CarPlay Apps CarPlay Music & Podcasts

Spotify Pushes into CarPlay’s Music Turf

Not surprisingly, Spotify has risen in status to the most popular music app around, including both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Interestingly, Spotify has become so popular lately since there are so many other options in music, including Apple Music and Deezer. However, much of Spotify’s success has to do with its innovation. Back in October 2019, Spotify finally received full Siri integration, and now, Spotify is offering a new “car mode” that has everybody buzzing. 

Spotify and Siri

In October 2019, Spotify announced that iOS lovers can now use Siri together with Spotify. The lack of functionality that existed between Spotify and Apple previously was a source of some stress for both parties. Finally, the two decided to set aside their differences and work together, realizing the potential benefits for both companies. 

Before Apple and Spotify buried the hatched, only Apple Music worked with Siri. However, everything changed back in October 2019 when Apple introduced the SiriKit to iOS 13. Spotify moved quickly to use those functions, and now, after you’ve performed the update, you’ll be able to use Spotify with Siri’s voice commands. 

However, the introduction of Siri into Spotify isn’t the only achievement that we’ve seen from Spotify recently. Recently, Spotify has been the source of a lot of speculation because of the app’s unique car mode feature.

Spotify and Car Mode

Not only can you now use Siri with Spotify, but you can also get your very own car view when you install Spotify. Now, precisely what do we mean by a “car view?” If your car doesn’t have the latest infotainment system, like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, or if you are one of those people that prefers to live on his or her phone, then Spotify has a solution for you. 

By using Spotify on a car that lacks an infotainment system, Spotify’s app will now create its own “car view” so that you have an interface similar to the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto interface. By offering a feature like this, where users that lack an infotainment system can still play music from their Spotify app as if they had one, the expectation is that Spotify is likely to boom even more significantly than it already has.

Spotify is already the most popular music app in the world. By offering its car mode through the app, we can only imagine how much larger Spotify will become once their updated app takes off. 

What You’ll See with Spotify’s Car Mode

If you use Spotify’s car mode, you’ll see a dumbed-down version of the original Spotify menu that’s meant to be more comfortable for drivers to use while they are on-the-go. The icons and the text are blown up so that drivers have easier access to them. Since January 2019, this feature has been available in the app. However, it appears that Spotify has several other plans for this app now that it’s been released. 

Spotify is currently working on improving its car mode for the future. For example, Spotify plans to expand its update into podcasts so that there will also be larger icons and easy-to-read artwork, making things easier on drivers. However, nobody quite knows when Spotify intends to release their improvements. However, most people expect Spotify to complete their modifications and then introduce another update later on in 2020. 

CarPlay Apps CarPlay Music & Podcasts

Spotify Stations Updated to Work With CarPlay

For all of you music lovers out there, you’ll get a lot of use from Spotify, which is one of the leaders in the music streaming service industry. If you’re a Spotify fan and you’re dying to listen to your favorite Spotify music with your Apple CarPlay, then you’re in luck. Spotify recently updated its Spotify Stations app for iOS so that it’s supported on CarPlay. Now you can take control of playback directly from your CarPlay head unit rather than having to mess around with your iPhone to access Spotify while you drive.

What We Love About Spotify Stations

One of the best things about Spotify Stations for CarPlay is its simplicity. When we first played around with it, we thought it seemed relatively basic. However, now that we’ve had some time to experience Spotify Stations, we realize the beauty of this simplicity. When you first access Spotify Stations, you’ll see a list of stations you can pick from. That list of stations is very similar to the iOS counterpart we are all already used to, but Spotify is now more car-friendly than what it used to be.

Spotify’s brilliant move of making their CarPlay version of Spotify Stations resemble the familiar iOS version means there is nothing new to learn here when you want to select a station. And the easier it is to use something, the more likely people are to use it. That’s certainly true of our experience with Spotify Stations.

What You’ll Get with Spotify Stations

The new Spotify Stations app was originally launched in the United States. With this app, you’ll get:

  • A radio-centric listening experience.
  • Easy-to-access radio stations that feature your favorite artists.
  • Access to things like favorites, acoustic hits, and more.
  • A set-up that is familiar to users.

