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If you have a slick modern car, you might have the luxury of Apple’s CarPlay taking care of all things iOS while you’re in the driving seat. But for those of us without CarPlay installed, there are several relatively cheap and easy ways to get more out of your existing car stereo without springing for a full upgrade.
These gadgets will make it easier to use your iPhone or iPad in the car, whether you want to blast out your favorite album or chat to your buddies without taking your eyes off the road. (Remember to check whether hands-free calls are legal in your region, though!) Dive in to see if any of these products could fit your needs.
Note: all prices are accurate at the time of publishing, but may be subject to change – so make sure to double check before buying!
Best for the iPhone 7
TaoTronics Bluetooth Receiver ($15.99)
So Apple’s latest devices no longer have a conventional 3.5mm headphone port – where does that leave you if you want to plug into the audio in of your car’s stereo? If your car doesn’t have Bluetooth built in, it leaves you pretty stuck. Don’t bother fiddling with adapters and wires – grab this Bluetooth receiver instead, which plugs into the line in port of your stereo. Then you can just connect to it wirelessly from your iPhone 7 (or any other device!) and play music or podcasts through your car speakers. Simple.
Best with old stereo systems
TeckNet Wireless FM Transmitter ($23.99)
If you have an older car or lack the necessary cables to connect directly to the stereo, it might be worth picking up a cheap audio transmitter like this one from iClever. It plugs straight into the power point in your car, connects to your iPhone or iPad via bluetooth and then transmits an FM signal that you can tune the car radio to. It’s simple to set up, works a charm and is a very easy alternative to upgrading your car stereo. Neat!
Best for hands-free phone calls
Jabra Freeway ($99.99)
For phone calls in the car, the iPhone’s built-in mic and speakers don’t quite cut it – plus, you have to manually select loudspeaker mode even if using Siri, meaning it’s not really safe to use while driving. The Jabra Freeway kit is a good solution: its audio messages and voice control let you answer and initiate calls with zero taps, while the virtual surround sound and two noise suppressing microphones are a big improvement on the iPhone’s standard speakers and mic. It automatically turns on and connects to your device when you get in the car, and you can play music through it too.