Infotainment systems that bridge the gap between your Android or Apple device and your vehicle? Now that's a neat trick! But hold your horses, this magic isn't an old hat just yet. To get in on this game, you'll need to be rolling in a newer model ride, one that's juiced up with a spruced-up infotainment system.

Our car industry friends only got cooking with Apple and Android auto screen compatibility less than a decade ago, but it's really only been since 2017 that it has become a standard in most new vehicles. So, to get the full flavor of this tech treat, you need a car that's fresh off the production line.

But don't sweat it if your ride is a bit of a classic. There's a nifty workaround for you. You can hitch a ride on the infotainment wagon with these handy portable units. They're a bit like those old Tom-Tom and Garmin GPS gadgets from the 2010 era. They boast a crisp touchscreen and extra bells and whistles like Bluetooth or USB hookups, audio connections, and even dash cameras. In a nutshell, they bring tomorrow's infotainment to today's drive.

The cherry on top? No fuss, no muss. You don't need to gut your car's in-dash units or make any hefty mods. These gizmos are a cinch to set up on your windscreen or dashboard. All you have to have is a good ol' 12-volt cigarette lighter power socket and a smartphone. From there, it's smooth sailing with hands-free calls, navigation, and your favorite tunes. Just ask your phone's intelligent voice assistant! It's the smart way to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

Amazon Associates Paid Links Disclosure

How We Choose

There are a ton of things to take into account when shopping for an Apple CarPlay or wireless Android Auto head unit for your vehicle. Features, compatibility, screen size and clarity are some of the key matters to consider. We have done the legwork and reviewed several models that will cover most needs and we even threw in a model specific to motorcycles. Take a read-through and find the model best for you.

Every Bell and Whistle

Carpuride 2023 Newest Wireless Apple Carplay

Check Price on Amazon

Why It's Our Top Pick

With every feature you could possibly need, the Carpuride 2023 Wireless Apple Carplay is a standout choice. This wireless car stereo isn't just compatible with Apple CarPlay, but also Android Auto, and even boasts wireless mirror link functionality.

No more distractions on the road – the Voice Control Carplay feature lets you utilize your smartphone's voice assistant, such as Siri or Google Assistant, to make calls and play music without glancing away from the road.

Don't be worried about installation. The Carpuride car audio receiver comes with a suction mount and a self-adhesive bracket that can easily secure your dashboard console mounted or windshield and can be just as easily removed and stored.

And let's not forget about the display. This unit uses a 1024x600 high-resolution IPS screen, delivering rich, sharp visuals that far surpass the quality of an 800x480 touchscreen.

If your vehicle is a bit older and doesn't have Apple CarPlay, this can be a perfect solution to bridge that technology gap.

What’s In The Box?

Inside, you'll find a 7-inch car stereo with a 1024x600 high-definition IPS screen that supports 1080P video playback. Navigate your routes, watch your movies and more with crystal-clear quality.

This does fit 99% of cars, but be sure to see details about compatibility depending on the age of your vehicle. Unlike the usual car stereos that only operate on 12V, this unit works from anywhere between 12-24V. Suitable for both cars, trucks, and campers.

Even when you're not using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, this screen keeps you connected. It seamlessly links to your phone via Bluetooth connectivity, so you can take calls and jam to your playlists. You can also enjoy your media from a USB or SD card on the Carpuride screen.

Supports a 12-24 V backup camera, but kindly note that the interface uses a 2.5mm jack (The rearview camera is not part of the package and must be purchased separately).

Please be aware that some electronic devices that use radio wave frequencies similar to the TPMS might cause the TPMS sensors to malfunction.

Wide Angle Wide Screen

LAMTTO 9 Inch Wireless Apple Carplay with 1080P Reverse Camera

Check Price on Amazon

Why We Love It

The LAMTTO 9-inch wireless Apple Carplay Android Auto is a portable wonder you'll want in your vehicle. It effortlessly bridges your smartphone and your car, bringing your favorite apps, music, videos, and more to your fingertips.

