Apple CarPlay is the organization’s response to the issue of utilizing applications on your telephone while driving — two things that by and large don’t blend well overall. Since your telephone has a great deal of helpful elements and applications, that can help you in your drive and like Google’s Android Auto, CarPlay allows you to get to them without being a threat to everybody out and about.
In basic terms, CarPlay takes the applications on your telephone and pillars them onto your vehicle’s infotainment show — complete with sans hands control and a driving-accommodating connection point. That implies you can explore, call or text, control your music thus substantially more without being a threat to every other person out and about.
Yet, how does the driving-accommodating application function, and how precisely could you at any point manage it? Here’s beginning and end you want to be aware of Apple CarPlay.
Which iPhones are compatible with CarPlay?
CarPlay works with every iPhone released since the launch of the iPhone 5 back in late 2012. That includes the more budget-friendly devices like the iPhone 5C and first generation iPhone SE, all the way up to the most recent iPhone 14 range.
CarPlay does not work with iPads or iPods, and it goes without saying that you can’t use it if you have an Android phone.
Which cars offer CarPlay integration?
While CarPlay started off as a fairly niche piece of software when it launched in 2014, it’s quickly spread through the car industry. With that in mind, you’ll struggle to find a carmaker that doesn’t support CarPlay in some form, and even fewer modern cars that go without it.
More than 600 cars currently support CarPlay, with support from almost every major car manufacturer. Apple has a fairly comprehensive Apple Car vehicle list(opens in new tab) showing which automakers support CarPlay, and on which cars. However, it’s always worth double checking CarPlay support for any car you’re interesting in buying.
The obvious exception to this trend is Tesla, which doesn’t support CarPlay or Android Auto. Instead the all-electric car maker offers its own premium connectivity package — complete with navigation, streaming, and remote control of certain features. However, this does cost $10 a month, while CarPlay is free and relies on your existing data plan.
A growing number of cars are also looking to Google for their software needs, running their cars on the new Android Automotive OS. Unlike Android Auto, which is a CarPlay-like app, Android Automotive is built into the car from day one — replacing the need for any in-house software. But what does this mean if you have an iPhone?
The good news is that CarPlay can still work if your car runs on Android Automotive OS. Provided the carmaker supports it for that particular model, like Polestar does with the Polestar 2, you can plug your iPhone in and use it as normal.
Can I get CarPlay in the car I already own?
There are a number of different ways to add CarPlay to a car after the fact, but some of them are more difficult than others. The simplest way is to buy a standalone display that supports CarPlay, but doesn’t require any extensive modifications of retrofitting in your car.
It’s worth mentioning that, unlike Android, Apple does not have a dedicated driving mode on iPhones, nor is there a standalone CarPlay app. There is a Driving Focus mode, which cuts off phone-based distractions while you drive, but nothing that lets you use a CarPlay-style interface on your phone.
Devices like the Intellidash Plus are available, and let you plug in your phone and access CarPlay. The functionally it’s no different than if you bought a car with CarPlay built-in, though you will need to find a place to position the screen so it’s both useful and doesn’t obscure your view of the road.
Alternatively, if you’d rather have something a little-more streamlined, you could always swap out your car’s official display/navigation system for an aftermarket unit. You just need to be willing to go to all the trouble of buying a new unit and swapping out your old one.
It also relies on actually being able to upgrade your car, which isn’t an absolute guarantee. You also need to be mindful of is that a lot of aftermarket units require double DIN slot, whereas a lot of older cars may only have one. Single-DIN CarPlay units do exist, but the amount of choice you have is all dependent on your car.
Prices do vary here, but you will be expected to hand over a few hundred dollars at the very least. Units like the Pioneer DMH-1500NEX(opens in new tab) cost just under $500, while more advanced units like wireless Kenwood Excelon DNX997XR(opens in new tab) or 10.1-inch Pioneer-WT8600NEX(opens in new tab) can cost upwards of $1,500.
Of course, you also need to take installation costs into consideration. Because this is the kind of job you should probably leave to the capable hands of a professional. So, realistically speaking, it may well be worth buying a standalone display and save yourself the trouble.
How do you connect your iPhone to CarPlay?
There are two ways to connect your iPhone to CarPlay, the simplest of which is to plug your phone into your car’s USB port with a Lightning cable. Once you’re connected, CarPlay will pop up on your car’s screen, and all your compatible apps will update.
There are also cars out there that support wireless CarPlay. If you have one of them, your phone will prompt you to set up a wireless connection the first time CarPlay initalizes — which will happen automatically with future drives. Here’s a look at how to set up wireless Apple CarPlay.
Note that Apple doesn’t keep an up-to-date list of cars that support wireless CarPlay. Which means you’ll need to do your homework before you buy a car, or resort to a third-party wireless CarPlay adapter.
What apps work with CarPlay?
A large number of apps are compatible with CarPlay, and unsurprisingly include many of Apple’s own. Maps, Phone, Messages, Music and so on are all available, but there are a lot more third-party CarPlay apps as well.
While Apple does not offer a comprehensive list of CarPlay-compatible apps, there is a healthy selection of options available. But, considering these apps have to be driving-friendly, you won’t be finding anything that’s too distracting or requires extended eye contact. So no Netflix, no Apple TV Plus, no gaming and so on.
Instead the apps fall into a few basic categories: Navigation, communication and audio. So there’s a range of apps that let you listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks and internet radio, including big names like Audible, Spotify and TuneIn.
Likewise, Google Maps and Waze are both CarPlay-friendly, so you don’t need to use Apple Maps. EV owners will also be able to access apps like PlugShare, in case you need to find an electric car charger in a hurry. And you can make calls or send messages using just your voice via services like WhatsApp.
The easiest way to tell if CarPlay supports a particular app is to plug in your phone and see. Alternatively, searching for ‘CarPlay’ on the app store will offer up some options you may not have considered before — though there’s no obvious way to filter them.
However, if you tend to stick to the big-name apps, you shouldn’t have too many issues.