Wireless CarPlay : Cars, Head Units and Adapters [Updated 2021]

Wireless CarPlay : Cars, Head Units and Adapters [Updated 2021]

“Wireless CarPlay; the most talked and attempted feature can now be accessed even without a wireless CarPlay compatible car”

“Did I hear it right?”, This would be what comes to most of the readers at their first glance at the phrase. I say, yes you did hear it right. Due to several compatibility issues with some car inbuilt systems or aftermarket solutions, tech manufacturers have now attempted to find more easy ways to connect to the wireless CarPlay. Let's deep dive about these methods.

What is wireless CarPlay?

Wireless CarPlay is the method of accessing the iPhone apps through the car’s display by connecting the iPhone to the car without using a cable.

Connecting the iPhone to CarPlay and letting the driver access the most important iPhone apps like navigation, communication and entertainment apps via the car screen is the basic concept of Apple CarPlay and the technique of connecting the phone without using a cable physically is termed wireless CarPlay. This pairing of iPhone to Apple CarPlay system can be done using Wi-fi or Bluetooth.

Why Wireless CarPlay?

If you are not clear why you should go with wireless CarPlay, then here are the possible advantages of wireless CarPlay compared to wired Apple CarPlay.

Wireless CarPlay Advantages:

  • Convenience
  • Less Issues
  • Fast response
  • Does not require a USB or a lightning cable

First and foremost, you can get connected to your iPhone apps with Car’s display, just by letting the phone be inside your pocket or a bag. You do not need to worry about connecting it to the car using cables.

Then, we can say wireless CarPlay is more stable than a wired connection. Sometimes there may be connection issues with the cables and if the phone gets disconnected, you need to connect it while driving and that is risky.

Next, in the wireless environment, the response time is really less and we can say it us more instant rather than a phone connected to a cable. Because sometimes data transmission through cables can be lagging. Besides, the wireless CarPlay feature demands the user to have very specific hardware on their cars.

Apart from above all, you do not have to bother about having a cable with you all the time. This is something that the wired CarPlay users are always nagging about. Many of them forget to take the cable with them and with wireless CarPlay, that problem has been solved.

Requirements to have wireless CarPlay

By default, Apple CarPlay does not support Wireless CarPlay with default settings for most of the cars as it demands specific hardware. So you need to get the assistance of a wireless CarPlay Adapter. One may think that you can simply connect your iPhone with the car using Bluetooth and I would say that just the Bluetooth connection won’t be enough and there are many more requirements.

So here are the basic requirements for Wireless CarPlay

Many car-owners query whether they can have wireless CarPlay after a firmware upgrade. But the simple answer is that it is not something practical. Even though you can add CarPlay with firmware upgrade, requiring hardware like routers cannot be fulfilled with that. So if you do not have a CarPlay car, the best option is to go for an aftermarket head unit which is compatible with wireless Apple CarPlay.

How to get wireless CarPlay

You can get wireless CarPlay with the following methods.
1. Set up wireless CarPlay with your wireless CarPlay compatible car

2. Buy a wireless CarPlay compatible head unit if you do not have a CarPlay car.

3. Use a wireless CarPlay adapter to convert your standard CarPlay to a wireless one.

After fulfilling the requirements, you can set up your wireless CarPlay.

How to set up wireless CarPlay with a wireless CarPlay car?

Follow these steps on your car and iPhone to set-up wireless CarPlay on a wireless CarPlay compatible car.

set up wireless carplay in bmw
  1. Press and hold voice command button on your steering wheel
  2. Put receiver as wireless Bluetooth mode
  3. In your iPhone, Go to Settings → General → CarPlay
  4. Select the option ‘Turn on Bluetooth’
setup wireless carplay

How to set up wireless CarPlay in a head unit like Pioneer ?

If you do not have CarPlay or wireless CarPlay features, you can simply buy an aftermarket solution like a CarPlay head unit. Let’s see how to set up wireless CarPlay in a Pioneer head unit.

  1. In your head unit, select the Gears / Settings icon in the top right corner
  2. Scroll down to ‘Demo Mode’ and turn it on.
  3. Go to settings on your iPhone and select CarPlay.
  4. If you previously have wired CarPlay, simply delete your car from the list under CarPlay.
  5. Then go to the Bluetooth settings on iPhone and pair Pioneer radio
  6. Switch the ‘Home icon’ in the head unit on
  7. A menu will appear and select the phone icon in the left corner.
  8. Then select your iPhone from the list appeared
  9. A pair confirmation will pop up on your iPhone. Select the “Use CarPlay” option and confirm it.
  10. That's all and you are connected to wireless CarPlay. You will be able to see the CarPlay menu on the head unit screen.
pioneer carplay set up

These steps may slightly vary with the device models and versions.