Do you fancy some hands-free action? Just ask Siri or Google Assistant to play a song, navigate, send a text, or make a call, and voila! It also features a high-definition 1920*1080P reverse camera, perfect for those tight parking spots.

This waterproof, night-vision-equipped camera offers a sweeping 170° view. The LAMTTO unit, with its 360-degree rotatable mount, snugly fits on your dashboard or windshield and can be easily stashed away when not in use.

It powers up via your car's cigarette lighter and is compatible with a range of 12-36V vehicles. Whether you've got a car, truck, caravan, van, or even a camper, LAMTTO's works in them all. Plus, it comes with a comforting 2-year warranty and lifetime tech support.

What’s In The Box?

Inside each LAMTTO box is a treasure trove of high-tech goodies. Suitable for all vehicle types, this kit comes with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto functionality.

You'll get real-time map updates and GPS navigation, paired with Bluetooth/FM/5Ghz WIFI/AUX/Mirror Link connectivity options. And don't forget, Siri and Google Assistant voice control are at your service.

Your new kit includes a 9.8 ft car charger cable, a suction cup bracket, a desktop bracket, and a waterproof rear camera equipped with a 26.2ft cable.

At the heart of the package is a 9-inch Carplay screen monitor and a 4.65ft Aux cable. We've seen some feedback about the strength of the mounting screws for exterior use, but remember, each purchase includes a 2-year warranty and lifetime tech support.

Dash Cam Included!

Spedal 9 Inch Wireless Apple Carplay

Check Price on Amazon

Why We Love It

Looking for a seamless, convenient connection between your phone and car infotainment system? This 9-inch wireless Apple CarPlay is the perfect fit. It automatically syncs up with your iPhone when you hop into your car, letting you focus on the road with minimal distractions.

Siri's voice command paired with your car's touchscreen display ensures a smooth, hands-free experience. To connect, simply pair your iPhone with the device's Wi-Fi network, dubbed "Spedal-", and select the "Screen Mirroring" option.

Plus, the package includes a high-definition front camera that's easy to install and flexible to use - it rotates 360° and also doubles up as a baby monitor or driving recorder. It's perfect for convincing the kids in the backseat that you have eyes in the back of your head while you're at the wheel.

What’s In The Box?

In the box, you'll discover numerous ways to experience sound with four options for audio output.

Seamlessly connect using Bluetooth to immerse yourself in lossless stereo sound directly from your car's stereo. Or, you could use the included cable to tap into your car's AUX port, enabling your vehicle's speakers to belt out your favorite tunes.

There's also the FM Transmitter option, which involves tuning into a vacant radio channel to play sound through your car speakers. And let's not forget the built-in speakers, providing stereo playback for your pleasure.

Compatibility? Not an issue. This non-inbuilt navigator is versatile, supporting 12-48V, and can be used almost universally in vehicles like cars, RVs, SUVs, pickups, and so forth. And talk about modern design - the Full HD 9-inch IPS touch display screen takes sleek to a new level.

Plus, the Apple CarPlay/Android Auto Holder comes with a suction lock. The suction cup's surface is sprayed with glue droplets to ensure a firm stick on your dashboard or windshield.

As for installation, it's a breeze. You'll have it up and running in just 3-5 minutes. If you do need assistance, whether via email or our US customer service line, they're ready to assist if you encounter any issues.

Top Notch Basement Bargain

ISOON 7 Inch HD Apple Carplay

Check Price on Amazon

Why We Love It

Holding a prestigious position as a bargain basement top find, the ISOON 7-inch HD Apple Carplay is an impressive piece of technology for the price.

Let's delve into the reasons why this item is a fan favorite. For starters, it's an all-around performer, offering high compatibility with both Apple Carplay and Android devices. Make calls, listen to music, use real-time map navigation, and more.

One standout feature is the car reversing camera. This nifty addition supports safe reversing by offering night vision and visual aids. Not only is it easy to install, but it's also waterproof and equipped with a wide-angle lens for an expanded field of vision. This makes it a practical, safe accessory for all drivers.

