It’s an awful idea to use your smartphone when you’re behind the wheel: it’s distracting and completely unsafe. However, because of how important smartphones have become to us, we still need it for a lot of things when on the road, from communicating to navigation and even playing music. That’s where Apple CarPlay comes in.
This is an in-car software that lets you connect your iOS device to a car’s infotainment system, letting you access music, maps, texts and more straight from the console. In addition, you can access your calls and texts via Siri to help reduce distractions while driving.
CarPlay doesn’t replace the car’s infotainment system, though; it simply adds that option to your existing kit. But if you start your car with your phone plugged in, CarPlay will automatically load.
So far, a range of car manufacturers offers support for CarPlay in their new cars, from Chevrolet to Subaru, Ford, Audi, Jeep, Cadillac, Honda, Ferrari and more. If you want to stick with your current car, you can still get CarPlay by purchasing aftermarket systems from Pioneer, Kenwood and Alpine. Even though the software is free, you still need a video deck or car that supports it.
Setup is simple. Just plug in your iPhone using one of the vehicle’s USB jacks and a Lightning cable. A push notification will ask if it’s okay to launch CarPlay; just say yes. And that’s it. The interface is typical for iOS, so you can easily use the software if you already know how to navigate through an iPhone.
Other than calling and texting, CarPlay has shortcuts to podcasts, Apple Music, audiobooks, Apple Maps and compatible apps like Spotify and iHeartRadio. There’s no Google Maps, though.
The content and options are rather limited. However, this helps to limit distractions and keeps you more focused on the road. This also keeps the system working fast.
Apple CarPlay is not perfect–it might be a little too limited for users who love to fiddle–but for now, it’s miles ahead of most cars’ infotainment systems.