A couple of months ago, Boss Audio debuted its latest aftermarket CarPlay receiver, the BVCP9685A, offering a relatively low-cost way to add wired CarPlay (and Android Auto) to your existing vehicle.

The BVCP9685A is a double DIN unit with a 6.75-inch capacitive screen and a vertical strip of capacitive touch controls along the left side. With an external microphone and support for steering wheel controls and backup camera input when paired with proper auxiliary wiring, the BVCP9685A can integrate with much of the existing technology in your vehicle.


Boss Audio sent me a demo unit of the BVCP9685A to test out, and I've come away pretty impressed with its ability to deliver ‌CarPlay‌ functionality at a budget price point, which is currently even lower with an exclusive 5 percent discount code for MacRumors readers.

boss carplay box
The BVCP9685A demo unit I received is a relatively self-contained package, hooked up to a standard AC power plug and a small external speaker. That makes it easy to test out the unit without needing to install it in a vehicle, which can be a bit tricky depending on your level of experience and the types of connections you need to make.

boss carplay rear
On the flip side, the demo unit doesn't give you the full experience, so this is more of a hands-on look than a complete review as I haven't been able to test its sound quality with a full car speaker setup, integration with steering wheel controls and rear camera, and some other features.

Overview

Boss's BVCP9685A offers a relatively clean look dominated by the large screen, although it does have a bit of a bottom bezel where there is some Boss branding and the model number. A strip to the left of the screen offers persistent access to capacitive mute, volume, Siri, and home buttons. The buttons are a little on the small side in a tradeoff with maximizing the size of the main screen.

boss carplay main
The 6.75-inch, 800x480 screen is bright and fairly crisp, although it doesn't quite match the higher resolutions seen on some other more expensive systems. The touch buttons along the left side can be set to just about any color of the rainbow or allowed to cycle through a range of colors automatically, and separate color and brightness options can be set for day and night modes.

boss carplay color settings
The main interface of the BVCP9685A consists of a set of tiles that offer access to the system's functions like radio, ‌CarPlay‌, Android Auto, Bluetooth hands-free calling, rear camera, and media player functions over Bluetooth, USB or an RCA AV connection on the rear of the unit. Small tiles also offer access to settings and an equalizer.

The overall look certainly isn't as polished as some infotainment systems, but if you're a ‌CarPlay‌ user you'll likely be spending much of your time in there anyway.

The radio app offers a large display of the current station and a couple of sets of forward and backward buttons to help navigate between stations on the dial and via presets. Other options let you switch between AM and FM, stereo and mono, local and distant station optimization, and more.

boss carplay radio
It's fairly easy to operate, although some of the options aren't necessarily intuitive such as the way tapping the option icons toggles indicators elsewhere on the display rather than simply changing a label on the icon itself. Tuning buttons also aren't explicitly labeled, although you'll quickly learn how they work once you start using them.

boss carplay bt
Playing media from an external device such as via Bluetooth is a similar affair, although I think the look of the media player screen is a bit better than the radio screen, with full track, artist, and album information as well as clear play/pause, track skip, and shuffle buttons along the bottom.

CarPlay

‌CarPlay‌ and Android Auto require a wired connection on the BVCP9685A, which many users prefer considering they want to charge their phones while in the car, but for those who prefer wireless ‌CarPlay‌ that's starting to become more widely available in aftermarket units, you'll need to look elsewhere.

boss carplay home
The BVCP9685A includes a pair of USB ports on short cables, one for ‌CarPlay‌/Android Auto and one limited to charging and media playback, so you'll need to make sure you connect your Lightning cable to the right one. Once you're up and running with ‌CarPlay‌, you'll find the usual experience with access to the default Apple apps, compatible third-party apps, and a dedicated Boss icon to take you out of ‌CarPlay‌ and back to the Boss system.

boss carplay now playing
The screen is definitely smaller than some built-in infotainment systems that can go up to 8 inches or more, but within the limitations of the double DIN size standard, Boss has done a pretty good job of maximizing screen space. A few competitors have pushed their screen sizes to 7 inches by using skinny hardware buttons along the bottom of the unit, but Boss gets pretty close to that size while keeping buttons along the left where they're closest to the driver.

Overall, the ‌CarPlay‌ interface looks good on the BVCP9685A, with Maps being where you would most likely notice the difference compared to systems with larger screens, due to the mapping field of view and the various informational overlays. ‌CarPlay‌ is relatively responsive on the BVCP9685A, accurately registering taps and swipes.

boss carplay maps
In addition to the Boss icon on the ‌CarPlay‌ home screen, you can also use the main capacitive home/back button in the lower left corner of the BVCP9685A to jump out of ‌CarPlay‌ and over to the Boss system. That button can take you back into ‌CarPlay‌, but only if it's the immediately previous screen you were on. If you switch over to the Boss system and then fiddle with radio settings, for example, you'll need to get back to the Boss home screen and then tap the ‌CarPlay‌ tile there to return to ‌CarPlay‌.

Wrap-up

As an entry-level ‌CarPlay‌ receiver, the Boss BVCP9685A looks like a solid way to bring your iPhone to the dashboard in your existing vehicle. It doesn't include features seen on more (in some cases much more) expensive models like SiriusXM tuner support, a wireless microphone, a DVD/CD drive, or built-in navigation, but if what you primarily need is ‌CarPlay‌ you may not be interested in many of those missing features.

The BVCP9685A is currently priced at $239.99 on Amazon, but the exclusive MacRumors discount available through this link knocks $12.00 off of that through May 22. Boss is also currently offering a $35.00 on-page or in-cart coupon that is stackable with the MacRumors discount, bringing the final price down to just $192.99.

