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How to use dongle apple CarPlay?

YuanYuan Liu |

How to Use Dongle Apple CarPlay?


I was skeptical of these third-party dongle apple CarPlay since I read some reviews (on various models around Amazon including this one) mentioning lag, either mildly-annoying or severe. Well, I saw this below the prices I've usually seen similar units and seeing some people were having success decided to pull the trigger. I figured I wouldn't keep it unless it worked, you know?


dongle apple


Well, this dongle apple CarPlay got here last night and I excitedly took it out of the box and read the instructions. I decided to not attempt to update its firmware first - figuring that since things can go wrong and there probably isn't a practical way to go back once you update. Anyway the firmware version on mine is clearly from March anyway, so it should be plenty up to date.


My car: 2016 Volkswagen GTI with factory CarPlay. My phone: iPhone 13 Pro Max with iOS 15.4.1


dongle apple


I just walked out and plugged this dongle apple CarPlay into the USB-A port in the console. (A USB-C adapter which my car doesn't need was also included free, a nice bonus since those are always useful!) Turned the ignition on and the car prompted me just like I'd connected a new iPhone. I confirmed the prompt and the Carplay box displayed its name on the screen. Went into my bluetooth on my iPhone and chose smartBox-xxxx device. The phone prompted me after a few moments to use Wireless CarPlay which I accepted, and then the Apple UI appeared on my display.


Next I played around on the car screen to see how the lag of this dongle apple CarPlay was and I was astonished that I could not tell the difference at all. There was no lag that I could notice. Swiping around seems the same as before and button presses register immediately. [EDIT: Interestingly, while the input and video don’t lag at all, audio has a delay of about 1.5-2 seconds. Not sure why, but that’s how long it takes to respond when starting or pausing my audio (even if I control it on the phone itself). Not that big a tradeoff so I’m ok with it.] I am very happy with this device and will be ordering a second one for the other car.


Tip: Pair this with a wireless charger (already ordered one) so you can just throw your phone at the dashboard and never have to plug in a cable again!


dongle apple


My next tests will be:

  1. Figuring out the best way to swap when using this dongle appleCarPlay between phones when 2 people are in the car. Haven't tried that at all yet
  2. Evaluating how quick and seamless the dongle apple CarPlay is at connecting promptly every time I get into my car.


I'll update this dongle apple CarPlay review after a couple weeks of use, and maybe add a video to demo the responsiveness.


Edit : haven’t changed between phones yet, but I have observed that it usually connects within 20 seconds or so of starting the car with no interaction necessary.