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 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 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 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.

CarPlay Navigation

Clever Calendar Hack for Apple CarPlay

CarPlay is great for music and the like, but there’s other uses as well.

Reddit user thewizleon posted earlier this year about a clever hack to integrate your Apple Calendar and Maps app so you can easily pull up saved locations. It’s such a nice little piece of advice we wanted to share it here.

Here’s the issue: You’ve added appointments and events to your Calendar throughout the day. You get in your car, ready to drive to your next meeting, but have no idea where to go. What to do?

thewizleon notes:

I’ve always wanted the calendar app to be CarPlay so I can pull up my next job, click it and get directions straight to Apple maps. Sadly this isn’t possible, however I have noticed there is a (sort of) solution.

Instead of looking up your destination every time or saving half the info in Apple Calendar (time/event) and half in Maps (location), here’s a helpful trick: Add the location directly to your Calendar events. Just make sure that the Calendar knows it’s a location (it’ll show a map of the location if everything is right).

That’s all you have to do. Next time you get in your car, wondering where to drive, tell Siri to open Destinations in Maps and voila! all your event and meeting locations for the day will be listed right there. Pretty cool, huh?

Streamlining your life like this is always a blessing. This neat little trick is great for those of us who are driving around all day and don’t want to constantly re-find where we need to go. A+ thewizleon!

CarPlay Apps CarPlay Navigation

Apple Maps vs. Waze

Like the Waze news we reported over the summer, Waze is on CarPlay! As part of the iOS 12 update, Apple opened mapping to 3rd party apps. Google Maps was on the next day. Waze followed a few days later. So before you switch, you might want our breakdown on Apple Maps vs. Waze.

After Google Maps appeared on CarPlay as part of iOS 12, Waze has now become available as a navigation alternative on Apple’s CarPlay. Follow along for how to replace Apple Maps with Waze on CarPlay.

Waze is a popular choice for navigation with its smart routing features based around crowdsourcing data from its users. Known for its real-time traffic reports, users get alerts on upcoming police officers, construction, accidents, and more.

It also features the ability to toggle a light or dark mode and change the appearance of your “car” in the app.

So how does Waze compare to the native Apple Maps? We show you in this Apple Maps vs. Waze on CarPlay feature list:

Apple Maps Waze
touch-drag car display yes yes (laggy)
double tap to zoom yes no
voice destination entry yes yes
automatic dark mode at night yes no yes*
on screen keyboard entry no yes
situational reporting no yes
hazard alerts yes yes
police alerts no yes
heavy traffic alerts ? yes
output voice on or off on, alerts only, off
output voice choices
yes, globally on the iPhone
end guidance term “End” “Stop”
alternate routes only if heavy traffic
yes, tap the double arrow icon at top
alternate route live suggestions yes yes
3D visuals yes no
best time to leave no yes

* UPDATE Initially, we had this marked “no”, because activating the headlights did nothing to change the mode. Interestingly, Waze’s dark mode is keyed (no pun intended) to the time of day. Apple Map’s dark mode is keyed to the position of the headlight switch. Ostensibly, Waze’s dark mode would be region specific, because sunset moment occurs at different times across the globe.

CarPlay Apps CarPlay Navigation CarPlay News

Google Maps is Now on CarPlay, And It’s Pretty Great

As part of iOS 12, Apple opened up Google Maps to CarPlay. Finally, we’re free of Apple Maps for navigation on CarPlay!

Here’s What Google Maps Looks Like on CarPlay

I find Google Maps on CarPlay to be as good as Google Maps as an app. In other words, it’s the same thing. The difference is CarPlay displays Maps in its own way.

Google Maps on CarPlay is unmistakably a Google product. Clean, pretty Google Sans for accent or emphasis text (titles, major inputs, etc) and Roboto for the rest. Apple Maps uses the tried-and-true Avenir font.

CarPlay displaying Google Maps app
CarPlay displaying Google Maps app

CarPlay displaying Google Maps app, main display, daytime mode (light)
CarPlay displaying Google Maps app, main display, daytime mode (light)

Google Maps app, main display, nighttime mode (dark)
CarPlay displaying Google Maps app, main display, nighttime mode (dark)

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps, Comparison Screenshots

Google Maps on CarPlay, secondary (phone) screen, vertical display
Google Maps on CarPlay, secondary (phone) screen, vertical display

Apple Maps on CarPlay, secondary (phone) screen, vertical display
Apple Maps on CarPlay, secondary (phone) screen, vertical display

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps on CarPlay - basic visual differences
Apple Maps vs. Google Maps on CarPlay – basic visual differences