What is Apple Carplay and How Does It Work?

December 17th, 2018 by

What is Apple Carplay and How Does It Work?

Apple CarPlay gives drivers the ability to essentially turn their vehicle’s dashboard into a giant iPhone or iPod. Take the 2017 Nissan Maxima for example; it’s equipped with a standard 8” multi-touch color screen that also doubles as a rearview camera. Now, when synced with an iPhone, it will adapt your phone and display it on the screen.

You now will have your iPhone’s touchscreen interface presented on the dashboard, helping to keep you in touch with all of your contacts, music, and maps. In addition, it helps keep your attention where it needs to be, on the road.

CarPlay gives you access to a wealth of information from your iPhone on your car’s infotainment system, nearly all of which can be controlled using just your voice. It’s standard equipment on all 2017 Maxima’s, regardless of trim. Every Maxima also comes with an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation.

How Do You Connect your iPhone to Carplay?

There’s no wireless Bluetooth option. To pair an iPhone with your Nissan you have to plug it into the dashboard with a Lightning cable. When your car detects that your iPhone has been connected, it will automatically pop up the CarPlay icon and update compatible apps. One important thing to keep in mind: Once your phone is connected, its screen will be locked to eliminate any temptation to use it while driving.

What Apps Work with Carplay?

Third-party apps available for CarPlay will be chosen by Apple. Consequently, the platform will support only a dozen or so apps initially. Those include Apple’s Beats Music, iHeartRadio, Rdio, Spotify and Stitcher. CarPlay apps must support Siri for hands-free operation. Apple says it will follow the model of Apple TV, adding support for only a few select apps, primarily those it deems appropriate and safe for in-car use.

So you won’t be limited by CarPlay. If you prefer to play Pandora in the car, for example, you can switch out of CarPlay, and use the Pandora app the automaker supports separately. The number and variety of such independent apps will depend on how extensive the individual automaker’s connected options are.

In addition, most of CarPlay’s functions will only work if you have a cell signal, because the platform relies on a connected iPhone to do most of the work. For this reason, buyers won’t see many — if any — vehicles that include CarPlay without also including the automaker’s own built-in navigation system (which will work even when no cellular service is available).