Apple CarPlay: Everything you need to know

Make driving safer and more convenient with Apple CarPlay!

Apple CarPlay: Everything you need to know
6 min read
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Here's what you need to know

✔️  First released in 2014, most new car models now support Apple CarPlay.

✔️  You can control most of its features using Siri voice commands, including Apple Music.

✔️  Since 2018, Apple enable support for other navigation apps, such as Google Maps and Waze.

If you're like most people, you probably spend a lot of time in your car. You probably also use your smartphone a lot while you're driving. Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to combine the two activities? With Apple Car Play, that's exactly what you can do!

In this guide, we will explain what Apple Car Play is and how it integrates with your car's infotainment system. We'll also tell you which cars have this feature so if you want to get a particular car on subscription, you'd know which one to get!

What is Apple CarPlay?

First release in 2014, Apple CarPlay is an infotainment system that allows you to use your phone while driving. It's available in most new cars, and it works with iPhones from the last few years (iPhone SE or newer). You can control most of its features using Siri voice commands which means there's no need to take your hands off the wheel!

How does Apple CarPlay work?

When you connect your iPhone to your car, it will automatically launch Apple CarPlay. You'll see a simplified version of the iPhone's home screen on your car's display.

This includes the default iPhone apps, such as Phone, Music, Maps, and Messages. You can control all of these features using voice commands or touch gestures, which means there's no need to take your hands off the wheel!

In 2018, Apple enable support for 3rd party apps. Apple CarPlay now lets you use third-party mapping and navigation services, including Google Maps and Waze.

As a result, you’ll no longer be restricted to using just your iPhone’s built-in Apple Maps feature.

What are the best Apple CarPlay apps?

Many apps make the most of this integration, giving drivers a lot of flexibility, making access to content easy.

For music, you can choose between Apple Music and Spotify, depending on which one you prefer. You also have access to third-party apps such as Audible Audiobooks or Pandora Radio.

If you're not sure what to listen to, then use CarPlay's Siri feature for recommendations based on your taste in music!

In terms of messaging apps, you can use WhatsApp, Telegram and a few other lesser-known apps. It's safe to say, you can talk to whoever you want!

There are many compatible apps available, and you can find them by entering ‘CarPlay’ into the App Store. Apple reviews every application and makes sure only the ones that are considered safe make it to the App Store.

How can I use Siri with Apple CarPlay?

You can use Siri to control most of the features on Apple CarPlay.

To do this, you need to make sure that your iPhone is connected to your car and that Siri is enabled. You can then activate Siri by pressing and holding the voice button on your steering wheel or by saying 'Hey Siri'.

Once activated, you can ask Siri to do things like play music, make a call, or send a message. You can also ask for directions and control other features on your car's display.

What are the main features of Apple CarPlay?

There's so much to it! Let's start with the main features of Apple CarPlay and what iPhone users can enjoy::

Maps - You can ask Siri to give you directions and it’ll display them on your car's built-in screen so that you don't have to look down at the phone while driving. This is also helpful if there are no road signs where they should be or if the road has changed since the last time you drove it.

Messages - You can dictate text messages to Siri, who will then send them for you without taking your eyes off the road! This is a great way of staying in touch with friends and family while driving safely.

Music - Apple CarPlay allows users to access music through their phones, including iTunes Radio. This feature allows access to a variety of genres and artists without having to buy CDs (for you old-schoolers) or download songs onto your phone first!

Podcasts - This is another great way to listen while driving safely. If you love listening to podcasts but have trouble finding them on radio stations or in stores then this is perfect for you!

Phone calls - You can answer or make phone calls while driving, and even have them directed through your car's speakers. This is a great way to stay connected without having to fumble with your phone while driving.

Safety - One of the best features of CarPlay is that it helps keep drivers safe on the road with features like do not disturb mode, which silences all notifications and alerts until you've reached your destination. This way there will be no distractions while driving!

Which cars have Apple CarPlay?

