Auto Manufacturers & CarPlay

Toyota + Apple CarPlay: Everything You Need to Know

Although Toyota has arrived late into the CarPlay game, the car manufacturer has recently started offering the option for a few of its 2019 models. Back in 2014, Apple introduced the world to CarPlay, a software system that allows drivers to use their phones safely and hands-free while on the road. CarPlay provides drivers with several useful options while driving, including phone, messaging, music, and navigation simply by talking to Siri and without looking at one’s phone. Also, if a vehicle is purchased without navigation, an iPhone user can utilize their navigation right on their car’s screen.

What Toyota Models Include Apple CarPlay?

Toyota has only recently started offering CarPlay in their vehicles, although the software option has been in existence for more than four years at this point. Initially, Toyota wanted to stay with their version of a software system, which most Toyota owners know as Entune or Enform. However, Toyota is now offering Apple CarPlay in three of their 2019 models, although their CarPlay option is not wireless or compatible with Android Auto. The models Toyota is offering CarPlay for include:

  • 2019 Toyota Avalon
  • 2019 Toyota RAV4
  • 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

How Much Does CarPlay Cost?

Currently, Toyota offers Apple CarPlay as a standard option on the three models listed above. That means that getting Apply CarPlay shouldn’t cost you anything extra for the car models on our list. However, that factor may change when Toyota starts offering CarPlay in its 2020 Yaris Hatchback, although which direction Toyota intends to go with the Yaris is still not clear.

How much CarPlay might cost in a Yaris is not clear because Toyota states that the Yaris will have both CarPlay and Android Auto offered but has not released any pricing details on the new Yaris yet.

I Don’t Have CarPlay, Can I Get a Toyota CarPlay Upgrade?

If you don’t have CarPlay, Toyota does offer a few retrofit options available depending on the Toyota model. Both the 2018 Camry sedan and the 2018 Sienna minivan can have CarPlay added to their car. However, those are the only two past vehicle models that Toyota is willing to retrofit. If you are interested in getting either your 2018 Camry sedan or 2018 Sienna minivan retrofitted for Apple CarPlay, Toyota is encouraging its customers to reach out to their dealers. Toyota has not provided details about the cost of a retrofit, or how long it takes to complete the process. All Toyota has stated is that there is a small fee associated with the retrofit.

How to Setup and Use Your Toyota CarPlay

Setting up CarPlay in your Toyota is a simple process. We’ve included the steps below:

  • Make sure both Siri and Apple CarPlay are enabled and available on your iPhone.
  • Press the menu and then general and then on buttons to turn on CarPlay in your vehicle.
  • Grab your Apple lightning cable and connect your phone to your car using your USB port.
  • After you’ve connected your phone to your car with your lightning cable, you’ll see a prompt with three options: do not enable, enable once, and always enable.
  • If you want to enable CarPlay automatically, press on always enable. Or select enable once if you are just using CarPlay this one time.
CarPlay Texting & Calls

How to Make and Receive Text Messages with Carplay

One of the best features of Apple’s Carplay is the ability it will give you to read and send texts simply, so you’ll stay safe while you are driving. For all of you CarPlay newbies out there, we’ll break down how you can start both sending and reading texts while driving, how to handle text emojis, and what happens when you are dealing with an attachment photo.

There are two ways you can both send and receive text messages when using CarPlay. You can either use CarPlay’s touchscreen, or you can ask Siri for some help. We’ll cover both ways you can send and receive text messages with CarPlay below.

Using the Touchscreen to Send and Receive Texts

You can use the touchscreen on CarPlay to send and receive texts. To get started, follow these steps:

  • Tap on the Messages selection on your CarPlay touchscreen.
  • If you want to hear your unread messages or respond to something, you’ll need to tap on the unread conversation.
  • If you want to send a new text, select the pencil icon you’d use when sending a new text on your iPhone.

Using Siri to Send and Receive Texts

If you prefer to use CarPlay’s hands-free features, then you’ll need Siri’s help to send and receive texts.

