a car dashboard with various app icons on it
Apple Carplay Device

Aftermarket Apple CarPlay devices are a great choice for people who want to improve their vehicle’s infotainment system without buying a new car. Apple CarPlay acts as an extension of your iPhone, appearing on your car’s dashboard. It enables drivers to use features like navigation, making calls, sending and receiving messages, and streaming music, all while staying focused on the road.”

Best Aftermarket Apple CarPlay Options in 2024

Aftermarket Apple CarPlayPriceFeature
Pioneer DMH-WT3800NEX$689.009″ floating capacitive HD touchscreen display, wired and wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™, Hi-Res Audio playback capability
Kenwood DMX7709S$426.956.8″ Digital Multimedia Receiver, Impressive FLAC support, Control playback levels with the 13-band EQ, Full camera support with parking guideline, Android Auto is also available
BOSS Audio BVCP9700$139.997″ capacitive touchscreen monitor, Siri voice control, Bluetooth 5.0, AUX/FM Transmitter
Alpine Halo11 ILX-F511$1,399.9511 Inch Multimedia Receiver, with Alpine KTP-445A Amplifier, crisp, clear sound, sharp, detailed video
Carpuride W901 Pro$339.009.0-inch touchscreen display, wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, dual Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity

Please note that these are just a few of the many Aftermarket Apple CarPlay options available, and the best choice for you will depend on your individual needs and budget.

Understanding Aftermarket Apple CarPlay

Purchasing an aftermarket head unit is the key to upgrading an older vehicle with CarPlay functionality. These head units are essentially the control center for CarPlay, providing a touchscreen interface that interacts with your iPhone. The units vary in features, with options including:

  • Single DIN or double DIN sizes
  • Touchscreen displays
  • Wireless or wired connections
  • Compatibility with existing vehicle controls

It’s essential to select a CarPlay head unit that fits your vehicle’s dashboard and meets your specific needs. Installation can be done by a professional or through a DIY approach, but compatibility with your car’s make and model is a crucial consideration.

Finally, with CarPlay, the infotainment system becomes safer and more user-friendly. Apple’s strict certification ensures that all aftermarket CarPlay solutions provide a high-quality experience. This means you can enjoy the latest technology in vehicle entertainment and navigation without the cost of investing in a new car. Plus, the system is updated regularly, so your driving experience only gets better over time.

Compatibility and Installation

When it comes to upgrading to Apple CarPlay, checking that the system will fit your car and knowing what the setup involves are essential steps.

Vehicle Compatibility

Before settling on an aftermarket Apple CarPlay unit, it’s critical to verify if the unit is suitable for your vehicle. Most cars support either a single DIN (2″ x 7″) or double DIN (4″ x 7″) head unit. Compatibility doesn’t stop at size; it also extends to the car’s electronic system and whether the unit communicates well with your vehicle’s existing setup.

Installation Process

To install an Apple CarPlay head unit into your car, you’ll generally follow these main steps:

  1. Remove the old head unit.
  2. Connect the new CarPlay unit to the car’s electronics.
  3. Secure the new unit in the dashboard.
  4. Test functionality to confirm the installation is successful.

This process may require specific tools and expertise; thus, professional installation is recommended unless you’re confident in your DIY skills.

Key Features of Aftermarket CarPlay Units

When looking to upgrade your car’s infotainment system, considering the key features of aftermarket CarPlay units can lead to a more enjoyable driving experience.

Wireless Connectivity

Many aftermarket CarPlay units now offer wireless CarPlay which eliminates the need for cables. This feature allows for a more streamlined setup as drivers can connect their smartphones to the CarPlay unit via Bluetooth or 5G Wi-Fi connectivity, enabling them to access their favorite apps and navigation without physically plugging in their device.

Display Technology

The display is a central aspect of any CarPlay unit with options ranging from standard to capacitive touchscreen displays. Capacitive screens are more responsive, allowing for multi-touch gestures like pinch and swipe. On the other hand, resistive touchscreens are more common in budget models and respond to pressure, which can make them less intuitive to use.

