CarPlay Navigation

Waze deserves to be your default navigation for CarPlay

We write about Apple Maps quite often here at CarPlay World, but not often about Waze. Waze is a navigation alternative to Maps. You must download it from the App Store, it’s not on your iPhone by default, like Maps is.

If you are like most drivers, you want to avoid traffic as much as possible. Major cities like Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles are now experiencing some of the heaviest traffic in American history. This is because of a variety of factors but it all boils down to the rapidly rising populations in urban and suburban areas. There are probably a lot more people driving around in your city than there were five years ago or even then there were last year. You are bound to have longer drives to get around.

Luckily the software developers at Waze have been doing their best to save you from that dreaded daily commute. An increasing number of drivers choose to share their location data with Waze through Google Maps, which has given Waze an abundance of data references for some of the most accurate real time navigation processing in history. The clever data processing software found in the Waze app currently has no equal at least on commercial app stores.

Google Maps and Apple Maps which are very popular navigational apps do not offer the real time updates Waze can give you. This is because Waze emphasizes community reporting while other mapping software rely on trusted users’ updates which are much slower. Conventional navigational systems are almost designed in an unrealistic bubble because driving environments are always subject to change and need rapid updating for effective mapping.

For example, when a Waze user reports speed traps, potholes or accidents that information is added to the real time community map much faster than on Google Maps or Apple Maps. After a recent IOS update Waze is available on the highly popular CarPlay system and can actually be configured as the default navigational app! Here are the steps to get that done and save yourself from another wasted day in traffic.

• Download the Waze app onto your iPhone
• Navigate to your iPhone’s General Settings tab
• Select Apple CarPlay from the list of options
• Open your cars custom CarPlay settings
• Tap on more apps and scroll down to Waze
• Use the green plus sign to add Waze to your list of apps
• Use the horizontal triple lines to slide Waze to the top of your app list

Once you are able to set Waze as the preferred mapping software for your Apple CarPlay experience you will never want to go back. There are an abundance of online user reviews rating the Waze app extremely positively. Many reviews stress the significance that community reporting brings to mapping software. One reviewer compared it to AdBlock stating “It’s like you literally get to avoid traffic and accidents like your using AdBlock to skip commercials on YouTube”. And other ones praised the simplistic, yet visually appealing user interface Waze is famous for. It’s no secret that most smartphone users credit Waze as the most effective mapping software ever created.

CarPlay Navigation CarPlay Texting & Calls

Why Apple CarPlay Saves Lives

You always hear how important it is to never text and drive, but how many people actually listen to that advice? According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that more than 35,000 people lose their lives to motor vehicle accidents. A major reason for many of those accidents is distracted cellphone usage. This is especially the case for drivers who text and browse the web while operating a motor vehicle. 

It’s no secret that driving can take up a lot your time.  And sometimes you will get that super important text message from your boss or that critical email from your coworker which you need to respond to ASAP. So, like many people you probably have picked up the phone or texted away while driving. All whilst accepting that you are putting yourself and others in great risk. But what if there was a safe and responsible way to handle those tricky driving situations?

Enter Voice Recognition

Voice recognition technology has greatly advanced in recent years and can now be used as a primary form of input. This is great news for those times you need to use your phone on the road. Your hands and eyes are usually busy when driving, but your voice is not. And if you own a car equipped with Apple CarPlay you will have access to a highly advanced voice recognition system which will work as your very own personal driving assistant.

Enter CarPlay

Vehicles equipped with Apple CarPlay’s hand free voice recognition system enjoy a variety of features like hands-free texting, hands-free navigational mapping, and hands-free web searches. If you drive with CarPlay you will never have to type that risky text on the highway ever again. Your voice assistant will do it for you! Apple CarPlay connects to your phone seamlessly and all incoming message will be available to read on your CarPlay display. You can also use your CarPlay voice assistant for navigational instructions so that you will never have those awkward mapping on the go moments ever again. Browsing the web for a quick question is also just as easy, all you have to do is direct your question to your CarPlay system and you will get a prompt response. 

