Touchscreens and Stereos: Tips for Connecting Your Smartphone to Your Car

digital-media-receiver

One of the best things about technology today is the connectivity of it all. You can wirelessly connect your speakers to your stereo, your headphones to your television, even your home appliances to your tablet. Nothing needs to be separated anymore.

One of the most common “pairings” of devices is connecting your phone to your car. This allows you to make calls, access your contacts and play your music while on the go. There are, however, different ways of doing this, both with their upsides and downsides. Here are a few things to think about when pairing your phone with your car.

What Are You Using it For?

The first thing you need to figure out is why you want to connect your phone to your car in the first place. There can be any number of reasons: for safety, for entertainment or for ease of use.

If you are in the car by yourself, maybe you just want to use the phone to make calls and listen to your playlists. For this, you won’t need anything fancy. But what if you have a family? Maybe you want to pair your phone so the kids can watch movies in the backseat while you and your husband or wife enjoy music in the front.

If your car is not equipped with a GPS, then maybe you just want to use your phone for navigation. This is one of the most common reasons why people want to pair their phone with their car.

You should know what you want to do with the phone because there are a couple of ways of connecting, some more expensive than others.

Wires

There are essentially two basic ways to pair your phone with your car: using wires, or going wireless. Each one has its advantages.

Using a wire like an auxiliary cord is very basic, but it allows people with older-model cars to connect their phone. You simply connect the cord to your headphone jack on your phone to the auxiliary jack in your stereo and you’re ready to go. The problem with this is that it is for audio only: you will not be able to use it as a speaker phone. This should be reserved for older cars and those who only wish to listen to music or audiobooks.

With newer cars, like a Peugeot 208, you can use a USB port to connect your phone. This will allow transfer of data, so you can make calls and give commands to your phone. This will also constantly charge your phone, so you won’t have to worry about running out of juice on the road.

Wireless

The most common option for connecting your phone is using Bluetooth technology. This technology transfers data over radio waves — exactly like your radio except at much higher frequencies. Bluetooth is so prevalent nowadays that most new cars, and all smartphones, come with the technology built in.

One of the biggest upsides to Bluetooth is that, like with the USB port, you will be able to use all of the features of your phone, from making voice commands to taking phone calls. This way your smartphone won’t turn into a dumbphone!

Another great feature of wireless connectivity is that it can help cut down on distracted driving. If your car is equipped with Bluetooth, then there are usually control buttons on the steering wheel so you can answer calls and turn the speakers on without taking your eyes off of the road.

Let the Car Connect You

If you are in a newer car that has Android Auto or Apple CarPlay built in, then you are ahead of the game. These programs are specifically for these types of phones, so make sure the car you chooses matches your phone or you will have to switch phones.

These programs come with touchscreens on the console that mimics your phone interface. Icons that you have on your phone will appear on the dash and allow you to control them with a touch of your finger. This allows you to check your voice messages and browse your playlists and even lets the car read your texts aloud. The only downside is that these require a USB plug, so if you don’t like wires, these programs may not be for you.

There are several different options you have for connecting and using your phone with your car. See which one fits your needs best and go for it.

Marco Marlia is the CEO and co-founder of MotorK, the most important lead generation company in Italy for the automotive industry. He holds a degree in Economics, Finanacial Markets and Istitutions from Bocconi University of Milan, Italy. He started his first professional experience during College working for Merrill Lynch IPCG. Later he co-founded several companies like DriveK a unique car configurator for people choosing a car across Europe. DealerK is the branch of MotorK devoted to car dealers with over 2.000 clients and it’s the only automotive business in Italy certified as a Google Premium Partner. Marco Marlia is the co-author of the following books: Oltre Wikipedia (Beyond Wikipedia) and E-learning e Piccole e Medie Imprese (E-learning and small and medium-sized enterprises).

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