That's a fantastic price for a ‌CarPlay‌ aftermarket head unit, but do keep in mind when budgeting that depending on your install situation, you may need to pick up some extra equipment like wiring harnesses and perhaps pay for professional installation if you're not comfortable with cracking open your dashboard yourself.

Note: Boss provided MacRumors with a loaner demo unit of the BVCP9685A for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Related Roundup: CarPlay

Top Rated Comments

jermy4 Avatar
31 months ago
$192.99 is a heck of a deal for a CarPlay receiver
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vertical smile Avatar
31 months ago
I looked into the Boss CP head unit not too long ago.

I would purchase it today for an old truck of mine, but I really hate not having a volume knob.

A strip to the left of the screen offers persistent access to capacitive mute, volume, Siri, and home buttons. The buttons are a little on the small side in a tradeoff with maximizing the size of the main screen.
They are not mechanical/physical buttons? That sucks too.....

The price tag is tempting, but I really hate the touch screen buttons for a head unit.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vicviper789 Avatar
31 months ago
No physical buttons = no go but now I’m about to drop $300 on a unit I didn’t think I’d want :(
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cube Avatar
31 months ago
For this price, I think I’d be stupid to pass it up.

Now to look up the required parts to fit this on Crutchfield...
They don't seem to have it. I think they usually lag a bit.
[doublepost=1558188173][/doublepost]
No physical buttons = no go but now I’m about to drop $300 on a unit I didn’t think I’d want :(
More like $1200 for a proper one.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vertical smile Avatar
31 months ago
I remember when Boss Audio first came onto the scene. They were the welfare brand in car audio. Their amps were always rated for outrageous outputs. We used to joke and say that they'd only output their ratings ILS (if lightning strikes). Lol. Has that changed?
While I never used a Boss Audio head unit nor amp, I own this Boss Audio sub ('https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0014L8TVG/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_title_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1'). I am extremely impressed with it considering how much it cost.

6 years ago, I was trying to find a decent shallow subwoofer to fit a custom 10" sub enclosure that I made to fit behind the passenger side seat of my MR2, but there was hardly any that were shallow enough, or they were really expensive.

The Boss Audio sub was really cheap, and had next-day shipping at the time, so I decided to give it a try, and go with something else if it didn't perform well enough.

It end up exceeding my expectations, so much so that it is still in my MR2 6 years later. It punches pretty well, so much that it could make a passenger's back feel like it is getting a very violent massage. I usually the subs down when there is a passenger with me.

I should mention that I am not an audiophile, and the MR2 cab is kind of small with two firewalls in the front and rear, so it doesn't take much to fill the space with sound.

My phone's going to be plugged in whether the Car Play connection requires it or not. :p
I understand this, but I wouldn't mind having wireless CP. You can still charge your phone if you need to even with wireless CP, but having it wireless, give the user the option of whether to plug in or not.

I'm hoping I can keep using the controls on the steering wheel with it, though; plus have the backup camera auto-engage when I shift into reverse, as is currently the case.
This is probably not an issue with the many different adapters out there.

You can use Crutchfield.com to see what you need for your car. I have purchased from them a few times, and while they are not always the cheapest, they are very helpful with planning the job. Sometimes I find some decent deals on there though.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FreakinEurekan Avatar
31 months ago
Some people may complain about the "wired" requirement, but given that I'm generally running Waze when I'm driving and that constant GPS connection chews through the battery like crazy - that doesn't seem like a big deal. My phone's going to be plugged in whether the Car Play connection requires it or not. :p
I was right there with you, until I got the iPhone X and a car cradle with built in Qi charger. Now, I want wireless :/
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple california streaming event

Apple Event Announced: 'California Streaming' on September 14 With iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7 Expected

Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:03 am PDT by
Apple today announced that it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. The event will take place at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with WWDC and last year's fall events, this new event will be held digitally with no members of the media invited to attend in person. Apple will likely provide pre-taped segments for...
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
iOS 15 icon on phone

Apple Seeds Sixth Betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to Developers

Tuesday August 17, 2021 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming one week after Apple released the fifth betas. Registered developers can download the profile for the iOS and iPadOS betas from the Apple Developer Center, and once the profile is installed, beta updates will be available over the air. iOS 15 is a major update that...
maroon5memories

Apple Collaborates With Maroon 5 to Add 'Memories' Song to Photos App

Wednesday September 25, 2019 12:02 pm PDT by
Apple has teamed up with Maroon 5 to add the group's new song "Memories" to the Memories feature in the Photos app, allowing it to be used for photo slide show creations, reports Billboard. "Memories" will be available as a soundtrack option for a limited time and it is available to iPhone and iPad users running the latest iOS 13 and iPadOS software. Memories in the Photos app are created ...
it home ecommerce app iphone 13

iPhone 13 to Launch on September 17, AirPods 3 on September 30, Claims Report

Wednesday August 25, 2021 2:42 am PDT by
Apple may be planning to launch the iPhone 13 on Friday, September 17 and third-generation AirPods on Thursday, September 30, according to an image of an e-commerce app discovered by Chinese language site IT Home. The screenshot, originally posted by Weibo account @PandaIsBald, suggests all four iPhone 13 models will go on sale on September 17, followed by the AirPods 3 on September 30....
MacBook Pro Coating

Apple Launches Quality Program for MacBook Pro Anti-Reflective Coating Issues

Saturday October 17, 2015 7:58 am PDT by
Apple has issued an internal notice about a new Quality Program that addresses anti-reflective coating issues on MacBook and MacBook Pro models with Retina displays, as confirmed by multiple sources. These issues include the anti-reflective coating on displays wearing off or delaminating under certain circumstances. Apple will replace Retina displays on affected MacBook or MacBook Pro models ...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...