changer, but instead it's controlling my iPhone via old-school style iPod control signals, which apparently still work fine. Full instruction manual here, which mentions that "This interface charges iPod while it is playing and charging stops automatically half hour after iPod is paused."

    The much newer version of the interface called the NEO IPHONE 5 LINK BHD1UV6 likely works as well, specifically marketed to work with the iPhone 5. But I haven't tested that model, nor do I have any compelling reason for such a costly upgrade. This makes me happy I chose Neo back in 2006, and I'm more likely to show some brand-fidelity down the road, since I didn't have to rip and replace this device since it continues to work so well.

    iPhone 4 in original Pro-clip holder

    More photos of the "after" iPhone 5 install coming soon, once the new (backordered) ProClip kit arrives, and I figure out creative ways to hide the extreme white-ness of the Lightning cable... (Update - pics now posted here).

    Dec. 15 2012 Update

    New Lightning to 30 Pin Adapter Cable Black for iPhone 5 iPad4 4G 4th Gen from eBay doesn't seem to work for me. At least not with my Teac dock, and not with either of my 30 pin hard wired car audio systems. Charges, but audio keeps coming out of the iPhone 5 speakers instead of through this non-Apple cable. Could be an issue just with my particular single unit, not sure. Seller bossknow does offer returns, but not worth the return shipping back to China for me. No problem, just painted my Lightning to 30-pin Adapter (0.2 m) from Amazon black. Tucks in nicely along steering wheel shroud, with affecting the tiltability. Nice!

    Apr 27 2016 Update

    Newer related article now posted, with detailed pics: