There’s a question that many drivers who own iPhones make: How do I get CarPlay and how do I set it up? In this article, we are going to answer that question. We will also make sure that you know just how you use your favorite Apple apps with your car’s infotainment system.
Not everyone has the technical abilities to download and install software and unless you have a pre-teen who is desperate to show you up in the mobile department, the steps to CarPlay setup can be as daunting as shopping on the first day of the Christmas sales. But, there is no need to worry.
First of all, what is Apple CarPlay? CarPlay is software that will allow you to mirror certain apps that you would normally use on your iPhone on your car’s infotainment system screen.
So, instead of typing in an address on Google Maps on your phone, you can connect your Apple iPhone to the car’s infotainment system and use the app on the touch screen.
It is much safer than trying to work with your phone thanks to the larger screen that is right in front of your eyes. The icons are easier to touch, and you can take advantage of the controls in your car as well as voice commands with Siri.
At the same time, due to safety concerns and potential distractions, there are some apps that are not compatible, mainly ones that offer videos. Youtube Music is available, but YouTube itself isn’t.
Table of Contents
- How do I get CarPlay?
- Apple CarPlay: how to install?
- Apple CarPlay install – Troubleshooting
- Apple CarPlay software update
- What comes after the Apple CarPlay setup?
- How do I get Apple CarPlay?
- Can you put Apple CarPlay in any car?
- How much does Apple CarPlay installation cost?
- How to change the order of apps on Apple CarPlay?
- Wrap Up
How do I get CarPlay?
The chances are, you already have it. The better question might be, “how do I know if I have it?”
The first thing to do is to check if your car supports CarPlay. There are more than 500 makes and models that you can use CarPlay with. Any vehicle before 2015 and you might be out of luck, but you can check the full list here.
With your smartphone, it is easier to tell if it is compatible. All iPhones after (and including) the iPhone 5 will work with Apple Carplay. Because it isn’t an app that you need to download, your iPhone will already have CarPlay support and you won’t need to proceed with the CarPlay download.
Apple CarPlay: how to install?
Again, it isn’t really about installing as much as connecting. There are two ways for you to connect your phone to your car. If you have one of the following models, you will be able to set up wireless CarPlay:
- Audi A6, A7, A8, Q8 (2019 and newer);
- Audi E-Tron SUV (2020 and newer);
- BMW 5 Series and 3 Series (2017 and newer);
- 2019 BMW range;
- Lamborghini Urus (2017 and newer);
- Mercedes A-Class (2018 and newer);
- Mercedes GLE (2019 and newer);
- 2019 Mini range;
- Toyota Supra (2020 and newer).
For wireless CarPlay set up, you need to start your car and make sure that Siri is on by pressing the voice command button on your steering wheel. Then follow these steps:
- Ensure your stereo is in Wireless or Bluetooth mode;
- On your iPhone, tap “Settings”;
- Tap “General”;
- Select “CarPlay”;
- Select “Available Cars”;
- Choose your car.
One of the many reasons we love Apple is because of the effortless way its devices connect wirelessly. CarPlay is another example of this.
If you are using a USB to connect your iPhone to your vehicle, you will also need to make sure that your car is started and that Siri is on.
You also have to go into your infotainment system and check that CarPlay is turned on. Then, using a high-speed USB cable, connect your phone to your car.
Various cars will have different prompts on the screen so follow the instructions and you will be ready to go.
Apple CarPlay install – Troubleshooting
Normally there are one of two issues when you can’t connect your devices. If your iPhone can’t find your car, the simplest solution is to go back to the phone’s Settings > General > CarPlay and select “Forget This Car”.
Very occasionally there is a glitch in the system and you need to start the process again.
The other problem is when your car can’t find your phone. More often than not, this is a security issue. This is how to solve it:
- On your iPhone, select “Settings”;
- Select “Screen Time”;
- Tap “Content Privacy Restrictions”;
- Select “Allowed Apps”, and you will be able to see if CarPlay is enabled or not, make sure you click to enable it.
Apple CarPlay software update
How to do a CarPlay update? The beauty of Apple continues. Since the release of iOS 13, you will no longer need to update CarPlay in your car. Instead, all of the updates will be carried out on your Apple iPhone and this will be seen when you are using the apps in your vehicle.
In case you aren’t doing so already, when your iPhone asks you if you want to update your software, you should enthusiastically click yes. Most of the apps will be automatically updated, but if you want to check for updates you can find the “Software Update” option in “Settings”, under “General”.
What comes after the Apple CarPlay setup?
Now you are ready to start using your CarPlay interface as you would your phone. For the navigation apps, you will see the Waze app or the Google Maps icon that you can use with Siri. Apple Maps is compatible but many prefer using one of the others mentioned.
And you will also find your Spotify icon. You can play music, adjust the volume, or skip a track with Siri, the touch screen, or the controls on your steering wheel.
If you don’t already have these, you can download them and the next time you connect your Apple iPhone to your car, they will appear on the car display.
With WhatsApp, you can enjoy using voice commands to answer phone calls, make a phone calls, and listen to your text messages. There are also other great apps to enjoy, like a podcast app or a news app that will make your journeys more pleasant.
On the other hand, if your app doesn’t appear as an icon, it probably means that Apple has restrictions on it for safety reasons. We do still recommend keeping your phone updated in case this changes in the future.
