Apple-Compatible Car Diagnostic Tools That Might Save You a Trip to the Mechanic

With Apple working on wearable tech as the next big thing, one would think finding a diagnostic tool for your car that’s Apple-compatible wouldn’t be too hard, right? The answer to that question depends on how much money you want to spend and how much you want to know about your car. Most cars these days have onboard computers that diagnose problems as they occur. However, understanding what’s going on with your vehicle when all you have to go on is a check engine light, isn’t easy. That’s where OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostics) devices come in handy.

Disclosure: Apple Tech Talk participates in various affiliate marketing programs and may receive compensation if you purchase a product through one of our links, and/or in the form of product donations from the companies whose products we review . Unless otherwise specifically stated, Apple Tech Talk does not receive any other compensation for its reviews. The opinions expressed are based solely on our independent testing, are our own and are not shared with anyone prior to release on our site.

What is OBD-II?

An OBD-II unit (also known as OBD2) can reveal faulty parts you didn’t even know you had let alone were worried about failing. These small devices plug into your car and produce specific codes that will let you know if you need a mechanic or can fix a small problem yourself. There are quite a few Apple-compatible options on the market. Below are a handful to consider based on the information you’re looking for and the money you have to invest.

BlueDriver OBD2 Scan Tool

BlueDriver is one of the higher-end OBD2 tools, running around $100 on Amazon. This device is officially licensed and certified by Apple and is trusted by mechanics everywhere. It uses Bluetooth to connect to your iPhone or iPad, so you won’t have to rely on WiFi. BlueDriver reads and clears enhanced codes that other cheaper models don’t, such as ABS, airbag, transmission, misfires, and other live data.

XTOOL iOBD2 WiFi Scanner

The primary difference between the BlueDriver and XTOOL (aside from the $60 sticker price on the XTOOL vs. $100 for the BlueDriver) is the use of WiFi to transfer data to the app on your iPhone. Both BlueDriver and XTOOL allow you to view and clear trouble codes, although XTOOL is not certified by Apple. XTOOL also includes an emissions readiness test option and trip route tracking. 

At the time of this article, this particular unit was Out of Stock on Amazon but similar units were available.

Vgate WiFi iCar2 OBD2 Reader

Vgate’s less expensive reader model is compatible with cars and trucks sold in the US after 1996. This unit ranges from $13 to $20, depending on the level of vehicle diagnostics you require. It offers real-time engine data and will also allow you to clear codes (such as the check engine light). Vgate relies on a WiFi connection but has a very low power consumption rate, which means leaving it plugged in all the time is a safe option.

The Bottom Line

This short list is only a drop in the bucket of the available OBD-II readers and scan tools on the market. Most units have similar basic features, but the scan tools (vs. readers) are more sophisticated and provide reliable data that would cost you more than you paid for the unit at an auto repair shop. Whether you’re a hobby mechanic or simply interested in how your vehicle functions, you don’t have to spend much to find an OBD-II unit that’s compatible with your favorite Apple device.

If you liked this article, please consider sharing it with your friends and leaving a comment below. Also, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, “Follow Us” on Twitter and add the Apple Tech Talk channel to your Apple News app.

And if you haven’t subscribed to Apple Tech Talk, now would be a great time to do it so. Just scroll down to the form below and enter your name and email address. Then you’ll receive a notification whenever we post new articles. Don’t worry, we never sell or share your information. While you’re at it, check out our YouTube channel (here) where you will find video on interesting products any Apple enthusiast would love.

Jacqueline Cowell

Working as a motoring writer gave Jacqueline Cowell the chance to put her past experience as a mechanic to good use, once she became a mother and decided to stay at home with her two young children. She now puts together pieces for a range of different motoring websites, but in her free time restores classic vehicles with her husband.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Subscribe to Apple Tech Talk and received a free Mac Keyboard Shortcuts Guide by email.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this post.Facebooktwittermail

Leave a Comment