Another great feature of Spotify Stations is the fact that the app will adapt to your musical tastes and requests the more often you use it. So, even when you can’t think of a song you might want to hear, Spotify Stations will have you covered. You won’t even need to type or search once Spotify Stations learns enough about what you like. After the app gets to know you, it will make stations featuring all of your favorite songs.

Competing with Pandora

Spotify Stations was obviously created to compete with Pandora, which it successfully does. However, Spotify Stations offers something Pandora doesn’t have yet, which makes Spotify Stations all that more attractive. In comparison to Pandora, Spotify Stations is able to offer you a more personalized listening experience. As long as you use Spotify Stations for on-demand music listening while you drive, the app will start adapting to you and giving you playlists and stations filled with all of your favorites.

Like Pandora, Spotify Stations was created for users that don’t want to have to lift a finger while they rock out. Of course, not wanting to touch anything while you drive and listen to music keeps everybody safe on the road, and that’s what Apple’s CarPlay is all about.

Stations can be downloaded for free on an iPhone with iOS 11.4 or later. If you don’t want to hear any ads, you’ll need to pay a $9.99 per month subscription fee.

CarPlay Apps CarPlay Music & Podcasts

Enjoy Your CarPlay Podcasts with NPR One

NPR One is a decent podcast and live broadcast app for individuals who enjoy shows and podcasts from NPR and local public radio. With NPR One, you can get on-demand NPR content anytime you want to listen to it. That means you can easily listen to the news, hear your favorite NPR shows, and much more. What’s even better now about NPR One is that you can not only use it with your iPhone, but also with Apple CarPlay as well.

If you recognize these, you should give this app a try.

When you start using NPR One, you’ll notice that there are four different sections. The first section, “Catch Up”, provides a playback of the NPR national news broadcasts so that you can stay up-to-date with current events. The second section, called “Up Next,” offers suggestions about what you should listen to after you finish up your current listening session. Third, there is the “Followed Shows” section, where you’ll find any shows you decide to follow. Last, you’ll see a “Recommended Shows” area, which provides you with NPR programs that the app thinks you might enjoy based on what you’ve listened to in the past.

NPR One on Apple CarPlay

If you like listening to streaming public radio news while you’re in your vehicle and on-the-go, then you’ll love NPR One on Apple CarPlay. Now you can listen to public radio news from all over the world. You’ll be able to select stations from international, national, and local news after you sign up for your NPR member station. If your car has Apple CarPlay in its infotainment system and you’re a news junkie, you’ll love having NPR One for Apple CarPlay.

If you want to get started and “Catch Up” on your National or Local broadcast news and then follow up with your recommended stories, then simply tap on the “Catch Up” feature. If you’re looking for something new, on the other hand, then you can tap on “Recommendations” and look over a list of episodes the app feels you might like based on what you’ve listened to previously.

If you’re taking a longer road trip, then NPR One’s “Featured Shows” might be your best bet. In that area of the app, you’ll find a list of shows and podcasts you can listen to while driving. Some of our favorites include NPR’s Hidden Brain, WNYC’s Radiolab, and PRX’s The Moth Radio Hour. However, feel free to browse around and find your own favorites, since there is a vast selection of titles to pick from.

While you are listening to one of your favorite “Featured Shows,” you can open the extended menu on the CarPlay interface and follow the show in NPR One. That way, you’ll be able to listen to the latest episodes as soon as they are released. Another neat feature we love is that you can watch the latest episodes from your followed shows by selecting “Followed.”

It Makes a Strong Case for Itself — If You Want NPR-Only Content

If you live in the world of National Public Radio content — meaning you’re a NPR devotee — this app will allow you a laser focus on current and new avenues of NPR content, like the hokey-but-fun Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!. Additionally, it can shine a light on content previously unknown, if you’re not an NPR listener.

