CarPlay Apps

What Are CarPlay Apps?

If you haven’t used Apple CarPlay, then you’re missing out on the latest bit of technology that’s designed to keep you safe while you drive. Unfortunately, in today’s technology-driven society, many people are addicted to their cell phones and cannot exist without their devices, even for a few minutes. Nowhere is this addiction more life-threatening than when you are driving. And that’s why Apple came out with CarPlay.

Using Apple CarPlay, you’ll be able to access certain safe apps on your iPhone while you are driving. Although you could use a car holder and mount your phone instead, there are consequences to mounting your phone. First, if you use a car mount, your notifications could still distract you while you are driving. Second, you’ll only be able to see a tiny screen, so you won’t be able to access many of your apps while you drive, anyway. 

However, with Apply CarPlay, you’ll be able to easily navigate Maps, safely reply to messages, select a song to listen to, and ask Siri questions, all while remaining hands-free.

CarPlay apps are a subset of iOS apps. They are regular iPhone apps that run on iPhones but made to run inside the CarPlay environment and are thus available on your car’s CarPlay screen.

You download them onto your iPhone just like any other iPhone app — by using the App Store.

Using Apple CarPlay Apps

When it comes to using apps in CarPlay, you won’t need to install anything into CarPlay. You download the apps that work with CarPlay on your iPhone. Then, when you connect your iPhone to CarPlay, you should be able to see all of your compatible apps on your CarPlay screen when you first start your car. 

CarPlay functions well with many apps you’ll find in your iOS-like Phone, Music, Messages, and Maps. However, CarPlay isn’t designed to only function with the most essential apps. Instead, CarPlay can also work well with several third-party apps, including iHeart Radio, WhatsApp, Audible, and Spotify. 


If you’re looking for a fantastic navigation app because you want something else besides Maps, then you can download a third-party app like Waze, for instance. Many people prefer Waze over Maps because Waze includes warnings about when police officers and accidents are both nearby. Keep in mind that you’ll need to be using iOS 12 and above to use any third-party navigation tool other than maps. 


Or, if you want to use a third-party music app like Pandora, then you need to download the app on your iPhone and select it the next time you use CarPlay. Once you’ve done that, you can switch from Apple Music to Pandora by merely selecting the app on your CarPlay screen. You should also ensure that you have iOS 12 and above before you do this. 

However, if you prefer using Apple Music because you have a subscription, then you can play songs using Siri when you are plugged into CarPlay. You can also play podcasts and audiobooks on CarPlay, too. 

Compared to Google’s “free” offering of apps on Android Auto, Apple is more restrictive and careful. That’s why so many of your apps for your iPhone won’t work well with CarPlay. Apple’s primary focus on CarPlay is the safety of the driver, so not every app you love will be safe enough to qualify for CarPlay.

Auto Manufacturers & CarPlay

Which Honda Models Come With Apple Carplay?

Apple CarPlay offers the easiest (and safest) way to use your iPhone while driving and many of Honda’s most popular models now include CarPlay.

What Honda Models Include CarPlay?

As of late 2018, Honda offers CarPlay in 8 models, including:

  • Accord (starting in 2016)
  • Civic (2016)
  • Ridgeline (starting in 2017)
  • CR-V (2017)
  • Pilot (2017)
  • Odyssey (starting in 2018)
  • Fit (2018)
  • Insight (starting in 2019)

Keep in mind, Honda does not include CarPlay in all trim levels for the above models. Instead, the manufacturer reserves CarPlay (and Android Auto) for all levels except the base trim.

So, for example, the 2019 Honda Civic comes in 5 different trims levels. The base LX trim level doesn’t include CarPlay. However, all the other trim levels – Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring – do include CarPlay.

This rule also applies for the 2019 Honda Fit, Honda Pilot, and Odyssey minivan. The others on our list are likely similar, but take a look at Honda’s full list of models to make sure what trim level you need for CarPlay.

How Much Does CarPlay Cost?

If you’ve already purchased your CarPlay-compatible Honda, you’re all set – you don’t need to pay for anything! That’s no longer a given, as some manufacturers (BMW, we’re looking at you) are actually charging annual fees to continue using CarPlay. Thankfully though, Honda hasn’t yet expressed any interest in charging ongoing fees to use CarPlay.

Of course, if you want Apple CarPlay in your Honda vehicle, you’ll have to pony up the cash for, at least, the second-lowest trim level. This cost premium ranges from about $1,300 for the 2019 Fit to about $4,000 for the 2019 Odyssey.

Of course, with the higher trim level you’re getting a box full of additional goodies as well. Remote engine start and blind spot sensors come with the Odyssey, while the Fit enjoys fog lights and various chrome and spoilers.

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you’ll have to take a look at what these different trim levels include to decide what matters to you.

Can You Add CarPlay to Existing Hondas?

Apple CarPlay menu in the 2017 Accord

Beyond Ford and Hyundai, which retroactively install CarPlay in a handful of models, manufacturers typically won’t add CarPlay to existing vehicles.

If you don’t own one of the CarPlay-carrying models above though, you’re not out of luck! It’s time to go aftermarket.

There’s a wide range of aftermarket infotainment systems that include CarPlay – many at very reasonable prices – and you can pretty much find exactly what your car needs. Single DIN, double DIN. Touchscreen. There’s some awesome options out there, including Wireless connectivity. That’s not even an option yet off the lot of any manufacturer!

Take a look at our article Best Headunits with Apple CarPlay to see what’s out there.

What Does CarPlay Do?

CarPlay is simply a way to use your iPhone more safely while driving. Instead of constantly holding your phone and looking at the little screen to take calls and change music, CarPlay allows you to access all your driving-related apps right on your car’s infotainment display.

