Best Aftermarket CarPlay: Safely Use Your iPhone in the Car
These top aftermarket CarPlay receivers easily integrate with your iOS devices
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.
PUBLISHED ON January 15, 2020
If you have an iPhone and an older car stereo, you may not be able to integrate your smartphone with your audio system. However, you have the option of purchasing an aftermarket CarPlay receiver. This will allow you to make phone calls, send messages, listen to music, and get directions through the vehicle's built-in display. If you want a simple and easy way to use an iOS device with your vehicle's sound system, check out the best aftermarket CarPlay receivers in our buying guide below.
- Best OverallPioneer AVH-1440NEX 6.2" Multimedia DVD ReceiverSummarySummary
In addition to being Apple CarPlay compatible, this receiver works with Spotify and Pandora and is SiriusXM-ready. It also features a built-in HD radio tuner.ProsPros
If you want a unit with a CarPlay option, but don't want to spend too much, this is a great option. It's easy to install and produces great audio.ConsCons
Connectivity may be spotty at times, and Siri can be glitchy. Also, the album art does may not always load in the background.
- Best ValuePioneer AVH-1300NEX Multimedia DVD Receiver with 6.2" WVGA DisplaySummarySummary
This receiver features built-in Bluetooth and produces a peak power output of 50 watts per channel. It works with Apple CarPlay and AppRadio, as well as Spotify, Pandora, and SiriusXM.ProsPros
Installing this receiver is an inexpensive way to add CarPlay to your vehicle. The upgrade makes your speakers sound better. The screen is very responsive and the display is bright.ConsCons
CarPlay may have a lag between speech and actual delivery, and it may be hard to sync. Also, the USB port may stop working over time.
- Honorable MentionPioneer 7" Flip Out DVD Receiver with CarPlaySummarySummary
This receiver is both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. It features Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming and has a peak power of 50 watts per channel.ProsPros
It boots up quickly, and the sound quality is excellent. You can see everything on the display with sunglasses on, but it's dim enough at night you barely notice it’s there.ConsCons
CarPlay connectivity can be unreliable. There have been complaints about the unit damaging USB cables.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
- Most CarPlay units require you to use a lightning cable to plug it into the USB port. A few allow you to connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Find what works best for your purposes.
- One of the best things about CarPlay units is the ability to use Siri hands-free. However, saying, "Hey, Siri," may not always work if the music or engine is loud. Plus, it only works on newer iOS devices.
- When using CarPlay, you can play anything from Apple Music. However, streaming music can potentially take up a lot of data, so consider making playlists you can listen to offline.
Q: Will a CarPlay receiver fit in all types of vehicles?
A: First, check to see if you have a single or double DIN unit. You may need a dash kit to fit certain units into certain vehicles, so make sure you check the specs before making a purchase.
Q: Do CarPlay receivers work with Android devices too?
A: It depends on the receiver. Some brands are designed to work with just iOS devices, while others are compatible with both Apple and Android devices.
Q: Are all CarPlay receivers wireless?
A: No. Check the specs before you make a purchase because some require a USB connection with your iPhone.
Our pick for the best aftermarket CarPlay systems is the Pioneer AVH-1440NEX 6.2" Multimedia DVD Receiver. It sounds great, is easy to install, and is a great value.
If you want to spend a little less money, consider the Pioneer AVH-1300NEX Multimedia DVD Receiver with 6.2" WVGA Display.