When out and about driving, listening to music or a podcast is a great way to pass the time. Doing this via your car’s speakers reduces the need for fiddling with a phone whilst at the wheel, making it a far safer option. The different methods of connecting a phone depend on the car you have; with each one, it’s recommended to check your car or vehicle manual, to determine the right solution for you.
Our smartphone experts will explain how to connect your phone to your car, whether you’re on an Android or iPhone device.
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How to connect your iPhone to your car
Some car models support Apple CarPlay, which displays features like your music, call log and maps directly onto your car’s media screen.
CarPlay can be set up and connected to by either:
• Plugging into a USB port via an Apple Lightning-to-USB cable
• Holding down the ‘voice command’ button on your steering wheel
o If your car doesn’t have a USB port, you’ll need to connect with this method
Siri can then be used to change songs or answer a call by using the ‘voice command’ button again.
Before using CarPlay, check if your car model supports the app.
You can also connect your iPhone to your car via Bluetooth:
- Turn your phone on and off
- Head to Settings > Bluetooth. If Bluetooth is already toggled on, switch it off and wait 5 seconds before turning back on
- Check if Bluetooth on your car’s display is enabled
a. Consult your vehicle’s manual for how to activate it
- Update your phone and car’s firmware if you still can’t connect
a. On your iPhone, this can be updated in Settings > General > Software Update
b. On your car’s display, check your vehicle manual for how to update your specific model
Finally, you can also connect your iPhone to your car with a USB cable:
- Turn your iPhone on and off
- Unlock the device and stay on the Home screen
- Update your iPhone in Settings > General > Software Update
- Connect one end of the USB into your iPhone, and the other into the USB port in your car
a. If your phone doesn’t immediately connect, check for any dust or debris in the USB ports
How to connect your Android phone to your car
Android users can use Android Auto to connect their phone to their car. It functions similarly to Apple CarPlay, enabling you to play music from your phone, take calls and other features, without needing to use your phone directly.
Before using Android Auto, check if your car is compatible with the app. Your phone must also support Android 10 or above.
To use Android Auto:
- Set up the app by connecting your phone and car via a USB cable
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete setup
- Once you’re finished with setup, connect to Bluetooth and reload the app
If you don’t need the additional functionality of Android Auto, you can also just connect your car and phone via Bluetooth.
Prior setup may need to be done before you can see your car’s Bluetooth ID. Check your vehicle’s manual to see if it supports a Bluetooth connection; if it does, go to your Android phone’s 'Settings' menu and navigate to Bluetooth to turn it on.
USB or audio cable
Your Android phone can link with your car via USB connection, too. If your car’s stereo has an audio jack port, this can also be used to connect your phone with an auxiliary cable.
As you’ve seen, there are multiple ways you can connect your phone to your car. If you’re also wanting to access data on a broken phone, you can do that too with a few simple steps.