Will an Android Head Unit Work with iPhone?

Will an Android Head Unit Work with iPhone - featured image

Almost all Android head units will work with an iPhone via Bluetooth connectivity, but for extra features, you’ll need to install Apple car play on the unit. 


  1. Use iPhone and head unit with basic Bluetooth connectivity
  2. Connect your iPhone using built-in CarPlay (if Compatible) – Wirelessly or via a CarPlay charging cable
  3. Connect your iPhone using a third-party workaround for CarPlay – Such as a wireless CarPlay dongle

Connect iPhone to Android Head Unit

With today’s tech advancements with a growing number of wireless devices and gadgets, we often end up with many different things from various companies. What adds to the annoyance is that they don’t always work together in the way we’d like. But as we spiral forward on this path of technology, the kinks get ironed out along the way.

We’re still in an iffy stage where it’s common to have a gadget from, say, Android (Google) and a smart device from Apple. One of the most common applications of modern tech is connecting our smartphones to our cars for hands-free phone calls and texting and listening to music, news, and podcasts.

So, it’s only appropriate to wonder if a head unit from Android will work with an iPhone.

You can definitely pair an android head unit with an iPhone with great ease, but multiple options depend on your wants and need and what head unit you have.

Apple CarPlay Home Screen
CarPlay working on a head unit


1. Basic iPhone functionality with Android Head Unit

The vast majority of Andriod head units will have Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to have basic functionality such as music and phone call hands-free. Apart from this, there will be limited other features of using the Bluetooth method. However, this is sufficient enough for most people.

An Andriod head unit doesn’t mean you can’t use your iPhone to connect with it via Bluetooth or Wifi, but if you’re looking for more features like navigation app integration, you’ll have to connect via Apple CarPlay using either the built-in method or with a hotfix. We will discuss how to do this in further steps.

You can watch the following video to see an iPhone connected to a Toyota head unit via Bluetooth. While the process may vary for your car and head unit model, the steps will be relatively the same and give you a good idea of what to do:

2. Does Your Head Unit Already Have Built-In CarPlay – iPhone compatible

Apple CarPlay is an IOS system made for car stereos and head unit units that allow you to seamlessly connect your head unit to your iPhone if it’s compatible. This is kind of like an iPad in your car but with less functionality. See Apple’s complete list of compatible head units and vehicles on their website.

The head unit must also be Double DIN.

Before installing a fix to allow your Carplay to work, you should check if your Android head unit has CarPlay built-in. You can do this via the manufacturer’s website and search for the model to see the specification or browse the settings. It will often be under the “connectivity settings” tab, but this will vary depending on your model.

Once you’ve enabled CarPlay on the device, you can plug your iPhone in using a USB lighting cable, and CarPlay will pop up with your connected iPhone.

apple car play switch

This is the best method, as the next step is a “hotfix” / workaround to allow your iPhone to work properly with the head unit. We only recommend using this step if your head unit is not compatible and you’re comfortable with it potentially having some issues working some of the time.

3. How to Connect the Head Unit to an iPhone – HotFix

The only way to connect an Android head unit to an Apple iPhone other than the steps above, for now, is to acquire CarPlay. An Apple adapter makes it possible to connect to a wide range of Android aftermarket head units. This coincides with downloading the app Zbox for stable compatibility and synchronizing.

This method will require you to buy a compatible dongle, such as the ATOTO adapter before you can follow these steps:

You’re going to need the head units, two USB cables, the Zbox app, and your autokit. Follow these seven steps, and you’ll be on the road in no time flat.

  1. Unlock your phone
  2. From your iPhone, turn on autoplay or autokit
  3. Connect the USB cable to your device
  4. Then connect the other end of the USB cable to the CarPlay adapter
  5. Wait a few moments, and the CarPlay menu should appear
  6. Connect the CarPlay unit to the head unit through the Zbox app and a USB cable
  7. Wait for it to sync, and you’re done!

Watch the following video to see some of the steps in action. Again, the exact settings and processes will vary depending on your head unit and dongle makes.

No-Fuss Reconnecting

If you have to turn off and leave your vehicle, Zbox will stay connected when you return. It will automatically recognize the device again and go back to the menu screen. This means you don’t have to fumble and tinker to re-synchronize when you get back into the car.


If you are having problems getting this to work, it could be that you have a faulty USB cable, the input on your iPhone is bad, or there’s damage to the CarPlay adapter. Check out every piece of the connection to ensure everything is in proper condition and working order.

Technology Makes Life Easier; Safer

The process is fast, quick, and straightforward to do. You’ll be listening to music, making calls, and sending texts in no time. You can perform these functions in safety while driving so your attention isn’t taken away from the road and the wheel. This is great for people who travel far distances for work or for the road trip junkie.

Final Thoughts

You can use various methods to get your Android head unit to work with your iPhone, and it will vary depending on the make and model of your car and head unit.

In some capacity, almost all Andriod head units will work with an iPhone for basic functionality such as music and phone calls. If this is all you want, just follow step one and connect your iPhone using Bluetooth, and it’s as easy as that.

If you’re after more functionality from the likes of Apple CarPlay, you’ll need to see if your head unit already has CarPlay installed on in; follow step two for this.

If your Android head unit doesn’t have CarPlay installed, you’ll need to add it using a more extensive process, as you can see in step three.

By following this article, you should be able to get your iPhone up and running with your Andriod Head Unit in no time.

Be aware you could run into Android auto audio quality problems.

Picture of Alex
I loved my car but was frustrated with my media system. So I upgraded my stereo, making silly wires and precarious phone mounts a thing of the past. The Apple Car Play stereo was so good I wanted to show more people how this could be done and truly upgrade their cars multimedia system! Founder StereoUpgrade.com
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