Review: This adapter turns standard CarPlay into Wireless CarPlay, and somehow it actually works

A few years ago my wife and I purchased two new Hondas. My Civic came with Apple CarPlay, but her HR-V had a basic entertainment system. We were both used to driving with CarPlay by then, so we upgraded her system with an Alpine unit with Wireless CarPlay. I really wanted Wireless CarPlay, but replacing my entertainment system was too disruptive.

Now there’s a solution for turning standard CarPlay into Wireless CarPlay, at least for some models, and it actually works!

Compatibility

There are a handful of adapters that claim to turn CarPlay into Wireless CarPlay for around $100. Compatibility with specific car makes and models is the tricky part though. My first order for a Wireless CarPlay adapter was canceled by the vendor last year due to concerns with compatibility. My pal Jake Pugh had a positive experience with an adapter he tried in his 2016 Chevy Volt, however, so I recently took another shot at trying one myself.

I used a CarLink 2.0 adapter for my 2017 Honda Civic. My expectations were really low. I didn’t expect it to work, but it was worth the cost to experiment. Turns out the product is nearly perfect!

Easy installation

Setting up the adapter is no harder than pairing with Wireless CarPlay. Connect the adapter to your car’s USB port that powers wired CarPlay, then pair your iPhone to the adapter over Bluetooth from the Settings app.

I tried the adapter when it arrived just to check if it paired. I had a total surprise-and-delight moment a few days later. I took a short drive across town with my iPhone in my pocket without thinking about the adapter, and CarPlay just appeared on my screen automatically.

Expect some latency

Perfect! Well, almost. From my experience driving with standard and Wireless CarPlay, I know to expect latency when using steering wheel controls to skip tracks. The important thing is that steering wheel controls for volume, track skipping, and voice input actually work.

Latency aside, there are two other issues I’ve experienced using the adapter. The first is worth the trade-off.

Standard CarPlay in my car doesn’t display boxes around on-screen content like cars with physical controls for selecting content without touch input. Wireless CarPlay using the adapter does show these boxes around buttons, however, but I don’t mind.