Interface and Control

Aftermarket CarPlay units boast an interface that integrates with existing vehicle controls including the steering wheel controls. This allows drivers to manage the system without taking their hands off the wheel, improving safety. The inclusion of voice control via Siri is another feature that emphasizes hands-free usage, making it easier to change songs, send texts, or make calls.

Integration with Vehicle Systems

These units can often connect with other vehicle systems, providing a seamless experience. This includes inputs for front and rear cameras, and sometimes the ability to integrate with the car’s built-in systems for a cohesive look and feel. The use of preamp outputs contributes to a richer audio experience directly through the vehicle’s existing speaker setup.

Media and Communication

Aftermarket Apple CarPlay enhances your driving experience by integrating entertainment and communications into your vehicle’s system. It transforms how you access media, connect with others, and control your car’s features.

Audio and Entertainment Options

Apple CarPlay brings a variety of audio and entertainment options to your fingertips. It supports popular streaming services, like Spotify and Amazon Music, allowing passengers to enjoy their favorite playlists and podcasts. Many CarPlay units come with HD Radio and even CD capabilities, ensuring that high-quality sound is a standard feature.

Smartphone Integration

By connecting a smartphone to CarPlay, drivers gain access to their device’s functionality directly from the car’s dashboard. This setup offers the ease of using maps for navigation, managing text messages, and scrolling through contacts. The integration is seamless, with Bluetooth connectivity ensuring that everything syncs up without a hitch.

Hands-Free Communication

A key component of CarPlay’s offering is its hands-free communication. Voice commands, enabled through Siri, help keep the driver’s eyes on the road. Whether it’s making calls, sending texts, or selecting music, the interaction is designed to be effortless. Backup cameras and other safety features integrate smoothly to provide both convenience and peace of mind.

Choosing Compatible Hardware

Apple Carplay
Apple Carplay

When setting up aftermarket Apple CarPlay, one must pick the right head unit that is not only compatible with their car’s make and model but also supports their connectivity needs and preferences.

Selecting a Head Unit

The heart of an aftermarket Apple CarPlay system is the head unit. Recognized brands like Alpine, Pioneer, Kenwood, and Sony offer reliable units that are often at the forefront of technology and user preference. The Pioneer DMH-C5500NEX, for instance, is popular for its sleek interface and robust features. It’s essential to check the unit’s dimensions and harness connections to ensure a snug fit in your vehicle’s dashboard. Most devices are designed as double-DIN units, a standard size for car stereos that should fit various models. Single-DIN head units with CarPlay do exist, but they are less common.

The Boss Audio Systems BVCP9700A is an example of a relatively affordable option that still packs essential features, which might be a suitable choice for those on a budget. Car owners should also consider the type of screen, be it touchscreen or knob-controlled, and the overall aesthetic to match the car’s interior.

Important Connectivity Features

A key element for seamless integration with your smartphone includes having adequate USB ports. A unit should provide at least one USB port for CarPlay connectivity, though more can be helpful for charging additional devices or connecting other media sources. It’s vital that the chosen head unit supports Bluetooth 5.0 to ensure a strong, reliable connection with your device, and an AUX input can provide more audio play options.

Moreover, if the user has backup cameras installed or plans to install them, the unit should offer the required input options for these cameras. Brands like Kenwood and Alpine often incorporate inputs for backup cameras in their units, enhancing the vehicle’s safety features.

Connectivity extends to not just functional but entertainment purposes as well. For example, units that facilitate a stronger Bluetooth connection or multiple USB ports enable the user to enjoy music or podcasts from various sources without hassle.

Advanced Functions and Add-Ons

Aftermarket Apple CarPlay upgrades not only modernize your car but also elevate the entire driving experience with advanced navigation, camera integrations, and audio enhancements.

