Wired to Wireless Apple CarPlay Dongles – too good to be true?

Few cars that support wireless Apple CarPlay as of 2020. Several 2019 and newer Audis, BMW 5 and 3 Series 2017 and newer; and Mercedes A-Class 2018 and newer are a few of those special vehicles. Wireless CarPlay was a new feature in iOS 9 that combined Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals to connect your iPhone to your vehicle. Several 2021 Hondas, Hyundais and Fords will include wireless CarPlay. But it will still be far from a universal feature in vehicles.

Upgrading from wired to wireless CarPlay can be a bit tricky in some vehicles. Some upgrades require replacing the entire infotainment system to make it wireless compatible. That processes is similarly tedious to replacing heater cores in older vehicles. The most common and easy way to make your CarPlay wireless is through various adapter. The problem is that many claim to do something that they actually do not.

Compatibility issues are also a concern. Some adapters works better on certain vehicles, while others may not work at all or have too many bugs to be of any real use. All you can really do is read reviews based on your specific vehicle to determine which adapter is most likely to produce the best results.

Carlinkit 2.0 dongle

This product is currently sold out on Amazon as of publishing. It has 34% 5-star ratings versus 35% 2-star and 1-star ratings. Reviewers specifically noted that it did not work in Audis, Porches, Toyotas and Lexuses. Some cars it appears to work with include Honda Civic, Chevy Equinox, Chevy Volt, and Mercedes GLS450. Again these are reviews from Amazon, so take them with a grain of salt.

The adapter is easily to install. Simply plug it into your car USB port and pair it with your phone via Bluetooth. There is some latency with skipping tracks and volume control from the steering wheel. The adapter does receive firmware updates. Thus any issues you’re having could be resolved at any time. The price makes it worth the risk – around $115. So if it doesn’t work for your car, you’re not out a fortune.

iCarPlayDongle

There are several red flags about this one. The unit is not sold on Amazon or any other retailer based on our research. It is only sold on the company website. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But it’s hard to gauge compatibility and functionality without independent reviews.

The site claims the dongle works with numerous cars. There are four different models of the dongle, with the Apple CarPlay one priced at $140. There are more red flagged with this one. The company does not list a phone number. It is also very vague about its location, saying it has warehouses in the USA, UK and UAE. But if you want to another option, this is it.

Cplay2air

This one has an advertisement video on Youtube. The red flags, however, jump right out from the beginning. The company website listed in the description is offline. The top comment is a dissatisfied customer who ordered the item and never received it. There is a very in-depth Reddit thread about the product that also throws up red flags.

Based on our reviews, wired to wireless adapters are a crapshoot at best and scams at worst. Buy them with caution.

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