Android Auto remains the easiest and safest way to get your Android apps in the car. How you get Android Auto in your car, or better yet, how you experience it, can vary depending on what accessories you use to amplify or create the compatibility you're looking for. The good news is there are adapters, dongles, and even full-on displays that can help you get there.
Expand Android Auto — or just bring it in for a debut
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Cutting the cord
The Motorola MA1 was made for those situations where you already have Android Auto and want to go wireless. This dongle can make that happen, and with a simple setup, you could be running the platform from your phone wirelessly. The two-sided adhesive it comes with isn't great at keeping it stuck to the dash, so you may have to improvise.
This crowdfunded device is now readily available to anyone, working with just about any vehicle, as well as Android phones running version 9 or later. It's a small unit, so easy to tuck away, and pretty easy to set up whether your car came with Android Auto or you're using an aftermarket head unit. The included app should also be helpful.
Link it up
This one is probably better for you if your car already has Android Auto compatibility, as aftermarket head units might not integrate as smoothly. You do need to run Android 11 or later to make this work, but when you do, you can get wireless access to keep your phone free to charge how you want.
A full-on screen
When your car is either old or just missed out on the Android Auto train, the Intellidash is one way to retrofit your ride. Sporting a 7-inch IPS display, you won't always need to plug your phone into it to run the platform. You do get the cables you'll need to make sure the unit connects to a power source and routes audio from your car stereo.
The Ottocast U2-X is pretty versatile for a small black box and could be your ticket to converting a wired Android Auto connection to a wireless one. You will need a vehicle that's already compatible with the platform, though BMW and Mitsubishi are singled out as incompatible, so bear that in mind before you try this out.
New kid on the block
New and not all that known, this TNVTEC adapter will get you wireless access to Android Auto with little fuss. It works best with factory Android Auto, so it's hard to tell how it might go with aftermarket units. Certain cars, even if they have the platform built-in, also won't play nice with this thing.
You've got what you need for the road
Even if you feel this world of Android Auto gizmos is a little murky, the results will probably show you otherwise. Never mind simply having Android Auto in the car; when it's wireless, it just feels all the more liberating.
The Motorola MA1 is arguably the most well-known because of its brand familiarity. Like other adapters in this list, once you set it up, you kind of forget about it, which is very much the point. But when you want an app to help you out, the AAWireless obliges with a level of support not all devices like this have.
Cars without any built-in compatibility with Android Auto aren't left out entirely when the Intellidash lets you bring in a whole screen onto the dash. Whether it's going wireless or just being able to use the platform, to begin with, you've got avenues to pursue to change how you use it while you drive.
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Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar. Often times, that will be with a pair of headphones or earbuds playing tunes. When he's not testing something, he's working on the next episode of his podcast, Tednologic.