Cost to Install Apple CarPlay
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How Much Does Apple CarPlay Installation Cost?

Last Updated on January 3, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Apple CarPlay is a smarter, safer way to use your iPhone while driving. It displays a familiar interface on your vehicle’s dashboard to control maps, music, messaging, and more.

Apple CarPlay enables you to access your iPhone’s apps and features in a simplified format that makes driving less distracting. Your contacts, Apple Maps, Apple Music, podcasts and more appear on your car’s touchscreen rather than fumbling with your phone.

If your vehicle didn’t come equipped with CarPlay, this guide will walk through different methods for adding this useful smartphone integration. Read on to learn how to install Apple CarPlay in both newer and older vehicles to enhance your driving experience.

Key Takeaways on Installing Apple CarPlay:

  • Aftermarket stereos provide the most affordable way to add CarPlay, starting at around $200.
  • Installation at the dealership is available for some newer models lacking CarPlay, averaging $300-$400.
  • Wireless CarPlay options skip the Lightning cable for a clean installation look.
  • With proper precautions, installing an aftermarket CarPlay stereo is DIY-friendly.
  • Many late-model cars come equipped with CarPlay standard – check when car shopping.
  • Apps like CarBridge use Bluetooth to approximate CarPlay, but have limitations.

How Much Does Apple CarPlay Installation Cost?

If your car didn’t come with it, installing Carplay costs $200 to $700. Costs vary depending on route:

  • Aftermarket CarPlay stereo: $200 to $400 for a standard deck, or up to $700 for higher-end options with amplified audio and expanded features.
  • Dealer installation: Some manufacturers like Kia charge around $400 for dealer CarPlay activation, if available for your vehicle.
  • CarPlay software upgrade: A handful of makes now offer over-the-air software upgrades to add CarPlay to newer models. This costs around $250.
  • Professional installation: Expect to pay $100 to $250 for labor if you don’t DIY the stereo install.

With an aftermarket CarPlay receiver being the most common and affordable path, you can add Apple CarPlay to most vehicles for $500 or less when including installation work.

According to JStationX, the cost of installing Apple CarPlay can range from $300 to $500, depending on various factors. This price includes the cost of the CarPlay unit itself, any additional hardware needed for installation, and the labor required to complete the job.

Best Buy offers free installation on car receivers $199.99 and up, which may include Apple CarPlay receivers.

Reddit users also talked about the cost of CarPlay installation, with one user mentioning that a local Mazda dealership quoted close to $700 for the installation, while another user shared their experience of doing the installation themselves for around $250.

Can I Install Apple CarPlay Myself?

Installing an aftermarket Apple CarPlay car stereo yourself is totally doable with some handy skills and proper precautions. Here are the basics:

  1. Ensure stereo compatibility – Double check that the new receiver fits your dash opening and wiring harness. Watch out for interference issues in luxury vehicles.
  2. Purchase install kit – Kits with dash trim pry tools, wiring harness adapters, etc. make removal of the old stereo easier.
  3. Disconnect battery – This avoids electrical shorts and deploys airbags when removing the old stereo.
  4. Remove old stereo – Unscrew brackets, pop off trim, release connectors – remove carefully to avoid damage.
  5. Install new stereo – Connect new wiring harness adapter, mount in dash opening, reinstall trim.
  6. Reconnect battery – Fuse should be last connection made for safety.
  7. Test stereo – Ensure it powers on and speakers all work prior to reassembling the dash.

It takes some patience but DIYing it is very doable. If not comfortable, any car audio shop can handle aftermarket stereo installation for around $100-$250 in labor costs. Either way, enjoy the new Apple CarPlay in your vehicle!

Overview of Apple CarPlay

You can use Apple CarPlay app to project a familiar iOS-style interface onto your car’s infotainment screen. With CarPlay, you can:

  • Use Apple Maps for navigation
  • Listen to music and podcasts through Apple Music
  • Place calls through your iPhone contacts and voicemail
  • Send and receive messages via Siri voice dictation
  • Interact with compatible third-party apps like Spotify, Overcast, Waze, etc.

CarPlay allows you to do all of this through your vehicle’s touchscreen, knobs, steering wheel controls, or Siri voice commands. This allows you to stay focused on the road.

Most new vehicles now come equipped with CarPlay, but many older models lack this useful smartphone integration. Installing an aftermarket CarPlay stereo is the most common DIY method for adding it.