How to Use NPR One with CarPlay

If you’re wondering how to use NPR One with CarPlay, just follow the steps below:

  • Connect your iPhone to CarPlay using your USB connector and connecting it to your car.
  • Turn on CarPlay and select NPR One on your CarPlay touchscreen.
  • Next, tap either “Catch Up” if you want to start with your recommended stories, OR
  • Tap on “Recommendations” to see a list of recommendations based on your previous listening.
CarPlay Apps CarPlay Music & Podcasts

Overcast — Your Apple Podcast Alternative?

For people that are looking for an alternative to Apple’s podcast app, Overcast can provide you with all you need. When it comes to podcasts for CarPlay or your iPhone, you’ve already got a lot of excellent choices. However, our favorite podcast app for your iPhone and CarPlay is Overcast. Designed by famous podcaster Marco Arment, a creator who completely gets podcasts as a medium, the app is friendly and simple. Arment’s innovative design and constant app updates to Overcast make it the most user-friendly podcast app available on the market today.

For a long time, Arment vocalized his feelings about making a free and open podcast app. When he created Overcast, he refused to use dynamically-inserted adds, or allow the app to track a listener’s activity. Arment’s feelings about how podcasting apps should work completely define his Overcast app. For instance, you can export your playlists in OPML from Overcast into another podcast app, a podcast feature you’ll find only in Overcast.

Overcast app while playing a podcast

Arment continues to come up with new innovations about podcasting, and he’s always revising the Overcast app. Through Overcast, Arment offers a lot of innovation and many of his ideas were copied by other apps throughout the years. The two most commonly copied features originally offered by just Overcast are the smart speed option and the voice boost option.

Although Overcast has long been a podcasting favorite as an app, it originally was only available for use with an iPhone. However, recently all of that changed. Now you can use Overcast easily on Apple CarPlay.

What’s New with Overcast

Overcast’s new update offers a bevy of new features now, including iPad and CarPlay support. So, you can play around with Overcast now if you have a tablet, but even better, you can listen to your favorite podcasts while driving with CarPlay. We’ve created a list below of some of the latest features you’ll find on Overcast.

  • Overcast now offers both iPad and CarPlay support.
  • You’ll now get universal rotation with overcast.
  • Most of the issues that made this app buggy in the past are now fixed.

Many people find that utilizing podcasts seems more natural on an iPhone when compared to an iPad. While that might be true, the best thing about Overcast is its CarPlay compatibility, which means you can now listen to your favorite podcasts with the app while driving.

How to Use Overcast with Apple CarPlay

Using Overcast with Apple CarPlay is quick and simple, and there are just a few simple steps you need to take to get Overcast working with your CarPlay. We’ve provided the steps below.

  • Connect your iPhone to CarPlay in your vehicle using your USB connection.
  • Once you plug your phone into the lightening cable, connect your iPhone.
  • You should see the CarPlay icon appear on your screen.
  • Select the CarPlay icon.
  • From there, you should be able to select the app you want to use.
  • Select the Overcast app

Once you’ve selected the Overcast app, you can start listening to your favorite podcasts

CarPlay Apps CarPlay Music & Podcasts

Get the Best Music with CarPlay’s iHeartRadio App

Many people love having a large selection of AM and FM radio stations from around the planet, which is exactly what iHeartRadio can offer you. The latest version of iHeartRadio on CarPlay has a few near features that most listeners love. First, iHeartRadio’s latest update provides an easier-to-use version of the app for cars that have CarPlay. The iHeartRadio app is now very easy to navigate and control through CarPlay while you are on-the-go.

What Does iHeartRadio Offer CarPlay Users?

iHeartRadio’s popularity comes from its massive content offerings. You can listen to anything from talk radio to almost any AM/FM radio station and stream your favorite music online with CarPlay. In fact, over 1900 live stations are available to users of iHeartRadio before they even sign up for an account.

To get the best use out of iHeartRadio’s iPhone app, you do need to create your own account because you’ll be able to personalize the app’s offerings in CarPlay. iHeartRadio only works on CarPlay if you already have an account. The personalization options in iHeartRadio will help you find your favorite radio stations more easily. Signing up for iHeartRadio is easy, and you can do so either using your Email or Facebook account.