How do I get Apple CarPlay?
To have Apple CarPlay you will need an iPhone, a compatible car that can support the Apple CarPlay software, and a USB cord. Most cars require the USB cord to connect from the phone to the vehicle, however, there are some newer models of cars that offer wireless CarPlay connectivity.
CarPlay is not an app on the iPhone, so you won’t need to download anything to use it. All compatible vehicles will recognize CarPlay when the iPhone is connected and it will sync applications from the phone to the vehicle touchscreen so they are safer to use whilst driving.
To launch Apple CarPlay, you’ll need to plug your iPhone into the USB cable and connect it to your vehicle in the usual USB port, which may have a CarPlay or smartphone icon next to it.
Once you’ve plugged it in, some text should appear on the touchscreen of your vehicle asking you if you want to use Apple CarPlay with this device. Touch the button for yes and then you’ll need to activate voice control ‘Siri’ on your iPhone by holding down the talk button.
If your vehicle supports wireless CarPlay, then to set it up you need to press down the voice command button on your steering wheel and make sure your vehicle has the wireless or Bluetooth mode turned on. On your iPhone, go to settings, then the general area and select CarPlay and select your vehicle from the list.
You can navigate CarPlay using Siri, enabling you to give commands and do tasks without having to touch the screen on your dashboard or use your phone. You can ask Siri to give you directions to your morning meeting or command her to ring someone quickly whilst you’re driving.
Can you put Apple CarPlay in any car?
Yes, you could put Apple CarPlay in pretty much any car. Officially, Apple CarPlay is compatible with a good amount of car brands including Audi, Chevrolet, BMW, and Ford with most of the models from 2015 being built to be compatible with Apple CarPlay and other smartphone connectivity like Android Auto.
As of right now, there are over 600 models of cars that support Apple CarPlay. You would have been notified upon purchasing your car whether it was compatible with Apple CarPlay, but if you’re still unsure you could check the manual or even just plug in your phone to the vehicle to see what happens.
However, if you do not have a vehicle that is already compatible with Apple CarPlay then you add the feature to any vehicle by removing your factory radio and installing aftermarket radio.
Some cars may be easy to switch out so you may be able to handle the process yourself, however, if you’re not very handy with cars and are worried you’re going to damage something then take it to a professional and they’ll be able to get it done in no time.
You may be lucky enough to have a vehicle that only requires an update to become compatible with Apple CarPlay. Car brands like Mazda are offering upgrades on their older vehicles to install CarPlay on the new audio systems, this will cost around $500.
There are many brands at the moment like Sony and Kenwood that sell smart Bluetooth car radios with touch screens that can be installed in non-compatible vehicles so you can use the Apple CarPlay feature.
If you want to try and install a new smart radio in your vehicle, yourself to save yourself a few extra bucks, then you could find plenty of YouTube videos online that will guide you through the process step by step.
How much does Apple CarPlay installation cost?
If you’ve already got an iPhone and a vehicle that is compatible with Apple CarPlay then there will be no cost to install and connect the software on your vehicle. However, if you need to install a smart radio into an older vehicle then you’ll need to pay for the cost of the new radio and installation costs if you’re going to get someone else to fit it for you.
Most smart radios will start from around $100, but some can be a lot more expensive as they integrate extra features like a backup camera so you can see where you’re reversing without having to turn your head around. However, for the Apple CarPlay, you’ll just need to find a smart radio that is compatible with the software (unless you do want extra features).
The price for installing Apple CarPlay into a non-compatible vehicle will depend on the age of the model as older models may require more extensive labor to enable it to be fully compatible e.g installing USB ports and rewiring behind the touchscreen. You could be paying anything from $200 to over $1,000 depending on where you go.
How to change the order of apps on Apple CarPlay?
If there are certain apps on the default layout of your Apple CarPlay display that you don’t frequently use, then you can change the order so your most commonly used apps will be on the first page on the screen so you don’t have to flit through them all to find the one you need when you’re driving.
Here’s what you need to do to switch the order of your apps:
- Open iPhone Settings
- Tap General > then CarPlay
- Select your vehicle’s name
- Tap and hold down on the app you want to move
- Drag your selected app to the new location
You can also delete apps from CarPlay if you don’t use them by following the same steps as above but by clicking the dash icon on the top left of each app.
If you want to spice up how you use your CarPlay software, then you could look online to see all of the apps that are compatible to be used with CarPlay. You can listen to podcasts, independent radio stations, and even read the news when you’re parked up
The Apple Carplay software update is even easier than the CarPlay setup itself and we do highly recommend keeping the software updated so that you can take advantage of all the new changes Apple makes.
Hopefully now, even if you aren’t the most tech-savvy in your household, you will be able to understand what is Apple CarPlay update and what it consists, of and show off your new skills.
Check out some of our other awesome articles:
- Best CarPlay aftermarket radios
- Cheapest CarPlay radios
- Does CarPlay need mobile data?
- CarPlay weather apps
- Best CarpPlay apps
- Is CarPlay worth it?
- Is Apple CarPlay free to use?
- What is CarPlay and how to get it
- Is Tesla S compatible with CarPlay?
- Android Auto and Carplay in Tesla Model S and X
- iPhone history
- Affordable iPhones for sale