Best Aftermarket Apple CarPlay Stereo Options

Looking for the best CarPlay receiver to install? Here are some top-rated aftermarket stereo options from leading brands:

Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX

  • 7” touchscreen with customizable UI
  • Wireless CarPlay for cable-free iPhone connection
  • Voice control for audio, calling, messaging
  • SiriusXM, Bluetooth, HD Radio, more

Kenwood Excelon DMX907S

  • Large responsive touchscreen with wireless CarPlay
  • Built-in Alexa allows in-vehicle voice control
  • HD Radio, hi-res audio capabilities
  • Excellent amplification and sound quality

Alpine iLX-407

  • Floating 7” touchscreen for sleek look
  • Wired CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Smartphone-inspired capacitive touch
  • Backup camera input
  • SiriusXM, HD Radio, Bluetooth

Sony XAV-AX7000

  • 6.95” bezel-less display
  • Both wired and wireless CarPlay
  • On-screen controls and album art
  • Customizable digital gauges
  • Hi-res audio fidelity

You can find these at most big online retailers, including Amazon. This covers some of the best aftermarket Apple CarPlay stereos to upgrade your driving experience. Now let’s look at dealer options.

Can You Get Apple CarPlay Installed at the Dealer?

What is Apple CarPlaySome automakers offer factory integration of Apple CarPlay through their dealerships for newer models that didn’t initially come equipped with it. For example:

  • Mazda Connect – Select 2014-2018 Mazda models can have the Mazda Connect infotainment system upgraded to include CarPlay for around $199-499 parts and labor.
  • Hyundai Blue Link – On certain 2016+ models, Hyundai dealers can update Blue Link with CarPlay by replacing the center console/map SD card for $299.
  • Toyota Entune 3.0 – 2016-2019 Toyota cars with Entune Audio Plus can add CarPlay for around $199 including parts and installation.
  • Kia UVO – CarPlay can be activated on the UVO infotainment in select 2017-2019 Kia vehicles for approximately $395 through dealers.

Newer vehicles tend to have upgrade options through the automaker to add CarPlay if it wasn’t originally equipped. Contact your dealer to see if any offerings exist.

Can You Add Apple CarPlay Over WiFi or Bluetooth?

Since CarPlay runs through your vehicle’s infotainment system, WiFi and Bluetooth alone can’t provide CarPlay functionality. But wireless connectivity does offer some options:

  • Wireless CarPlay – Aftermarket stereos like the Kenwood Excelon support wireless communication with your iPhone to enable CarPlay without plugging in.
  • Over-the-air updates – Some automakers like Volvo can install CarPlay through remote software updates over WiFi without needing to visit a dealer.
  • Bluetooth workarounds – Apps like CarBridge provide basic mirroring by streaming your iPhone’s screen to your car stereo via Bluetooth. This hacky solution has delays and limited app support.

So while WiFi and Bluetooth can facilitate wireless CarPlay or remote installation, you still need compatible hardware. The head unit needs the processing power, app integration, and video output that CarPlay requires.

What Vehicles Come Equipped With Apple CarPlay?

Hundreds of new vehicle models now come equipped with CarPlay right from the factory, including:

  • Most models from Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW, Volvo, Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Lincoln, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Nissan, and others.
  • Higher trim versions of popular models like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Chevy Impala, and Subaru Outback.
  • Luxury cars from Porsche, Jaguar, Land Rover, Genesis, Lexus, Infiniti, Acura.
  • Many trucks and SUVs – Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, Jeep Grand Cherokee, etc.

New vehicles that are CarPlay-equipped typically advertise it as a selling feature. And most automakers now offer it on their latest models across multiple trim levels.

While pricier, buying a new car with CarPlay already factory-installed is simpler than adding it down the road. But with many options for installation, you can bring Apple CarPlay to almost any vehicle.

Tips for Installing Apple CarPlay

A few final tips for tackling an Apple CarPlay installation:

  • For easiest installation, look for a stereo that matches your car’s sizing and connector type.
  • Watch out for luxury/exotic vehicles that may have complex wiring or interference issues.
  • Consider options with built-in amplifiers if replacing a premium luxury vehicle stereo with external amps.
  • Look for receivers with specific vehicle installation kits for a simpler wiring harness adapter.
  • Ask the dealer service center for installation cost quotes if considering going through them.
  • For DIY, watch stereo installation tutorials specific to your vehicle and stereo model.

Final Words

With a lot of quality aftermarket CarPlay receivers available, bring Apple’s slick and simplified iPhone integration to your daily drive. Drive smarter, not harder!

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