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After reading about wireless CarPlay dongles for a while, I decided to bite the bullet and try one.

I installed this in my 2021 CX-9 but it should work for any 6 that has wired OEM CarPlay already installed.

I went with the Carlinkit 2.0. Here’s their website but i purchased it on Amazon since I already have payment info set up there and Prime free shipping.

Inititally, my experience was that this thing was not easy to set up. It wasn’t plug and play. The instructions were not helpful. After looking at their website, Googling and reading posts on Reddit and other forums, I finally figured it out. But now that it’s working, I love it.

I’ve only had it for a week, but so far so good, There is an occasional delay when I pause music from the command knob, but any static or skipping has not been noticeable. Texting and phone functions work fine, Siri works. I have WebEx in CarPlay for the occasional work calls while driving but I haven’t had a chance to try that out yet. The unit has it’s own WiFi signal so sometimes there’s a pause as I leave the house until my phone switches to the Carlinkit WiFi to connect. It’s not much bigger than the key fob so it doesn’t take up much space in the armrest.

A few things that are helpful to know when setting it up that weren’t clear:

  • What’s confusing is that the Carlinkit uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone first, then drops the BT connection and switches to WiFi which is the permanent connection. This is what made original set up confusing but there were other issues that complicated set up for me.
  • The vehicle will read the device as if it’s an iPhone. In your General > CarPlay settings, it will be listed and can be customized just like any other CarPlay connection.
  • It might be helpful to reset the unit if you’re having trouble installing it. Ultimately, this is what I figured out and then set up went much more smoothly. To do this, plug the unit’s USB connection into your phone’s wall charger to power it up, This isn’t explained clearly. You can then connect to it via an IP address with your phone through a browser.
  • One Carlinkit model is apparently used for multiple car brands. Even though “MazdaABC” (or whatever it was) popped up in some places, “VLKSSWGN24” showed in others. You have to bob and weave and select whichever is available at that point in the set up process.

After I reset the unit, the instructions on the dashboard screen walked me through set up. It pauses and I wasn’t sure it was doing anything at times but be patient and give it a few minutes. Remember to look at BT and WiFi settings on your phone and be aware that the unit name might change depending on what step you’re on. After resetting it, I was connected in about 10 minutes.

 
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