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Dash Cams, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto Connectivity

Does your dash cam still let you watch footage, configure settings, and manage your camera on a tiny 2-inch screen? It might be time to take a break from that. The good news is modern dash cam manufacturers like BlackVue, Thinkware, and VIOFO have begun redesigning dash cameras without a screen, so you can focus on the road while providing a broader and more cinematic dash cam footage through your own phone screen.

This is possible through the dash camera’s dedicated smartphone apps, which can be downloaded via Google Play or App Store. This app allows drivers to do a variety of functions such as streaming, downloading, and even sharing the clips to other users or to your social media networks. To make use of the smartphone app, you will need to connect your dash camera to your smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection.

However, newer vehicle models also have their own connectivity and WiFi connections, in the form of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Prioritizing seamless connection, this technology allows you to connect your smartphones to the infotainment system of your car, providing easier access to your mobile apps, navigation, music, messaging, and more – while keeping you focused on the road – just like how dash cams do.

The issue is, sometimes, these connections can fight, frequently with the dash cam’s WiFi getting the short end of the stick. In this article, we’ll investigate how these connections interact with each other, and what we can do to fix it.

Common Issues Between Dash Cams and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto Connections

Some dash cams do encounter connectivity issues when it comes to interacting with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto systems. Since it normally takes control of your phone, there’s a chance that it can interfere with the dash cam’s app connectivity, booting the phone off the camera Wi-Fi. This is a common issue for all dash cam models — old and new.

Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connections overall, like to take control of your phone once you enter into the vehicle, automatically connecting you to their system. This is normally through a Bluetooth connection, which then pairs your phone automatically to the WiFi signal of the CarPlay. This connection can frequently be a bully, ripping your phone off of other WiFi networks, especially if they are not true network connections.

Remember, our dash cams have their own Wi-Fi connection, but are mainly used for pairing to the camera – similar to how Bluetooth works. It’s not a true Wi-Fi connection and does not connect your iPhone or Android phone to the internet. Instead, the dash cam’s Wi-Fi connects you to the dedicated smartphone app so you can stream and download your footage.

If ever you encounter these problems, our first recommendation is to switch to Airplane Mode so you can restart the Wi-Fi connection.

Moreover, you can also try forgetting the Android Auto or Apple Carplay’s Wi-Fi network, and reconnecting to the dash cam’s Wi-Fi as needed. You can also temporarily turn off your Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, or unpair them to your phone.

How can I use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and Dash Cam Wi-Fi together?

A common desire we hear often is the possibility of using the dash cam’s Wi-Fi app to stream footage, and using a wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto adapter at the same time. Is it possible?

In order for the dash cam to work, the phone must be connected to the dash cam’s Wi-Fi, and the same goes for the wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Fundamentally, both WiFi networks are mutually exclusive.

And since phones can only connect to one WiFi signal at any given time, it’s not possible to use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay wirelessly with the smartphone app and dash cam when streaming during a drive or while you're saving videos. You may have to use it wired, or use an alternative where you can watch your footage while CarPlay is running. For this, we recommend using Wireless Android Auto or Apple CarPlay adapters like the ZZAIR-PRO or the Zeus Ultra Box.

ZZAIR-PRO

Unlike standard Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, these systems have their own infotainment display, which can be used independently of the CarPlay or Android Auto phone connectivity. With the ZZAIR-PRO, you can stream Youtube and Netflix on your infotainment system, and watch anything downloaded to the SD card inserted in the device.

Zeus Ultra Box

Meanwhile, with the Zeus Ultra Box, it has a much wider range of streaming services available, and the option to insert a SIM card to allow for a connection wherever you are. Therefore, if your dash cam has your videos stored in its micro SD card, you can plug the SD card in the ZZAIR adapter and watch your footage right in your car’s screen, even without having your phone actively connected to it over WiFi.

Is there a Dash Cam that can integrate with my existing Carplay?

Yes there is, say hello to our BlackboxMyCar SmartDrive. This system features a built-in Dash cam to it’s display screen, along with a separate rear camera, all while pairing and connecting to any existing Aplle Carplay, Android Auto, or any other existing carplay connection. This is your go-to for all-in-one connectivity, with carplay, a dashcam and more, all working simultaneously.

Unlike some aftermarket units that require pulling off and removing center console panels to install a new head unit, the Smart Drive is easy to install. Because of its Type-C Cigarette Lighter Power Cable and adhesive Monitor Base, it simplifies installation on any vehicle model – from sedans, SUVs, hatchbacks, trucks, and even EVs. Whatever your vehicle is, as long as it has a cigarette lighter adapter, you’re good to go.