Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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This $3 adapter fixed my CarPlay and Android Auto problems


I bought a new Jeep last year and was obviously adamant that it had CarPlay. It was also the first car I owned with a touch screen for CarPlay, which is a nice change of pace. But in the first couple of weeks of driving, I was increasingly frustrated: even though I was using a wired USB connection, my CarPlay kept disconnecting. Sporadically, and frequently.

I tried different phones. I tried using an official Apple Lightning cable — USB-A and USB-C, as my car has both — as well as various styles and lengths of third-party cables. Nothing worked. And then, I found an inexplicable fix: using a simple USB-A to USB-C adapter, which is just $9 for a three-pack .

An iPhone with USB-C cable and USB-A adapter.
Andrew Martonik / Digital Trends

I had a few of these USB adapters already because I find a need for them occasionally as I mostly use USB-C cables nowadays. I even carry one in my backpack in case I need to plug in to an old charger or outlet on the road. And I’m so glad I got frustrated to the point of trying them because it fixed my CarPlay connection problem immediately. A simple Lightning to USB-C cable, attached to this adapter and into the USB-A port on the car, works flawlessly.

I can’t tell you why this works (I won’t pretend to be an electrical engineer), and I’m honestly quite confused because you’d normally expect an adapter like this to make the connection less stable. But there’s something about the translation between USB-A and USB-C using the adapter that helps the car understand it, without fail. And though I don’t know why it works, I’ve been driving my car carefree for several months without a single CarPlay dropout.

If you for some reason have a car that only has USB-C and still have issues, you could always try using an adapter that works in the reverse direction, from USB-C to USB-A — they’re about the same price.

If you’re having issues with your CarPlay or Android Auto connection, these adapters are worth a shot. It worked in my Jeep, so I would expect the best results with any Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, or RAM model. And if you have a different brand of car, it’s an inexpensive solution worth trying anyway. And if it doesn’t work for your CarPlay issues, they’re still useful to have for other uses. It’s a win-win.

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