CarPlay: Everything We Know

18 Oct.,2022


9 inch apple carplay

At its core, CarPlay is Apple's way of bringing iOS to in-car infotainment systems and dashboards. It's designed to display information from the iPhone on a car's built-in infotainment unit, giving drivers a safe way to make phone calls, send text messages, listen to music, and access Maps -- all of the things a driver might want to do with an iPhone while driving a car.

When connected to an in-dash system via the iPhone's Lightning port or wirelessly in some cars, CarPlay gives the user in-car access to information stored on the iPhone, like contacts for phone calls and messages, music playlists and controls, Maps for navigation, calendar events, and more. Because CarPlay pulls its information from the iPhone, there's virtually no setup involved.

Automobile manufacturers have been building CarPlay support into cars since 2015, but there's also a way to get CarPlay in existing vehicles -- many aftermarket in-dash systems from companies like Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood, and Alpine are compatible with CarPlay and are readily available at reasonable prices. Porsche has even created an aftermarket system for Porsche models dating as far back as the 1960s. More than 400 vehicles manufactured from 2016 on include CarPlay, which covers most car manufacturers.

CarPlay is designed to be hands-free, introducing as little driver distraction as possible, and for that reason, it is voice-based and reliant on Apple's personal assistant Siri. Siri is used to perform a range of actions in the car, like placing phone calls, getting directions, sending and reading text messages, playing music, accessing apps, and more.

There are physical controls in the form of buttons and knobs that can activate Siri for CarPlay purposes, but these controls vary from vehicle to vehicle, based on how each manufacturer has implemented them. Systems with touch screens are able to accommodate touch-based input as well, and special adapters can enhance in-car integration of aftermarket CarPlay solutions.

iOS already offers a consistent Apple experience across tablets and smartphones, but with CarPlay, that's also extended to the car in an easy-to-use format that people are already familiar with.

Because CarPlay is a rather ambitious effort requiring the cooperation of automobile makers and third-party hardware companies, it was initially slow to get off the ground, but currently, a whole range of CarPlay-enabled vehicles are available and CarPlay support is growing more and more common. Consumers are increasingly interested in CarPlay as a feature for new cars, and increased competition is spurring additional manufacturers to adopt the feature.

CarPlay has with an updated, modernized design that features rounded corners, table views, and a status bar, with the design mirroring what you see on the iPhone. The CarPlay Dashboard offers up easier access to maps, audio controls, and Siri Suggestions, plus there's a useful design for the Calendar app that makes it easy to see the day's events at a glance.

Apple Music includes album art in Now Playing and updated discovery tools, and when you activate Siri, Siri only takes up part of the screen so you can still see the rest of the CarPlay interface.

Apple Maps is available persistently on the dashboard, even when there are points of interest, and many Maps features are available in CarPlay, such as route planning, search, and navigation, along with a Junction View that offers up a clear picture of intersections and the lane you need to be in.

There's a light mode that's an alternative to the traditional dark mode, and there's a settings app for changing display options and Do Not Disturb settings. CarPlay supports customizable wallpapers, so you can choose a new look for the CarPlay Dashboard and Home Screen. Cars with portrait screens also have the option of a status bar on the bottom of the CarPlay display, for wider app views and a more natural layout.

Additional app categories are supported, so CarPlay users can download third-party parking, EV charging (including the ChargePoint app with CarPlay integration), and quick food ordering apps. Siri in CarPlay can send audio messages and share ETAs with friends and family.