  • Activate Siri by saying, “Hey Siri,” or press your steering wheel control, if you have one, to get Siri’s attention.
  • If you want to hear a new text message you just received, then simply say, “Read my text messages.”
  • If you want to send a text message, then say “Text [contact name] I can meet you for dinner tonight.”

Emojis and Attachments

While it’s great that CarPlay can easily read you your texts and dictate your text message responses with Siri, what happens when somebody sends an emoji? CarPlay won’t leave out emojis in texts, so don’t worry. If somebody sent you an emoji of a smiley in a message, CarPlay will read out the emoji’s description when you want to listen to your text messages.

Also, if you want to dictate to Siri to send a particular emoji, you simply describe that emoji. If you want to learn more about how Siri reads emojis out loud, or how to dictate to Siri to send certain emojis, you can check out this YouTube video.

CarPlay’s message system doesn’t handle photo or video attachments in your texts, so it won’t always be a great idea to reply to those types of texts while driving. After all, CarPlay is designed with safety in mind. Even if you use the CarPlay touchscreen to read messages back or to dictate messages, you won’t see the message thread on your CarPlay screen. Apple made CarPlay purposely like this to prevent distractions while you are driving.

Overall, CarPlay makes it much safer for individuals to both read and reply to texts while they are out driving. Using Siri to remain hands-free is probably your best option for safety while driving.

CarPlay Texting & Calls

How to Make and Receive Calls with Carplay

If you are new to CarPlay, and you’re wondering how to both make and answer your calls, then we’ve got you covered. Below we’ll discuss how you can both make and receive calls, how call waiting works, how to handle incoming calls when listening to music, using Siri for hand-free calling, and everything you need to know to get started.

Need to know how to connect your iPhone?

Outgoing Calls in CarPlay

There are two ways you can make an outgoing call when you are using CarPlay. You can either use the CarPlay touchscreen, or if you prefer to keep things hands-free, you can use Siri. We’ll cover both methods below.

To make a call using your CarPlay touchscreen, follow these steps:

  • Tap the phone button that appears on your CarPlay screen.
  • Tell CarPlay a loud the person’s name you plan to call or tap contacts on your screen.
  • If you tapped contacts on your screen, then tap on the name of the person you are calling.

Most people don’t want to deal with tapping on the screen or scrolling through contacts while driving. Luckily, there is a hands-free way of making calls that is as simple as using Siri. In fact, Siri is probably the easiest way to complete a call while you are driving. However, if you are in a noisy area, Siri might have problems understanding who you want to call. Still for those who want to remain hands free while driving, Siri is the best option. To make a call using Siri, follow the below steps.

  • Say “Hey Siri,” or tap on the on-screen home button.
  • Tell Siri the name of the person you want to call by saying, “Call [insert the name of the person you are calling]”.
  • Then, confirm you want to call that person.

Incoming Calls in CarPlay

Answering your calls in CarPlay is even simpler than making an outgoing call. You can answer your incoming calls using any one of the following methods:

  • Tap on the green phone button on your car’s steering wheel.
  • Tap on the green on-screen button.
  • If you are parked, you can slide to answer the call on your iPhone.

Often car’s steering wheels will have a phone button to accept and initiate calls.

Steering wheel with phone button

Once you answer the call, CarPlay will route the audio through your car’s speakers. If you are listening to music when a call comes through, you’ll hear a notification that you have a call. If you want to answer that call, your music stops and you will hear the phone call conversation through your speakers instead.

Call waiting also works in a familiar way when using CarPlay. If a second call comes through when you are talking on your first phone call, you’ll get a notification. Swapping your calls works on CarPlay exactly the same way as your iPhone, and you simply swap to answer the second call.

Remember, if you are making phone calls through your car, and if you have passengers in your car, then everybody can hear your phone call’s conversation. If you want privacy, you’ll need to disconnect from CarPlay and then use your headset to complete the call.

