It wasn’t long after I picked up my new Volkswagen Golf GTI that I fell in love with Apple Car Play. It provided a friendly and familiar interface to the entertainment system in my new car. However, I hated having to plug in my iPhone every time I wanted to use Car Play and even worse I would often leave the phone in the car when I left it despite an on-screen warning not to forget my phone. The end result was I just stopped using Car Play.
Then I discovered a device called CARPLAY2AIR that promised to solve all of my problems. It took a while to overcome my fears about buying a pretty expensive ($159.95 USD) device from an obscure company in China but once I did I was pleased to see a flat $9.95 shipping charge but resigned myself to a long wait for delivery. Colour me surprised when it arrived 4 days after I placed the order.
I couldn’t wait to try it out and was pleased to find the installation was pretty much as promised; plug it into the car’s USB port and play. The whole operation took less than a minute. It did exactly as promised and provided complete access to Apple Car Play wirelessly. Startup time is about 20 seconds which is about how long it takes me to get settled in the seat and fasten my seat belt. All the Car Play apps are available and I didn’t notice any lag after making selections. All the buttons on the steering wheel work too without lag. “Hey Siri” also works, but here I noticed a bit of a lag. Check out this video to see how well it works.
Initially I did have a few issues such as having to unplug and replug the dongle to get it to boot up. Customer service was quick to reply by email and a flurry of firmware updates over a couple of week period eliminated this and any other minor issues I had. That is the price we early adopters often have to pay. After that short initial period I have had zero issues and am very pleased with my now wireless Car Play.
Since I purchased my device in early January 2020 the seller has set up a Canadian web site and fixed the price at $223.95 CAD for the Factory Car Play version. It supports a long list of car models as well as Pioneer, Alpine and Kenwood aftermarket head units. CARPLAY2AIR also makes a much less expensive module for Android-based head units.
If you browse the web you will find a bunch of less expensive units that look pretty much identical to the CARPLAY2AIR dongle. Most are for Android-based head units and a few for factory head units. I have read mixed reviews on these other devices but I can tell you my CARPLAY2AIR unit works great on my 2019 VW and I am comfortable recommending this device.