How does CarPlay work? Knowing how Apple CarPlay works is a common doubt if you are looking for a way to connect your iPhone to your car’s infotainment system.
Apple users may get frustrated because they don’t always have the same connectivity options as those who use an Android device.
Throughout this article, we will also look into the best CarPlay features and tips on using Apple CarPlay. But before jumping the gun, what does Apple CarPlay do?
Table of Contents
- What does CarPlay mean?
- When was CarPlay introduced?
- How does Apple CarPlay work?
- What apps can I use with CarPlay?
- What are the best CarPlay features?
- So, is Apple CarPlay worth It?
- What is Apple CarPlay?
- What does Apple CarPlay do?
- Is Apple CarPlay worth it?
- Is there a monthly charge for Apple CarPlay?
- What is so good about Apple CarPlay?
- Can you add CarPlay to any car?
- Can Apple CarPlay replace navigation?
- Wrap Up
What does CarPlay mean?
Apple CarPlay is a system that allows you to connect your smartphone to the infotainment system in your car. Many of your favorite apps are mirrored onto your dashboard screen so that you can use them safely while you are driving.
The main idea is that you no longer need to take your hands off your steering wheel to use your phone’s essential features.
When was CarPlay introduced?
Apple loves being the leader in innovative ideas and CarPlay is no different. The original concept was a collaboration between Apple and the BMW Group’s Technology Office in the U.S.
It was known as iPod Out and it allowed drivers to see and hear analog video and audio from certain iOS devices. This iPod Out led the way for what we see today as a car-specific interface for apps.
In 2013, “iOS in the Car” was released and the following year saw CarPlay introduced at the Geneva Motor Show. At the date of this article, the latest version of CarPlay, released in September 2019, is iOS 13.1.
Apple CarPlay requirements
There is a very good variety of cars and iPhones that feature CarPlay compatibility. Let’s take a look at them before we learn how to set them up.
Vehicles compatible with CarPlay
There are over 500 car models compatible with the Apple CarPlay application. Some of the top brand names include:
- Alfa Romeo
- Aston Martin
- Land Rover
For a full list of the compatible cars, models and years, you can check the official Apple page.
iPhone models compatible with CarPlay
- iPhone 5, 5c, 5s
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, S6 Plus
- iPhone 7, 7 Plus
- iPhone 8, 8 Plus
- iPhone X, Xr, Xs, Xs Max
- iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max
How does Apple CarPlay work?
It’s easy to understand how CarPlay works. The great news is that you won’t have to install anything to get started. There are two ways to connect to your car head unit, and for both, you will need to make sure that Siri is turned on.
How to connect to Apple CarPlay
Via USB, connect your phone to your car USB port, preferable with a good-quality, high-speed cable (wired CarPlay). If your vehicle has less than a couple of years, you might be able to connect wirelessly (wireless CarPlay), so after ensuring that you are in wireless/Bluetooth mode, press and hold the voice command button on your steering wheel.
- Go to settings;
- Click on “General”;
- Select “CarPlay”;
- Select “Available cars”;
- Find your car and tap on it.
To use CarPlay from here on, you need to either connect your iPhone via the USB cable or make sure your wireless connection is turned on. You will be able to customize the CarPlay apps that appear on the dashboard of your car.
Again, in the CarPlay settings, you can add or delete the apps depending on what you want to see.
What apps can I use with CarPlay?
It is true that you won’t be able to use as many apps with Apple CarPlay as you can with other systems. You also have to bear in mind that this isn’t a system to use your iPhone as you normally would. For instance, you can’t watch YouTube videos to avoid distractions that could cause an accident.
The default iPhone apps include Phone, Calendar, Music, Maps, Messages, Now Playing, Podcasts, and Audiobooks.
The biggest messaging app for CarPlay is WhatsApp. If you want audio apps, you can download Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and Spotify, among others. Needless to say, Google Maps is probably the preferred navigation app for most but you can also use another third-party app such as Waze.
If you want a complete Apple CarPlay guide to apps, you can click here.
What are the best CarPlay features?
CarPlay Interface: The new interface that comes with CarPlay is pretty awesome. With its split-screen, you can see what is happening with more than one app.
You can have your map navigating you to a site on the main part of the screen but then on the right-hand side, you can set the interface up to see your ETA, calendar events, and even what song is playing.