CarPlay Music & Podcasts

How to Play Music with CarPlay

Music for Newbies: Let’s Stream Some Music!

If you’re dying to learn how to listen to music on Apple CarPlay, then you’ll be excited to know that you can use many of the most well-known music service apps for your tunes. That means you’ll be able to access your music through your favorite music service, whether you prefer Apple Music, Tidal, Google Play Music, Spotify, or Amazon Music.

In fact, if you have any or all of those apps on your iPhone, they’ll show up on your CarPlay dash as soon as you connect your phone.

So, as a newbie, how can you use your preferred music app on CarPlay so that you can start enjoying your favorite tunes? We’ll cover everything you need to know as a newbie to enjoy CarPlay’s music options below by reviewing two of the most popular music apps on the market today for CarPlay, Apple Music and Spotify.

Make sure you have your favorite music apps on your iPhone. If you do, you’ll find services that aren’t Apple Music on the second page of CarPlay, where they appear by default. Apple Music, however, always appears on the first page.

Using Apple Music

If you decide to use Apple Music, then tap on the app, which will be found on the first screen of CarPlay. After you select the Music icon, you’ll see a choice of three options: Library, Playlists and Radio. So, how do each of these options work in CarPlay if you’re a newbie?

  • The Library area of Apple Music lists your most recent songs as well as several other items including artist menus, albums, songs, genres, and music that you’ve downloaded.
  • The Playlist choice in Apple Music shows you all of your saved playlists.
  • The Radio area of Apple Music will allow you to pick a radio station if you have the mobile data necessary to utilize Apple’s Radio option.

Using Spotify

If Spotify is your preferred music app, then you’ll be happy to know that Spotify works much like Apple Music.

Spotify icon you’ll find on your CarPlay home screen. If you have Spotify. If not, just download it from the App Store like any app.

When you select Spotify, which you’ll find on the second page of CarPlay, you’ll notice three choices on the top of your screen: Your Library, Browse, and Radio.

  • If you select the Your Library tab, you’ll see four more options, Playlists, Songs, Albums, and Artists. All four of these options allow you to browse your song choices just like you would if you were using the Spotify app on your iPhone.
  • If you tap on the Browse tab in Spotify, you’ll be able to see new releases and recommendations.
  • Using the Radio tab allows you to view the stations you’ve played recently, as well as giving you the choice to select a Radio choice to hear your preferred type of music.

Happy Motoring, Happy Driver!

If the music app you decide to use with CarPlay is compatible, you’ll be able to find your music selections by searching for your favorite albums, artists, songs, or playlists. Once you find what you want to hear, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite songs while driving in your car.

CarPlay Navigation

How To Use Maps in CarPlay

Navigation for Newbies: Navigation is Easy!

One of the benefits of using Apple Maps to navigate your route in CarPlay has to do with its simplicity.

Even if you are a CarPlay newbie, you’ll find that much of the user interface is easy to operate. Still, you might run into a few hiccups here and there, so we’re covering navigation for newbies to help you avoid any pitfalls.

Apple Maps icon in CarPlay
Apple Maps in CarPlay – tap this icon to open Maps

Using Maps in CarPlay

Launching Maps in CarPlay is easy.

Simply tap the “Maps” icon and give “Maps” some time to determine your current location. Once you’ve done that, you can utilize zoom to get a more precise look at your destination, swap from a two-dimensional appearance to a three-dimensional one, explore what’s around you, and figure out where you want to go next.

Apple Maps in CarPlay's 3D button
Apple Maps in CarPlay’s 3D button

If you need Maps to provide you with some guidance as you figure out your next stop, all you need to do is tap on “Destinations.” Depending on your location, you’ll get some advice from CarPlay about what’s around you. You’ll see a few icons that you can select from, including “Gas,” “Parking,” “Coffee,” “Food,” and more. Select the type of destination you want to find, and once you tap that icon, you’ll wind up with a bevy of locations you can access that are near to you.