How to set up Wireless CarPlay with a wireless CarPlay dongle/ adapter

If you want to get connected to wireless CarPlay using a wireless CarPlay adapter/dongle like CarPlay2air, simply follow these steps:

  1. Connect the wireless CarPlay adapter to the car via the car’s USB port. (A red color bulb will be lit up on the dongle)
  2. Then switch on the car display and it will ask to connect to Bluetooth
  3. In your iPhone, turn on Bluetooth and pair with the Car’s setup
  4. Then a pop-up will appear asking for confirmation and confirm connecting to CarPlay with the ‘Use CarPlay’ option.
  5. Then the iPhone will be connected to CarPlay wirelessly via the dongle. (When connected successfully, a blue color bulb will indicate it on the adapter. dongle)
set up wireless carplay adapter


Note : If it doesn’t show up as you plugged in, don’t worry. It might take a few seconds to load. So let it be. Once loaded, you will find some poorly written or displayed instructions on the screen. (Don’t be too concerned about the language it displays, but focus on the functionality)

Wireless CarPlay cars

Wireless CarPlay cars or the cars which provide you the facility of wireless CarPlay lets you connect your iPhone with the car wirelessly without the assistance of a wireless CarPlay adapter. All of the CarPlay cars do not support wireless connectivity.

  1. Wireless CarPlay cars 2021
  2. Audi: A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, E-Tron, Q3, Q5, Q7, Q8
  3. BMW: 2 Series Gran Coupe,2 Series coupe and convertible, 3 Series, 4 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, 8 Series, X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, X7, Z4
  4. Buick: Encore GX, Envision
  5. Cadillac: CT4, CT5, Escalade, Escalade ESV, XT4, XT5, XT6
  6. Chevrolet: Camaro, Corvette, Malibu, Silverado 1500, Silverado 2500/3500, Suburban, Tahoe, Trailblazer
  7. Chrysler: Pacifica
  8. Dodge: Durango
  9. Ford: Bronco, F-150, Mustang Mach-E
  10. GMC: Acadia, Sierra 1500, Sierra 2500/3500, Yukon, Yukon XL
  11. Honda: Accord
  12. Jeep: Grand Cherokee L (not regular Grand Cherokee)
  13. Hyundai: Elantra, Palisade
  14. Kia: K5, Sorento
  15. Mazda: Mazda6, MX-5 Miata
  16. Mercedes-Benz: S-Class
  17. Mini: Clubman, Convertible, Countryman, Hardtop
  18. Nissan: Rogue (not Rogue Sport)
  19. Porsche: 911, Cayenne, Macan, Panamera
  20. Toyota: Supra
  21. Volkswagen: Atlas (2021.5 only), Atlas Cross Sport, Arteon, Golf GTI (not regular Golf), Jetta, Tiguan

Wireless CarPlay Cars 2020

  • Audi: A6, A7, A8, E-Tron, Q3, Q7, Q8
  • BMW: 2 Series coupe and convertible, 2 Series Gran Coupe, 3 Series, 4 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, 8 Series i3, i8, X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, X7, Z4; wireless Apple CarPlay can be factory-installed, but all models require an over-the-air update for wireless Android Auto
  • Mini: Clubman, Convertible, Countryman, Hardtop
  • Toyota: Supra

Wireless CarPlay Cars despite the manufacture year

  • Audi: A6, A7, A8, Q8
  • BMW: 2 Series, 3 Series, 4 Series, 5 Series, 5 Series plug-in hybrid (530e), 6 Series Gran Coupe, 7 Series, 7 Series plug-in hybrid (740e), i3, i8, X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, X7, Z4,
  • Mini:  Clubman, Convertible, Hardtop, Countryman, Cooper SE Countryman plug-in hybrid

Wireless CarPlay head units

If you do not have wireless CarPlay, the most recommended method is to go for an aftermarket solution like wireless CarPlay receiver head units.

kenwood wireless carplay setup

Head units support wireless CarPlay

  • Alpine iLX-W650
  • Pioneer AVIC-W8500NEX
  • Kenwood Excelon DDX8906XR
  • Kenwood DMX9706S

Wireless CarPlay adapters

Wireless CarPlay adapters can be used to connect your iPhone to the car’s infotainment system with Bluetooth. These wireless CarPlay adapters are a small device which has a USB out to connect to your car with it’s USB port. Most of them have bulb indicators to verify whether they are connected properly.