Hey Siri: All of your apps can be controlled using your voice and calling “Hey Siri”. If you press and hold the voice command button on your steering wheel or the CarPlay home button on your car’s touchscreen, you can ask Siri questions, or ask her to do things like play music, or listen to radio stations, or navigate to a location.
You can make phone calls and send messages too. If you have Apple’s HomeKit, Siri will even open your garage door. Siri and Apple Maps together are one of the best ways to navigate.
User-friendly: Apple CarPlay is very simple to use, even if you are new to Apple. The interface is simple, each app icon is large which makes it even easier to keep your eyes on the road. Many of the third-party apps you download can also be seen on the dashboard.
So, is Apple CarPlay worth It?
First of all, you have to understand that while there are many cars that feature Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, it doesn’t mean that yours is included. Honda and Ford like some other brands, include it with their range of models.
BMW includes it for free for the first 12 months but then users have to pay a subscription fee. It will also cost you some money to have CarPlay in your Mercedes and even more for Ferrari to install the CarPlay software.
Is CarPlay worth it? Perhaps the question comes down to your perspective. If you have the money to buy a Ferrari, you can probably afford the CarPlay experience without any fuss. We are used to Apple being more expensive than most technology, so for a sleek, easy to use and safe system, we think that it is money well spent.
What is Apple CarPlay?
Apple CarPlay is a new service created by Apple that features most modern cars. It is also a feature on most modern car stereos that can be fitted into older vehicles.
This app allows you to control your iPhone and view some apps and media on your device through your car’s dashboard. It is very similar to the Android Auto service, except it is designed solely for use with Apple iPhones.
The display of the Apple CarPlay service mirrors the display of your own iPhone once your phone has been connected. Due to this, it is very easy to control and self-explanatory to use as it is very similar to using your own cell phone.
Initially, you will have to connect your iPhone to the Apple CarPlay system using Bluetooth. But once you are connected the connection will switch over to Wi-Fi so that the Bluetooth does not run your phone’s battery down.
One of the most popular features of Apple CarPlay is that it comes with a navigation system that removes the need for an external Sat Nav. The navigation system on Apple CarPlay comes with moving-map functionality meaning you can track your process on your journey, and ensure you are heading in the direction.
Apple CarPlay is very popular because it offers connections to a lot of different apps, and it is very easy to use. If you want to find out more about how Apple CarPlay works, then check out our guide.
What does Apple CarPlay do?
We’ve already mentioned that Apple CarPlay has a navigation option, but there are lots of other things that this system can also do. Apple CarPlay was designed to reduce the number of people who use their phones while they drive, or at least ensure that the way in which they use their phones is safe.
Apple CarPlay allows you to access all the apps on your iPhone which are viewed as safe to use while you are driving. This removes the need for you to actively go on your phone while driving and makes the road a safer place.
In the social world that we live in, it can be difficult to detach from your phone, so Apple CarPlay allows you to send and receive texts and other messages while keeping your focus on the road.
As well as using Apple CarPlay to find your way to your destination, and keep in touch with friends and family, you can also use it to make your journey more enjoyable. While video streaming services are blocked, Apple CarPlay allows you to stream music using services like Spotify and Pandora.
But this isn’t all that Apple CarPlay can do, if you want to find out more about the apps you can use on Apple CarPlay then check this out.
Is Apple CarPlay worth it?
Generally speaking, whether Apple CarPlay is worth it will come down to your own personal preferences and your financial situation. If you drive an older vehicle and have no interest in the gadgets that come with brand-new cars, then you will likely think that Apple CarPlay isn’t worth it.
But if you work a job that requires you to travel a lot, and also requires you to keep in touch with people, then you will probably think that it is worth it.
In order to decide whether Apple CarPlay is worth it, you need to understand that this will be impacted by the make and model of car that you are thinking of buying.
Some brands, including Ford and Honda, include Apple CarPlay at no cost as part of their newer model vehicles. If you are interested in one of these vehicles, there’s no debating that this service is worth it.
But a lot of car manufacturers do not include Apple CarPlay in their models. If you are interested in buying one of these models then you will have to pay extra on top to have the service installed. This is when you really need to question if it is worth it. Should you want to find out more about this follow this link.
Is there a monthly charge for Apple CarPlay?
