Apple CarPlay Wireless Adapters | The best of 2023

Apple CarPlay Wireless Adapters | The best of 2023

The use of the smartphone to listen to music or set up navigation apps in order to move easily in traffic could distract the driver while driving: Apple CarPlay , like Android Auto , allows you to use your smartphone in the car in a safe way, without however losing concentration on the road.

The guide we decided to create is dedicated to buying the best adapters that allow you to connect your iPhone to Apple CarPlay wirelessly, therefore without using annoying cables. In this regard, we have included selected products on Amazon, considering the costs and warranty offered by the well-known e-commerce.

Although recent car infotainment systems allow you to interact with the car, the tools currently used by smartphones they inevitably offer more evolved systems. Not surprisingly, the standard developed by Apple to connect your iPhone to your car shows a simplified version of the smartphone menu, with only compatible apps. However, through the use of CarPlay all the available functions can be imparted using the commands available in the cockpit or through the Siri voice assistant. In this regard, we emphasize that CarPlay does not replace the car's infotainment system, to which it is possible to return at any time.

As well as Android Auto,  Apple CarPlay, in addition to offering driving directions, allows us to  make calls, send and receive messages and even listen to music. Let's not forget that CarPlay is also compatible with apps made by car manufacturers; the 2018 update to iOS 12 has, in fact, optimized the service by also making it possible to display applications from external developers on the car screen which complement the standard functions such as telephone, messages and podcasts. iOS 13 also brought about a real revolution in the Apple CarPlay graphical interface, providing users with a richer and more innovative home screen: quick access to calendar events, suggestions for alternative routes, playback for streaming apps and Siri suggestions has become simple and intuitive also thanks to a graphic and functional restyling.

Although Carplay is a recent system, launched in 2014, there are now many cars that have a compatible multimedia system . So far, around 500 car models have been produced with wired CarPlay, from Alfa Romeo Giulia to the Fiat 500, up to Ferrari and Lamborghini. Today, in fact, all the major car manufacturers offer models compatible with CarPlay, or are in the planning stage.

To use Apple Carplay, you need to connect your smartphone to the car wirelessly or via a USB cable. As soon as activated, the system shows compatible apps, such as messaging, navigation and entertainment, on the car display. Specifically, CarPlay works with many of the apps built into iOS, including Phone, Messages, Music and Maps, and it also works with several third-party apps, such as iHeart Radio, WhatsApp, Spotify and Audible. The main applications that are available on Apple CarPlay are Podcasts, Audiobooks, WhatsApp, Spotify, Apple Maps, Waze, Audible, Amazon Music and Tidal.

As for the interaction with CarPlay, this is possible through the use of the controls in the passenger compartment, the touchscreen system of the display or via voice commands. Of course, using CarPlay requires the car to have a compatible infotainment system; the software therefore does not work autonomously on the phone screen. In order to use Apple CarPlay it is necessary to have both a compatible car and a suitable iPhone model: to date, all models on the market from the iPhone 5 onwards with an updated operating system are supported.

Considered the possibility of connecting to Apple CarPlay using the standard Lightning cable or via wireless connectivity, we just have to dedicate ourselves to the selection of adapters that will allow you to better manage the transmission of data from the telephone to the car and vice versa, eliminating the cables from the interior.

Not surprisingly, the use of an adapter, once connected to the car's infotainment system via the USB port, automatically enables the Apple CarPlay wireless services, without having to install apps. A good adapter will therefore allow you to take advantage of the many services made available by the Cupertino company's software (CarPlay must be factory installed on the car) even in cases where the vehicle's infotainment system is not compatible with this connection method . We reiterate that wireless adapters are "plug and play" devices: by connecting the device to the car via the USB port, you can search for it from the Bluetooth menu of your iPhone; once connected, it will allow you to use the system without having to search and connect each time you use it. The installation procedure will, in fact, only be performed the first time or after resetting the device by connecting the adapter to a USB port of the car with the supplied USB-A/C cable, being careful to choose a data USB port + recharge and not just recharge. After the first installation, therefore, the wireless connection between the car and the iPhone will be automatic.

The best wireless adapters for Apple CarPlay

CarlinKit U2W Plus adapter CarlinKit 2023 adapter CarlinKit 3.0 adapter Carlinkit AIBox adapter

CarlinKit U2W Plus adapter

The first accessory we selected is the CarlinKit U2W Plus adapter (CPC200-U2W Plus) designed to be used in all cars equipped with Apple CarPlay. Thanks to the latest generation integrated systems, the adapter is able to accelerate the processing speed of the software and create a decidedly more fluid user experience, allowing the user to interact with their car in a simple and intuitive way. The CarlinKit U2W Plus adapter is compatible with almost all cars, only supports iPhones with iOS 10+ and is equipped with a USB-C port.

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CarlinKit 2023 adapter

We continue the buying guide by proposing another CarlinKit branded product, able to offer a safe and comfortable driving experience and allowing you to eliminate annoying cables. Using this small device it is possible to convert the original car's wired Apple CarPlay to wireless use: after connecting to Carplay, the user will be able to view the main functions of the iPhone, including Siri voice control or the navigation application GPS. Package includes CarPlay wireless adapter and Type A-C data cable. In recommending the product, we stress that the accessory is dedicated exclusively to those who have an iPhone, it is therefore not possible to use the Carlinkit 2023 with an Android smartphone.

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CarlinKit 3.0 adapter

The CarlinKit 3.0 adapter is equipped with a 5G processing chip that facilitates the support of GPS navigation apps or other music, voice control and message access apps. Like the other products listed so far, for the adapter to be recognized, the car system must be equipped with wired Apple CarPlay while the smartphone must be at least an iPhone 11 and equipped with an iOS 10+ system. On the surface of the accessory there are no buttons except an operating LED in the upper part, with an integrated micro-USB connector on the back. The connection to the car will take place via a standard USB 2.0 socket, making Apple CarPlay available wireless and no longer requiring the physical connection of the Apple smartphone.

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Adapter Carlinkit AIBox

The latest product in this guide stands out thanks to its excellent technical specifications, despite the fact that the cost is quite high. The Carlinkit AIBox adapter can be connected to the car's wired CarPlay system using the cable inside the package and after connecting it will work on wifi. We specify that the product only supports cars with Apple carplay wired in the car and thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8-Core processor this adapter is able to offer a stable connection during use.

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How to choose the best wireless adapter for Apple CarPlay

Over the years, Apple Carplay has inevitably become an increasingly "smart" support for drivers. Let's not forget that the extreme ease of installation and configuration really makes it for everyone. The arrival of the connection through Apple CarPlay has made it possible in recent years to use a simple USB cable or a Bluetooth connection to be able to project important iPhone functions onto the display screen in the car.

How we have seen, devices such as Carlinkit are presented as a small and practical box to be connected via cable to the socket of the car, while the iPhone can be connected wirelessly; iPhone that will transmit the CarPlay interface on the car display without therefore having to be physically connected to the car's USB socket.

Before purchasing, make sure that the device is compatible with your car and smartphone. In this regard, we recall some of the main brands that officially support Apple CarPlay such as Alfa Romeo, BMW, Audi, DS Automobile, Ford, Jeep, Hyundai, Mazda, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Suzuki, Volkswagen and Volvo. In case you don't have a latest generation car, you can use aftermarket stereo systems such as Pioneer, Sony, Clarion, Kenwood and Alpine that are compatible with CarPlay.

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