Top Android Auto Wireless Adapters for Your Car

/ / Car Accessories
Android Auto tile on auto display

Android Auto hit the car market in a big way in 2015. It gave people a clean, effective way to listen to and respond to messages, listen to music and podcasts, and get directions from Google Maps. It was especially great for budget shoppers, as Android Auto was included in lower trims. That allowed folks to get things like navigation without needing to opt for more expensive trim levels. Adoption was initially a bit slow, but by April 2023, 98% of new cars feature Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, or both. 

Initially, you could only connect to a car with a wire, but wireless Android Auto became a standard feature on Android phones with the release of Android 11. It comes with its own set of requirements, like vehicle head units with 5 Ghz Wi-Fi support, and you can’t live in Russia or Japan where the technology doesn’t work. Unfortunately, that means a lot of older vehicles can’t simply upgrade to work with wireless Android Auto. That means if you want to experience it officially, you basically have to buy a new car, which isn’t the best solution. 

Instead, you can try a wireless Android Auto dongle. These devices plug into your car’s infotainment system with a wire and then receive information wirelessly from your phone, giving you the wireless Android Auto experience without a head unit that supports the feature. There are quite a few on the market, and we selected our choices based on availability, positive reviews from both pros and consumers, and price. 

10. MSXTTLY Android Auto Wireless Adapter

MSXTTLY Android Auto Dongle

The MSXTTLY Android Auto Wireless Adapter has a lot going for it. It’s less expensive than many of its competitors and it’s also smaller. In fact, this is one of the few options on the market that plugs right into your car’s USB port without the need of a cable. There are cables in the box, though, in case your car only has USB-C connections. Otherwise, it works as you might expect. You plug it into your car, set it up through your phone, and then you have access to wireless Android Auto. 

There are a dearth of consumer and pro-level reviews of this dongle, which is why it ranks number 10 on our list. Fakespot shows that consumer reviews are mostly accurate, and the reviews are mostly positive, so we know that it works for most cars and phones. Of course, you’ll need a phone running Android 11 or higher and your car has to support Android Auto already in order for it to function. The form factor is quite nice here since it is so small. Plus, if your car has USB-A ports, you can just use the dongle, which keeps your center stack looking clean. 

The MSXTTLY runs for $66 on Amazon, although that price does tend to fluctuate. This model only supports wireless Android Auto. Those looking for CarPlay support as well will have to try something else. 

9. AACPlay Wireless Android Auto Car Adapter

A product image of an adapter with two cables

The AACPlay Wireless Android Auto adapter is a good starting point if you’re looking for something economical and functional. It comes in a simple black box form factor along with two cables. The cables allow you to use the device in cars with either a USB-A or USB-C connection since many newer vehicles come with USB-C these days. It follows wireless Android Auto guidelines and requires you to have a phone that is running Android 11 or newer. 

Since it’s the second generation of the company’s product, the adapter boasts a quicker and more stable connection. It also avoids being too bulky, though the short cables may make it difficult to find a good spot in your car for it to hang out. The brand does include a gel pad that you can affix to your car’s interior to keep the AACPlay adapter from sliding around too much. The brand has also tested the adapter with dozens of cars across dozens of manufacturers; it may not work great on Honda vehicles, but most others should be okay. 

The adapter is available on Amazon for $49.99, which we think is a reasonable price. There aren’t many professional reviews available for this one, but consumer reviews seem to be fairly positive. As with most adapters, it mostly depends on your car and phone models, but as long as both line up, this should work fine. 

8. The Magic Box 2.0

The Magic Box 2.0

Wireless Android Auto adapters tend to come in two main varieties. The first is a simple dongle that connects to your phone wirelessly and transmits Android Auto to your vehicle’s head unit. The Magic Box 2.0 is the other type. Not only does it let you use both wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but it also lets you use other types of apps. For example, you’ll be able to stream Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube directly to your vehicle’s head unit. It does this by streaming its own head unit software that gives you access to things like weather, video streaming, and more alongside the usual stuff like navigation, messaging, and music. 

In addition to its core functionality, the Magic Box 2.0 comes with two cables, one for USB-A and one for USB-C. The device itself also has ports for a microSD card and a SIM card. It’s about the size of the palm of an average hand, so it doesn’t take up too much space in your car’s interior storage. There is an optional remote that you can purchase for use with backseat displays or for passengers. Obviously, no one should operate a remote while driving. 

