The automotive industry is lagging behind the rest of the technology world, it always has. We moved on from CDs years ago, first to downloads such as from the iTunes Store and then onto streaming services from the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Deezer, and more. We will show you how you can have all this music, in your car, wirelessly.
You can already listen to these services on your computer or phone, or stream wirelessly to your speakers via Bluetooth or TV via a Chromecast.
So why can’t you do this in your car? If you’re purchasing a new car you may be lucky and find that it has Apple’s CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto built in. If so, stop reading now and go explore this option.
For the rest of us we don’t have this option. My car just has a standard CD player. But there are still brilliant options which stream music from your (or your passenger’s) phone. In addition, if you use apps such as Apple Maps or Google Maps for navigation you’ll have both Spotify and your navigation instructions through the car speakers. So, your three options are:
- Plug in. If you can find the aux in or line in of your car stereo you can plug your phone’s headphone port into this. You’ll need a cable with a headphone plug on one end and, depending on your stereo, another headphone plug or a pair of red and white plugs. See these links as examples:
The problem with this though, is that the cables become dangerous and they can get caught up in the car. Also your passengers in the back will struggle to join in.
- Bluetooth. This is our recommended option. With this you wirelessly pair your phone over Bluetooth to the car and then play audio over the car’s speakers. Anyone in your car can pair up and there will be no dangerous wires draped across the car. In this setup your phone is the transmitter so you’ll need a Bluetooth receiver which plugs in to that aux port you found. These cost less than $16, and are a brilliant solution that everyone can join in with. We’ve tested this model which plugged straight into the aux socket in our car and paired immediately to our iPhone.
- FM transmitter. If you can’t locate the aux port on your stereo then neither of the above options are going to work for you. However, I’ve yet to come across a car that does not have an FM radio, so you still have an option. What you need is an FM transmitted that plugs into the headphone socket of your phone, which you set to broadcast on a particular FM frequency (be sure to select one that doesn’t clash with an actual radio station in your area). You then tune your car stereo to this radio station and you’ll have your music. If you are on a long drive you may need to adjust the broadcast frequency if you clash with a local radio station. You’ll need something like this:
With one of these three options, you’ll be streaming music over your car stereo with very little cash or time invested.