Apple CarPlay: How it works, the apps, the vehicles and the features

“So what is Apple CarPlay? Think of it as a way of mirroring some of the key features and functions of your iPhone on an in-car display,” Andy Madden writes for What Hi-Fi?. “In theory it’s a marriage of convenience and safety: you can tuck the device away, but still use a decent selection of key apps from it, including Messages, Phone, Music and Maps.”

“What do you need for Apple CarPlay? An iPhone, for starters. You’ll also need access to an in-car system that supports CarPlay,” Madden writes. “Currently, there are over 40 manufacturers with CarPlay-compatible cars, with the system available on well over 100 models. Cars with CarPlay are available from Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche, Seat, Volkswagen and Volvo… BMW is the first automotive manufacturer to offer wireless CarPlay.”

“All the action happens through the main in-car display. Once you’ve connected your iOS device via Lightning (or wirelessly if you own a compatible BMW) all compatible apps stored on your device are mirrored on the car’s display in landscape” Madden writes. “The basic layout remains the same across car manufacturers. The main Apple apps dominate the first page – swipe across and you’ll see all the third-party apps available on your device.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: For those of us with real iPhones, a CarPlay-capable vehicle is the only way to drive!

More than 300 vehicle models currently offer Apple’s CarPlay. See the list here.

BMW charging annually for Apple’s CarPlay is why Apple should build CarPlay into iOS 12 – January 22, 2018
Vehicle makers add Apple CarPlay support – January 16, 2018
Toyota is finally adding Apple CarPlay – January 16, 2018
Wireless Apple CarPlay finally goes on sale – July 5, 2017
CarPlay: The best incarnation of Apple’s ecosystem – October 12, 2016


  1. My 2017 RAV4 Hybrid just got an update to its Entune system. It now supports CarPlay, and it is fantastic. Thank you Toyota for finally jumping on the CarPlay train.

    1. Bought 2018 Honda instead of Toyota this month simply because Toyota and their dealers do not know what Entunes is, or more specifically, whether Entunes is a Satellite GPS or not and what the long term costs are. All I got was salesman talk or crickets.
      Looking forward to 2019 or 2020 when Toyota figures this out.

      My first Honda. Been owner of Toyota cars since 1992 and quit because of Entunes confusion.

      Glad to hear a software upgrade made it possible for your RAV4. Lucky you.

  2. I have a Pioneer Device. I had it for one year now
    and it is wonderful. Just like it was said you plug
    in the phone a the radio becomes the phone. And
    if you have more apps that is Car Play compatible
    it adds a second screen and all you have to do is
    swipe the radio’s screen and you go to the second
    page. The only thing that is missing is apps that you can put on your phone and come up on the
    device. But that is definitely not a biggie because
    the intergration between the phone and the head
    unit is fantastic

    1. Wish I bought a Pioneer instead of a Kenwood head unit for my Camry, albeit 14 year old Camry (456K miles).

      This Kenwood head unit (DNX571HD) not only worked like crap but it’s operation has changed for the worse over time. Manual poorly written, too.

      1. I can’t stress enough how much I love CarPlay!! I have recommended to everyone who has ever expressed any interest in it.

        As for the actual device, I have a Kenwood (not sure the model off the top of my head) and it works great. Hopefully it continues to do so. :-p

      2. Check Kenwood’s website for updates. I have a Pioneer NEX unit, and Carplay worked great at one time, but recently it would crash every time. I found updates on Pioneer’s website and works great again.

  3. I’ve used both wired and wireless (BMW) CarPlay and I believe that coupled with the wireless charging pads found in newer vehicles, wireless carplay is a game changer.

    To me, the biggest disappointment with CarPlay is the lack of apps. There are 3,000 different radio/podcast apps compatible with CarPlay, and then you have the built in apps, and nothing else.

    I would like to see apps like weather (current/forecast, current location/destination, etc.), off road trail mapping, tuner stats (tied into your wireless OBD dongle), etc. Its just surprising that there are so few creative uses of CarPlay apps.

  4. Apple Car Play does not support Google Maps. This is a HUGE disappointment. Apple users should be able to freely choose the apps of their choice, enhancing each user’s experience. I can run Google Maps on my iPhone. Why shouldn’t I be able to use this same app on Car Play? This is a big drawback of Car Play.

  5. I have a relatively new car model with premium touch screen and Harman Kardon system that has NO integration with CarPlay or Siri voice activation. And no updates are coming, I’m sure. Kind of a bummer.

    What I don’t understand is why Apple doesn’t offer a CarPlay interface on the iPhone for those of us with legacy technology. I mean a major part of the point of CarPlay is safety, so why not mimic CarPlay for those of use who just can’t mirror it on our car’s display. Seems like a big miss on their part. And no, I don’t think it is a deterrent to people buying cars with CarPlay built-in.

  6. Apple’s refusal to allow the navigation app of your choice has made CarPlay just about worthless to me. Without that there are no real advantages over the BMW system. The voice recognition in the car is superior to the iPhone/ Siri.

  7. CarPlay has some good things but generally it’s a slow piece of crap. I press a button and wait….. finally it will ask me who I want to call, or where I want to go, after an absolute eternity…… and of course Siri can’t understand.

    C’mon Apple. If you’re going to charge big money for iPhones and iPads, the least you can do is come up with an operating system that works. Sadly Apple is going downhill fast and somebody with some brains better do something about it.

    iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 x2, iPhone 5 x2, iPhone 6+ x2, iPad 3rd gen, IPad Air, Ipad air2, IPad Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac 21”, Mac mini, Apple Watch 1, Apple TV gen 3 x2, AirPort Extreme (current), AirPort Extreme (previous version), airport express, time capsule (original). Apple Music (family), 200gb iCloud storage, iTunes Match, 100s of paid apps, and 100s of paid iBooks, Oh ya, how about a 2017 Honda Civic hatchback with Apple CarPlay.

    1. It would help if your comments were a bit more specific regarding the issues. You are quick to blame CarPlay and Apple, but is it possible that the source of your problems is something else, like the vehicle implementation (perhaps it has a really slow processor) or an older and slower iOS device?

      My daughter has a 2016 Honda Civic Couple and she only had one problem with CarPlay. Her iPhone stopped connecting a few weeks after she got the car. After some troubleshooting and checking online, we deleted her phone from CarPlay, then went through the handshaking process again. Fixed the problem. Everything has been fine for many months. And believe me, if it wasn’t working perfectly, my daughter would let me know.

  8. Does anyone know if a bluetooth, wireless implementation can be added later if only a wired connection is available now? Is that something that Apple AND the car manufacturer have to support, or can Apple do it on its own if the car manufacturer currently provides bluetooth connectivity (but not with CarPlay)?

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