Apple Carplay has come a long way since the Ferrari FF became the first automobile to fully integrate it in September of 2014. But before that CarPlay was a theoretical concept derived from the “iPod Out” feature on iOS 4. Early integrations of iPods and iPhones into cars in 2010 utilized choppy interfaces from varying manufacturers – most notably JVC and BMW. The latter teamed with Apple and started using “iPod Out” as part of a standardized interface. It ultimately led to Apple announcing the launch of CarPlay at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.
The release of iOS 13 on September 19, 2019 bought several new features and enhancements to CarPlay. Most importantly, iOS 13 fixed many common issues that users frequently complained about. One of them was the inability to display multimedia and navigation data simultaneously on the dash display. A new Dashboard feature was introduced with iOS 13 that created a de-facto split-screen so directions and other content were both visible. Apple Maps got several upgrades, including a favorites menu, flight tracking and improved voice guidance.
iOS 14 was released in September 16, 2020. Social media users and professional reviewers weren’t necessarily impressed with the rollout. Many complained of battery issues, poor Wi-Fi connectivity and keyboard lags. Of course there were initial issues with practically all the new iOS roll outs due to thee rush by Apple to get as many users as possible downloading its latest operating system.
Meanwhile CarPlay was updated with several changes as a result of iOS 14.
What’s New With CarPlay?
The iOS 14 update did not bring any major new features or functionalities to CarPlay. But it definitely streamlined many functions, improved upon overall usability, and added aesthetic features as well. The most readily-noticeable difference is the addition of new wallpaper to the display. It’s still default color schemes provided by Apple; you cannot upload custom photos. However there are more choice with iOS 14.
The Share ETA feature can now be activated with Siri. This feature existed with iOS 13 as well. The difference is that you no longer have to use your hands. Siri does all the work. All you must do is tell Siri to Share ETA with one of your contacts. It automatically updates ETA’s when you encounter traffic or some other obstruction that slows or speeds up your route.
Siri is now able to send voice messages to your contacts as well. Simply tell Siri who you want the message delivered to, record it, and it’s automatically sent to the messaging app.
More iOS 14 updates for CarPlay
Previous versions of Carplay only allowed Apple Macs for navigation. iOS 14 allows Google Maps and Waze as navigational directories too. Apple Maps automatically shows charging station for specific electric vehicle – for those who have them. Siri itself also looks different on the display. The glowing icon is no longer the default when speaking to it.
Apple CarKey is also part of iOS 14. The idea is to eliminate key fobs so all you need in your pocket is an iPhone. CarKey is only available on certain devices, including, among others, Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone XR, iPhone 11 and iPhone Pro Max. The 2021 BMW 5 series is the first automobile to support CarKey. Apple said on its website that CarKey will also be available for iOS 13.
CarPlay wasn’t broke, don’t fix it
Many of the updates and improvements to CarPlay are negligible at best. It does support more apps now and is more customizable. It will take Apple the rest of 2020 to work out all the bugs due to the rushed release. But overall CarPlay is a better and more useful product than the iOS 13 iteration.