All told, the Magic Box 2.0 is available for $389 from the brand’s website. The optional remote is $29.99. The only caveat is that while it does support wireless Android Auto, your vehicle has to support Apple CarPlay in order to use it. Fortunately, the vast majority of vehicles offer both at the same time.

7. Carluex Air

A product photo of Carluex Air

The Carluex Air is similar to The Magic Box. It lets you use wireless Android Auto while also supporting YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming apps. It does this by running its own version of Android Auto instead of the stock version. Carluex’s version has full access to the Google Play Store, which, of course, means you have access to all of those video streaming apps. You can also optionally run regular wireless Android Auto if you prefer. In either case, the device is fully compatible with voice commands and steering wheel controls just like real Android Auto. 

The device itself looks a little bit like a mouse from the 2000s, but it’s small and easily hidden in the center console of most modern vehicles. One side features a USB-A port and the other a USB-C port. The USB-C port connects to the car while the USB-A port is likely there for flash drives that contain media. Like most wireless Android Auto adapters on the list, it comes with two cables depending on what you need for your car. The device works reasonably well, according to reviews, and working with Apple CarPlay as well is a nice bonus in case you need it. 

The device costs $199 from the Carluex’s website. It’s often on sale, so you can find it for less than that by shopping around or simply waiting for a sale. One thing to note, though, is that the Carluex isn’t compatible with BMW. 

6. CarlinKit AI Box

The CarlinKit AI Box

The CarlinKit AI Box is something a little bit different. Instead of being a dongle that projects wireless Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, this device is essentially an Android-powered set-top box that works in your car. It runs Android 13, has 128GB of storage, and runs full Android right from your car screen. Thus, you can stream video or audio, answer messages, find directions, make phone calls, or even play games right from your car’s infotainment display. With full Google Play support, you can do all kinds of things with this little device. 

Of course, the downside is that it’s not as simple as wireless Android Auto. You’ll have a home screen with apps and widgets and all of that. However, Android wasn’t designed for car use, so it’ll require some self-control on the part of the driver to keep their eyes on the road instead of fiddling with their display the whole time. Plus, since it has to load a whole operating system, it’s much slower to boot than alternatives, which means it’ll take longer to get everything up and running. 

The AI Box is quite expensive, with an MSRP of $479.99 directly from CarlinKit. It’s almost perpetually on sale, though, so it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be asked to pay full price. Reviews for the device are positive, although you’ll have to decide yourself if you want something simpler like regular Android Auto or a whole OS on your car screen. 

5. Ottocast U2-X Pro

The Ottocast U2-X Pro

The Ottocast U2-X Pro is another dongle that works for both wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The benefit of this one is that it’s built for multiple users, so if you have an Android phone and your significant other has an iPhone, you can both use this adapter wirelessly in the same car. Otherwise, it has many of the same features as its competitors, including OTA updates, fully capable Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a small form factor that should fit well in most cars. 

The device itself is a nondescript black box with Ottocast’s logo on the top. It comes with two cables so it should work for your car. Some reviews state that the included USB cables aren’t great, and it can be difficult to find one that fits. However, it tends to work well once you do. Like the Carluex, it isn’t compatible with BMW, but it should work fine with any other car brand that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. In addition to its other capabilities, the box also houses a quick-disconnect button in case you need to break the connection suddenly. It also has a stream mode that lets you watch things like YouTube or Netflix. 

The Ottocast U2-X Pro runs for $149.99 from its website, although you can find it on most retail sites as well if you prefer. It’s less expensive than the Magic Box and Carluex, while performing many of the same tasks. 

4. Carsifi Android Auto adapter

A Carsifi wireless Android Auto adapter

The Carsifi Wireless Android Auto adapter is a purpose-built device that does exactly one thing. Fortunately, it does that one thing pretty well. It omits the extra features like streaming video to your car’s head unit, but instead delivers the regular wireless Android Auto experience with no additional frills. As such, it’s significantly cheaper than competitors that offer more than just a wireless car experience. The adapter itself is a small black box that’ll fit in the palm of your hand. 

On top of its typical feature set, which lets you use wireless Android Auto, there are two other features worth talking about. The first is a button on the device that Carsifi calls the Magic Button. It is programmable to do a few different things, including switch between two or more connected phones, which is a boon for single car households. It can also be set to disable Android Auto. The other feature is the app, which lets you dial in some extra settings like DPI, update the firmware, and configure the Magic Button. 

The Carsifi is one of the most expensive options for wireless Android Auto at $111.99 from the brand’s website. For the most part, reviews agree that the dongle works well and the extra features like the Magic Button and app can be nice if it fits your lifestyle. Some users have reported the occasional quirk, but nothing too cumbersome.