It's worth noting that the screen requires a somewhat firmer touch to function; however, considering the extremely affordable price point, this is a minor trade-off. The sturdy mounting arm ensures a great hold on the dash or windshield, effectively reducing vibration and screen shake.

While the speakers deliver decent sound, they may struggle to compete with a loud car speaker. I'd advise you to access the FM setting and deactivate the factory setting of playing through car speakers.

What’s In The Box?

Inside the box, you'll find a set of tools aimed to help you effortlessly install the device. This makes it a versatile fit for a range of car models.

The device also supports wireless Mirror Link for both Apple iOS and Android devices, or through a USB data cable. Bluetooth capabilities allow you to enjoy music and hands-free calls with ease, while also supporting music streaming.

For safer reversing, there's an AHD night vision, waterproof rear view camera. The 7-inch Full HD capacitive touchscreen provides a smooth and uncomplicated operation. For added convenience, the device is compatible with voice control from both Apple iOS Siri and Android. You can also enjoy the benefits of an AUX port transmission through the AUX Output.

Top Choice For Two Wheelers

WEUASTE Portable Apple CarPlay for Motorcycle

Check Price on Amazon

Why We Love It

The WEUASTE Portable Apple CarPlay is specially designed for your motorcycle journeys. This device brings a touch of modern technology to your rides, offering a seamless and intuitive user experience. The unit wirelessly connects to your mobile device, providing Apple CarPlay or Android Auto functionality.

Constructed with a resilience that is built to last, this wireless CarPlay and Android Auto unit is a tough nut. Come rain or shine, high temperatures or dusty landscapes, it's waterproof and dust resistant.

Do bear in mind that the motorcycle CarPlay display doesn't carry any software or maps - its sterling features rely solely on CarPlay and Android Auto.

For a journey that's all the more serene, sync the unit with your Bluetooth helmet or earphone. Now, control volume, shuffle songs, and manage hands-free calls directly from your helmet or earphone.

What's In The Box?

Inside the box, you'll find an IPX7 waterproof, 5-inch Apple CarPlay high-definition IPS touchscreen designed with motorcyclists in mind. It's as vibrant as it gets with a striking 65K color display and a peak brightness of 1000NIT.

They've also thrown in bracket kits and tools to make installation a breeze. The specially designed theft-proof detachable bracket kit and screw system ensure a straightforward screen mount on any motorcycle.

The wiring is a cinch, requiring just (ACC + 12V and Ground). And to top it off, you get a 12-month warranty and technical support.

Portable Apple CarPlay/Android Auto FAQs

The above choices will do for almost anyone with an older car, but there are quite a few models available on the market. We have some factors for you to consider below, followed by the most popular FAQs that people have asked recently.

Making the Right Match: Compatibility and Installation

Starting your journey with the perfect head unit begins by making sure it's a match made in heaven with your car's particular make and model. After all, cars are as unique as the people who drive them, and the same goes for head units.

You'll need to get clear on your requirements - are you looking for an on-dash system that's simple to attach and detach or an in-dash unit that might require a bit more finesse and technical prowess?

If you're leaning towards an in-dash system, it could be worth having a chat with a professional installer to ensure your installation journey is as smooth as your first drive with your new head unit.

Looking Through the Digital Windshield: Screen Size and Resolution

Imagine your CarPlay display as the digital equivalent of your driving windshield— it should offer a crystal clear, vibrant, and easily readable view.

Choose a screen size that harmonizes with your dashboard while ensuring it doesn't obstruct your road vision. Remember, bigger isn't always your best bet.

As for resolution, opt for a unit that delivers sharp, lucid images, making your digital maps and messages a breeze to read, no matter what the lighting situation is.

Dialing into the Details: Your Head Unit Features

Your head unit should be more than just a car radio. It needs to be the life and soul of your car's infotainment system. So, let's talk features.

Are you a fan of voice commands or are touchscreen controls more your style? Craving some built-in navigation or are you an old-school map lover? Perhaps one that can connect with your steering wheel controls? Maybe you fancy some backup camera support or need your device to play nice with Android Auto as well.