How to set up your Apple CarPlay Voice Assistant

  • Step 1: Make sure your car is turned on
  • Step 2:  Enable Siri in your iPhone system settings
  • Step 3: Connect your iPhone to your car via USB or Bluetooth
  • Step 4: Use your car’s specific Voice Command button to activate its voice assistant (Check your vehicle’s manual for more instructions)
CarPlay Navigation

Maps Redesigned, Improved for Users in the US

New Apple Maps Designed with Better Road Coverage and Pedestrian Data, More Precise Addresses, and Detailed Land Cover

I noticed yesterday new traffic light icons. Hm. Where did these come from? Wait! There’s a lot more detail! Where did that come from?

Houston, we have traffic light icons.

They came from a Maps update that Apple released yesterday.

Apple today announced that all users in the United States can now experience a redesigned Maps with faster and more accurate navigation and comprehensive views of roads, buildings, parks, airports, malls and more, making it easier and more enjoyable to map out any journey. Apple completed the rollout of this new Maps experience in the United States and will begin rolling it out across Europe in the coming months.

There are also several significant non-CarPlay new features as well:

Maps offers interactive street-level imagery with high-resolution, 3D photography and smooth and seamless transitions through major cities with Look Around. Customers from anywhere in the world can navigate through New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston and Oahu, with many more places to come.

Auto Manufacturers & CarPlay CarPlay Navigation CarPlay News

iOS 13 – The Dust Has Settled

CarPlay is Apple’s solution to automakers’ generally awful infotainment efforts in their cars, trucks and SUVs over the last ten years.

iOS 13 is Apple’s latest phone software, and because iPhones are what runs CarPlay, CarPlay is updated and thus improved. It was released about a month ago, so we’ve had time to experience its changes, improvements, and in some cases, frustrations.

Loves and Hates

  • There’s no way to End a trip in Apple Maps from the main Maps screen (not Dashboard) — you have to go to the phone itself to find the red End button.
  • The overview/detail button in Apple Maps isn’t clear, and usually doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s a compass arrow, sometimes it’s a squiggly, in all cases it’s either laggy or doesn’t do anything. See photo below.
  • The new dashboard is nice, not mind-blowing, but nice.
  • More controls have been “surfaced” up to a single tap from the top-level. See photo below.
  • Siri still doesn’t do much for me. She’s just a nice-sounding interface to static information.
  • The improved interaction of Calendar in CarPlay is super.

Changes in iOS 13 CarPlay

  • CarPlay is now five years old!
  • Do not disturb while driving shows a moon icon near signal strength and battery level.
  • The secondary display — your iPhone itself — remains unchanged in the various configurations we’ve tried it with.
  • Siri is not in this list of changes despite what Apple says.

When Will Siri Show Up?

When will Siri show up as an intelligent, AI-powered feature that predicts things we consider truly useful? She’s still a basic assistant who is simply an intermediary between your daily business and you. She just looks up stuff you could find with a quick look at your calendar, your messages, your email, etc.

Wake me when Siri is an actual AI, one that predicts your needs and offers you useful information before it occurs to you to find it. My test for this behavior milestone is when Siri offers me information that I say “I didn’t know I needed that.”

Photos of CarPlay — iOS 13


The new Dashboard in CarPlay iOS 13. It displays a summary of several different pieces, in this case Maps, entertainment (an audio book), and the next item from my Calendar.

Apple Maps in Dashboard

2D vs 3D Maps

This image shows the difference between 2D and 3D views in Apple Maps. Note the 3D screenshot shows a low-resolution instance. This isn’t the traditional definition of resolution, this means that buildings and other items are not rendered in fancy 3D fashion.
Where’s the 2d/3d button? Where’s the overview/detail button? Where’s the zoom button? Context is important here — many of these things are missing because there is no destination programmed, but still, these things should be here.

