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Is Apple CarPlay Wireless? Does It Work With Bluetooth?

Apple CarPlay app on iPhone X, smart mobile application connected to Honda car for travel map, hand free phone call, online music on transportation vehicle safety.

It is estimated that in 2018, 52 percent of the new cars sold in the United States were enabled with Apple CarPlay. One of the issues that many car owners and drivers are having with this remarkable system though, is that it can get rather cumbersome in the vehicle when there are many wires all over the front and dashboard of the car. Cue the question, can we get a wireless Apple CarPlay please.

Yes, you can. You can also get Apple CarPlay with Bluetooth, and that is a very common way to enable this safety tech in your vehicle. When you want to enable Apple CarPlay wirelessly in your vehicle, there are a number of ways to do so.

Learn more about how to enable Apple CarPlay in your car right here.

Apple CarPlay was invented to keep you safer on the roads

Woman hands holding Apple iPhone 11 with CarPlay in the screen phone Toyota car.

The statistics reporting on texting and driving are alarming, indicating that over three thousand Americans die from distracted driving every year. That is a key reason why Apple invented Apple CarPlay. Apple CarPlay lets you listen to your texts and calls hands-free, and also make and receive calls and texts hands-free.

This is intended to reduce the number of collisions on the road, keeping you safer as well. Apple CarPlay functions from the vehicle’s built-in infotainment center. You will either plug your phone into the center, or you will use Bluetooth or WiFi capability to connect your device to the system.

You can use the lightning cable that came with your device to connect it to the infotainment system. Or, you can find the way that works best for you to setup the system wirelessly. Apple CarPlay gives you access to phone and text messaging apps, and other apps that you might need when you are driving.

This includes Maps, Calendars, Events, podcasts, news, and other apps that will help you to enjoy your drives every time. What you won’t find with Apple CarPlay, without some modifications, are streaming services and web browsers. That is because you are to use Apple CarPlay as you would a car radio, to listen as you drive.

It could be illegal in your state or country to use it for other purposes. So, check with your local jurisdiction to see if there are any restrictions in your area on modifying Apple CarPlay for any app other than the ones that came with it. Then, once you know how you want to use Apple CarPlay, you can configure whether or not you are going to use it wirelessly.

There are many ways to configure Apple CarPlay so that it works wirelessly and eliminates all of the wired clutter on your dashboard.

Enabling Apple CarPlay wirelessly with your iOS device in your car is easier than you think

Dashboard image of a new Renault Zoe electrical car.

There’s a good chance that your Apple device can be setup with your Apple CarPlay wirelessly very easily. Start by opening the Settings App on your device, and tapping on the General Settings section. From there you will see the CarPlay Setting, and you want to tap on that.

When you are in the Apple CarPlay setting, turn the Bluetooth setting to on if it is not already on. You may even see a prompt on the screen to turn Bluetooth on or be given the option to use USB only. After you have turned Bluetooth on, you will then be prompted to activate CarPlay from the steering wheel of your car.

Here you just need to press and hold the button on your steering wheel that enables the vehicle’s system. You may also need to use the menu on your stereo so that the pairing of your vehicle to the Apple CarPlay can begin. If you are unable to setup Apple CarPlay wirelessly this way, there are several ways that you can do that.

There are Apple CarPlay workarounds to help you to get Apple CarPlay wirelessly into your car

You can get Apple CarPlay wirelessly into your car using a number of different Apple CarPlay methods. You can get an adapter that can help you to make that change if you don’t have the vehicle for it. The easiest and most assured way of getting Apple CarPlay wirelessly is by purchasing a vehicle that enables wireless Apple CarPlay, and then you don’t have to find the workaround.

But it isn’t always that easy. Do some research on the infotainment center in your car if you have one. If you don’t, even better.

You can modify the dashboard of your vehicle so that it has an infotainment center that will enable wireless Apple CarPlay compatibility. There are many drivers that are modifying their vehicles with an iPad to do this. Here, you can have the iPad installed such that the charging port is not flush with the dashboard system, but raised slightly so that you can still charge the iPad to your vehicle’s USB ports.

Newer iPads will help to ensure your Apple CarPlay experience is wireless and seamless. You can also install a docking station to your dashboard that will hold the iPad so that you don’t have to go to the expense of a mechanic bill for installing the iPad into the car. Then, the expensive iPad has a little more functionality outside of the vehicle as well. 

If you don’t want the expense of a new iPad for Apple CarPlay, then you can purchase an after-market infotainment center or one at a big box store or third-party retailer. New in-car infotainment centers are becoming more common today because they are more affordable than adding them on as an option in a new car that doesn’t have a touchscreen display. Or, your dream car has one but does not have the size of a touchscreen display that you want in this dream that you have worked so hard for.

Unless you are a mechanic or have a friend that is one, you will also need to work the cost of the mechanic bill into your in-car system. Compare those numbers with the cost of the upgrades in the new cars you are looking at, and you will see for yourself what is more affordable for your situation. Another way of ensuring you can get Apple CarPlay wirelessly in your vehicle is by getting an adapter for the car to use Apple CarPlay with.

This is a technology that is a little bit different than the adapter you would use to plug in your laptop or phone to charge it overnight. In many cases, you may find that it functions like an external hard drive, and even looks like a little one as well. This gets plugged into your Apple CarPlay, instead of your device getting plugged into your Apple CarPlay.

Then, you just need to turn on Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth and Wifi magic do their Apple thing.

Yes it is worth it to spend the money on a wireless Apple CarPlay experience

Google map on Apple CarPlay app on iPhone X smart mobile application connected to Honda car for online gps road travel map, transportation vehicle safety.

Yes, there are many benefits to using Apple CarPlay wirelessly in your vehicle. The other option is to have a wired connection with Apple CarPlay. The main drawback to a wired connection is the clutter that it takes up in your car.

With that, you can create accidents, spills, or just have a big mess in your car. When you have a lot of tangled wires in the front of your vehicle, near the driver’s seat, there is a lot more to keep an eye on when you are on the road. Wires can even get caught in the driver’s side, with their arms, legs, or any part of the driver’s side of the vehicle if you do not come up with an organized system of organizing Apple CarPlay.

The wireless Apple CarPlay combats all of that and is a leading reason why Apple CarPlay drivers prefer to use Bluetooth and Wifi capabilities for their Apple CarPlay. When the device is wirelessly paired with your device, you can just set up the Apple CarPlay when you turn on the vehicle, put the phone in your in-dash holder or on the dashboard, and go on your drive. You can even leave the phone in your bag or purse if you want to, and the wireless Apple CarPlay will its magic without even needing the phone sitting right beside it.

The connectivity overall is impeccable and seamless. If you have to undergo a wide range of installations and purchase of extraneous equipment, then this is a one-time investment that will pay off for you. The rest of the time with your wireless Apple CarPlay will be enjoyable and easy to use.