How to Connect Your Phone to Your Car

Connecting your phone to your car is an easy process that only takes a few clicks. The most common ways are through the AUX input, Bluetooth, Apple Carplay, or Android Auto.

First, check to see if your car has Bluetooth, which started becoming standard on cars in the mid-2000s. The easiest way to find out is by looking at your car’s settings or owner’s manual to see if it offers this capability.

If your car doesn’t have Bluetooth, though, check for an AUX cord input, which also became standard around the same time. When you find it, connect the cord to your phone and to your car, then switch the input to AUX if necessary. AUX usually consists of strictly audio capabilities.

If your car has neither of these features, there are alternative methods to connect your phone to your car.

However, as technology advances, there are more new integrations for your phone and car on top of Bluetooth and the AUX input. And currently, it’s never been easier to connect.

With just a few short steps, you can have your phone connected to your car through Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, or Android Auto. These methods and platforms allow you to use your phone’s navigation, music, smartphone, and more, all hands-free.

When you have hands-free technology and integration, you’re less likely to look at or use your phone because it will operate through your car’s system. This increases your focus on the road and keeps you safe.

All newer phones, including Apple and Android, have Bluetooth. The following are some primary ways people can connect their phones to their cars.

The Bluetooth Connection

Connecting any phone to your car will have a similar, simple procedure.

For iPhone

Start by accessing your Control Center by swiping up or down, depending on your iPhone. You may also access it in your Settings function. Once there, turn Bluetooth on.

Depending on your vehicle, you should find Bluetooth settings within the car’s setup or settings options on the screen. Then start its pairing process.

Next, go into Settings on your iPhone and tap Bluetooth. You will see a section called My Devices. Tap your car’s device on the list and enter a passcode when it prompts you.

You should now be fully connected.

For Android

First, access your Bluetooth menu on your Android. You can do this by going to Settings, then Wireless & Networks, and then click Bluetooth. Make sure the button is switched on.

Again, depending on your vehicle, you may find Bluetooth settings in different locations. Some cars have better integrations than others, but it will most likely be in settings. You can then initiate its pairing process.

On the device list in your Bluetooth settings, you should see your car or the device name. Click on it to pair. If a pin prompt appears, enter the correct number.

Your Android may automatically enable media through Bluetooth. If it doesn’t, you can press and hold on the car’s device name until a menu appears. From there, you can select options and check off the button next to Media.

Apple CarPlay & Android Auto

Becoming increasingly popular, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto offer innovative interfaces and integrations for you to access right from the screen. These systems are easy to connect and enjoy.

For Apple CarPlay

First, you will need to use a USB lightning cable and connect it to your iPhone and car’s USB port.

From there, CarPlay should automatically start. If not, you can manually start it by going into Settings, General, and then by tapping CarPlay. Then, follow any instructions that appear.

Keep in mind some vehicles may require a Bluetooth pairing alongside CarPlay, but others operate without it.

For Android Auto

The first thing you will need to do is download the Android Auto app from the Google Play store. However, Androids 10 and higher will already have this app pre-installed.

Following the instructions above for Android Bluetooth, you will most likely have to pair your car and phone through Bluetooth for Android Auto functions.

Android Auto will next ask for permission to access your apps. Once approved, follow any remaining instructions for setup. Then you are free to enjoy its services.

Pros & Cons of Apple CarPlay & Android Auto

The two systems come with specific pros and cons.

First, they both replicate the interfaces of your mobile device on your car’s screen. They show your apps, notifications, and more at the touch of a button.

CarPlay shows the classic interface, swiping for different pages and apps. Android Auto converts your pages into tabs at the bottom of your car’s screen. Both are user-friendly, and which one you favor will depend on your preferences.

The main drawback of both systems is their third-party integrations. While Android Auto can integrate with more third-party apps, both lack compatibility. This means that while you can get the popular third-party apps like Spotify, you won’t be able to use others.


Overall, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto offer your music, navigation, phone and contacts, podcasts, messages, and more.

They are seemingly the next step from Bluetooth, which is still highly popular in many cars. But the AUX cord is the oldest and most common way to connect your phone.

Whatever method you choose, connecting your phone to your car is an easy process. In just a few steps, you will have the convenience of your phone’s capabilities right from your car’s system.

Scott Huntington is an automotive writer from central Pennsylvania. Check out his work at Off The Throttle or follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.

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