The High Tech Society

What is Apple CarPlay?


What is Apple CarPlay?

Apple CarPlay is a relatively new technology that allows you to synchronize your iPhone with your car in select vehicle models. Ideas for CarPlay were first registered by Apple as a copyright in 2013, and now, in 2016, there are over 100 vehicles with CarPlay in the vehicle. If you’re buying one of them (or already own one), getting to know your car’s features can help you to make the most of your vehicle and your phone while you travel.

Your iPhone

First, it’s important that you have an iPhone. Even more importantly, CarPlay only works with Apple iPhone 5 or sooner. This means that if you have an iPhone 4S, you cannot use it with CarPlay. The good news is that iPhone 5, 5S, 5C, and 6 models are affordable, and if you get one with a contract, you can usually get it for as little as 99 cents. CarPlay does not support iPad or iPod devices.

If you don’t have an iPhone, you may want to consider switching to one to make use of your CarPlay.

What Is Apple CarPlay

CarPlay allows you to synchronize your iPhone with your car’s dashboard by plugging the iPhone into the dock in the car with a lightning cable. There is no Bluetooth only option yet, which makes sense, because plugging your phone in ensures that it stays charged while you use GPS, music, or other battery draining technologies. Bluetooth would be nice, and Apple will likely integrate it into future models with a wireless charging dock in the near future.

Once you plug your iPhone into CarPlay you can immediately access your phone’s entire system right on the vehicles display. Here you can access GPS, Apple Maps, your address book, play music, accept phone calls (and take them over the vehicles sound system), use the controls in your steering wheel to select items, and access third party apps like Pandora and iHeartRadio.

Siri – CarPlay features a special version of Siri that has been updated for driving scenarios to allow you to play music, open apps, reply to messages, make phone calls, get directions, and send information using voice control. Cars with CarPlay feature a voice control button on the steering wheel, allowing you to just press a button, state your command, and wait for something to happen. Importantly, Siri does require that you speak clearly, and usually with as little of an accent as possible, or she does make mistakes.

Why Would You Want CarPlay?

CarPlay allows you to take advantage of newer technology and integrate your smartphone into your vehicle without ever having to take your eyes off of the road. This allows you to see and respond to texts and calls without creating dangerous distractions. It also allows you to use your phone’s technology without using a dashboard mount (which typically either tell someone you have a phone in your car or tend to fall off, and can devalue the car if you drill a hole in the dashboard). It also allows you to integrate your phone’s system directly into the car, which is significantly better and easier to use than a separate device.

Plus, with integrated GPS and Apple Nearby, you can tell Siri that you want to go to a restaurant, and your car will automatically direct you to the nearest one. That’s pretty handy.


Probably the biggest problems with CarPlay are that A., no Google Maps, B. it doesn’t integrate into car functions (no using it to turn up the air conditioning), and it’s limited to iOS phones, so you’re stuck with iPhone for the duration of using the car if your system only supports CarPlay.

Aftermarket Solutions

CarPlay is one way to make your vehicle more relevant and modern, because iOS technology updates every half year instead of the every 2 years most cars update. In addition, because CarPlay is a connectivity solution that puts your familiar iOS interface on your dash, it also allows you to use the technology in your phone, rather than learning something new. If you’re not happy with your vehicles existing dash, you can replace it with an aftermarket CarPlay solution. However, even the most affordable options are still in the $300+ range. JBL, Alpine, JVC, and Pioneer each offer options.

Check Apple’s running list of vehicles with CarPlay installed by the manufacturer here.

If you have an Android phone,