Newer vehicles and aftermarket stereos offer Google’s latest Android Auto wireless experience that connects via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. However, older models do not. Instead of upgrading to a newer stereo or using USB cables all your life, you should consider a wireless adapter.
What to look for with an Android Auto Adapter?
Most of these small wireless Android Auto adapters work the same, but not all of them. That’s why it’s important to get one from a name you trust, one with multiple functions, and possibly 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 to your car, but ideally you want one that supports 2.4 and 5GHz in addition to Bluetooth.
- USB type: Depending on how old your vehicle is, it will likely have a USB-A port, USB-C, or possibly both. Make sure you get an adapter that works with the smart ports in your vehicle.
- Mate: A big advantage of a wireless Android Auto adapter is getting rid of cables, keeping your phone free and tidying up your center console. You want a small adapter that you can easily keep out of the way for a seamless experience.
- Functions: Almost all of these wireless dongles have similar features, but you can find one with a few extra benefits. Certain adapters work with more than one phone for easy switching, while others support both Android Auto and CarPlay. The more the better, right?
How Wireless Android Car 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 out of the way. Your phone will then immediately pair wirelessly with the adapter, launch Android Auto and take over your in-car stereo or display.
Essentially, you get Android Auto without having to plug your phone into the stereo. Yes, technically there’s still a short wire connected to the adapter, but it’s easy to hide in a center console or glove box. In addition, your phone is now not tethered to a cable.
A quick search on Amazon shows all kinds of unnamed brands that offer Android Auto wireless adapters, and most of them have bad 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 Car 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 reliable manufacturer and is sleek, stylish and has a fast data connection thanks to Wi-Fi 5GHz support. In addition, 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. Once you’ve set it up, every time you hop in the car, it will instantly pair via Bluetooth for calls and 5GH Wi-Fi for everything else you get with Android Auto. Motorola even included 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 Car Adapter
Install the Motorola MA1 Wireless Android Auto Adapter in your car and you’ll never have to worry about plugging in your phone again. Get yours for $89.95.
Best Budget: AAWireless Adapter
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 of the others on our list, it has a smooth connection and decent specs for the price. As expected, you 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 firmware and bug-fixing updates.
With the AAWireless Android Car Adapter, you’ll be connected in no time and enjoy the Google car experience.
Best Usability: Carsifi Wireless Dongle
A newcomer to the market is the Carsifi Adapter, which promises the same as any other, 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 establishes a wireless Android Auto connection to your phone via built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.”
You get fast media or data transfers over 2.4 or 5 GHz Wi-Fi, plus a Bluetooth connection for audio and calls. The beauty of 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 which phone is connected for Android Auto with one tap. Then you can customize the button for other functions, including the ability to pause/resume Android auto transmission with ease. Grab yours from the link below.
Best Compatibility: OTTOCAST U2-X Adapter
If you have a mixed smartphone household, 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 Android Auto or CarPlay transfers, Bluetooth for phone connection and calls, and works over USB-C or USB-A. It costs a little more, coming in at $150, but it will work with your friend’s or significant other’s iPhone. Most of the dongles on our list support Android 9 or later, 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 adapter works with both major operating systems, making it easy to connect wirelessly.
Best Alternative: CarlinKit 4.0 Wireless AA Adapter
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 connects to your phone via Bluetooth and then uses Wi-Fi 2.4 or 5GHz to connect to your Android Auto head unit for wireless connectivity. CarlinKit offers both a regular USB-A and USB-C cable in the box, perfect for connecting to any smart port available in your vehicle. Some reviews said it could lag at times, but with limited sales options, we wanted to highlight as many potential options as possible. Grab yours below from Amazon.
Best Premium: The Magic Box
Last but not least, there’s something known as The Magic Box: this thing is expensive, costing $389. Rather than being just an adapter, this is a full-fledged smart box that runs Android. As a result, it is capable of screen mirroring, casting and streaming all your favorite apps. And that’s in addition to providing wireless Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. In principle, 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 and connects via USB-C, USB-A or HDMI. This device has 4 GB of RAM for enhanced performance and 32 GB of storage built-in. It even has a split screen mode so you can use Google Maps on the one hand and control Spotify or YouTube music on the other.
You’ll also notice that the Magic Box has an extra USB port on the back for expandable storage, such as a USB stick full of movies, and the HDMI port can be connected to a rear-passenger TV. It’s a whole Android smartbox rather than just a dongle and has more to offer. However, the manufacturer says you should unplug it when you leave the vehicle, as it requires more power than a dongle and can drain the battery.
As more Android Auto wireless 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 anything new.