3. Motorola MA1

The Motorola MA1

The Motorola MA1 is a long-time competitor in this space. It was one of the earliest wireless Android Auto adapters and it’s still among the most popular. It features a simple, all-in-one design that is reminiscent of the Google Chromecast Ultra. The USB-A plug goes into your car and then you pair it with your phone. From there, you can use Android Auto wirelessly. The device doesn’t come with any additional cables, so if your car has USB-C, you may need to buy a different dongle. This one only comes with USB-A. 

In terms of features, it’s a no-frills device that simply does what it’s told. The small puck houses electronics that use Bluetooth 5.0 and 5Ghz Wi-Fi to connect to your phone. Setup is easy enough. You pair your phone with the dongle over Bluetooth first and then, through the Bluetooth connection, both devices establish a 5Ghz Wi-Fi connection. Once that’s done, Android Auto should pop up and be usable wirelessly. The side of the device houses a Bluetooth pairing button in case you have to re-pair Bluetooth for troubleshooting purposes. 

The device is available at Best Buy for $89.99, which is around the expected price for a device like this. Unlike most dongles, this one has tons of pro reviews online and the vast majority of them are positive, although some reviewers note some connection issues with some phones. Overall, it’s a solid, simple device that generally can get the job done. 

2. CarlinKit 5.0

The CarlinKit 5.0

The CarlinKit 5.0 is a much simpler device than its AI Box stablemate. Where the AI Box gives you a full installation of Android on your car’s head unit, this one works like a standard wireless Android Auto dongle. You connect your phone to it and then it wireless transmits Android Auto to and from your car and smartphone. It’s a simple device, housing its electronics in a small black box. It also includes two cables in the packaging that should support any car that it works with. 

It works similarly to every other wireless Android Auto adapter. It plugs into your car and then you pair it to your smartphone. When you start the car, the device boots and initiates Android Auto. In practice, it seems to work pretty well. Reviewers noticed minimal lag and all functions work as expected. There is also a companion app that lets you tune the experience as needed. Some reviewers have noted the occasional connection issue, but that may be due to the phone and car combination those reviewers were using. 

The CarlinKit 5.0 costs $89.99 on Amazon, which puts it on the low end in terms of pricing. This is one of the best wireless Android Auto dongles in terms of positive reviews, and although it doesn’t have the extra stuff like some others, it seems to be stable on most phones and in most cars. 

1. AAWireless Android Auto Dongle

The AAWireless dongle

Taking the top spot on our list is the AAWireless Android Auto Dongle. This device had a successful run on Indiegogo and is now a full product available for purchase. It was one of the first wireless Android Auto dongles as well. The 2023 model is pretty good and widely available as of this writing. It’s a small black box that you plug into your car and then connect to your phone. After that, wireless Android Auto initiates and you use it like normal. It’s simple, easy, and doesn’t include a ton of other things. 

The no-frills aspect of it is one of the reasons the dongle is so popular. The other is compatibility. According to AAWireless, the dongle has been used in over 10,000 different cars and should work in any vehicle that natively supports wired Android Auto. There is also an app to fine-tune your experience if need be. The app also controls which phones connect to the device as well as over-the-air updates. All in all, the manufacturer thought of just about everything. Reviewers agree that the connection quality is also fantastic, and usually as stable as wired Android Auto. 

The AAWireless dongle is available on Amazon for $74.99, making it one of the least expensive models available on the market. However, it does have a penchant for going out of stock on occasion, so if it’s not available, try again in a week or two. 

How did we choose these wireless Android Auto adapters?

An overlay of Android Auto with custom car firmware

When considering a product for this list, we put each product through a number of steps. First, we sourced multiple consumer reviews both on retail websites as well as Reddit and other car forums. Any retail website was run through Fakespot in order to ensure that most of the customer reviews were accurate. We also aggregated pro-level reviews from anywhere we could find them. 

For the most part, we wanted to ensure that these devices worked as advertised. Nothing is more disappointing than buying a highly-rated product and it not working properly out of the box. Once we had a list of dongles, we sorted them based on factors like price, extra features, popularity, and what reviewers thought of them. Also, we wanted to ensure that these products were actually available for purchase. 

Generally speaking, all of the dongles we listed work, and work well. However, there are thousands upon thousands of Android phone and car combinations. Since it is impossible to find data for every one of those, we did what we could to make sure each dongle worked with most phone and car combinations. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *