CarPlay Overview

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By Erric Buttlar

At its heart, CarPlay is Apple’s method of introducing iOS to in-car dashboards and infotainment systems. It’s intended to show information from the iPhone on a car’s in-dash infotainment system, providing drivers with a secure means to make calls, send texts, listen to music, and use Maps — all activities a driver may want to do with an iPhone while operating a motor vehicle.

CarPlay allows the user in-car access to information saved on the iPhone, including contacts for phone calls and messages, music playlists and controls, Maps for navigation, calendar events, and more when linked to an in-dash system through the Lightning connection on the iPhone or wirelessly in certain automobiles. CarPlay requires almost little setup since it gets its data from the iPhone.

Since 2015, automakers have begun incorporating CarPlay compatibility into their vehicles, but there are also aftermarket in-dash systems that are compatible with CarPlay that are easily accessible and reasonably priced. These systems come from brands like Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood, and Alpine. For Porsche cars going back to the 1960s, Porsche has even developed an aftermarket system. CarPlay is available in more than 400 cars made starting in 2016, which includes most automakers.

CarPlay is voice-based and dependent on Apple’s personal assistant Siri since it is intended to be hands-free and cause the least amount of driver distraction possible. In the automobile, Siri may be used for a variety of tasks, including making phone calls, receiving directions, sending and reading texts, playing music, using applications, and more.

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In order to activate Siri for CarPlay purposes, there are physical controls in the form of buttons and knobs, however these controls differ from car to vehicle according to how each manufacturer has integrated them. Touch-based input is also supported by systems with touch displays, and specialised adapters may improve the in-car integration of third-party CarPlay solutions.

With CarPlay, iOS extends its consistent Apple experience, which is currently available on tablets and smartphones, to the automobile via a simple interface that is already well-known to users.

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CarPlay was originally sluggish to take off since it is a very big project that needs the collaboration of automakers and third-party hardware vendors, but at this point, a wide variety of cars are accessible, and CarPlay support is becoming more and more widespread. CarPlay is a feature for new automobiles that consumers are becoming more interested in, and as a result of greater competition, more manufacturers are adopting the function.

With rounded edges, table views, and a status bar, CarPlay offers an updated, contemporary look that closely resembles that of the iPhone. The Siri Suggestions, music controls, and navigation are all simpler to use on the CarPlay Dashboard. Additionally, the Calendar app has a practical layout that makes it simple to view the day’s appointments at a glance.

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Updated discovery features and album art are included in Apple Music, and when Siri is used, it just takes up a portion of the screen so the rest of the CarPlay interface is still visible.

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Even when there are sites of interest, Apple Maps is constantly shown on the dashboard. Many Maps services, including route planning, search, and navigation, are also accessible in CarPlay. Junction View also provides a clear view of crossroads and the lane you need to be in.

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Additionally, there is a settings app for altering display choices and Do Not Disturb settings. The bright mode is an alternative to the default dark mode. You may choose a different appearance for the CarPlay Dashboard and Home Screen thanks to CarPlay’s support for customisable wallpapers. For larger app views and a more logical structure, status bars may also be added to the bottom of the CarPlay display in vehicles with portrait displays.

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Users of CarPlay can now download third-party parking, EV charging (including the ChargePoint app with CarPlay integration), and fast food ordering apps because more app categories are supported. Siri in CarPlay has the ability to send audio messages and notify loved ones of ETAs.

Reviews for CarPlay

Below you can find all of our reviews of various cars with CarPlay compatibility. CarPlay is the same across all vehicles, but because infotainment systems vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, each has a different implementation.

Features of CarPlay

Anyone who has used iOS on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch should be able to utilise the CarPlay interface right away. When an iPhone is connected to CarPlay through a Lightning connector, an iOS-style interface with a home screen full of applications including Maps, Phone, Messages, Music, Podcasts, and several third-party options appears on the in-car display.

Apps may be accessible by a touch screen, Siri, or a variety of in-vehicle controls that, depending on the car manufacturer, may be found on the steering wheel or in other places. Physical controls are restricted to buttons on the in-dash system for aftermarket products from companies like Pioneer and Alpine unless appropriate adapters are fitted.

Although touch-based controls may be used to start applications, Siri is mostly used for tasks like texting, calling, and changing the audio track. Since there isn’t an on-screen keyboard, for instance, text messages are voice-transcribed much as when sending messages on an iPhone using dictation. Below is more information on the CarPlay applications that are included and what they perform.

Apps for Apple CarPlay

Maps: CarPlay’s Maps feature provides customers with comprehensive turn-by-turn instructions to aid with navigation and is powered by the Apple Maps app on the iPhone. The itinerary, driving directions, traffic conditions, and visual signals for future turns are all clearly shown on the CarPlay interface. Along with an estimate of driving time and distance till the destination is reached, an estimated arrival time is also provided.

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Maps incorporates historical searches from iOS as well as location data from applications like Messages, Calendar, and Mail. For instance, if a user has saved a particular meeting location in the Calendar app, Maps will import that information into the CarPlay display. You may use Siri to ask Maps to locate a gas station, a museum, or a particular location. Siri also supports voice commands. In order to save time in congested locations, iOS 10’s Maps now includes traffic warnings and alternative routes.

Since iOS 12, CarPlay users have an alternative to Apple Maps in the form of third-party Maps applications like Google Maps. Following the upgrade, a lot of map applications, like Google Maps, Waze, and others, added CarPlay compatibility.

Phone: You may ask Siri to make calls, pick up missed calls, and listen to voicemail using the Phone app. Although the CarPlay Phone app contains a keyboard so that numbers may be entered on the touchscreen, most calls can be made simply asking Siri to call a current contact.

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For example, to make a phone call over the car’s speaker system, a user might say, “Call mom.” Along with the touchscreen, in-car controls are also utilised for tasks like muting calls and starting conference calls.

Messages: Just as with phone calls, Siri is required to send messages. Messages are spoken aloud to the voice assistant, and before sending, Siri verifies the message’s content to assure its correctness. The whole interaction is voice-based to avoid users from glancing at their iPhones while driving. When a response is received, Siri asks the user whether they want it read aloud and then offers the option to send another text message.

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The Messages app offers instructions like “Read message from Kelly” or “Send message to mum,” which are followed by the message’s content.

Audiobooks: The iBooks app’s Audiobooks section enables users to listen to audiobooks while driving.

Apple Music: Customers may access material that has been downloaded from iTunes, the Apple Music streaming service, and the free Beats 1 radio station via the CarPlay Music app. The Music app’s layout is instantly familiar, much like that of the other CarPlay applications, and it provides access to Artists, Songs, and Playlists. Apple Music members may use Siri to play certain songs or artists on demand by saying things like “Siri, play Beyonce.”

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Users of CarPlay may listen to their downloaded podcasts using the Podcasts app. For those who often use the Podcasts app, the CarPlay interface will be instantly recognisable as being comparable to the one on iOS devices.

CarPlay apps from third parties

Apple also permits other developers to make specific CarPlay applications. To prevent distractions in the vehicle, the applications that are now available are mostly audio-focused and non-visual, with the material being presented over the car’s speakers.

Only third-party applications that have been downloaded and installed on an iPhone will appear on the CarPlay display. Therefore, Spotify is also accessible via the CarPlay interface if a user, for instance, often listens to Spotify on the iPhone and has the Spotify app loaded.

There aren’t many applications that operate with CarPlay because of the audio-focused constraint, but there are many of podcast, music, and navigation apps that do.

CarPlay Associates

Numerous automakers provide automobiles with CarPlay that are now on the market, including Cadillac, Chevrolet, Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, GMC, Honda, Kia, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volvo, Nissan, BMW, Hyundai, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen, Infiniti, and others. Volvo unveiled its CarPlay-enabled VNL series of semi-trucks, while Honda unveiled the first motorbike with CarPlay compatibility. Even semi-trucks are now obtaining CarPlay support.

Apple has compiled a comprehensive list of every CarPlay-compatible car offered in the US and other countries. The greatest resource for people looking for a car with CarPlay capability is Apple’s list of available alternatives. It is regularly updated to accommodate new models, however it may not always do so as soon as a new CarPlay car is unveiled. Since news about CarPlay cars is released as soon as it is available, the CarPlay Timeline at the bottom of this roundup is also a useful source.

