Newer vehicles and aftermarket stereos offer Google’s latest wireless Android Auto experience that connects over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. However, older models don’t. Instead of upgrading to a newer stereo or dealing with USB cables your entire life, you should consider a wireless adapter.
Most of these little wireless Android Auto adapters work the same, but not all of them. That’s why it’ll be important to get one from a name you trust, one with multiple features, and potentially an adapter that works with Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay interface.
- Connectivity: Look for an adapter with plenty of connectivity options. Many offer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections to your car, but ideally, you’ll want one that supports 2.4 and 5GHz, in addition to Bluetooth.
- USB Type: Depending on how old your vehicle is, it’ll likely have a USB-A port, USB-C, or potentially both. Make sure you get an adapter that works with the smart ports in your vehicle.
- Size: A big benefit of a wireless Android Auto adapter is to get rid of wires, keep your phone free, and declutter your middle console. You’ll want a small adapter that’s easy to keep out of the way for a seamless experience.
- Features: Almost all of these wireless dongles have similar features, but you can find ones with a few added benefits. Select adapters work with more than one phone for easy switching, while others support both Android Auto and CarPlay. The more the merrier, right?
These little dongles plug into your car’s smart USB-A or USB-C port, which is usually hidden in the middle console or somewhere out of the way. Then, your phone instantly pairs to the adapter wirelessly, fires up Android Auto, and it takes over your stereo or in-car display.
Essentially you get Android Auto without having to plug your phone into the stereo. Yes, technically, there is still a short wire connecting to the adapter, but that’s easy to hide in a middle console or glove box. Plus, now your phone isn’t tethered to a cable.
A quick search on Amazon will show all sorts of no-name brands offering wireless Android Auto adapters, and most of them have bad reviews. The market is flooding with dongles, but only a few are worth using. Now that you know these little adapters exist, here are your best options.
If you’re looking for the best plug-and-play wireless Android adapter, look no further than Motorola’s MA1, released earlier this year for $89. This comes from a reliable manufacturer, and it’s slim, stylish, and has fast data connectivity thanks to Wi-Fi 5GHz support. Plus, it uses Bluetooth for calls and audio.
The Motorola MA1 has a USB-C port. However, the other end of the cable is a full-size USB-A connector, which is what most cars use. After setting it up once, it’ll instantly pair each time you jump in the car over Bluetooth for calls and 5GH Wi-Fi for everything else you get with Android Auto. Motorola even includes a small gel pad for those who want to mount it somewhere.
The only problem with Motorola’s adapter is that it’s usually sold out everywhere. If you can find it, this is the one to buy.
Motorola MA1 Android Auto Adapter
Install the Motorola MA1 wireless Android Auto adapter in your car and never worry about plugging in your phone again. Get yours for $89.95.
Another solid option to upgrade your vehicle is the AAWireless Android Auto adapter, which was one of the first on the market. Like Motorola, this uses Wi-Fi for a fast, lag-free connection and Bluetooth for other connectivity.
While this isn’t as sleek and small as some others on our list, it has a smooth connection and decent specs for the price. As expected, you’ll connect it over USB-C or USB-A, connect it to your phone, and it’ll do the rest with your stereo. The company even has a companion app to help owners quickly update the dongle with any firmware and bug-fixing updates.
The AAWireless Android auto adapter will have you connected and enjoying Google’s car experience in no time.
A newcomer to the market is the Carsifi Adapter, which promises the same thing as all the others yet supports more than one phone. The company explains it by saying,“Carsifi is an intelligent adapter that connects to your car’s multimedia system and creates a Wireless Android Auto connection with your phone using built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.”
You’ll get fast media or data transmission from 2.4 or 5GHz Wi-Fi, plus a Bluetooth connection for audio and calls. What’s great about the Carsifi is the “Magic button” on the front. You can pair multiple phones to the device, set the default, then tap the magic button to switch between which phone is connected for Android Auto with the tap of a button. Then, you can customize the button for other features, including the ability to pause/resume Android auto transmission with ease. Grab yours from the link below.
If you’re a mixed smartphone household, you’ll want to consider the OTTOCAST U2-X combination Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wireless adapter. Yes, this one does both.
This device uses 2.4 or 5 GHz Wi-Fi for fast transmission of Android Auto or CarPlay, Bluetooth for the phone connection and calls, and works over USB-C or USB-A. It costs a little more, coming in at $150, but it’ll work with your friend or significant other’s iPhone. Most of the dongles on our list support Android 9 or above, while this one says it only works with Android 11 and newer, so keep that in mind. Grab yours below.
OTTOCAST U2-X Adapter
the OTTOCAST U2-X Android Auto and Apple CarPlay adaptor works with both major operating systems, giving you easy wireless connectivity.
The CarlinKit 4.0 dual wireless adapter is another excellent choice for those who want both Android Auto and CarPlay. You’ve probably seen ads for this on Instagram or TikTok, but if not, that’s what it does.
Again, most adapters work the same. It’ll connect to your phone over Bluetooth, then use Wi-Fi 2.4 or 5GHz to connect to your Android Auto head unit for wireless connectivity. CarlinKit provides both a regular USB-A and a USB-C cable in the box, too, perfect for connecting to whatever smart port is available in your vehicle. Some reviews said it could lag at times, but with limited options for sale, we wanted to highlight as many potential options as possible. Grab yours below from Amazon.
Last but not least is something known as The Magic Box: this thing is expensive, coming in at $389. Instead of just being an adapter, this is a full-fledged smart box that runs Android. As a result, it’s capable of screen mirroring, casting, and can stream any of your favorite apps. And that’s on top of delivering wireless Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Basically, you can use it to watch Netflix in the car.
The Magic Box is a dongle like the others, but it works with Bluetooth, 2.4 or 5GHz Wi-Fi, plus connects over USB-C, USB-A, or HDMI. This device has 4GB of RAM for improved performance and 32GB of storage built-in. It even has a split-screen mode, allowing you to use Google Maps on one side and control Spotify or YouTube music on the other.
You’ll also notice the Magic Box has an additional USB port on the back for expandable storage, like a thumb drive full of movies, and the HDMI port can connect to a rear passenger TV. It’s an entire Android smart box instead of just a dongle and has more to offer. However, the manufacturer says to unplug it when you exit the vehicle, as it takes more power than a dongle and may drain the battery.
As more wireless Android Auto adapters get released we’ll be sure to add the best options to our list. Don’t forget to subscribe to our daily newsletter, so you never miss what’s new.