Apple CarPlay Wireless Adapter: Carlinkit Review

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I didn’t think plugging my iPhone into a USB port in my car to use Apple CarPlay was a problem until cars and trucks started rolling out Wireless CarPlay.

This still isn’t a real problem, but I kept thinking about how cool it would be to get in my car and start using CarPlay without first plugging it into my car’s USB port.

Plus, I don’t always want to charge my iPhone while using CarPlay, especially during long trips when the battery is kept at a high level of stress by constantly charging it to 100%.

Google Maps works on the car's infotainment screen while using the Carlinkit 3.0 CarPlay Wireless Adapter.

Antonio Villas Boa / Insider

So I was pleasantly surprised when my brother gave me the Carlinkit 3.0 Wireless CarPlay Adapter for my birthday. Admittedly, I was also a bit wary of whether it would work. I’ve never heard of “Carlinkit”, and no reputable and well-known company that makes wireless CarPlay adapters, which makes me ask “Why not?”

Regardless, my brother says it works for him and his Jeep Wrangler, and to my delight, it works with my Ford F-150 too.

After connecting Carlinkit 3.0 to the USB port I used as a Lightning cable for my iPhone, I went through a fairly easy, albeit slightly confusing, pairing process. It’s not entirely clear what happens during the pairing process – it’s a little slower than I expected – but I follow the included instructions, and in the end it just works.

The Carlinkint 3.0 Wireless CarPlay Adapter connects to the vehicle's USB port.

Antonio Villas Boa / Insider

A few minutes later, I’m on my way, using CarPlay with my phone in my pocket or resting in a cup holder without a cord coming out of it.

Everything works as it did when I plugged my iPhone into a USB port in my car, including Apple Maps, Google Maps, Spotify, Apple Music, apps, Siri, and even Google Maps voice search.

The author's iPhone was placed next to his car's infotainment screen that powers CarPlay to display the Google Podcasts app wirelessly.

Antonio Villas Boa / Insider

The only discernible difference is that CarPlay starts up a bit slower than a wired connection. There is also a slight lag when controlling the volume, such as pressing back, forward, playing or pausing. It is a typical lag time that you may encounter during use


On any car or wireless speaker.

There have been rare cases where my iPhone hasn’t connected to the Carlinkit adapter, especially if I’ve been putting the car off and on again at short intervals, such as taking short trips to visit several stores. However, it is somewhat rare and is usually remedied by unplugging the Carlinkit from the USB port and plugging it back in.

It is important to note that Carlinkit will not do this Add CarPlay for a car you don’t already support. CarPlay should already be in your car or truck. The Carlinkit 3.0 linked here works with a variety of makes, models, and model years that already support CarPlay, and I easily recommend it.