More than 400 brand-new 2016, 2017, and 2018 vehicles from almost all automakers are included on Apple’s list, and more automakers are regularly adding compatibility.

Following Systems

Several aftermarket CarPlay systems are available from companies including Alpine, Kenwood, Pioneer, JVC, JBL, and Sony for installation in cars that don’t already have the functionality. Depending on the model, aftermarket systems typically sell for between $400 and $1,400, and they are often inexpensive to install into older cars.

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Although aftermarket CarPlay systems function similarly to those found in new cars, they can be missing some of the built-in vehicle controls found on the steering wheel and in other places. The earliest CarPlay systems were aftermarket ones, and manufacturers like Pioneer and Kenwood have been making them for a while.

CarPlay Background

CarPlay was initially introduced as “iOS in the Car” during the 2013 Worldwide Developers Conference along with iOS 7. Several early partners for 2014, including Honda, Mercedes, Nissan, Ferrari, Chevy, Kia, and Hyundai, were revealed at the time. It was characterised at the time as iOS integrated with the vehicle’s navigation system.

Prior to the release of iOS 7, there were a few signs of iOS in the Car, with early research suggesting AirPlay compatibility. Tim Cook referred to iOS in the Car as “part of the ecosystem” in July 2013, yet iOS in the Car was left out of the iOS 7 release in September 2013.

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Instead, a function known as “Siri “Eyes Free,” a forerunner of CarPlay, was included in certain 2014 automobiles. It enabled iPhone users to interact with their devices without having to look at the screen. With Siri Eyes Free, a user may transmit orders by activating Siri by tapping a button inside the automobile. However, there was no connectivity with an in-dash screen.

Organizational problems were reportedly a problem for iOS in the Car, and screenshots that were released in January revealed that design changes were still being made. A few months later, in March 2014, at the Geneva International Motor Show, iOS in the Car was eventually given an official introduction under the name “CarPlay.”

With a number of well-known companies already on board, including BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, and more, Apple introduced CarPlay. Many of these manufacturers had originally planned to introduce CarPlay-capable cars by the end of 2014, however complications delayed introductions until 2015 and 2016. Ferrari was the only company having a CarPlay car accessible for a while, but beginning in the summer of 2015, support expanded much more widely.

Bluetooth CarPlay

Apple has enabled wireless CarPlay setups since iOS 9. Unlike wireless CarPlay, which eliminates the requirement for a Lightning connection and enables an iPhone to connect to an in-car system wirelessly, many CarPlay arrangements need that an iPhone be hooked directly into the in-dash system in order to connect.

In 2016, BMW became the first automaker to provide wireless CarPlay compatibility, but over time, several other automakers have started to do the same, including Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, GM, Hyundai, Honda, and others.

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CarPlay Security

Apple is committed to protecting user privacy, therefore CarPlay only gathers a minimal amount of information from users and automakers. Porsche claims that the only data Apple is interested in is if a vehicle is accelerating when CarPlay is on.

Android Auto, on the other hand, gathers far more automobile data while it is in use. When Android Auto is turned on, Google gathers data like as engine rpm, throttle position, oil and coolant temperatures, and vehicle speed, which together make up “a complete OBD2 dump.”

Compatible Technology

Since the iPhone 5 and later have CarPlay built in, it is compatible with all current iPhone models. CarPlay does not work with the iPad and iPod touch since it needs cellular access. Despite the fact that certain iPad versions do enable cellular connection, Apple has not indicated that it is interested in making its tablets CarPlay-compatible.

Available nations

More than 35 nations, including as Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, UK, and USA, have CarPlay accessible. However, not all functions are accessible in all nations.

The future of CarPlay

In the future, Apple intends to increase the capabilities of CarPlay by adding additional features that will enable CarPlay to be used to operate fundamental components of vehicles, such as the radio, seats, speedometer, and temperature control system.

Apple is collaborating with automakers on the initiative, which is still in its early phases, to make CarPlay a more complete system for controlling vehicles.

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