There are a numerous ways to connect your iPhone to your car stereo – speaker cable for cars with an auxiliary input, FM transmitter, Bluetooth, tape cassette adapter, and many more. And for the car you drive every day, it’s worth investing in a good setup.
But what about the car you drive only rarely? If you are renting a car, you have no idea what type of connection options will be available until you are sitting in it. Or perhaps you are borrowing a friend’s station wagon for a few hours. You aren’t going to haul your connection and mounting cables around for these trips, but it sure would be nice to listen to your podcasts or music rather than trying to channel surf on the temporary car’s radio for something worth listening to.
The obvious choice is to just use the iPhone’s built-in speaker. Sadly, you will find that it isn’t quite up to the job of car stereo. It does well enough in a quiet room, but if you are driving on a highway, there is so much road noise that the little speaker will be drowned out every time you pass a truck. You could hold the phone up to your ear, but this is uncomfortable to do for more than a few minutes, and most of the time you want to be able to have two hands on the wheel.
On a trip to California last year, I stumbled on a simple solution – the car’s sun visor. Just slip your phone between the visor and the roof of the car:
The phone is now just over your head, a couple of inches from your ear. This distance is small enough that road noise and loud trucks are no longer an issue, and even quiet, spoken word podcasts can be heard just fine. You will find that it is held tightly enough for even the sharpest turns without slipping. You can’t see what’s on the screen, but hey, this is just a temporary setup.
Granted, this is no solution for an audiophile, and other people in the car won’t be able to hear very well. It’s a no cost, nothing to pack solution that works perfectly in a pinch – like a rental car.