The key here is to choose what you'll use and love. After all, why pay for whistles and bells that you don't really need? Remember, your head unit isn't just for jamming out to your favorite tunes or catching up on podcasts on the go. It should be a one-stop shop for all your infotainment needs - from GPS to mobile communication. So, choose wisely, and you'll have a co-pilot who's as tech-savvy as you are.

Keeping Your Tech Updated

When it comes to investing in your new aftermarket Apple CarPlay head unit, we believe in future-proofing your purchase. That means opting for the freshest model on the block over older versions or refurbished units.

Let's face it - Apple never stops innovating, constantly adding shiny new features to CarPlay. On the flip side, it's not uncommon for manufacturers to be a little sluggish in dishing out firmware updates for these units - if they even decide to roll them out at all for these new features.

So, to ensure you stay in the loop with the latest and greatest CarPlay functionalities, we say go for the newest model. Future-you will thank you.

Is wireless CarPlay worth it?

With a portable CarPlay, you have the freedom to choose from various third-party apps that may not be available on built-in systems. You can also update or replace your portable device without changing your car's entire infotainment system.

A portable Apple CarPlay head unit brings a world of convenience, versatility, and cost savings to car owners. Whether you own multiple cars, frequently rent vehicles, or simply want the flexibility to customize and update your device, a portable CarPlay is a worthwhile investment.

So, is portable Apple CarPlay worth it? We believe the answer is a resounding yes. It's a small device that delivers big on enhancing your driving experience.

How important is Apple CarPlay in a car?

The importance of Apple CarPlay in a car cannot be overstated, especially in our increasingly connected world. Apple CarPlay is a system that allows you to connect your iPhone to your vehicle's infotainment system, offering seamless integration of the smartphone features that you depend on most.

Firstly, it enhances safety. With Apple CarPlay, you can make calls, send and receive messages, and get directions hands-free through Siri voice control. This allows you to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel, reducing the risk of distractions while driving.

Secondly, it provides convenience. Access to apps like Apple Maps, Spotify, and Podcasts means you can navigate, listen to your favorite music, or catch up on the latest podcasts all through your car's built-in display. You no longer need to fumble with your phone while driving.

Lastly, Apple CarPlay adds to the overall driving experience. The intuitive interface is easy to use, and the fact that it mirrors the look of your iPhone makes it familiar. Plus, it can make older cars feel more modern and high-tech.

In conclusion, Apple CarPlay is a significant feature in a car. Its safety, convenience, and user-friendly interface make it a must-have for iPhone users on the road.

What is the difference between Apple CarPlay and AirPlay?

Apple CarPlay and AirPlay are both innovative technologies developed by Apple, but they serve different functions and are used in different contexts.

CarPlay is for integrating your iPhone with your car's infotainment system for safer, more convenient driving, while AirPlay is for wirelessly streaming media between devices in your home or office.

Does Apple CarPlay only work with iPhones?

Apple CarPlay is indeed designed to work specifically with Apple's iPhone. It allows you to connect your iPhone to your car's infotainment system and use certain apps directly from your car's display. This includes apps for navigation like Apple Maps, communication apps like Messages, and entertainment apps like Apple Music and Spotify.

Currently, CarPlay is compatible with iPhone models from the iPhone 5 and newer, as long as they're running iOS 7.1 or later. It's important to note that while CarPlay does support some third-party apps, the overall app selection is curated by Apple to ensure safe use while driving.

Unfortunately, CarPlay is not compatible with Android phones. However, Android users aren't left out in the cold; Google offers a similar service called Android Auto, which provides functionality comparable to CarPlay but is designed to work with Android devices.

So in short, yes, Apple CarPlay only works with iPhones. If you're an Android user, you'll want to look into Android Auto for a similar car-friendly smartphone interface.

Is wired or wireless CarPlay better?

When it comes to choosing between wired and wireless Apple CarPlay, the better option largely depends on personal preference, convenience, and your specific needs.

Wired CarPlay, as the name suggests, requires a USB cable to connect your iPhone to your car's infotainment system. The primary advantage of this setup is its stability. Wired connections tend to be more reliable and less prone to disruptions than wireless ones. Furthermore, using a wired connection also charges your iPhone while you drive, ensuring you won't end up with a dead battery after a long trip.

