CarPlay is an Apple standard that enables a car radio or head unit to be a display and also act as a controller for an iOS device. It is available on all iPhone 5 and later models with at least iOS 7.1.
Screenshot of CarPlay running iOS 11
|Original author(s)||Apple Inc.|
|Initial release||March 10, 2014|
iOS 12.1 / October 30, 2018
|Available in||Uses the same language as the connected iPhone|
|License||Proprietary commercial software|
To discourage distracted driving, Siri is used extensively, providing Apple Maps voice navigation, and voice-input for text messages. Newscast style weather and stock results are announced instead of visual information. Requests that bring up visual information may be blocked when CarPlay is in use; most native CarPlay Apps deliver audio content with minimal interaction. Developers must apply to Apple for entitlement to develop CarPlay-enabled apps.
When installed on the iPhone host, corresponding app icons appear on the CarPlay home screen. Native apps include: Phone, Music, Apple Maps, Calendar (iOS 13), iMessage, AudioBooks, and Podcasts. Third-party apps generally consist of audio content providers such as iHeartRadio, Radioplayer, Spotify, Radio.com, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Google Play Music, Clammr, NPR One, Audiobooks.com, and Audible.
iOS 13 adds a dashboard panel alternative to the app home screen, known as Dashboard, that presents a split layout of maps, media information, calendar or Siri Suggestions. Calendar was added to the home screen, allowing preprogrammed events to link towards map directions to the event location. A new Settings app allows users to switch between light and dark modes, have it automatically changed when headlamps are used.
While most of the CarPlay software runs on the connected iPhone, the CarPlay interface provides the audio and display connection to the car's infotainment system. CarPlay adapts to various display sizes and control interfaces for each vehicle: touch screen, rotary dials, buttons, steering wheel controls, and hands free microphones.
Aftermarket head units may distinctly support CarPlay and/or Android Auto.
iOS 9 adds support for wireless connectivity. The iPhone exchanges network credentials with a supporting CarPlay receiver over Bluetooth, and then establishes a two-way Wifi connection between the devices.
The concept of CarPlay was based on the little known (and used) Apple iOS 4 feature called "iPod Out" that was the result of a joint development between the BMW Group's Technology Office USA in Palo Alto, California, and Apple Inc. The result of several years of exploratory cooperation, iPod Out enabled vehicles with the necessary infrastructure to "host" the analog video and audio from a supporting iOS device while receiving inputs, such as button presses and knob rotations from a car's infotainment system, to drive the "hosted" user interface in the vehicle's built-in display. The iOS feature was first announced during WWDC in 2010 and first shipped as an implemented infrastructure in BMW Group vehicles starting in early 2011. The BMW and Mini option was called "PlugIn" and paved the way for the first cross-OEM platforms, introducing the concept of requiring a car-specific interface for apps (as opposed to MirrorLink's simple and insufficient mirroring of what was shown on the smartphone's screen).
During development its codename was Stark. Apple's Eddy Cue announced it as iOS in the Car at the 2013 WWDC. In January 2014 it was reported that Apple's hardware-oriented corporate culture had led to release delays. CarPlay was launched with its current branding in at the Geneva Motor Show in March, 2014 with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo among the first car manufacturers.
June 2013: BMW initially announced CarPlay would not be implemented, but later changed this policy.
November 2013: Siri Eyes Free mode was offered as a dealer-installed accessory in the US to some Honda Accord and Acura RDX & ILX models. In December, Honda offered additional integration, featuring new HondaLink services, on some US and Canada models of the Civic and the Fit.
November 2014: Hyundai announced the Sonata sedan will be available with CarPlay by the end of the first quarter of 2015.
December 2015: Volvo implemented CarPlay in the 2016 XC90.
January 2016: Apple releases a list detailing the car models which support CarPlay.
MirrorLink is a standard for car-smartphone connectivity, currently implemented in vehicles by Honda, Volkswagen, SEAT, Buick, Skoda, Mercedes-Benz, Citroën, and Smart with phones by multiple manufacturers including Apple, HTC, Sony, and Samsung.
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