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CarPlay is becoming an essential part of using iOS. What started as something only in high-end aftermarket stereos has turned into the default for new cars. Unfortunately, my car from 2017 doesn’t have it, and I am not interested in completely ripping the factory display out—as it’s a pretty unique shape and I am concerned it will look a little out of place. However, there’s a new solution for my situation, and it’s the perfect way to add CarPlay without replacing your existing stereo system. For the past few weeks, I’ve had the Car and Driver Intellidash Pro in my car, and it’s the perfect way to use your iPhone if your vehicle doesn’t include CarPlay.
CarPlay is Apple’s way to add iOS support to your car. It’s an easy way to follow Apple Maps, use your podcast app, or listen to Apple Music while in your vehicle. It brings an Apple-like interface to the car. With Intellidash’s external CarPlay Unit, you can get it to any vehicle.
External CarPlay Unit
The best way to think about Car and Driver’s Intellidash Pro is how external GPS systems use to look and function in your car. It includes an arm mount that can either be mounted directly on your dash using adhesive or attached to your windshield using a suction cup. It plugs into your car’s DC adaptor for power and then into the AUX port for audio. After installing it, I unpaired my iPhone from my car’s Bluetooth connection and then paired it to the IntelliDash. My iPhone immediately detected it as a CarPlay unit, and then it immediately showed the CarPlay interface on the display. One note on the adhesive is that it easily comes off without damaging your dashboard. I decided to relocate it, and it came up with ease.
The unit I have works wirelessly, so it doesn’t need to be connected to a lightning cord to display. If you want to save $50 on the purchase price, you can opt for the wired-only model. I use the Anker PowerWave to keep my iPhone charged while in the car, so the wireless model was perfect for my use case.
Ideal way to use CarPlay?
If you’ve ever used CarPlay, you know that it’s light years better than any stock car software. It’s ideal to have CarPlay built into your car from the factory, but not everyone has that luxury. My car is new, but didn’t include it. If you have an older car that can use an aux to tape adaptor, this is the perfect add-on to modernize it.
If you need a way to add CarPlay to your car without going through the hassle of ripping out your existing deck, this is the perfect product for you. As someone who’s never used CarPlay full time, I love it. It lets me use CarPlay over my car’s aux port without having to replace my entire system. You can also continue to use Bluetooth as your primary connection. It seemed to work great having my iPhone paired to my car without using the aux port. I chose to use the aux port for simplicity.
Misc features and wrap up
Car and Driver Intellidash Pro also works with Android Auto. It includes a built-in microphone and a USB port for charging or connecting to your phone.
If you are a developer, this external CarPlay unit would be the ideal testing product as well. You could easily set it up on your desk with a simple AC to DC adaptor.
As I said, it’s ideal to have CarPlay built into your car, but if you don’t want to rip out your car’s existing infotainment system or buy a new car — this is your best option as an external CarPlay unit. While I’ve not tested it, it should also work with a Tesla as well. It’s easy to install, remove, and is a breeze to set up with your iPhone. The Car and Driver Intellidash Pro has finally given me access to CarPlay in my car without a complicated installation process.