Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Wireless Apple CarPlay Dongles


New model on the left, older one on the right

So my Honda Civic si 2018 has wired carplay but doesn't have the new wireless carplay.  I recently discovered there are dongles that act as a wireless to wired bridge.  This of course only works if your car already supports wired carplay.  

The first one I bought was apparently an older model even though it is labeled as carlinkit 2.0.
It seems to work fine and is around $100 currently.  

The newer TRUE 2.0 model is also around $100 with the current coupon.

The main differences is the newer model has a detachable usb-c cable and a much easier to see status LED.  Having a removable cable might be important to you especially if you have specific placement needs.  Both seems to boot in around 30 sec and both seem to perform about the same with responsiveness very similar to wired.  The newer version is suppose to be faster but with the price about the same just go for the newer one.  They both have a usb pass through port if you want to still go wired.

Setup is basically the same.  Just plug it into your carplay usb port and pair over bluetooth.  After that, every time you start your car everything just works.  I've heard it can crash occasionally requiring you to unplug and replug the adapter into the usb port but I haven't had it long enough to experience any issues.

Updating is done by navigating to in safari.  I had to update twice to get to the latest version.  There are some reports of bricking so proceed with caution.  I did notice the website would say update is complete but it actually wasn't.  Accessing carplay on the head unit would show that it was still updating and the same with the status lights.  So just make sure it's completely updated and carplay is tested and working before shutting off your car or unplugging it.

So far this thing is amazing.  It's such a nice quality of life change especially if you have wireless charging built into your car.  Now I just start the car and toss my iPhone XS Max onto the charging pad and carplay just starts working automatically.  I probably won't be using the phone holder much anymore.  Well worth the $100.

Recommended apps:

  • Maps
  • Google Maps
  • Waze
  • Spotify
  • Audible
  • AVSub with airsonic server running on a raspberry pi 4
  • Podcasts
  • Apple Music
  • Zoom
UPDATE: 4/25/2021
Took a day trip so about 5 hrs with the wireless carplay adapter.
Carplay is a combination of bluetooth and wifi.  Bluetooth is what is initially used to establish the handshake over wifi passing credentials and such.  Once wifi connection is established the bluetooth connection is no longer needed and dropped.  All audio/video is transmitted via wifi to the head unit.  All this happens seamlessly in the background.
So while I had my wife's phone plugged into the usb passthrough odd things happened.  First, it seems it's for charging only and my phone was still the one in use with carplay.  About every 15-30 min the head unit would just go blank.  Rebooting the carplay adapter would fix it but then it would eventually go blank again.  Either the usb pass through is pulling too much power or something weird was going on having a different phone plugged in vs the one that was paired.  Either way once I no longer used the usb passthrough it seemed to work fine for the most part.
2nd issue,  once during a 2.5 hr drive I had audio drop out while listening to the avsub app.  It just dropped to phone speaker.  After rebooting it held the rest of the drive.
While doing all this my iphone was in the wireless charger and the phone got pretty hot but was charging but slowly.  Overall still pretty satisfied but it does have a few glitches.

UPDATE: 5/24/2021
Ok, the usb pass through is indeed very glitchy.  I recommend you do NOT use it.

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