Using waze maps application on smartphone in car dashboard. Driver using maps app for showing the right route through the traffic in Bucharest, Romania, 2021
Tech - News
Is An Apple CarPlay Wireless Adapter Worth It?
Wireless CarPlay adapters have been around for a while; they plug into a car's wired USB port and add wireless connectivity support to the vehicle's infotainment system. Most wireless CarPlay adapters are the same, with a few differentiating features such as passthrough charging or multi-iPhone pairing, but is it worth spending the money on a wireless adapter?
The most significant upside of wireless connectivity is that you no longer have to remember to plug in your iPhone every time you start the car. Even better, you won't have to worry about losing or forgetting the Lightning cable – you can leave your iPhone in your pocket or purse when you get into the car, increasing the convenience factor.
Another potential upside is that older cars may have USB ports that charge your iPhone, but it could take a few hours to fully recharge because the USB ports were designed to play music from a USB flash drive while charging was reserved for a DC adapter. With wireless CarPlay, you'll be able to use your iPhone for CarPlay and plug it into a DC fast charger at the same time.
As with anything wireless, there are inherent downsides, and because Apple doesn't officially license wireless CarPlay adapters, reliability isn't guaranteed. The primary issue involves the initial pairing between the iPhone and adapter when you first turn on your car; you may have to unplug the adapter, wait a minute, then plug it back in after starting the vehicle.
Another potentially unavoidable issue with wireless CarPlay is a delay. Some users — including many on Reddit — say they experience a one- to two-second delay when performing CarPlay actions, including skipping the next song and switching to a different app. For some, this delay is undetectable, but for others, it's very annoying and an absolute dealbreaker.
If you're tired of plugging in your iPhone every time you get into the car, getting a wireless CarPlay adapter is likely worth the cost. There are several options on the market with varied user ratings; beyond that, different adapters come with various features, so it's essential to read the fine print to ensure you're getting the product that meets your needs.
For example, the CARLIMEKI Wireless CarPlay adapter claims to support all wired CarPlay features and be compatible with steering wheel controls, while the OTTOCAST U2-Air Wireless CarPlay adapter claims to offer faster boot speeds. Android users should consider the CarlinKit ai Box, designed to add an Android option in vehicles with wired CarPlay support.