On the other hand, wireless CarPlay offers a significant advantage in terms of convenience. You don't need to fuss with cables every time you enter and exit your car - your iPhone automatically connects to CarPlay when you start your vehicle. This can make for a smoother, more seamless driving experience. However, it's worth noting that wireless CarPlay can consume more battery power, and the connection might not be as stable as a wired one.

In summary, if convenience and a clutter-free dashboard are high on your list, wireless CarPlay might be the better choice for you. But if reliability and the ability to charge your phone while driving are more important, then a wired CarPlay connection could be the way to go. As with many tech decisions, it's all about what works best for your individual needs and circumstances.

Is there a monthly charge for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto?

Apple CarPlay is a fantastic feature that allows you to integrate your iPhone with your vehicle's infotainment system, providing a safer and more convenient driving experience. One of the common questions around this technology is whether there's a monthly charge for using it.

In general, Apple CarPlay itself does not come with a monthly fee. It's a feature that comes preinstalled in many new vehicles, and once your car is equipped with it, you can use it at no additional cost.

However, it's important to note that while Apple doesn't charge for CarPlay, the situation can vary among auto manufacturers. For example, BMW previously charged an annual fee for CarPlay compatibility, although they have since discontinued this practice.

In terms of installation, if your vehicle isn't already equipped with CarPlay, you may need to pay for an aftermarket system. The cost for professional installation of such a system can range from around $100 to $200, but the price can be higher depending on various factors.

So, to sum up, while Apple doesn't charge a monthly fee for CarPlay, there may be costs associated with getting it set up in your car if it's not already equipped, and potentially from the auto manufacturer, although this is less common.

How do I mirror my iPhone to CarPlay?

Mirroring your iPhone to your car's screen using Apple CarPlay is a fairly straightforward process. This feature allows you to view and control certain apps from your iPhone directly on your car's infotainment display, providing a safer and more convenient driving experience. Here's a quick rundown of the steps you need to follow:

First, make sure that your car supports CarPlay. If you're unsure, check your car's manual or contact the manufacturer.

Connect your iPhone to your car via a USB cable. Typically, there's a specific USB port in your car labeled with the CarPlay icon or smartphone symbol.

On your iPhone, navigate to Settings > General > CarPlay.

In the CarPlay settings, you should see the name of your car. If not, make sure your car is in wireless or Bluetooth pairing mode (if it supports wireless CarPlay). Then on your iPhone, go to Settings > General > CarPlay > Available cars and select your car.

After selecting your car, your iPhone's screen should now be mirrored on your car's display. You can now use your car's touchscreen, knobs, or buttons to control the CarPlay interface.

Remember, while mirroring your iPhone to your car's screen can enhance your driving experience, it's crucial to keep safety as your top priority. Always avoid interacting with your device while driving unless absolutely necessary.

Choose The Upgrade That's Right For You

These portable Apple CarPlay/Android Auto devices truly revolutionize the driving experience, making it safer, more convenient, and enjoyable. It's not just about enhancing your drive; it's about transforming it into something more - a journey that embraces the future of automotive technology.

If you're ready to take your driving experience to the next level, tap the Amazon links provided to get your choice delivered soon. Make the smart choice for your car and get the best companion for your drives. Remember, the road ahead is not just about reaching your destination, but also enjoying the ride. Safe travels and happy driving!

A Word About Distracted Driving

While we all enjoy staying connected while we are on the road, it's important to stay focused on the road. I enjoy working my own soundtrack and keeping tabs on how far ahead of my original ETA I am as much as everyone else, but please don't let all of these potential distractions endanger the lives of you, your passengers, or other motorists. My Number One driving safety tip? Be aware of your surroundings when driving. Not paying attention can be a killer. Take a look at some of the top 10 driving safety tips from the fine folks at RoadWarrior.

Top 10 Safe Driving Tips | RoadWarrior
The top 10 safe driving tips can help you improve your driving. Visit HowStuffWorks to find the top 10 safe driving tips.
Share this post