iOS

A Review of CarPlay

August 15, 2017

Apple’s CarPlay brings the helpfulness of Siri with you out on the road. Without touching your device you can easily play music, make calls, listen and respond to messages, use navigation, and much more.



We recently purchased new vehicles which included CarPlay. Apple’s CarPlay is a system that allows your vehicle’s dashboard to display certain features of your iPhone to help keep you focused on the road. Apple says there are about 40 automakers with 100 car models currently supporting CarPlay. So, if you are in the market for a new vehicle (2017+) be sure to check it out or look at the growing list from Apple here.

How does it work?

Basically, you plug your iPhone (models 6 or higher) into your car via a Lightning cable, it will display the user interface on the in-car screen. You can then use some functionality of your iPhone without having to mess around with it and become a distracted driver. According to Apple, it’s safer, easier, and often more convenient than an automaker’s display. In my personal experience, about three seconds after plugging in my iPhone the display pops up in the car - pretty quick if you ask me.

So what are the benefits?

CarPlay allows you to play your music, use navigation, listen and verbally respond to text messages, make calls, and more. You can also ask Siri to do things without the need of touching your device. Most new vehicles will even have a button on your steering wheel which you can use to prompt Siri as well (shown below).



CarPlay also provides the ability for certain third-party apps to display.

Here’s a list of some of the apps for CarPlay:

  • Podcasts - Listen to your favorite Podcasts from iTunes.
  • Pandora - Stream radio stations and playlists.
  • Audible - Listen to audio books.
  • iHeartRadio - Stream radio stations, with commercials.
  • At Bat - Listen to live or archived baseball games (subscription required).
  • Audiobooks.com - Listen to over 65,000 audiobooks for free.
  • Slacker Radio - Streaming radio “curated by humans.”
  • Vox - Listen to FLAC and Hi-Res Audio streamed from your cloud storage.
  • NPR - Latest local and national news.
  • Spotify - Stream artists and albums (subscription required).
  • CBS Radio - Get your CBS news, live.
  • Overcast - A simple Podcast player.

As you will see, most of the third-party apps are audio related. However, there are more third-party apps being added to the App Store each week - so stay tuned for more releases.

Overall, CarPlay has been convenient to use and helps keep me focused on driving rather than being tempted to use my phone. The quick integration with the vehicle is also nice since you don’t often want to wait around for it to load. In the future, it would be good if Apple and automakers improved on the need for a physical cable to be plugged into the device and offered a CarPlay App Store.

Not an Apple user?

For Android users, there is also Android Auto. Here is some more information about Android Auto.

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