A few years ago I replaced my 2005 Honda Civic from high school with a 2017 model. The car itself felt twelve years newer in every way but one.
My old car stereo was replaced with an aftermarket Wireless CarPlay head unit. The tenth generation Honda Civic included standard CarPlay, and I wasn’t interested in replacing the stock entertainment system in a brand new car.
Three years later, it’s now possible to add both Wireless CarPlay and Qi charging for around $200 — all without replacing any hardware.
Upgrading to Wireless CarPlay is very simple if your tenth-gen Honda Civic is a trim that includes standard CarPlay. This step is also the bulk of the expense. You can skip this step if you’re only interested in upgrading to wireless charging for now.
I used a CarLink 2.0 adapter for my 2017 Honda Civic and can vouch for its compatibility. The adapter ($129.99-149.99) connects to the USB port where you usually connect your iPhone for CarPlay, then your phone wirelessly connects to the adapter.
After months of using the adapter in my car, I almost never notice that I’m using an adapter for Wireless CarPlay. It’s compact, out-of-sight, and includes a USB port for charging so you don’t lose any ports.
Check out 9to5Mac’s full review to learn more about how it works.
The thing about Wireless CarPlay is that it necessarily uses more iPhone battery than Bluetooth audio or standard CarPlay.
That’s because standard CarPlay requires a wired connection that happens to charge the iPhone, and Bluetooth audio only beams audio with the exception of album art.
Wireless CarPlay projects a view from the iPhone that’s displayed on your car’s built-in screen, and that has a greater than zero tax on the phone’s battery.
A quick trip to pick up groceries with Wireless CarPlay will have negligible impact on battery life. You should probably charge your iPhone, however, while using Wireless CarPlay with navigation and streaming music during a longer trip.
Going back to the cord is no good once the cable has been cut though.
Fortunately, the tenth generation Honda Civic is common enough that it’s economical for a company to make a custom-fit wireless charging pad for a specific make and model.
(For comparison, I haven’t found a comparable wireless charging pad for the Honda HR-V in our family.)
CarQiWireless is the vendor of the custom-fit wireless charging pad ($54.99) for Qi-compatible devices like newer iPhones. The pad will also wirelessly charge Qi-compatible Android phones and even wireless AirPods charging cases.
Technically, you could place any wireless charging pad in your car and hope for the best, but wireless charging requires precise alignment that’s hard to pull off reliably in a moving vehicle.
The custom-fit charging pad sits firmly in place in the empty storage area below the built-in screen. It installs at an angle then sits flush so the pad won’t slide around while driving. The pad itself has an anti-slip mat, but I do recommend using an iPhone case to avoid losing alignment with the charging coils.
The wireless charging pad receives power from the car’s auxiliary power outlet. The power adapter itself includes a USB-A port which effectively turns the auxiliary power outlet into a cable-ready charging port for your passenger.
For me, a critical piece of this solution is that everything looks either stock or enhanced but not modified with compromises. That’s why I resisted replacing the stock infotainment system from day one.
The experience is excellent. Start driving and CarPlay initiates with your iPhone in your pocket. Place your iPhone on the charging mat to power up on longer drives without ever touching a cable.
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