In this article: We'll review our selection of the best options for adding wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with converting your existing wired CarPlay and Android Auto stereo. We'll detail out what we like, how they work and why we chose each option on our list.

Over the last decade, built-in touchscreen head units in cars have become common and are virtually mandatory today due to federal back up camera laws. With these screens comes new distractions while driving and the potential for serious danger on the road. Solutions for distracted driving like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto head units have helped to integrate our connected devices into our intelligent cars, but the corded connection is often a nuisance or a distraction. With corded connections, every time you would like to use CarPlay or Android Auto, you have to pull your phone out of your bag or your pocket and physically connect it to your head unit or car.

But what about Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto? Don’t head units have that now aday? You’re likely reading this article now because you’ve asked yourself how you can get wireless CarPlay and Android auto on a wired connection. Well, that’s exactly why we created this article. Cars that have built-in CarPlay or Android Auto via a wired connection can now use one of several devices to bring wireless CarPlay and Android Auto to your currently wired setup. These adapters connect to the USB input on your head unit and enable a wireless connection with your phone. This allows for functions of CarPlay or Android Auto to work without having to remove your phone from your bag or pocket.

There are a few things you’ll want to consider when you’re looking at these types of adapters. Most importantly is compatibility. Be sure to check that your vehicle is compatible with the adapter you’re considering. Not all vehicles are compatible with every adapter. Secondly is delay. We’ve seen and heard of significant delays with some of the knock off adapters so finding one that’s high quality and limits the delayed responses is important for a good experience.

Best Wireless Apple CarPlay Dongle

CarPlay is much more popular in factory car audio installations than Android Auto. However, most vehicles require a wired connection. The aftermarket has found lots of options for connecting CarPlay wirelessly to iPhone and Android phones. These are some of the best products on the market for adding wireless connectivity.

CRUX ACP-WL

Crux ACP-WL
Crux ACP-WL cable

Key Features

  • Provides wireless connection for wired CarPlay-compatible head units
  • Works with factory and aftermarket systems
  • Simple plug-and-play operation
  • Passthrough USB charging port
  • Includes interface cable

Latest Prices

Crux ACP-WL Review

The CRUX ACP-WL is one of the most popular adapters for wireless CarPlay conversions. It’s a simple and reliable device that works on a broad range of vehicle makes and models as well as aftermarket head units. The interface works without the need to download a third-party app, so it is also a safe and secure way to get wireless tech in your car or truck.

The device is attractive and discrete which makes storing it out of sight a breeze. The included seven-inch USB-A to USB-C connector is of high quality unlike many of the devices you’ll spend less money on. An LED indicator light shows you that the device is on and working.

How It Works

Setting this device up couldn’t be easier. It is just a matter of plugging it into the USB on your head unit and turning the device on in your Bluetooth settings. Once the setup is complete, it will automatically connect any time your phone is in range and the car is powered on, so you won’t have to hassle with plugging your phone in to use CarPlay.

Pros
  • Probably the most reliable wireless adapter on the market for CarPlay
  • Attractive design that is easy to hide in your car
  • Excellent customer service
Cons
  • Somewhat pricey compared to competitor products
  • Users describe several second lag when using wireless Apple Maps

OttoCast U2 Now

OttoCast U2 Now with usb cable
OttoCast U2 Now Angle view

Key Features

  • Allows a wireless CarPlay connection to factory wired systems
  • Very easy setup designed for plug-and-play use
  • 5g chipset for improved processor speeds
  • Supports voice assistant functions
  • Fast connection time

Latest Prices

Buy on Amazon.com $125.95
Buy on eBay $194.54
Last Amazon price update was: December 4, 2021 2:23 am

OttoCast U2 Now Review

This is another of the most popular brands out there. OttoCast makes a variety of different wireless adapters to connect with wired head units. This is the newest design for 2021 and it improves on other designs by incorporating 5g technology for faster processing speeds. It works for most factory head units featuring wired CarPlay built after 2016. While it isn’t intended to work with aftermarket systems, it has worked on several models of Sony head units.

Faster processing speeds make this adapter one of the fastest to connect to your phone. The manufacturer claims times of less than 30 seconds, but owners say the device is usually connected within 10 seconds of starting the car.

How It Works

Like most similar devices, this integration solution connects to the USB input on your head unit. It only works with Apple iOS 10+ and won’t work with some vehicles. The device allows for full retention of factory steering wheel controls without the need for adapters or other additional parts. The 5gHz Bluetooth connection provides very low lag, even when using Apple Maps.

Pros
  • Simple and basic device that works better than expected
  • Quick startup time with limited lag
Cons
  • Does not support screen mirroring
  • Noticeable delay when taking hands-free calls

VRRiiS Adapter 3.1

Vrriis Wireless CarPlay Adapter with usb d
Vrriis Wireless CarPlay Adapter in box

Key Features

  • Wirelessly connects smartphone to factory wired CarPlay
  • Simple USB installation
  • Works with most vehicles 2016-2021 MY
  • Small size is easy to conceal

Latest Prices

Buy on Amazon.com
Last Amazon price update was: December 4, 2021 3:23 am

VRRiiS Adapter 3.1 Review

Here is a simple and affordable dongle that allows you to connect wirelessly to your head unit. It pairs with your phone quickly and easily to give you control of features like Siri, music and phone control, navigation, and hands-free calls. This dongle works with most factory head units with CarPlay already installed. Once the device is set up, you’ll have factory controls on the steering wheel and other options. This device allows for a seamless integration with your iOS device from version 9 to 12 Pro Max

How It Works

Connecting your smartphone app to the head unit’s installed CarPlay feature wirelessly is a snap. Simply plug the dongle into the USB port on your head unit, pair the device, and connect your phone. The dongle will receive the wireless stream from your phone and send it to your display, giving you factory control and a totally wireless CarPlay experience.

