I’ve used Apple CarPlay wirelessly, and yes, it’s easy and cheap, but there is a downside that I don’t plan on repeating.

Using wireless CarPlay in a car that doesn’t have this feature natively is possible, but not without its drawbacks.

As you probably already know, Apple CarPlay is available in many cars, albeit with different connection methods. We’re seeing more and more cars with wireless connectivity because they have Wi-Fi, while others (especially older ones) only connect via cable.

Well, my car is one of the latter. For these cases, it is possible to use an accessory that allows you to use it wirelessly. These are small devices that plug into the car’s USB port and are what we actually connect the iPhone to. And yes, they make CarPlay wireless, but They have significant disadvantages which many people don’t count on (I didn’t count on them either).

The connection method is the best, simple and fast.

Like everything else, there are accessories that allow you to use CarPlay wirelessly, at a very good price. From what I’ve been able to test over the years, the fundamental difference is the type of connections they allow. In my case, I chose the option with Bluetooth 5.0, and that was enough for me.

The devices themselves work like a charm.. These are typically very small devices, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. They connect via a cable to the car’s USB-A port and require no additional setup steps. Even third party apps.

When connecting them to your car’s USB port, you simply need to go to your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings and pair with the device. That’s all. The iPhone will always remember the accessory, and every time we start the car, CarPlay starts (almost) the same as if we were connected via cable.

Here’s what some accessories look like that allow you to use CarPlay wirelessly.

The “almost” comes from a logical difference with the connection that is established when the car initially offers wireless CarPlay, or when we connect it via cable: time required to download. Although this varies by accessory, it typically lasts 3-5 seconds longer. However, at least in my case, it’s not too annoying and eliminates the need to connect the iPhone.

Biggest drawback: lag when using the screen.

You could say that the last paragraph of the previous section marks the end of the positive aspects of accessories that provide wireless CarPlay connectivity. And I actually say this. The delay in starting CarPlay playback on the car screen doesn’t annoy me, but happens when we interact with the screen.

To understand the reason for the delay, you should look at the technical operation of the device. In short, when we connect to CarPlay via cable, the connection between the iPhone and the car’s screen is direct. When we do this using one of these devices, it acts as an intermediary and therefore takes a few more seconds.

And although this is understandable and logical, I still find it annoying. This is not that much of a delay as it can be 1-2 seconds at most, but it does degrade the user experience a lot. See for example pressing the pause button and playing without stopping until those 2 seconds have passed.. Moreover, if we compare this with the almost instantaneous time we see on cable.

This is also very noticeable when interacting with Siri.. The assistant is the central axis of CarPlay, needed to ask it to make a call or play a playlist. Whether you summon it through the screen or with the voice command “Hey Siri,” the assistant takes a long time to appear. In this case, I would say even more than when performing sensory actions.

In the end, I can’t avoid the busy USB and the interfering device.

Another drawback I found, albeit a very specific one, is that at the end of the day there is only one port in my car and if I want to use CarPlay it will always be busy. When I travel with someone, my companion usually wants to charge his mobile phone, but this is not possible if I want to use CarPlay. Yes, I would also have it via cable, but if it weren’t for native wireless CarPlay.

Anyway, what bothers me most about this issue (literally) is carry the device suspended. Once again, I emphasize the peculiarity of my car: in addition to one USB port, it is located at the top very close to the dashboard and without any surface on which to hold the accessory.

This means that no matter how small the accessory is, it will always in a delicate and even dangerous position. And besides the fact that it tends to fall at any turn or pothole, there is also a risk that it will interfere with the view of the road when driving.

That’s why, If you are thinking about purchasing one of these devices I recommend taking these factors into account. Obviously I don’t want to spoil them because this is the best (and only) solution for cars without built-in wireless CarPlay. Additionally, there will be someone who will compensate for this delay in interacting with the screen and who will have no problem transferring the accessory to the dashboard.

However, in my personal case, I returned it. Also here I give a recommendation regarding the purchase, which is: try to make sure that the store you bought it from accepts returns. This way, you’ll be sure that you won’t have to keep the device if you’re not happy with it.

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