Navigation and Mapping Tools

Apple CarPlay allows users to employ Apple Maps for navigation. It offers turn-by-turn directions, traffic conditions, and estimated travel time. Drivers can also access other mapping applications like Google Maps or Waze, ensuring they always have the best route.

Additional Camera Support

CarPlay-compatible systems may support additional cameras, such as front and rear cameras. This not only aids in parking but also enhances overall safety. Some units offer easy switching between camera views, often integrated into the unit’s touchscreen display, which can either be a higher quality capacitive touchscreen or a more common resistive touchscreen.

Expandable Audio Options

For the music enthusiasts, Apple CarPlay’s capabilities include access to satellite radio and audio streaming services. Sound quality can be boosted by connecting to amplifiers through multiple pre-outs, and additional subwoofers can be added to enhance the bass. High-end units might include an HDMI input, allowing for the connection of external devices like a DVD receiver for video content, assuming local laws permit screens in view of the driver.

Brand & Model Comparisons

When exploring the variety of Apple CarPlay head units, comparing brand and model features like screen size, connectivity, and price becomes essential. This section provides a succinct comparison of some of the most talked-about units in both the premium and budget categories.

Top Aftermarket CarPlay Units

  • Alpine Halo11 iLX-F511: Known for its impressive 11-inch display, the Alpine Halo11 is a standout for being user-friendly and its aesthetic appeal. It features both wired and wireless compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
  • Kenwood Excelon Reference DNR1007XR: The Kenwood model offers a blend of performance with a clear, responsive 10.1-inch touch screen and built-in Garmin navigation, appealing to drivers looking for both functionality and built-in extras.
  • Pioneer DMH-C5500NEX: Pioneer’s offering includes a modular 8-inch display designed for vehicles with limited dash space. With built-in Bluetooth and compatibility with Apple CarPlay, it provides versatility and connectivity.

Budget-Friendly Options

  • Westods Wireless CarPlay Unit: Westods offers a wireless CarPlay unit that stands out for including a dash cam. This feature is more than a bonus since safety and convenience are high on the list for most drivers.
  • Carpuride W901: A solid value proposition, the Carpuride unit keeps things affordable while delivering the core experience of Apple CarPlay, making it suitable for those who want functionality without a hefty price tag.
  • JVC Units: JVC is notable for delivering value-focused CarPlay units. Their models, which often come with built-in Bluetooth, strike a balance between cost and quality, making them a go-to for budget-conscious consumers looking for reliability.

Frequently Asked Questions

When looking to enhance your car’s tech, aftermarket Apple CarPlay units are a convenient way to add modern functionality to your vehicle. Here’s a rundown of common queries car owners have when considering this upgrade.

What are the top-rated aftermarket CarPlay units for vehicle compatibility?

The industry offers variety, with brands like Pioneer’s DMH-C5500NEX recognized for their extensive vehicle fit. They support various car models, keeping user experience at the forefront.

Is it possible to install wireless CarPlay features in a car without factory CarPlay?

Yes, vehicles lacking factory CarPlay can still embrace wireless features through aftermarket solutions. These units seamlessly integrate with your existing system, allowing for a wire-free connection to Apple CarPlay.

How does Bluetooth connectivity work with aftermarket CarPlay devices?

Aftermarket CarPlay devices typically use Bluetooth to connect your phone to your car‘s infotainment system. Once paired, it uses either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to transmit data, enabling you to access CarPlay features.

Where can I find professional installation services for CarPlay?

Professional CarPlay installation services can be sourced from authorized electronics retailers, car audio specialists, or dealerships known for their expertise in vehicle tech upgrades.

What should I look for in a CarPlay adapter at electronics retail stores?

In electronics retail stores, seek CarPlay adapters with a strong track record of compatibility, user-friendly interfaces, and reliable customer support for a smooth experience.

Are portable CarPlay devices a viable option for cars without built-in CarPlay?

Portable CarPlay devices offer flexibility, allowing users to add CarPlay to any car without the need for built-in tech, proving them to be a well-received solution for tech-savvy drivers.

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