Secondary (iPhone itself) Display

CarPlay Apps CarPlay Navigation

Google Maps Adds Speed Limit And Speed Camera Locations

A Google spokesperson said the speed limit service is currently live in the U.S., U.K. and Denmark. In the US, select regions have had this for six months or more, making me wonder what’s wrong with my region. *sniff*

Google has begun rolling out speed limit and speed camera indicators in Google Maps

Simultaneously, Waze Makes Speed Limit Indicator Changes

Probably because Waze is a Google product, it’s done the same. The two apps might share code, and they almost certainly share data services (mapping data, this new speed limit and camera location data, etc.).

Speed Limit Notifications in Apple Maps

They’ve been around since at least November, 2017, despite some hiccups a year ago with the rollout of iOS 12.

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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 Navigation CarPlay News Future of CarPlay

iOS 13 Brings New CarPlay Features!

Why do we report on iOS? Because it’s the “parent” of CarPlay; CarPlay runs under iOS, while iOS is the operating system software that runs your phone. When something changes/improves/breaks/gets fixed in iOS, it can affect CarPlay, thus our interest in iOS in general and iOS 13 in particular.

iOS 13 is likely to debut on September 18. As with all iOS releases, major and minor, it’s free to all iPhone owners.

Improved CarPlay Experience

That said, what this update boils down to for us CarPlay aficionados is CarPlay providing easier calendar viewing, route planning/navigation, searching, improved visuals designed to get info to your brain with as little effort as possible, as well as things like the new Junction View.

The All-New CarPlay Dashboard

Even more exciting, your CarPlay Dashboard comes with a new and improved look. The goal of this redesign is to make things easier for you while you drive. Your new CarPlay Dashboard allows you to do everything in one place including maps, adjusting the sound, and accessing Siri.

Once you get the new iOS 13 update, you’ll see a new look on your Dashboard. You’ll also notice a change in the way Maps works, and Maps works a bit differently with your dashboard. You’ll see the dashboard offer up some navigation information, a small screen of Maps, and a music player feature.

With the new iOS 13 update, you’ll still be able to use Siri Suggestions as well. However, how you access and use Siri will affect the way Siri responds, so Siri’s content could be different from user to user.

Customizing Your CarPlay Dashboard

You can also customize the way your CarPlay Dashboard works if you want something that’s easier for you. Here are the steps:

  • Go into the Settings menu.
  • Select general options.
  • You’ll see the CarPlay settings here. From here, you can add more options and take others out as you see fit

More Independence

CarPlay’s updates make the program more consistent because the amount of interruptions you might experience while driving have now been decreased. Before the new update, your iPhone would be connected to the dashboard, which could sometimes malfunction while driving if the iPhone was touched, so drivers needed to take the time to reconnect.

Now, thankfully, those days are long gone. The app functions separately on the car’s dashboard and you can see your iPhone mirroring it. So your passengers can use your iPhone and CarPlay will continue to function as normal as long as the phone remains plugged into your dashboard.

You also now have the choice to use Dark Mode if it’s easier for you to view. Dark Mode utilizes dark colors on the app’s menus, which makes things easier to view for some individuals. If you tend to experience eye strain often, then Dark Mode should really help you out.

If needed, Dark Mode is also available for the CarPlay app which makes use of dark colors for the app’s menus. This new setting is said to reduce eye strain from looking at a dark road and to the infotainment screen.


Maps is 100% brand-new! Redesigned, improved and better looking, like us writers at CPW.

You can also customize Maps UI with your favorite apps. You can see app shortcuts while you are looking at Maps, and also see a location history. While you are driving, you can even set Maps UI to send out ETA messages so your friends and contacts know where you are and when you might show up.

The Look — the look is brand-new, “Rebuilt from the ground up”. Yessss… not that we didn’t like the current Maps, how it draws roads and buildings.

So clean! The new Maps in iOS 13.

We like new graphics for the sake of cool new stuff. Sorry, but it’s true! Maps will have more realistic details for roads, beaches, parks, buildings, etc.