Currently there are a plethora of wireless CarPlay adapters. Among them, two products are really famous and widely used and user feedbacks reveal that they work fine and have proven successful results. So let’s dig a little deeper on them.

  1. CarPlay2Air
  2. Carlinkit

1.CarPaly2Air

carplay2air wireless carplay dongle

The CarPlay2Air dongle comes in a quite handy box that doesn’t require you to put much of an effort to unbox it. However, just to note, that dongle basically comes in 2 forms. Dongle with mic and without a mic. You may order the CarPlay2Air dongle with a mic or the dongle without a mic at your choice. Once, the dongle is with you, all you have to do is pop the dongle out of the box and plug it into the USB port of your car where you usually plug your iPhone into while keeping your car on start. Then turn on the Bluetooth and connect your iPhone to the device to set up Wireless CarPlay.

carplay2air carplay adapter

Most of the CarPlay compatible cars are compatible with Wireless CarPlay too. But there are many other factors affecting the CarPlay compatibility.

CarPlay2Air compatible car models and brands :

  • Abarth 2017-2021
  • Acura 2017-2021
  • Alfa Romeo 2018-2021
  • Audi 2017-2021
  • Aston Martin 2017-2021
  • Bentley 2017-2021
  • Borgward 2017-2021
  • Buick 2017-2021
  • Cadillac 2016-2021
  • Chevrolet 2016-2021
  • Chrysler 2017-2021
  • Citroen 2016-2021
  • Dodge 2017-2021
  • Ferrari 2016-2021
  • Fiat 2017-2021
  • Ford 2017-2021
  • Genesis 2017-2021
  • GMC 2016-2021
  • Harley-Davidson 2019-2021
  • Holden 2016-2021
  • Honda 2016-2021
  • Honda bikes 2018-2021
  • Hyundai 2015-2021
  • Infiniti 2020-2021
  • Jaguar 2017-2021
  • Jeep 2017-2021
  • Kia 2015-2021
  • Land Rover 2017-2021
  • Lexus 2019-2021
  • Lincoln 2017-2021
  • Maserati 2017-2021
  • Mazda 2018-2021
  • Mercedes-Benz 2016-2021
  • MG Hector 2016-2021
  • Nissan 2017-2021
  • Opel 2016-2021
  • Peugeot 2017-2021
  • Porsche 2017-2021
  • RAM 2018-2021
  • Renault 2017-2021
  • Seat 2016-2021
  • Skoda 2016-2021
  • Subaru 2017-2021
  • Suzuki 2016-2021
  • Toyota 2016-2021
  • Vauxhall 2016-2021
  • Volkswagen 2015-2021
  • Volvo 2016-2021

CarPlay2Air compatible Head Units / Aftermarket Solutions :

  • Alpine
  • Kenwood
  • Pioneer
  • Sony
  • JVC

Buy A CarPlay2Air Dongle and experience Wireless CarPlay :

CarPlay2Air supports almost all the brands and models that came after 2016. But if your inbuilt infotainment system, car brand or the aftermarket device is not mentioned in the list, you are encouraged to contact the official CarPlay2Air support .

2. Carlinkit

carlinkit wireless carplay adapter

Likewise Carlinkit does the same function as the CarPlay2Air. Primarily as the name says it, lets your iPhone to get connected wirelessly with your car or your infotainment system. This comes with a type C port at one end while the other comes with the typical USB end that helps you connect it to the USB port of your car which is used to connect your iPhone.

Making this unit’s connectivity works with your infotainment system and your iPhone does not demand a complex process. Simply what you need to do is just plug into the USB system and pair the device with your iPhone. But make sure that there’s no Bluetooth connection already paired with your iPhone and Car in order to expect it to be working properly. However, you might find instructions that come with the device which will be useful especially for you to go for the updates.

carlinkit wireless carplay


Carlinkit Compatible Cars :

The manufacturer of Carlinkit says that the device has support for most of the car brands. However they confirm that Carlinkit is compatible with:

  • Acura 2017-2021
  • Alfa Romeo 2018-2021
  • Audi 2017-2022
  • Bentley 2017-2021
  • Borgward 2017-2021
  • Buick 2017-2021
  • Cadillac 2016-2021
  • Chevrolet 2016-2021
  • Chrysler 2017-2021
  • Citroen 2016-2021
  • Dodge 2017-2021
  • Ferrari 2016-2021
  • Ford 2017-2021
  • Genesis 2017-2021
  • GMC 2016-2021
  • Honda 2016-2021
  • Honda bikes 2018-2021
  • Hyundai 2015-2021
  • Jaguar 2017-2021
  • Jeep 2017-2021
  • Kia 2015-2021
  • Land Rover 2017-2021
  • Lexus 2019-2021
  • Lincoln 2017-2021
  • Maserati 2017-2021
  • Mazda 2018-2021
  • Mercedes-Benz 2016-2021
  • MG Hector 2016-2021
  • Nissan 2017-2021
  • Opel 2016-2021
  • Peugeot 2017-2021
  • Porsche 2017-2021
  • RAM 2018-2021
  • Renault 2017-2021
  • Seat 2016-2021
  • Skoda 2016-2021
  • Subaru 2017-2021
  • Suzuki 2016-2021
  • Toyota 2016-2021
  • Vauxhall 2016-2021
  • Volkswagen 2015-2021
  • Volvo 2016-2021

Carlinkit Compatible Aftermarket Solutions / Head units :

  • Alpine
  • Kenwood
  • Pioneer
    There are upgrades of Carlinkit as Carlinkit 2.0 and Carlinkit 3.0. You can use any of them and the latest versions come in enhanced functionality.

Buy a Carlinkit dongle now and experience wireless CarPlay

How to check whether my car supports wireless CarPlay?
Check whether your car is on the wireless CarPlay compatible cars list.

Can I have wireless CarPlay in an older car?
Yes, you can use a wireless CarPlay head unit which costs around $500 and set up wireless CarPlay on that.

Is wireless CarPlay available for Pioneer?
Yes, Wireless CarPlay is available for Pioneer set up. Set up wireless CarPlay on Pioneer.

Is wireless CarPlay available for Kenwood?
Yes, Wireless CarPlay is available for Kenwood Excelon DDX8906XR and Kenwood DMX9706S set-up s.

Can I use wireless CarPlay on my BMW ?
Yes, cars later than BMW series 2 are compatible with wireless CarPlay. Check the list of wireless CarPlay compatible cars and if you do not find your BMW there, you can move into an alternative solution.

Can I use wireless CarPlay on my Mercedes?
Yes, Mercedes-Benz S-Class is compatible with wireless CarPlay. Furthermore, Mercedes Benz 2016 - 2021 are compatible with both Carlinkit and CarPlay2Air wireless CarPlay Adapters.

Is wireless CarPlay free?
Yes, if your car is compatible with wireless CarPlay you can enjoy that feature without any cost. But if your car is not supported for wireless CarPlay you have to pay for a wireless CarPlay head unit or a wireless CarPlay adapter.

How much does it cost for wireless CarPlay?
It is totally free for wireless CarPlay compatible cars and you have to pay around $500 if you have to buy a wireless CarPlay head unit. Also there are wireless CarPlay dongles starting around $90.

How to turn wireless CarPlay on?
After setting up wireless CarPlay you can simply on the car screen or the head unit and select the phone icon on the screen. Click on it and select your iPhone. Confirm pairing on the phone and that is it.



Wireless CarPlay not working, why?
Maybe the Bluetooth connection is interrupted. The best and the most successful solution is removing the connection, restarting and pairing the car again with the iPhone.

Why should I choose wireless CarPlay over the wired option ?
Because it is fast, convenient and you can use your phone separately without connecting via a cable. Besides, it does not require data cables.

How to convert a wired standard CarPlay into a wireless CarPlay?
You can simply do that by plugging a wireless CarPlay adapter into your car. Then set it up properly so that you can enjoy wireless CarPlay.

Is wireless CarPlay slower than standard CarPlay?
No, actually wireless CarPlay is said to be faster than standard CarPlay as there is no any data lag caused by the cables.

Conclusion

By default wireless CarPlay is available for a limited number of latest vehicles and if you do not have a wireless CarPlay car, then you can simply go for a wireless CarPlay aftermarket solution like a head unit. Other than that you can have wireless CarPlay with a wireless CarPlay dongle like CarPlay2Air or CarLinkit.

Wireless CarPlay is not a costly technique if you have a supported car. If not, you have to pay for a head unit or a dongle.

To sum up, wireless CarPlay is way better than standard CarPlay as it is fast and convenient.

Check other CarPlay features which can make your in car time an effective one.