best wireless carplay adapters - featured image

Wireless Carplay is an excellent addition to the standard CarPlay experience allowing you to ditch the wires. 

However, if your vehicle isn’t already wireless compatible, you will need to purchase one of the adapters in this article. 

Note: This guide is only for vehicles with wired CarPlay already installed. If your car has an aftermarket head unit or no CarPlay, please see our guide to Wireless CarPlay to get started in these situations.

So, let’s see which is the best wireless CarPlay Adapter…

In a hurry? See our top 3 Wireless Carplay Adapters:

  1. CarlinKit 3.0 (Best Overall)
  2. CPLAY2Air
  3. OTTOCAST
1. Top Choice

CarlinKit 3.0 Wireless CarPlay Adapter

CarlinKit 3.0 Wireless CarPlay Adapter

2. Second Choice

CPLAY2Air Wireless CarPlay Adapter

CPLAY2Air Wireless CarPlay Adapter

3. Third Choice

OTTOCAST Wireless CarPlay Adapter

OTTOCAST Wireless CarPlay Adapter

How Wireless CarPlay Adapters Work

 

*Video is when a connection is already made

These Wireless CarPlay adapters work by making a WIFI connection with your iPhone and emulating a wired connection.

It’s important to understand that no adapter exists that is approved by Apple. 

These are all made by third-party manufacturers mainly based in China. They work with a framework to patch your vehicle and iPhone connection together. 

As a result, the connection is not always perfect. In addition, it can cause bugs or lag to occur. 

However, there are settings to improve this, and I would still recommend these products.

A wireless connection is never as good as a wired one. But, like a hard-wired cable internet connection is faster and better overall, it is the same for CarPlay. 

Essentially, you’d be doing this mainly for portability and convenience, which it will help.

How the Wireless CarPlay Dongles were Tested 

carlinkit wireless carplay adapter in front of carplay screen

These dongles were tested with the latest firmware using a 2017 Voxuall (Opel ) Corsa with a factory CarPlay unit installed.

I’ve extensively used some of these adapters for the best part of a year, and I’ll help you pick the right one.

Advice: As a word of warning, if your dongle is working correctly, DO NOT update it. This may seem counterintuitive, but many reports of issues occur after a dongle update. Only update if you are experiencing critical problems.

Best Wireless CarPlay Adapters – Overview

The best wireless CarPlay adapter in my option is the CarlinKit 3.0

In the following order, the adapters are:

1) CarlinKit 3.02) CPLAY2air | 3) OTTOCAST

Many of these wireless CarPlay dongles work similarly, so it was a very close decision. 

In fact, I recently purchased one with the same bootup menu and instruction manual. All that was different was the outside packaging and the product shell.

With this being said, there are some subtle differences in the hardware, software, customer service, and product delivery, which is why I picked the CarlinKit 3.0. 

My option is not alone. Other experts familiar with Apple CarPlay also agree.

CarlinKit 3.0 Wireless CarPlay Adapter 

best wireless carplay adapter - carlinkit 3.0

View on Amazon: CarlinKit 3.0

Overall the Carlinkit is a solid pick with a sleek shiny design; it should fit into any car with style.

Here are some of the pros and cons I found when testing the product.

Pros:

  • One of the most reliable software & vehicle compatibility
  • Speedy Delivery & Support (Amazon)
  • Sleek and modern design
  • Quick bootup time
  • One of the cheapest adapters

Cons:

  • It can randomly disconnect, requiring you to replug in the device.

 

Note: Recently, the Carlinkit 4.0 has been released, but we have yet to review this fully. From research, there seems to be little difference between the product versions.

View on Amazon: CarlinKit 3.0

Design & Features 

carlinkit wireless carplay adapter inside box

The CarlinKit 3.0 comes in 2 different colors (white or black), although I would never personally pick the white as it would stand in most people’s vehicles.

A bright LED indicator on the device will helpfully tell you whether it is connected or not. 

  • Red: Not connect
  • Green: Connected

 

Setup Process

carlinkit wireless carplay adapter all parts

The installation process is straightforward and connects via your iPhone’s WIFI and Bluetooth settings. 

  1. Plug in the CarlinKit Adapter
  2. Turn on WiFi & Bluetooth and connect to the dongle
  3. Follow the on-screen instruction

 

*You do NOT have to do this every time. Once set up, it will automatically connect as long as it’s plugged in and your iPhone’s WiFi and Bluetooth are enabled.

Boot Uptime

Once fully set up, the device typically boots up and connects within 25 seconds, which is good.  

Compatibility

The device is widely compatible with OEM carplay stereo systems. (Systems that already have CarPlay installed in the Factory) 

CarlinKit also claims the adapter is compatible with 98% of car models

However, make sure to check the capability list before purchasing to ensure it will work in your vehicle.  

To learn more, see my individual CarlinKit review here.

 

CPLAY2Air Wireless CarPlay Adapter

The CPLAYAir adapter is another excellent product for setting up wireless CarPlay in a vehicle. 

However, the main reason for the second place is due to reports of bugs and compatibility issues, which are more common than with the CarlinKit device. 

Adddinaly, there are complaints that delivery times for the product can be slow due to shipping coming from China. 

The product is not available on Amazon by the manufacturer.

