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HomeFeaturesHow to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in an old car – and what it will cost you

How to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in an old car – and what it will cost you

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are all but ubiquitous in modern cars, as nearly every new model that hits the showroom these days comes with a touchscreen infotainment system.

This counts for everything from the cheapest hatchback in South Africa to multi-million rand supercars, however, these smartphone mirroring applications are still not a common feature for the majority of cars on the road owing to one detail – they’re still a fairly new phenomenon.

Apple CarPlay only made its local debut in 2015, with Android Auto only following in 2019, and in a country like South Africa it is common to see cars that go back much further than this still chugging along on our roads, as a Lightstone Auto report found that roughly 42% of the cars here are 11 years old or more.

While a smartphone holder for your dashboard is a quick and cheap solution, it’s not an ideal way to bring your ride into the 21st century.

Luckily, it is possible to modify an older car to feature a touchscreen display with smartphone pairing capabilities, and it doesn’t even have to break the bank.

How to set up Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in an old car

There is a wide array of aftermarket devices that you can install in your car that will grant access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the various apps associated with them, such as Google Maps, Waze, Spotify, YouTube Music, and WhatsApp.

The simplest and cheapest solution is to buy a touchscreen that you can mount to your dashboard or windscreen, which can be plugged in using either a USB or 12V socket, depending on what outlets your car is fitted with, and connects to your phone through an auxiliary cable, Bluetooth, or an FM transmitter, according to MyBroadband.

Kenwood infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay support

However, it is possible to upgrade to a properly integrated infotainment system, though this will require technical knowledge, and while there are tutorials online, it may be best to take it to a workshop and have a professional do it for you.

The screen will be installed in the dashboard of your car, so it is important to ensure that the device you choose fits your vehicle.

The site OneNav has a selection of aftermarket screens which has specific units for different car brands. These were the cheapest options for different brands:

  • Audi – R12,999
  • BMW – R12,999
  • Ford – R8,999
  • GWM – R12,999
  • Haval – R12,999
  • Honda – R12,999
  • Hyundai – R8,999
  • Isuzu – R8,999
  • Jeep – R12,999
  • Kia – R8,999
  • Mahindra – R12,999
  • Mazda – R8,999
  • Mercedes-Benz – R12,999
  • Mitsubishi – R8,999
  • Nissan – R8,999
  • Porsche – R12,999
  • Renault – R12,999
  • Suzuki – R8,999
  • Toyota – R8,999
  • VW – R12,999

One other thing to consider is whether you want a device with wireless connectivity, as it will cost more than a wired one and may have the occasional loss of connection.

On the other hand, a wired connection can be a pain to plug into every time you set off, and this may have wiring issues of its own when your phone moves around and the cable comes loose. It also adds an element of clutter to the interior which some users may find more annoying than others.

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