Apple CarPlay Wireless Adapter: Is It Worth It?

Apple CarPlay has been transforming how drivers stay connected since 2014. The technology has become standard in several vehicles as automakers incorporate it into their cars. Wireless Apple CarPlay has undergone major changes throughout the years, but not everything has been rosy. Wireless Apple CarPlay has its issues. So, is investing in an Apple CarPlay wireless adapter worth it?

Apple CarPlay made driving a bit safer

A person selecting Apple CarPlay on an infotainment system, with a potential Apple CarPlay wireless adaptor. .
Apple CarPlay | Getty Images

The evolution of technology has placed everything we want at our fingertips. Today, we rely on our smartphones for almost everything, including weather, time, navigation, phone calls, etc. While using your phone is easy, it is dangerous to do while driving. Therefore, when Apple introduced Apple CarPlay in 2014, it was a welcome idea among consumers.

The tech allowed drivers to send and receive text messages, make and receive calls, enjoy songs and podcasts, show the weather and navigate maps while driving, without touching their phones or taking their eyes off the road.

However, during its early years, automakers weren’t jumping on the tech immediately. Many thought it a luxury and didn’t see its importance. It wasn’t until consumers began opting for models with the integration that several manufacturers took notice.

The consumer shifts forced car makers to integrate the tech into the car’s infotainment system and ensure that it works without any issues. Apple has been upgrading the tech and recently announced its latest upgrade, the iOS 16, which will change in-car connectivity once more.

With the upgrade, users can use the tech on any screen in the car, not just the main infotainment display. The upgrade promises increased integration and functionality and will allow you to mirror your phone to handle the different aspects of your car in real-time.

Some of the functions you’ll be able to perform with the upgrade include map navigation, controlling heated seating, showing the weather, and checking your EV or hybrid’s battery levels.

Is a wireless Apple CarPlay adapter worth it?

The Lightning cable is the major difference between a wireless and wired Apple CarPlay. With wired CarPlay, you will need a Lightning cable to plug your phone into your car. With wireless CarPlay, you don’t need to remember to carry or worry about losing your Lightning cable as all connections are wireless.

Another upside is that with wireless Apple CarPlay, you can charge your phone faster than with wired CarPlay. This is because the USB ports in some older cars were made to play music and not charge phones. Therefore, using your cable to plug into the slot will charge your phone but at a slow pace.

However, that doesn’t mean everything is great with wireless Apple CarPlay. For starters, the adapters are sold by other companies which don’t have a license from Apple. Therefore, you aren’t guaranteed that what you have will work better than others. Additionally, the integration often has initial pairing issues, forcing you to unplug the adapter, wait for a minute, and plug it back in before it works.

Moreover, if you drive into a busy area with many Wi-Fi connections, you may face interference issues. Some Reddit users also complained of a 2-second delay when performing actions such as switching apps.

Android Auto or Apple CarPlay

Android Auto is Google’s answer for Android users. The integration works the same as Apple CarPlay and has similar features. However, Android Auto edges its counterpart in Google Maps thanks to its ‘pinch-and-zoom’ feature.

Android Auto also lets you customize its look and functionality through your phone, unlike Apple CarPlay, which sometimes even shows up dark. In terms of the user interface, Apple CarPlay takes the crown thanks to its dashboard layout, which facilitates efficient navigation.

RELATED: How Does Using the Apple CarPlay Affect an EV’s Driving Range?