Basically, it shows a simplified version of your iPhone screen with pre-approved apps like Maps (or Waze or Google Maps), Audible, Music, Messages, WhatsApp, and iHeartRadio. For the full list of all the apps compatible with CarPlay, check out our post CarPlay Compatible Apps!

CarPlay is all about decreasing the amount of time you spend looking away from the road. As such, you can control your iPhone via your infotainment system’s touchscreen and/or dials or via voice command.

You can make calls, text, make notes and set reminders – all without looking away from the road!

How to Set Up Honda’s Apple CarPlay

The beauty of CarPlay is in its simplicity. Since it’s just a condensed version of your iPhone, you don’t need to learn a totally new system or interface. You’re pretty much ready to go right off the lot!

To set up your Honda’s Apple CarPlay, all you need to do is plug your phone into the USB port using a lightening cord (you’ll have to bring your own though). On your first use, a consent screen will appear on your display. After skimming the Terms & Conditions and clicking Enable, a new CarPlay icon will appear on your Honda’s native display. (Check out the video from Honda above for a visual walk-thru.)

Clicking on the app will open the CarPlay display, already populated with your apps that are pre-approved for CarPlay. Congratulations, you’re ready to start using CarPlay!

How to Use Honda’s Apple CarPlay

Using CarPlay is actually quite easy. Once you’ve plugged your iPhone into your vehicle’s USB port, you can open apps via the menu on the touchscreen display or use Siri.

To use Siri, just hold down the talk button on your Honda steering wheel until you hear Siri’s distinctive beeps. Then simply make your request: “Text John”, “Play Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Find the nearest Dairy Queen”, and so on.

It’s really that easy!

Have any questions about Honda and Apple CarPlay that we didn’t answer above? Ask away in the comments!

Images courtesy Honda Media News Room

Future of CarPlay

Does Phone Technology Move Too Fast for CarPlay?

And will CarPlay be compatible with future iPhones?

If you’re hooked on CarPlay, you might be wondering whether it’s here for the long term. Unlike a phone that you just replace when it becomes a bit too dated and clunky, a car is a long-term investment. And with the average car lasting 11 ½ years – the highest age in history – we’re keeping our cars longer than ever.

Of course, you probably won’t own the same car in 11 ½ years, but chances are that your next auto purchase – whether new or used – will have CarPlay.

With Apple CarPlay literally (via a lightening cable) and metaphorically tethering your phone and car together, you might wonder how your future clunker will handle future iterations of your iPhone or whatever gadget Apple will make in 11 ½ years.

And don’t think a lot can change in 12 years? Well, consider that CNET’s 2006 award for most innovative phone design went to the LG Chocolate KG800 (far left phone in the image above). Remember those times? With 128MB, you had enough space to hold about 20 terrible photos from its 1.3MP camera.

A lot can change in 12 years, and phones change faster than anything else.

Do I need to worry about future compatibility?

For CarPlay to work, you need two pieces of equipment: a CarPlay-compatible car, and a CarPlay-compatible iPhone.

The worry is that, in the future smartphone technology will move forward and become incompatible with your car’s technology – which we upgrade much less frequently. Unlike a phone, you can’t download an update for your car (at least, for most cars…).

For the most part, you’re stuck with what you’ve got. Right now, you might be having flashbacks of your SUV’s clunky early-2000s navigation software, thinking you’d hate to still lug that around. And you certainly don’t want to use that old BMW car phone above. Yikes.

But with CarPlay it’s different, and in a very good way.

While your car certainly needs to be CarPlay-compatible, it’s really just a conduit for your iPhone software. It’s a screen displaying a simplified version of your iPhone screen. When Apple pushes an update to your iPhone, CarPlay is also updated. You’re really only limited by the physical aspects of your own car – the dials, nobs, and steering wheel controls. Other than that, everything can update and change.

So unlike those cars with a pre-installed Pandora app that’s ready to be ignored in 10 years, CarPlay can change and shift with the times – keeping your car’s infotainment system from becoming an outdated brick years down the line. Pretty cool, huh? It’s a neat trick.

CarPlay is ubiquitous – and there’s strength in numbers

Even still though, are you worried that Apple will one day stop supporting CarPlay? That they’d just drop it from future iPhones? We wouldn’t worry just yet, and we’d be surprised if that happened anytime soon.

When first debuted in 2014, just 3 automakers supported CarPlay. Fast forward to 2018, and that number’s now at over 200 CarPlay-supporting vehicles, including models from all the big manufacturers: Chevy, Ford, VW, Honda, Toyota, etc. To say that CarPlay has seen exponential growth would be an understatement. From humble beginnings just 4 years ago, it’s now supported by almost every major auto manufacturer.

On the phone side, all iPhones starting with the 5 (and all iterations, ie the 5S, 5C, 6 Plus, etc) support CarPlay. That’s a total of 14 iPhone models as of early 2018.

If you’re wondering whether you need to worry about future compatibility, the complete ubiquity of CarPlay in today’s modern cars is almost a guarantee that it’ll be around for a long time to come.

And when you think about it, it wouldn’t make sense to roll out a feature that requires partnerships with a dozen or so auto manufacturers – only to drop it 10 years down the line. Drivers wouldn’t be happy and the car manufacturers that supported CarPlay certainly wouldn’t be happy either.

So to answer our initial question, by its very design, CarPlay will avoid becoming outdated simply because it can shift and change as time and technology move forward. And while Apple could one day cease supporting the function, we wouldn’t worry about that anytime soon.

Want to see which apps CarPlay supports? Check out our updated list of Carplay Compatible Apps!