No, in most cases, there is no monthly charge for Apple CarPlay. However, this doesn’t mean that the service is free. You might have to pay for Apple CarPlay, you might not. It all comes down to the manufacturer of your vehicle and whether they include Apple CarPlay as one of the features in their car.
As we have said, companies like Ford and Honda include Apple CarPlay in all of their models. As this is standard procedure, you will not have to pay anything extra to have this feature on your car. You aren’t necessarily getting it for free because the cost is included in the price of your vehicle, but you also aren’t paying anything extra on top of this service.
Other companies, including BMW and Mercedes, do not include Apple CarPlay in their models. You can have it installed, but this will cost extra on top.
Some companies will charge you a large single installment payment for this service, while others will charge for the service monthly. This is why, in some cases, there is a monthly charge for Apple CarPlay.
One company that definitely charges monthly subscription fees for Apple CarPlay is BMW as they offer the service free for the first 12 months if you want it, but then charge you a monthly installment after that. So in most cases, there is no monthly charge for Apple CarPlay, but it is always best to check with your car dealership.
What is so good about Apple CarPlay?
There are lots of things that make Apple CarPlay so good to use, but the main reason is how easy it is to control. New technology can often be intimidating, but Apple CarPlay mirrors your own iPhone which makes it very user-friendly. This is very important as you don’t want to be distracted from driving because you are struggling to control your car’s infotainment system.
Another thing that is excellent about Apple CarPlay is that it is compatible with all the apps you would ever need while driving. With Apple CarPlay you can safely update loved ones on how your journey is going, take important phone calls, and play your own music.
Once you have connected your phone to the system once, it is simple to reconnect every time that you get in the car. This means that you also don’t have to worry about this process adding time to your journey.
Finally, one of the best things about Apple CarPlay is that it is continually improving, and is regularly updated by Apple. When the company notices an issue with the system, they fix it to continue improving the system. This ensures that Apple CarPlay remains user-friendly and enjoyable for those who have it in their vehicle.
Can you add CarPlay to any car?
Yes, you can add CarPlay too, almost, any car. However, this is not an easy process. If you want Apple CarPlay in your vehicle, then the easiest way to do this is to buy a new car that has this skill enabled. Of course, this will not be economically feasible for everybody, which is why you can also add CarPlay to an existing vehicle by using an aftermarket CarPlay receiver.
Aftermarket radios are stereos that are designed to replace the stock car stereo that is installed in a vehicle when it is first sold. Replacing the stereo system in a vehicle has always been a great way to update an older car, and this is also how you can add CarPlay to an existing car.
To do this, you will need to buy an aftermarket radio which comes with Apple CarPlay enabled. These stereos with CarPlay support tend to be towards the higher end of the price scale, but they are still considerably cheaper than the cost of buying a new vehicle.
Some brands who produce this style of stereo are Kenwood and Pioneer mostly in double DIN format, so this is a good place to start your search.
Once you have your stereo you can then take your vehicle and the stereo to a garage where you can get the stereo replaced. After it has been fitted, all you need to do is connect your phone to the stereo and your Apple CarPlay will work as new.
Can Apple CarPlay replace navigation?
Yes, you could replace your existing car navigation system with Apple CarPlay. Apple CarPlay comes with an excellent navigation system that moves as you drive, allowing you to follow your journey easily. In fact, the Apple CarPlay navigation system is so good that this is one of the main reasons why people like it.
One of the benefits of using Apple CarPlay for your navigation system is that it connects to the screen on your dashboard. Traditionally a Sat Nav would connect to your windshield, which means that you do lose a small amount of your field of vision when fitting this device. The navigation system on Apple CarPlay does not limit your view of the road at all, which is why it is so great.
Finally, people seem to prefer using their Apple CarPlay’s navigation because it is simply easier to use. You can tap the destination into your phone and save it before you get into your car. Then all you need to do is choose this destination off of the saved list, and you are good to go.
So, in short, yes Apple CarPlay could replace the existing navigation system that you use in your vehicle.
What can we say except Apple, you’ve done it again! To connect to Apple CarPlay there are no complicated downloading or creating accounts. In a couple of steps, you are ready to start driving safely.
There are some Apple Carplay requirements but nothing that you wouldn’t expect from similar systems. You can find a good number of apps, and really far more than you would ever need when driving.
We hope this Apple CarPlay guide was useful and you’re now clarified on how does CarPlay work.
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