Pros
  • Simple and effective solution to adding wireless CarPlay connectivity
  • Performs flawlessly on a wide range of vehicles
Cons
  • Does not allow for multiple device connection
  • Bright colors might be a target for thieves

Best Wireless Android Auto Adapter

Although wireless adapters for Android Auto are not very common right now, they’re becoming increasingly popular. In fact, the two best products on the market are crowd-funded and in their infancy at the time of writing this article. One product won’t even begin shipping until November 2021. And while there are products around that claim to work, most don’t.

AAWireless Android Auto Dongle

AAWireless Android Auto Dongle image

Key Features

  • USB dongle that provides wireless Android Auto for vehicles with wired versions
  • No app to download
  • Once setup is complete, phone connects automatically
  • Bluetooth 4.2

Latest Prices

AAWireless Review

The dongle from AAWireless has been on the market for about a year. In that time, it has undergone constant real-world testing and improvement. The current version that will be shipping later this year or early next year promise to be the best versions of an already above-average product.

This is a simple fix for wired Android Auto environments that works on thousands of cars and dozens of brands. It even works on some aftermarket head units. It doesn’t require an app, there aren’t any crazy settings, and it works right out of the box. Plug it into the head unit, connect via Bluetooth, and follow the prompts. You’ll be wireless in no time.

How It Works

The dongle plugs into the USB-A port on your head unit. When the Bluetooth connection is established, the dongle will communicate with the head unit and your phone, connecting your Android Auto app to the screen with full functionality of factory controls.

As a crowd-funded start-up with only a year or so on the market, there have been issues with connectivity along with various other issues and feedback that have been given to the company to improve their product. The company has built a reputation so far on transparency and attention to customer feedback. Upgrades to the device have been frequent and have addressed numerous issues.

Pros
  • Excellent quality and affordable product that actually works
  • Simple and effective way to get control of Android Auto wirelessly
  • Small and discrete size is easy to hide
Cons
  • Not widely available
  • Some users may experience slow or dropped connections from time to time

Carsifi

Carsifi Android Auto Dongle Top
Carsifi Android Dongle Side image

Key Features

  • USB dongle to add wireless Android Auto
  • No app to download
  • Connects automatically after setup

Latest Prices

Carsifi Review

This is another crowd-funded design that hit markets in November 2021. This device is similar in many ways to the AAWireless design. It uses a different processor that allows the dongle to connect wirelessly between two devices so you can switch back and forth.

This dongle works with hundreds of brands of cars and aftermarket head units. The dongle does not require the use of an app; however one is available to give you access to settings and additional features.

How It Works

You’ll need a factory or aftermarket head unit that has Android Auto built in. Connections are as simple as plugging in the USB-A to the head unit and connecting the device through Bluetooth. Once connected, you won’t need to plug your phone in again.

Since this one hasn’t gotten into very many hands yet, it’s hard to say if it’s better than the AAWireless device. The ability to simultaneously connect devices makes for something a little different that some people may like.

Pros
  • Allows for two phones to connect at once
  • Provides an easy way to get Android Auto wirelessly
  • Easy to connect and use
Cons
  • Not yet widely available at the time of this review
  • Will likely require firmware updates after release to address bugs

Why Would You Want a Wireless Adapter?

Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto adapters accomplish one, basic feat: they eliminate the need to plug your phone in to access the features or CarPlay and Android Auto. For some people this isn’t a big deal, but for others the convenience is a game changer. Going fully wireless allows you to keep your phone away so that you aren’t compelled to check it every few seconds. A wireless connection provides a seamless experience that lets you simply jump in the car and go with the features you want coming to life automatically.

Drawbacks of a Wireless Adapter

There are a few drawbacks inherent to most wireless adapters. First, they tend to introduce a bit of lag as the wireless signal is converted to a wired signal. This is often noticeable when running data-heavy apps like Maps and may also show up when streaming music. Particularly slow connections can be due to poor internet or outdated/old devices which can cause the device to fail to connect or have a slow rate of transfer.

Finding a place to put the adapter can also be problematic. Most of these devices include a short USB cable that doesn’t give you more than a few inches of movement. Longer cables can cause slower connections, even when using cables rated for fast data transfer. Users of head units with rear USB ports will have a better time making these devices discrete, otherwise they can be a target for thieves.

Another interesting point – all the adapters on the market at the time of writing this article can connect with only one phone at a time. If you want to have two phones connected and both phones are in the car, the phone that is not connected will need to be set in airplane mode for the other phone to be recognized.

And it's worth pointing out here as well that if you want to charge your phone, you will still need to plug it in via USB unless you have a wireless charger in your vehicle.

Conclusion

Adding Android Auto or CarPlay through a wireless connection is a great way to streamline the interior of your car, reduce distractions, and provide a better-connected environment. These adapters make it so you don’t have to plug your phone in each time you get in and they let you keep your phone put away, so you aren’t looking at it instead of the road.

An Apple CarPlay or Android Auto wired-to-wireless adapter can give you the convenience you want without having to upgrade your car stereo or buy a new car. We did the research on these products to help you find the best option for your vehicle. Hopefully we were able to narrow your search and provide some good insight to help you find the ideal adapter.

Feel free to drop us a comment below!