Best CarPlay stereo 2023
Refresh your old car with the top Apple CarPlay head units.Apple CarPlay isn’t just for those who can afford the latest premium SUV, as nearly all motors can be brought bang up to date with a new head unit.
We do everything with our smartphones these days and with the last iPhone count topping the 728 million mark globally, it only seems logical that most drivers want to make the most of Apple's functionality when behind the wheel.
Of course, that's a little bit naughty and illegal here in the UK, unless you are interacting with your phone via Apple CarPlay, which essentially beams car-friendly apps directly to a touchscreen in the car.Unfortunately, this connectivity has only really been rolled out in most new cars over the past year or so, meaning anyone with slightly ageing wheels has to put up with a CD player and some crackly FM radio.
Not any more chums, because ensuring your ride is technologically bang up to date is simply the case of removing an old head unit or stereo system and replacing it with a much more accomplished and capable Apple CarPlay-enabled system from the likes of Pioneer, Sony, JVC and Kenwood.
If you're one of the millions of people who have an iPhone and love to use features like voice to text, wireless phone calls, navigation and streaming audio while you're in the car, you'll definitely want a car stereo with Apple CarPlay. CarPlay will bring that familiar look and feel that you use every day on your phone to a touchscreen in your dash. It'll add a variety of new features over standard Bluetooth and really bring your head unit up to speed with the latest tech. If you're not sure you really need CarPlay, check out our why you need Apple CarPlay article for more information about what it really is and does.
How Do I Know If My Car Stereo Has Bluetooth Technology?
The easiest way to determine if a vehicle has Bluetooth technology is by attempting to pair a Bluetooth enabled cell phone with the radio. If the phone finds the radio, a button with a headset or phone on the car stereo illuminates. Pressing the button pairs the phone and stereo. Most vehicles with a date of manufacture after 2004 have this capability, according to Autos.com.
Pairing the phone with the car stereo offers several advantages.
The user is able to make and receive calls without accessing the phone or pushing a button. The system directs calls through the vehicle’s speakers. The stereo panel displays information concerning incoming calls and call status on the stereo panel. A ringing phone automatically turns down the music volume and resumes it when the call ends. Some of these devices store the full address book from the SIM card. The system helps to save battery life and improve the connection.
While some units do not have built-in Bluetooth functionality, they are Bluetooth ready. The addition of a separate peripheral device adds the functionality to the system. While installation is simple, it involves removal of the stereo head unit to access its adapter port. Each adapter is stereo specific, requiring purchase of the device that fits the existing stereo.
- Qiang Ling