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What is Apple CarPlay

Apple CarPlay is an extension of the iPhone interface to the car multimedia center. This is a simple, fast and relatively safe way to interact with your phone while driving. Moreover, using an interface made in the spirit of iOS is more convenient and more familiar than (mostly creepy) "native" software of a multimedia system.

Primary Features of Apple CarPlay

Apple CarPlay duplicates many phone features. Drivers can use the system to:

  • Navigate using maps from a preferred provider;
  • Make calls, receive and send text messages (exclusively in the dictation of Siri);
  • Listen to music, radio, podcasts, and audiobooks.

All functions are available in a simple and intuitive interface with large icons familiar to iPhone users.

A significant part of the system’s capabilities is tied to Siri, Apple’s voice assistant. You can ask her to call a contact from the phone book, get directions on the desired route, or turn on your favorite song. Owners of cars that are not equipped with voice recognition can use the touchscreen of the multimedia center or other controls.

Several third-party applications are adapted for Apple CarPlay. Among them are Waze, WhatsApp, TuneIn Radio and several others. Unfortunately, there is no marking in the AppStore about application compatibility with CarPlay, so this issue will have to be determined empirically. But, surprisingly, some applications of competing Google are supported, for example, Google Maps.

On the other hand, car control functions are not available in CarPlay, so the driver will have to switch to the “native” interface of the multimedia system to control climate control or driving modes.

Apps compatible with Apple CarPlay

Default Apps compatible with Apple CarPlay:

  • Phone
  • Calendar
  • Music
  • Maps
  • Messages
  • Now Playing
  • Podcasts
  • Audiobooks

Few examples of third-party apps compatible with Apple CarPlay:

  • WhatsApp
  • Spotify
  • BBC Sounds
  • Amazon Music
  • Google Play Music
  • iPlayer Radio
  • CBS Radio
  • Pandora
  • Slacker Radio
  • Tidal
  • Audible
  • NPR One
  • VOX
  • Clammr
  • Downcast
  • Google Maps
  • Waze
  • Here

Apple CarPlay
Apple CarPlay

Compatibility with iPhone

To work with CarPlay, you need an iPhone 5 or newer, and the minimum required version of iOS is 7.1. Some cars support wireless connection, and if not, you will have to connect the phone with a lightning cable - USB.

Car compatibility is much more extensive. Therefore, it is better to check this aspect with the supplier of the car. If you don’t want to buy a new car compatible with CarPlay, you can equip it with a multimedia system (Alpine, JBL, JVC, Kenwood, and Pioneer), which has similar compatibility.

How to use Apple CarPlay

Before using CarPlay, you need to make sure that both the car (or its multimedia system) and the phone support the system. Then you need to connect the phone to the car. To do this, use a regular lightning cable - USB. Newer cars, like the BMW Fifth Series, support wireless connectivity via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The possibility of such a connection can be clarified in the user manual for the car.

Further actions depend on the type of connection and the degree of compatibility of the car multimedia system with CarPlay. The CarPlay home screen can immediately appear on th1e car multimedia system screen. Otherwise, you will need to open the settings menu on the phone, select “General”, then “CarPlay”, after “Available cars” and select the connected car in the list.

In cars that support wireless connection, you will need to enable the pairing mode over the wireless network, and then press and hold the voice command button on the steering wheel. If the above steps did not work, then the connection procedure is best clarified in the user manual.

The direct use of the features of CarPlay is extremely simple. The interaction takes place in the same way as on the phone, only using the touch screen of the multimedia system (or other controls on it provided on the dashboard). Moreover, voice commands work automatically, so it’s enough to start the request with the words “Hello Siri” so that the voice assistant activates and executes the command.