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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 Navigation

Apple Maps: 3D View is Nice But Rare, and Speed Limit Notifications… Where?

Apple Maps’ 3D button works great in the few areas it works. For a tech nerd like me with a passable map fancy, Apple Maps’ 3D view is really cool. I mean, who doesn’t want to see buildings rendered in surprising detail as you move between them. It’s just cool.

The trouble is, few places in my city are rendered in 3D. 

How to turn on Apple Maps’ 3D feature

A mile from downtown Denver, on Lincoln (major thoroughfare) nothing got 3D-ed. It takes literally being at the center of the city to get some 3D-ness. How is your city? Feel free to contact us using the “Submit a Tip” section on the right (on desktop) or at the bottom (on mobile).

Confusingly, the 3D button isn’t always available. In fact it’s nearly entirely absent, whether you’re following a route or just watching your position. 

No Speed Limits! Whoo! Wait…

Are speed limits notifications disappearing? Seemingly at the same time that iOS 12 debuted, the frequency of speed limit notifications in Apple Maps seems to have gone down.

Apple Maps helpful speed limit notification, onscreen

On arterials where I used to see them often, they no longer appear. I have and have had “Speed Limit” selected in Settings -> Maps -> Driving & Navigation. It was so bad I actually checked that.

iOS 12 speed limit notificaiton

And looking for some sort of objective metric for this report, looking through the last 6 weeks of CarPlay screenshots (of which I have about 100% more than the average iOS user) I see a much smaller percent that have a speed limit badge than I did before iOS 12. Hm. We’ll keep an eye on this moving forward.