CarPlay is an Apple standard that enables a car radio or head unit to be a display and a controller for an iOS device. It is available on all iPhone models beginning with iPhone 5 running iOS 7.1 or later.
Screenshot of CarPlay running iOS 12
|Original author(s)||Apple Inc.|
|Initial release||3 October 2014|
iOS 13.1 / 19 September 2019
|Available in||uses the same language as the connected iPhone|
|License||Proprietary commercial software|
Only a few of the hundreds of thousands of iOS apps work with CarPlay.
Apple's own CarPlay-enabled apps include:
- Apple Music
- Apple Maps
- Calendar (introduced in iOS 13)
- AudioBooks (part of Apple Books)
- Settings (introduced in iOS 13, CarPlay-specific settings only)
- Audio: primarily provide audio content, such as music or podcasts. Examples: Audible, iHeartRadio, QQ Music, Spotify, and Overcast.
- Navigation: turn-by-turn guidance, including searching for points of interests and navigating to a destination, functions that were introduced in iOS 12. Examples: AutoNavi, Google Maps, and Waze.
- Automaker: Introduced in iOS 9, these automakers-made apps allow a user to control vehicle-specific features such as climate controls, gas levels, or radio via CarPlay.
- Messaging/Voice over IP (VoIP): listen to new messages and reply using dictation in an audio-only interface, and was introduced in iOS 10. Messaging apps on CarPlay integrate with third-party Siri support (known as SiriKit), while VoIP apps integrate with the iOS calling interface using CallKit.
To discourage distracted driving, Siri is used extensively, providing voice turn-by-turn navigation guidance and voice-input for text messages. Newscast-style weather and stock results are announced instead of displayed visually. Requests that bring up visual information may be blocked when CarPlay is in use; most native CarPlay Apps deliver audio content with minimal interaction.
CarPlay-enabled apps installed on the device also appear on the CarPlay home screen.
iOS 13 adds Dashboard, an alternative to the app home screen, that presents a split layout of maps, media information, calendar, or Siri Suggestions. It also adds Calendar to the home screen, allowing suggested events to link towards map directions to the event location. A new Settings app enables users to configure certain CarPlay specific settings, such as switching between light and dark modes, adjusting album art in CarPlay’s Now Playing screen, or enabling Do Not Disturb While Driving while in a CarPlay session.
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.
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 Wi-Fi 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 produced through several years of joint development by Apple and the BMW Group's Technology Office USA. 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. It was announced during WWDC in 2010 and first shipped in BMW Group vehicles 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).
CarPlay's 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 as "CarPlay" at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2014 with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo among the first car manufacturers.
June 2013: BMW officials announced that their cars would not support CarPlay; they later changed their minds.
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 released 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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