Here’s how to add Android Auto to any car

Android Auto has become a standard part of brand new cars, but it’s something that older vehicles lack. Adding it can be complicated and can cost hundreds of dollars. But did you know that you can add an Android Auto unit to any car in seconds for an affordable price? Here’s how.

Aftermarket head units have been around for decades, and support for both Android Auto and CarPlay has become normal for just about every option you buy today. Overall, these head units can be quite affordable, but they can also be very expensive, and if you’re inexperienced, they may also require expensive professionals to be installed on some vehicles.

I’ve been wanting to add Android Auto to my wife’s car for a long time as her Hyundai Elantra comes from those awkward times where touchscreens and Android Auto weren’t particularly popular, but Bluetooth and AUX connections were standard. However, my last attempt to add an aftermarket head unit didn’t go very well. When I spent some time with Spotify Car Thing earlier this year, I thought how great it would be to have a similar device but with Android Auto.

As it turns out, these devices exist! And they’re pretty easy to use.

For several months my wife has been using a 7-inch external Android Auto device in her car, which is mounted on the dashboard and supports the Android Auto wireless form. It plugs into its AUX connector to direct sound through the car, and draws power from a regular car electrical outlet.

Installing this also took literally a few seconds. The included windshield mount turned out to be perfect on my wife’s car, but you can also use it as a dashboard mount or get creative with DIY placement and other mounting options. It’s actually just a small Android Auto tablet.

Admittedly, this isn’t the best looking setup. The “IYING” device I chose for her was one of the few options available earlier this year, and it doesn’t have the best design. It’s very simple, but it works. The two dangling cables add a bit of a not-so-great look, but they’re no worse than the charging cable you’ll use to keep your smartphone moving while running Google Maps on the dash mount.

How it’s working? Overall admirable.

The device turns on automatically when the car is started. Inventory software is not very good. It feels very general and memorable, but has some handy features. You can mirror your phone’s screen or use this unit as a traditional Bluetooth head unit to add wireless audio support to a car that lacks this feature. The device also supports adding a rear view camera, but we chose not to try it out as it obviously complicates the setup / installation process a lot.

The built-in 7-inch display will also meet the challenge in the car. I can’t describe it as super bright, but it’s bright enough to be used on a sunny day with no problem reading what’s displayed. It’s only a 1024 × 600 panel, though, so it’s by no means particularly sharp. The only quirk I quickly noticed was that the top of the panel cuts off some parts of the UI, but that doesn’t hinder usability at all.

Meanwhile, Android Auto, when used wirelessly with the Pixel 5, typically starts up within 40-60 seconds of turning on the vehicle. It’s a bit slower than what’s built into my Subaru Crosstrek paired with the Android Auto Wireless Adapter, but it’s not too shabby! The only catch is that you have to manually press a button to bring Android Auto to the screen, and this popup can sometimes time out.

Android Auto works without any noticeable lag, and tells me during my daily commute that it works very reliably overall.

The main point of contention with this device was making phone calls. This may be her car in particular, but incoming calls seem to ignore the AUX connection and try to run over Bluetooth instead. As a result, he cannot hear the call and either has to switch the output to the phone’s loudspeaker or earpiece, or resume the call from its end. I couldn’t fully pinpoint why this is happening, but the reviews of this device seem to confirm that we are not alone in this experience. Unfortunately, I haven’t really found an acceptable workaround for this problem. The only thing that has worked so far is the use of a built-in FM transmitter, resulting in drastically poorer sound quality compared to AUX.

Is this a breach of contract? For its limited use, not entirely. But it might be for you.

But for the roughly $ 250 we spent on this device, it was a worthwhile investment. She likes to have Maps in sight, yet doesn’t have to let her phone sit in the heat the whole time she’s driving, and installation was certainly easier than the more permanent option.

Additionally, months after purchasing this device, more options appeared and prices dropped. The IYING device we purchased can now be purchased for just over $ 200.

We still have to try some others, but there are already a few on Amazon that are ready for purchase. 9to5Mac I had great experiences with Intellidash Pro on the CarPlay side and also there is an Android Auto model. The Carpuride has a larger device that looks pretty neat, and there are even options that cost around $ 100 or less. Personally, this is a factor that intrigues me – would you buy it?

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