Most new vehicles now come with Apple Car Play as a standard feature. Naturally many cars on subscription are compatible, purely because these tend to be newer, more recent models. Even some cheaper subscription cars support it as standard!

If you're in the market for a car that has this capability and want to know what models are available, we can give you a taste of the cars compatible with Apple CarPlay:

  • Ford Fiesta - from 2017 onwards
  • Ford Focus - from 2017 onwards
  • BMW X1 - from 2018 onwards
  • BMW i3 - from 2018 onwards
  • Audi Q3 - from 2020 onwards
  • Audi Q4 e-tron - from 2022

It's not just for electric cars. For the full list of vehicles, you can visit Apple.com. You can also browse the latest cars available on subscription, and then pick one which supports CarPlay!

Which devices support Apple CarPlay?

As a basic rule of thumb, every iPhone with a lightening connector should support CarPlay. These include the following models:

  • iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro & 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro & 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro & Pro Max
  • iPhone X, XR, XS & XS Max
  • iPhone 8 & 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7 & 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6S & 6 Plus
  • iPhone 6 & 6 Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st generation – 2016-2020)
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation – 2020-present)
  • iPhone 5, 5C & 5S

If you own one of the listed iPhones, ensure that it has been updated to the latest version of its operating system to guarantee its compatibility with Apple CarPlay.

More Apple CarPlay FAQs

Can I add Apple CarPlay to an older car?

Officially, Apple CarPlay is not available for older cars. It's only available in newer models that come with this feature pre-installed. If you're not sure whether your car has it or not, consult your car's owner's manual or contact the manufacturer.

If you search around you may be able to find aftermarket solutions, but they may require quite a lot of tinkering.

Is there a monthly charge for Apple CarPlay?

No. CarPlay itself doesn't cost you anything. When you're using it to navigate, message, or listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks, you might use data from your phone's data plan.

When you're connected to a Wi-Fi network and have set up CarPlay over USB, your phone may not use any data for the first five minutes of navigation. After that time, it will begin using data from its plan unless otherwise specified by your carrier's terms & conditions.

How do I disable Apple CarPlay?

If you want to disable CarPlay, it's easy. All you need to do is press and hold the voice control button on your steering wheel for a few seconds until a menu pops up. From there, just select "CarPlay" and then "Disable."

What is the difference between Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth?

Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth are two different technologies that provide similar functions.

Both allow you to stream music, make phone calls or send messages with ease while driving safely through your car's speakers. However, Apple CarPlay is limited only by what apps can be used on iPhones (which includes Spotify).

Bluetooth has no such limitations, making it a more versatile option if you want to play any song or audiobook from your phone. However, you'll be missing out on the integrated voice commands, and the user-friendly infotainment screen that comes with CarPlay.

What is the best alternative to CarPlay?

It's Android Auto, It's very similar to CarPlay in that it allows users to access a variety of features while driving, but it is compatible with a wider range of devices and other apps.

Can I use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the same car?

Yes! Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are compatible with each other, so there's no need to worry about not being able to connect your iPhone or Android device when driving. In fact, many car models support both technologies.

Can I connect Apple CarPlay with USB?

Yes! CarPlay works well with a cable and also Bluetooth. Many divers choose to connect with their USB cable so they can charge their phones while also using CarPlay.

Can I watch Netflix on Apple CarPlay?

Netflix isn't available on Apple CarPlay. This is due to Apple's refusal to include some visual apps, such as Netflix, in the default CarPlay setup. Watching TV will obviously distract drivers! Third-party apps like WheelPal, on the other hand, allow you to watch Netflix and other video apps while driving but you may have the jailbreak your iPhone device.

What's the point of Apple CarPlay?

CarPlay allows you to keep the focus of your iPhone while driving. The iPhone has a built-in capability that allows you to take use its most useful features, safely while driving.

How do I know if a car has Apple CarPlay?

How do I find out if my car supports AppleCarPlay/Android Auto? Connect your phone to via USB cable (or wireless for compatible cars) and look at the screen of the your infotainment system. It should automatically display the CarPlay menu.

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