Pros:

  • 1-year worldwide warranty
  • Quick bootup time
  • Widely compatible
  • Small compact design

Cons:

  • Some reports of bugs
  • For a USB-C cable, an additional purchase is required 
  • Some slow delivery times (From China)

 

Design & Features 

The CPLAY2air comes in a smooth black design with a slim body that should fit into any vehicle’s USB area. 

Unlike the CarlinKit, there is no LED icon for displaying the connection status, which can be helpful to see.

Setup Process

The setup process is simple and the same as other devices. 

It is as follows:

  1. Plug in the CarlinKit Adapter
  2. Turn on WiFi & Bluetooth and connect to the dongle
  3. Follow the on-screen instruction

 

*You do NOT have to do this every time. Once set up, it will automatically connect as long as it’s plugged in and your iPhone’s WiFi and Bluetooth are enabled.

Boot Uptime

Once fully set up, the device typically boots up and connects within 25 seconds, which is good.  

Compatibility

The CPLAY2air adapter is compatible with most factory CarPlay installed head units.

You should check the list on their website before purchasing.

 If your vehicle is not listed, contact support for clarification. 

It is also compatible with the following aftermarket head units:

  • Alpine
  • Kenwood
  • Pioneer
  • Sony
  • JVC

 

Note: USB-C ports are supported with Cplay2air, but an additional converter from USB-A to USB-C is required.

See my full CPLAY2Air review.

 

OTTOCAST Wireless CarPlay Adapter

ottocast wireless carplay dongle

View on Amazon: OTTOCAST

The OTTOCAST is another popular choice that works well all around.

One of the only reasons for the third place is the device is not compatible with BMWs, and the connection range of the product is slightly less than the other products mentioned. 

Pros:

  • Small & Modern Design
  • Easy to Use
  • Fast Bootup Time

Cons:

  • Connection Range can be Limited
  • Not Compatible with BMWs

 

View on Amazon: OTTOCAST

Design & Features 

The device is made of ridge plastic and cured edges giving it a rugged look.

Addiantally, the blue LED on the front of the device helps notify you when a connection is made.

Setup process

The setup process is simple and the same as other devices. 

It is as follows:

  1. Plug in the CarlinKit Adapter
  2. Turn on WiFi & Bluetooth and connect to the dongle
  3. Follow the on-screen instruction

 

*You do NOT have to do this every time. Once set up, it will automatically connect as long as it’s plugged in and your iPhone’s WiFi and Bluetooth are enabled.

Bootup time

Once fully set up, the device typically boots up and connects within 26 seconds, which is good.  

Compatibility:

According to Ottocast, BMW cars are not supported. These other specific models also do not work:

  • 2016 Buick LaCrosse
  • 2019 Honda CRV
  • 2019 ACURA RDX
  • 2017-18 Mazda CX-5
  • 2017 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander

See my full review of the OTTOCAST wireless CarPlay dongle.

FAQs Regarding Wireless CarPlay Adapters – FAQs

Is wireless CarPlay Worth It?

Wireless CarPlay is defiantly worth it if you are constantly entering and exiting the car for errands, work, deliveries, ect. As a result, you won’t have to keep connecting your iPhone. If you travel on longer journeys that don’t require this, it might not be worth the cost as the benefit will be limited.

Is Wireless CarPlay Laggy?

Some users report laggy devices when using wireless CarPlay adapters; however, you can improve this in the device settings to mitigate the delay. The devices I featured all allow for this.

Does Wireless CarPlay use Bluetooth or WiFi?

Wireless CarPlay uses both Bluetooth and WiFi. Bluetooth is initially used to form a connection, which switches to WiFi for the CarPlay functionally, allowing for better data transmission. 

Regarding data usage, wireless carplay uses the same amount of data as using your iPhone. It essentially emulates your iPhone into your vehicle in a more driver-friendly and CarPlay-safe manner. 

Honorable Mentions – Adapters & Dongles

There are many notable wireless CarPlay adapters that I haven’t mentioned in this list, mainly because they are inferior or very similar. 

However, if you are interested, here are some of the other leading wireless carplay adapters on the market. 

MiraBox HSV-283

This device is featured because it allows for MP4 playback, allowing you to watch videos. 

However, there are downsides, such as having a poor input response and no advanced setting to help adjust this.

Additionally, the A/V sync can be off, which can cause issues and be a nuisance. 

MMB WJUC-1

This device is similar to the MiraBox HSV-283 because it allows MP4 playback.

However, it suffers from the same fatal flaws in the fact that there is poor input response, and the A/V sync can be off.

CarlinKit 3.0 Mini

carlinkit mini wireless carplay adapterView on Amazon: CarlinKit 3.0 Mini

As the name suggests, the CarlinKit 3.0 Mini is a smaller version of the CarlinKit 3.0, which is our number one pick. 

From my research, there isn’t really any difference with this device apart from the size and minor technical differences. 

This could be a great option if you are concerned about the size of your adapter.

See more information and price on Amazon: CarlinKit 3.0 Mini

Summary Area

As you’ve seen in this article, many of the devices operate in a similar matter and will allow you to get wireless CarPlay at a fraction of the cost of a new head unit or a new vehicle!

With this being said, the overall recommendation is the CarlinKit 3.0 due to its reliability and cost-effectiveness. 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via the contact page. However, specific technical questions should be asked to the relevant sellers and manufacturers.

Best of luck with getting set up with wireless CarPlay. 

If you are looking for apps to use with CarPlay, see my specific guides:

Alex
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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