Newer vehicles and aftermarket stereos offer Google’s latest wireless Android Auto experience that connects via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. However, older models do not. Instead of upgrading to a newer stereo or dealing with USB cables your whole life, you should consider a wireless adapter.
What to look for in an Android Auto adapter
Most of these little Android Auto wireless adapters work the same, but not all. 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 many connectivity options. Many offer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections for 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 likely has a USB-A port, USB-C port, or potentially both. Make sure you get an adapter that works with your vehicle’s smart ports.
- Size: A great benefit of a wireless Android Auto adapter is getting rid of cables, keeping your phone free, and decluttering your center console. You’ll want a small adapter that’s easy to keep out of the way for a seamless experience.
- Characteristic: Almost all of these wireless dongles have similar features, but you can find some with some added benefits. Select adapters work with more than one phone for easy switching, while others are compatible with Android Auto and CarPlay. The more the better, right?
How Android Wireless Auto Adapters Work
These little dongles plug into your car’s smart USB-A or USB-C port, which is usually hidden in the center console or somewhere out of the way. Then your phone instantly pairs with the adapter wirelessly, turns on Android Auto, and takes over your car stereo or display.
You basically get Android Auto without having to connect your phone to the stereo. Yes, technically there is still a short cable that connects to the adapter, but that’s easy to hide in a center console or glove box. Also, now your phone is not connected to a cable.
A quick search on Amazon will turn up all sorts of no-name brands offering wireless Android Auto adapters, and most of them have poor reviews. The market is flooded with dongles, but only a few are worth using. Now that you know these little adapters exist, here are your best options.
Best Overall: Motorola MA1 Wireless Android Auto Adapter
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 trusted manufacturer, and it’s slim, stylish, and has great connectivity. Fast data rates thanks to 5GHz Wi-Fi support. Plus, use 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 you set it up once, it will instantly pair every time you get in the car via Bluetooth for calling 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 usually runs out of stock 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.
Best Budget: AAWireless Adapter
Another solid option for upgrading your vehicle is the AAWireless Android Auto adapter, which was one of the first on the market. Like Motorola, it uses Wi-Fi for a fast, lag-free connection and Bluetooth for other connectivity.
While this isn’t as sleek and small as others on our list, it does have a smooth connection and decent specs for the price. Unsurprisingly, you’ll plug it in via USB-C or USB-A, plug it into your phone, and do the rest with your stereo. The company even has a companion app to help owners quickly update the dongle with any firmware updates and bug fixes.
The AAWireless Android Auto Adapter will have you connected and enjoying the Google car experience in no time.
Best Usability: Carsifi Wireless Dongle
A newcomer to the market is the Carsifi adapter, which promises the same as all the others, but is compatible with more than one phone. The company explains it by saying:“Carsifi is a smart 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 streaming from 2.4 or 5GHz Wi-Fi, plus a Bluetooth connection for audio and calls. The nice thing about Carsifi is the “magic button” on the front. You can pair multiple phones with the device, set the default, and then touch the magic button to switch between which phone is connected to Android Auto with the touch of a button. You can then customize the button for other functions, including the ability to pause/resume the Android autocast with ease. Get yours from the following link.
Best Compatibility: OTTOCAST U2-X Adapter
If you have a mixed family of smartphones, you’ll want to consider the OTTOCAST U2-X combo of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wireless adapter. Yes, this one does both.
This device uses 2.4 or 5GHz Wi-Fi for fast Android Auto or CarPlay streaming, Bluetooth for phone connection and calls, and works via USB-C or USB-A. It costs a little more, coming in at $150, but it will work with your friend’s or partner’s iPhone. Most of the dongles on our list are compatible with Android 9 or higher, while this one says it only works with Android 11 and higher, so keep that in mind. Grab yours below.
OTTOCAST U2-X Adapter
The OTTOCAST U2-X Android Auto and Apple CarPlay adapter works with both major operating systems, giving you easy wireless connectivity.
Best Alternative: CarlinKit 4.0 Wireless AA Adapter
The CarlinKit 4.0 Dual Wireless Adapter is another great option for those who want 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 will connect to your phone via Bluetooth, then use Wi-Fi 2.4 or 5GHz to connect to your Android Auto head unit for wireless connectivity. CarlinKit also includes a regular USB-A cable and a USB-C cable in the box, perfect for connecting to any available smart port in your vehicle. Some reviews said it could sometimes be delayed, but with limited options on sale, we wanted to highlight as many potential options as possible. Grab yours below from Amazon.
Best Premium: The Magic Box
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 is capable of screen mirroring, casting and streaming any of your favorite apps. And that’s in addition to the wireless delivery of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Basically, you can use it to watch Netflix in the car.
Magic Box is a dongle like the others, but it works with Bluetooth, 2.4 or 5 GHz Wi-Fi, and also connects via USB-C, USB-A or HDMI. This device has 4 GB of RAM to improve performance and 32 GB of onboard storage. It even has a split-screen mode, letting you use Google Maps on one side and control music from Spotify or YouTube on the other.
You’ll also notice that the Magic Box has an additional USB port in the back for expandable storage, like a USB stick full of movies, and the HDMI port can be connected to a rear-passenger TV. It is a full Android smart box instead of just a dongle and it has more to offer. However, the manufacturer says to unplug it when you leave the vehicle, as it uses more power than a dongle and can drain your battery.
As more wireless Android Auto adapters are 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 the news.