If you’ve used iHeartRadio on your iPhone before, then the app will be familiar to you when you utilize it with CarPlay. Also, you’ll find a few interesting things you can listen to, including late night television shows like Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien. Also, if you enjoy your morning news, you can listen to some other television news broadcasts for shows like Good Morning America. On top of that, you’ll get a list of thousands upon thousands of AM and FM radio stations you can stream that are located throughout the country.

Another nice feature of iHeartRadio is its “Today” view widget, which you can access in the Notification Center. If you’re using iOS 8, which has the widget support, then you’ll be able to use this feature. That widget allows you to easily access your recently played stations on iHeartRadio. You’ll see some quick links to those stations as well as station art and titles when you use the widget. If you tap on a station that’s in the widget, it will take you right to that station so you can start listening to it.

If you’re ready to download iHeartRadio, you can do so at the App Store.

How Do I Add iHeartRadio to Apple CarPlay?

If you’re ready to start using iHeartRadio with your Apple CarPlay, you just need to follow a few steps. We’ve got the steps listed for you below.

  • Using your mini lightening cable, connect your iPhone to your car.
  • Your car’s display will then go into Apple CarPlay.
  • From there, tap on the music tab on the bottom of the screen.
  • You’ll see all available music apps displayed on your phone.
  • From there, scroll until you find iHeartRadio’s app and tap on it.
  • After selecting iHeartRadio, the app will launch and you should see the app’s features on your CarPlay screen.
CarPlay Music & Podcasts CarPlay Navigation CarPlay News Future of CarPlay

Part 2: What’s New With the iOS 13 Apple CarPlay Update

See iOS 13 update details Part 1

iOS 13 offers some nice updates for your iPhone, but it’s also making Apple CarPlay better, too. After you get your iOS 13 update, you’ll notice some great extra features, like a brand-new dashboard and several new and improved apps.

CarPlay Dash

With the new CarPlay dashboard, you’ll notice the most useful information available to you right away. Now, you can see your map, navigation, and music availability all in one screen, making things easy to use. You can now change the song you’re listening to while viewing your next turn on one screen, meaning you’ll be able to keep your eyes on the road longer.

Apple Music

Apple Music just got a bit cooler with the new CarPlay update. You’ll notice that it has an all-new look and several familiar library tabs ready for your favorite tunes. You’ll be able to access the browse feature more easily, making it simple to hear your favorite tunes. You’ll be able to see things like recently added tracks and personalized mixes easily. Also, the “Now Playing” screen is just a tap away.


Apple Maps also comes with a new look, and it’s quite an improvement. Apple Maps was basically rebuilt from the ground up so that the road details on the app were better. You’ll love the increase in detail you’ll see with Apple Maps. While the new version of Apple Maps is exclusive to users in the United States right now, once the update goes through a trial one, it will be made more widely available.

The improvements made to turn-by-turn directions will become obvious after you use the navigation a bit more. You’ll hear more natural Siri language, like “Turn right at the next light,” instead of “In 500 feet, turn left.” You’ll also be able to find things like food and gas stations more easily as you travel. Plus, you’ll be able to let your contacts know what your ETA is now when you travel.

Better Siri

Using Siri just got a little easier, too. We already mentioned that Siri’s turn-by-turn directions are better, but “Hey Siri” is now supported fully in CarPlay. So, Siri will work now with car manufacturer’s microphones without issue. So you won’t have to press a button before you talk to Siri.

One thing we did noticed is that Siri doesn’t always hear the driver right away if there is other background noise. However, if this becomes a real problem, you may just need to get a better microphone to cut back on the problem.

Your mileage may vary when it comes to using “Hey Siri,” however. I’ve found that Siri doesn’t always hear me over music and other background noise — but that could be down to the microphones in my car, rather than CarPlay.

The New Calendar App

Now you won’t need Siri to get to your calendar. CarPlay now has its own Calendar app, and it lets you see the day you have planned with one simple glance. The new Calendar app also makes it simple to get directions to your next destination. You can select the event you’re going to, and you’ll see an option to get navigation help to arrive safely.

Light Mode

The new light mode in CarPlay is also worth mentioning. While dark mode is the default, you can switch color schemes if you go into Settings.

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.