12 Apple CarPlay Tips Every Driver Should Know

When you’re driving, Apple CarPlay makes things easier. You can use CarPlay to get driving directions, listen to music and other audio, make and receive phone calls, and listen to and respond to text messages by connecting your iPhone to your car’s Bluetooth or USB port on supported models. Instead of fidgeting with touch-screen controls that take your eyes off the road, you can complete most of these things by speaking directly to Siri.

Apple continues to improve CarPlay’s capabilities by adding new features and removing a few inconvenient impediments. Multitasking is now possible, Siri integration has been improved, EV charging stations have been added to Maps, and a new calendar view has been added.

The ability for a passenger to check the connected iPhone without interrupting what you see on the CarPlay dashboard is one of the nicest advancements. Here are a few pointers to help you get the most out of your CarPlay experience.

1. Pay attention to your driving.

With iOS 15, Apple transforms the iPhone’s Do Not Disturb mode into a new Focus mode that might help you manage notifications. One of the categories in Focus is for driving; enable the switch next to Driving under Settings > Focus > Driving.

Tap the People section under Allowed Notifications to allow notifications from specific contacts. You can add or remove certain people from this list, as well as control who can make calls. You can set up automated messages in the Options area to notify everyone who attempts to contact you that you’re currently driving. To determine when this Focus should be utilized, tap the entry under Turn on Automatically.

2. Use CarPlay while multitasking

Previously, CarPlay would simply replicate whatever app was active on your phone, which wasn’t always convenient while attempting to multitask. If someone opened the Music app on your phone while you were driving, you would lose your directions. That won’t happen with iOS 13 or higher. Your passenger can use any app on your phone, but the dashboard view will not change.

3. Take Charge of Your Dashboard

carplay display

Your dashboard could only show one app at a time until iOS 13. You’d have to switch back and forth between the Maps navigation screen and your Music player if you wanted to see both. You may now split the screen between two or three apps, for example, to display driving instructions in one window, manage music in another, and read your calendar in a third.

By touching the home button, you can select between three alternative dashboard configurations. Display your current or last app in full screen mode, split-screen mode with several apps, or the home screen with access to all of your apps.

You may also tap an app to make it full screen and switch to a recent app by tapping one of the icons on the dashboard’s left side.

4. Make Your Own Wallpaper

With each new iOS release, fresh wallpaper images are added to your CarPlay background. Open the Settings app in CarPlay and select Wallpaper to modify your wallpaper. Then hit the Set button after selecting the image you wish to use as your new background.

5. Use Siri without using your hands

If you’re using iOS 14 or later, Siri will no longer obscure your view of the car’s display when you ask for help. Siri now appears as a small whirling ball at the bottom of the screen when you interact with it.

Siri can come to your rescue and offer hands-free messaging choices if you need to speak with others while driving. “Hey Siri, send an audio message to [person’s name],” for example, and then record your message. Before sending the message, you can examine it and make changes. If you’re running late for an appointment, Siri will also share your estimated arrival time with someone else. Simply say, “Hey Siri, share my ETA with [name of person].”

With iOS 15 or later, Siri can also announce new messages so you don’t have to peek at the dashboard. To do so, go to Settings > Siri & Search > Announce Notifications and turn on the Announce Notifications switch. Turn on the switch for Announce Messages in CarPlay, then choose how you want Siri to respond when a new message arrives.

6. Locate an Electric Vehicle Charging Station

ev chargers

If you have an electric vehicle, CarPlay can assist you when it’s time to charge it. In Apple Maps, type “EV Chargers” into the search field. To show a map with the nearest charging stations, tap the EV Chargers entry from the search results.

7. Increase the number of apps

Through CarPlay, Apple has extended the types of apps it supports. Compatible apps for electric vehicle charging stations, parking, food delivery, and other categories can be added. Alternative navigation programs such as Google Maps and Waze are also available.

Open Settings > General > CarPlay on your iPhone to manage the apps available for CarPlay. To add, remove, or change the order of accessible apps, tap the name of your automobile and select Customize.

8. Examine Maps in Depth

Because most drivers use CarPlay to get directions, Apple has improved its Maps app to include additional information. You can see the speed limit, direction, projected arrival time, 3D buildings, and businesses like petrol stations and restaurants while navigating a route. In addition, Siri now provides more precise driving directions, such as “Turn right at the next traffic light” rather than “Turn right in 800 feet.”

9. Use the Music App to listen to music

music app

When using CarPlay with iOS 13 or higher, the Music app is easier on the eyes. Album art is huge, making it easier to visually recognize an album. Accessing your albums and playlists is now much faster and easier. Because you can see your album art on the right side of the screen while still using the touch-screen controls to play music, the interface is more intuitive.

10. Check Out What’s On

An app called Now Playing allows you to see full details on whatever song, podcast, or audiobook is now playing. The Now Playing app can be accessed from the home screen, or by tapping the audio graph icon in the upper-right corner if you’re already in an audio app.

11. Check Your Schedule

You may see your current day’s calendar appointments. Simply go to the home screen and tap the Calendar icon, or ask Siri to display your calendar for you.

12. Modify the CarPlay settings

carplay settings

CarPlay has its own separate Settings app, where you may enable or disable features like Driving Focus, Siri Suggestions, and Album Art. There’s also a toggle that toggles between dark mode and the usual light look in the CarPlay app.


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