How do I mount an iPad in my car?
After seeing how great the CoPilot 3D navigation app was, I've been dying to use it in my car, but I'd need to mount my iPad somehow. Can I mount my iPad in my car by myself or should I hire a professional? Which car mount will be compatible with my car (VW Jetta) and what special tools will I need, if any?
The Best Answer
There are several ways to mount the iPad, depending on where you want to mount your iPad and whether you want the mount to be removable or not. If you want to mount the iPad in the front of the car, you can do this very easily and inexpensively with either a suction car mount or a vent mount. The best thing about these mounting options is that (a) they're universal and fit any car and (2) doesn't require any tools or fancy installation.
The suction mount is just a giant suction cup that attaches to your car windshield and adjusts to the position and angle that you want. It looks something like this:
The air vent mount attaches to, yep, you guessed it, the air vents in your car! It attaches to your iPad in landscape view only and is compatible with most car vents. You could probably email them to see if your car is compatible.
I ended up going with the suction cup method because the air vents on my car didn't seem sturdy enough to hold up the iPad and seemed more limited in angles, although the position is easiest to interact with while driving, whereas the suction cup is a little high (but supports both portrait and landscape views). Whatever you decide, both mounts are on Amazon from a company called 'Mount Guys' for less than $35.
There's a car lighter iPad mount that plugs into your cigarette lighter and mounts your iPad in the cradle. It looks like this:
I like this car mount because there's nothing to 'install' and is completely removable. I like how unobtrusive this car mount looks inside my car and I find that the iPad sits at just the right height--not too high, not too low. The angle is fully adjustable and has a built in port to plug in a car charger. You can get it on Amazon for about $40.
If you're feeling adventurous and know how to use a screwdriver, the Padholdr is a really nice do-it-yourself car mount for your iPad. It's a universal car mount so it should work with any car, and the brackets do no permanent damage in case your car is leased. It costs about $150, which I figured was a LOT less than a professional install, and I'm really happy with it. The only thing I don't like about it is that the actual mount that holds the iPad can't be removed easily (I have to use a screwdriver), so I can't just toss it under the seat when I'm not using the iPad. I still think it's the best way to mount the iPad for the price.
If you're worried about installation, here's a short video I found that should give you a good sense of what the installation process will be like. Hey, if she can do it, you probably can too:
Hehe, this is PURE comedy, this guy can't be serious...an iPad mounted to your steering wheel, WTF!! I love the part that says "an iPad mounted on a steering wheel is far less distracting than trying to use a cell phone to read or send a text message while driving." Really? And what happens to your face when the air bag deploys? Ouch!
If you want a good car mount for your iPad for the backseat passengers, there's a case called the ZooGue that you put the iPad inside of and then attach it to the head rest of the front seats.
The Scosche iKit is an iPad car mounting option coming out soon that will permanently mount your iPad to your car dashboard and replace your car's double-DIN radio. You can use a standard mounting kit for installation, but this looks like a job for the pros. It comes with USB and 3.5mm auxiliary ports are available for audio input and for charging the iPad, and connection to the iPad using a supplied, specialized 30-pin cable. The iPad itself sits inside a cradle, which attaches to the vehicle mount using a ball joint system, and can be swiveled from side to side and rotated from horizontal to vertical orientation. Scosche’s iKit car mount for the iPad is still in development, the only thing that's available is this promo video:
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