Connect Phone to Car Radio; Car Play, Car Bluetooth, Car MHL(HDMI)

Smart Phone Connectivity; Connect Phone to Car Radio

Smart phones have changed the way people interact with the world for sure, and now with new innovations, they also have changed the way you interact with your in-car entertainment system. Now, all major smart phones can connect wired or wirelessly to interact with your car radio in ways that will completely transform your entertainment experience. We’ll give you a simplified overview so you can better understand Car Play, Android Auto, Car Bluetooth, HDMI/MHL connection, USB, or wireless dongle. Read ON.

Ways to Connect Phone to Car Radio

For iPhone users:

  • USB Control:
    Current aftermarket car stereos and car video receivers like the Alpine, Kenwood & Pioneer models we carry offer iPhone charging, music play, artist and song display across the screen and control of the song playing functions (play, pause, repeat, skip) by the car radio through the USB input connection. The radio becomes the center of control if you want it to, though you have the option of still controlling with your phone.
  • Appple Car PlayAPPLE CarPlay This is Apple’s way of pre-packaging the most commonly used iPhone features including navigation, podcasts, messaging. CarPlay takes the things you want to do with your iPhone while driving and puts them right on your car’s built-in display. You can get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, listen to music, all in a way that allows you to stay focused on the road. Just plug in your iPhone to your USB and go. Your car radio must have Apple Car Play ability which many of the newer receivers do. See the CarPlay Video.
  • Bluetooth StreamingBluetooth expanded functionality:
    With Bluetooth on your phone and in your video deck you can have hands-free interaction and control of selected music apps. Bluetooth isn’t used for video. The deck and phone are “paired” together first as part of our installation. Once they are wirelessly hooked you no longer have to plug your phone into the video deck to listen to your music, you can play your favorite Pandora™ Radio stations, iHeart Radio, AHA Radio or any other internet radio source, talk on the phone hands-free while driving (without the frustrating ear buds) and even use other smart phone apps through the touch screen feature in your video deck. If the phone rings, don’t worry, the music sound will mute automatically and you can talk freely while driving. (The amount of Bluetooth control over your phones apps depends on the level of Bluetooth software you have in your car receiver)
  • HDMI/MHL:Through a separate cable available from Apple for use with car receivers with HDMI/MHL jack in rear. However, this isn’t a preferred method for iPhone since the MHL input has limited functionality due to Apple’s restrictions placed on this method. Some information won’t display while driving while other information will display but can’t be controlled from the car receiver’s touchscreen, but only from the phone.

For Android users:

  • android_autoANDROID AUTO: This method connects through a standard USB cable connection, like Apple CarPlay. Requires car receiver with Android Auto ability and a compatible smart phone.  Android Auto pre-packages the most common things you want to do while driving along with voice command into an easy to use User Interface for your larger car video touchscreen.  Android Auto was designed with safety in mind. With a simple and intuitive interface, integrated steering wheel controls, and powerful new voice actions, it’s designed to minimize distraction so you can stay focused on the road. See the  Android Auto video here.
  • Bluetoooth Streaming AudioBluetooth expanded functionality: With Bluetooth on your phone and in your video deck you can have hands-free interaction for music and control of selected music apps. Bluetooth isn’t used for video. The car receiver and phone are “paired” together first as part of our installation. Once they are wirelessly hooked you no longer have to plug your phone into the video deck to listen to your music, you can play your favorite Pandora™ Radio stations, iHeart Radio, AHA Radio or any other internet radio source, talk on the phone hands-free while driving (without the frustrating ear buds) and even use other smart phone apps through the touch screen feature in your video deck. If the phone rings, don’t worry, the music sound will mute automatically and you can talk freely while driving. (The amount of Bluetooth control over your phones apps depends on the level of Bluetooth software you have in your car receiver.)
  • USB Control: will charge your Android and  on some aftermarket radios it can be used for music input but not on all.  Compatibility depends on the make of phone and the brand of aftermarket receiver.  There’s no uniform standard for Android for  music input through USB.  Some manufacturers like Kenwood have their own Android apps that you download to your phone which enables increased USB functionality between your phone and the car receiver.
  • MHL/HDMI input: For most current 2015-up aftermarket video receivers with an MHL/HDMI input, many brands of Android smart phones will Mirror Your Phone’s Screen on your car video receiver once the appropriate micro USB to MHL input cable is connected between the phone and the radio.  All the icons and apps appear on your car radio just like they do on your phone. However currently in 2015 you can’t necessarily control the apps and icons from the car radio’s touch screen.  It depends on the phone and the brand of radio.  However you can always control the icons and apps from your phone and see all the content on the car radio’s screen.
  • Wifi Dongle or Wireless MHL/HDMI: Just being introduced by Kenwood in 2015 for Android, this is a wireless or wifi version of the MHL/HDMI input described above. This method requires the purchase of a wifi dongle that plugs into the HDMI/MHL jack at the back of the car video receiver. Not all radios have the jack.

Want to learn more about the newest Car Video Touch Screen Features? Click Here: Car Video Deck Features

Questions on connecting your phone to your car?
Come into Our Store and Speak with a real Car Audio Expert!

Remember, car receivers purchased online have no local warranty. Since we are authorized dealers for the brands we sell, we give a local warranty and local product support when you buy from us, especially if we install your purchase.