Making a USB Stick Work With My Honda

February 23, 2023 at 9 PM

Sometimes when I’m running errands or whatever I just don’t want to take my phone out. It’s nice to have at least a few minutes without it, and if I’m headed to the grocery store it isn’t like I actually need it to get there. Some times quiet and stillness is really nice, but my car also has a couple of USB slots and purportedly supports MP3 and AAC audio.

But it’s 2023 and apparently there are still pieces of tech that absolutely do not work out of the box with macOS–related stuff. I’m a reasonably technical person, but after all the Google searching and the approximately ten million times this didn’t work, here are the steps I needed to follow to play MP3s on my 2019 Accord from a USB stick plugged into a Mac laptop. These directions basically mirror a set I found, eventually, on a forum for Honda Ridgeline owners. Maybe this post can amplify those directions and offer a little more Google-fu.

  1. Reformat the USB stick. The Format must be “MS-DOS (FAT32),” and the Scheme must be Master Boot Record.
  2. Copy your music over, dragging from Apple Music or whatever.
  3. Remove every single dot-directory. Every. Single. One. rm -r .Trashes .Spotlight-V100, etc. This requires the Terminal, iTerm 2, etc. to have Full Disk Access.
  4. Merge resource dotfiles into their associated songs. The tool /usr/sbin/dot_clean is installed with macOS.
  5. (Maaaybe?) Reorganize the files so that there aren’t more than 250ish songs in a single directory.

And then we probably need to do this every time we add new files to the drive. Sigh. I wrote a little Python script to do this, in case it’s helpful: Once installed, it offers a command named cleanusb that follows these steps.

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