Junction View — In addition to, well, better intersection views, this feature is basically Maps telling you which lane to be in for turns or merges. Oh hell yea ❤️.

Junction View helps drivers eliminate wrong turns and directional misses by lining them up in the correct lane before they need to turn or enter an elevated road.

But Wait! There’s More!

See iOS 13 update details Part 2

CarPlay Apps CarPlay Navigation

Using Waze on CarPlay

If you want to take advantage of one of the most useful crowdsourced navigation tools out there, then you’ll love how Waze gives you information in real time. For many years now, I’ve enjoyed using Waze even back when it was just an app on my phone. Waze is not only free, but it is also one of the only crowdsourced GPS navigation apps around. The crowdsourcing information helps provide you with warnings about various things you might incur on your route.

For awhile now, most of us have only been able to use Waze with our iPhones out. With so many states passing hands-free laws and with all of the additional emphasis on safety while driving, that didn’t always make using Waze as effective and easy as it could have been.

Waze and Apple’s iOS 12 Update

However, Apple’s new iOS 12 update now allows Waze to work with Apple CarPlay, making Waze compatible with over 400 vehicles that come with CarPlay. That’s a major break for all of us on the planet that love Waze while we navigate. Now, we can safely use Waze by connecting to it on CarPlay.

Apple is now allowing CarPlay to use third-party navigation apps, so people are no longer reduced to just Apple Maps on their CarPlay systems when driving from point A to point B. Now you can integrate Google Maps as well. Interestingly, Google purchased Waze back in 2013.

Waze’s Benefits

Waze provides users with several benefits. One of my favorite benefits offered by Waze is something that makes the app so unique—that is, the crowdsourcing features. Other drivers provide data in the app that help you avoid accidents, potholes, floods, stopped cars, speed traps, and red-light cameras along your route. You’ll also get warnings if there are police located anywhere near you.

Waze offers a community feel behind the way it works. So, if you feel like helping out your fellow drivers in return by reporting any obstacles you incur on your trip, you’ll just be returning a few favors. However, the crowdsourcing aspect behind Waze provides a lot of beneficial suggestions to avoid safety hazards while driving, making Waze a great app to use while driving.

How to Replace Apple Maps with Waze on CarPlay

So, if you want to get started with Waze on CarPlay, how do you do it? Don’t worry. We’ve got the steps below to help you set-up Waze correctly on CarPlay. You’ll be using the helpful crowdsourcing app in no time. You’ll need to replace Apple Maps with Waze on CarPlay, so really, these steps are about setting up your navigation options.

  • First, make sure you get the iOS 12 update on your iPhone. You also need to download Waze 4.45.4 or higher.
  • Tap on “Settings” on your iPhone.
  • Next, tap on “General” on your iPhone.
  • Then, tap on “CarPlay” on your iPhone.
  • Select your vehicle once you are in the CarPlay area of your iPhone.
  • Swipe to the second page of apps.
  • Tab and hold Waze down.
  • Then, move Waze to your Home screen.
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 Navigation

Apple Maps Now Displays Approaching Cross Street Names

Like a helpful hand from heaven, Maps on Carplay now shows approaching cross streets.

This makes it easier to judge when a turn is coming up, or to know which street to cut down to make a shortcut to get where you’re going.

I used it yesterday when I cut down Floyd Ave to get to the post office near my house here in Denver, Colorado. Sometimes, we humans are smarter than machines, and in this case I knew turning on the street before the one Maps always tells me to go down is faster, and it was.

Because it’s now labeled, I didn’t have to semi-guess the street/watch my car’s progress on the map as I was driving, I just knew where to turn.

And thus the best of machines was blended with the best of the human brain to get me to the post office 45 seconds faster.

the best of machines was blended with the best of the human brain to get me to the post office 45 seconds faster.

Maps for Carplay continues to be the best-looking map app available to Carplay users, followed closely by Google Maps. Sadly, Waze (my favorite) lags far behind in beauty and legibility.