CarPlay screenshot of Apple Maps' 3D view
Apple Maps’ 3D view. Hello, future.

Getting Directions in CarPlay

One of the most popular features that users of CarPlay love is how easy it is to use Maps for navigation. If you want some turn-by-turn directions as you head to your next stop, then all you need to do is program your destination into Maps using the touchscreen. Or, you can talk to Siri.

Touchscreen Directions

  1. If you want to get turn-by-turn directions using the touchscreen on CarPlay, simply tap Maps and then go to “Destinations.”
  2. If you plan to go somewhere you recently visited, you should be able to tap on “Recent” to select your next stop.
  3. However, if you never used CarPlay to navigate to a destination before, tap on the “Microphone” icon instead. You can then speak your destination aloud. CarPlay will search around you and give you some options to pick from. Simply tap the correct destination on the touchscreen.
  4. If you want other options in directions, you can tap on “More Routes.” When you know which route you want to take, select it and click “Go.”

Using Siri for Directions

If you’d rather use Siri to get your directions, you’ll be happy to know that this process is quite simple.

  1. First, hold down the CarPlay button found on your steering wheel, or hold the CarPlay “Home” button located on your touchscreen.
  2. Next, talk to Siri and say, “Get me directions to…” and say the address of the location or type of location. Siri will then give you some options to pick from.
  3. Once you choose one, it will display on your touchscreen.

Keeping It Simple

If you visit the same spots often, it is worthwhile for you to mark those places as favorites on your iPhone so that you won’t have to search for them each time. Once you save a favorite, you can find it again by touching the “Heart” icon you can access from your “Destinations” screen.

This is a CarPlay screenshot dimmed at night. It's activated by turning on your headlights.
CarPlay dims the map display at night. This dimmed mode is activated by turning on your headlights.
CarPlay screenshot of Maps' 3D view
Another CarPlay screenshot of Maps’ 3D view, during a drive with a destination selected. This particular example helpfully displays a Dunkin Donuts location.
CarPlay Apps General CarPlay Information

New to CarPlay? Here Are Some Newbie Tips…

Let’s Begin

If you haven’t heard, Apple’s CarPlay is available in 99% of new cars. While CarPlay has loads of headroom to grow into, CarPlay does most but not all of what it needs to do to keep drivers satisfied… and not crashing.

CarPlay gives us an abbreviated, car-centered, voice-centered mobile version of iOS.

So, if you are new to Apple CarPlay, what can you expect? Since this writer is also a CarPlay novice, let me share with you some of the things that strike me about my first experiences with Apple’s new product.

  • You need to make friends with Siri to easily use Apple CarPlay.
  • Apple Music works well with CarPlay.
  • Using Siri with CarPlay, you can Access Apple Music, talk on your phone, read a message, or navigate your destination through Apple Maps.
  • CarPlay doesn’t offer a wide choice of apps.

Siri is your best help when you start using CarPlay. You can find Siri anytime by accessing the on-screen home button. So, if you get lost as you play with CarPlay, just talk to Siri.

No New Software Required

You won’t need to download any apps on your iPhone to play music through CarPlay. Instead, the best thing to use, Apple Music, is already on your iPhone. You can get assistance by using the touchscreen on the car, or by talking to Siri.

Siri will help you not just with playing your music, however. Siri also does a fantastic job of helping users out with phone calls and messages. To call somebody, all you need to do is ask Siri. Siri can also also read your messages to you when you are on the road so that you can drive safely.

If you need some directions, you can ask Siri to assist you with Apple Maps. Apple Maps will give you simple voice prompts to help you navigate while you drive.

To date, CarPlay is limited because it doesn’t offer a wide variety of apps. However, since Apple’s focus is on keeping drivers safe, some of the limitations are understandable. Regardless, I enjoy using CarPlay as a newbie because I can do what is necessary without using my hands while driving, and that makes me feel safe.