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How to Add Apple Carplay to an Older Car

How to Add Apple Carplay to an Older Car

Do you have an iPhone and would certainly like to be able to use it in that old car of yours that you’ve been driving around forever? Of course, you could stick to using the archaic Bluetooth system that your car has, but that’s only really good for making calls or hearing the annoying navigation voice through your speakers. However, if you want real iPhone integration, then your best bet is to get Apple Carplay.

What is Apple Carplay?

Apple Carplay is an in-car infotainment system that has been on the market since 2014. According to Apple, Carplay is a smarter, safer way to use your iPhone while you drive. Instead of having to look at your phone (which you should never do while driving), you will have everything displayed on a touchscreen where your radio is.

Apple Carplay mirrors some of the applications that you use on your iPhone and allows you to control via the touchscreen. You can use Siri and Apple Maps, select the tunes you want, make phone calls, and it will even read your text messages to you.

How do you add Apple Carplay to a car?

The easiest way to add Apple Carplay to any car would be through an aftermarket radio. Some cars are easy to work on if you’re the do-it-yourself type, then you can probably figure out how to uninstall the factory radio and install an aftermarket head unit with no issues.

However, if you’re not that handy, then we suggest getting it done by a professional. Luckily, most stereo installers nowadays can handle a custom installation (if needed) into just about any car on the market today.

Carplay retrofit

Some of the cars will require all of the stereo hardware to be changed out, some cars might only require a software update. After that you should check out our complete collection of Carplay modules which can be found HERE, to get yourself a compatible module. Make sure you send us a VIN and/or a photo of your OEM screen in Main Menu mode so that our customer support can help you choose the right Carplay module for your car.

Single or double din?

If you decided that you want Apple Carplay and need to go the aftermarket route, then you need to decide which aftermarket system would work best for you. Much older cars (10 years or older) will likely have what’s called a “single DIN” opening for a radio, while newer ones will have a double-DIN.

The word DIN stands for “Dietch Industri Normen,” which is a German term that refers to the standard stereo size that the country’s automaker installed in cars in the 1980s.

What if your car has a single DIN opening and can’t accommodate a large touchscreen? Don’t worry, there are plenty of systems with “flip out” screens. They wire up just like the double DiN variety but they’re much more compact and will fit just about any car with a smaller radio enclosure.

How to add wireless Apple Carplay to a car with normal Carplay

If your car currently has Apple Carplay compatibility, then we don’t blame you for wanting it to be wireless. Sure, all you really have to do is plug your phone into the system as if you’re charging it, but then the wire gets in the way and if anything happens to the wire itself, then you can say goodbye to using Carplay altogether. Fortunately, there are plenty of wireless Carplay solutions in the aftermarket.

One of the best solutions is a handy piece of equipment called Wireless Dongle for OEM Carplay. This device is basically a USB dongle that plugs right into the same USB that you plug your phone into to access standard Carplay. The dongle mimics a legitimate Carplay receiver, which connects to your phone whenever you get in the car. It works very well and currently only costs $139.