CarPlay in iOS 13 is a big leap forward

Apple's CarPlay - Maps app
Apple’s CarPlay – Maps app

At WWDC 2019 in June, Apple announced that it would update CarPlay with the release of iOS 13 this fall – and it’s a big update!

John Voorhees for MacStories:

CarPlay fascinates me because it’s a relatively rare example of a successful Apple software product that isn’t tightly integrated with the company’s hardware. Of course, CarPlay runs from an iPhone, but it also relies on automaker media systems to deliver its experience to users in their cars. This lack of integration shows in cars with slower media systems; however, even when automakers’ hardware provides a subpar experience, CarPlay’s simplified but familiar interface and access to content already on users’ iPhones is superior. So much so in fact that Apple says CarPlay has managed to capture 90% of the new car market in the US and 75% worldwide.

CarPlay hasn’t changed much since it was introduced in 2014, but with iOS 13, iPhone users can look forward to not only significant improvements in its design, but a new app and other features that make this the biggest leap forward for CarPlay to date.

With iOS 13, CarPlay will get an update far beyond any of the tweaks it’s received in the past five years. In apps like Maps, which got a big update, and Calendar, which is brand new, you can see CarPlay adopting a new design language that’s a lot like what is currently used on the iPhone and iPad… There are still remnants of the old design in apps like Music, Messages, and Phone that I hope receive more complete refreshes in the future, but between Dashboard, Maps, and Calendar, the update has already significantly improved my CarPlay experience.

MacDailyNews Take: Many improvements are coming soon for CarPlay users!


  1. I have CarPlay in both a Ford and a BMW. I can attest that the experience is different. Yes CarPlay is CarPlay, but it is up to the auto manufacturer to manage the USB/bluetooth connections, volume controls, provide the GPS data, and integrate things like low fuel warning. And as startraveler points out the responsiveness of the auto hardware can impact the experience.

  2. The album display is much better now compared to using the album as a highly translucent background that you could barely make out. The combined screen is also so much better showing maps, music and navigation instructions. What I wish is that when I’m using the radio with CarPlay, the station and song/program info would show up in the combined view.

    I’ve noticed in GM cars that so many of my iTunes playlists don’t show up. In Hyundais, the front speakers are silenced when navigation prompts are made. BMW’s wireless CarPlay is great although typical of BMW, it took a bunch of tries to get it working – but once it did – it would connect quickly.

    BMW’s approach to requiring payment of CarPlay is an interesting one, particularly if they update current cars to support new features.

  3. I’d love the option to move the status bar from the left of the screen to the right. Not a big deal, but it makes Carplay easier when the controls are closer to whichever side you’re on.

  4. I travel and rent cars multiple times a month. CarPlay has been such a blessing to me. I was forever trying to figure out how each cars audio system worked or how to get maps up for navigation. Now I pick my rental cars by whether or not they have CarPlay. Just LOVE it!

  5. Of course Android Auto also just received its biggest update in years as well. Leaving them maybe no further behind?

    I was surprised by the market share figures in this article. It’s much higher than their phone share. Good job, Apple.

  6. I love CarPlay 95% of the time. My spouse and I are avid audiobook and podcast listeners. We rely on CarPlay for making our car trips fun. The maps function is great and Siri is mostly very good. We love the hands free phone.

    The other 5% is a real head banging experience. CarPlay will suddenly lose the audio or will not connect. We own a 2016 Honda CRV and Accord. I have tried restarting the car radio and replugging in the phones with no effect. The only thing that works is doing a reboot of the phone. We have an iPhone X and a iPhone XR is so outdated hardware is not the problem.

    Apple – I hope your update makes CarPlay a 100% pleasure to use by fixing these core issues in addition to applying the lipstick of a new interface.

  7. The thing that bugged me with CarPlay is that when the phone that its connected to is used for something other than maps, the screen in the car switches off from Maps. Makes the connected phone unusable for anything other than directions which is annoying if the passenger phone is the one that is connected.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.