|Original author(s)||Apple Inc.|
|Initial release||March 10, 2014|
iOS 14.2.1 / November 19, 2020
|Available in||uses the same language as the connected iPhone|
|License||Proprietary commercial software|
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.
Apple's own CarPlay-enabled apps include:
- Apple Music
- Apple Maps
- Audiobooks (part of Apple Books)
- Audio: primarily provide audio content, such as music or podcasts. Examples: Amazon Music, Audible, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, QQ Music, Spotify, and Overcast.
- Navigation: turn-by-turn guidance, including searching for points of interests and navigating to a destination. Examples: AutoNavi, Baidu Maps, Google Maps, and Waze.
- Automaker-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. Messaging apps on CarPlay integrate with third-party Siri support (known as SiriKit), while VoIP apps integrate with the iOS calling interface using CallKit. Examples: Telegram, WhatsApp, and Zoom.
- Food ordering and parking services apps.
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.
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.
The iPhone can connect to the car through a USB cable or wirelessly in two ways: by exchanging network credentials with a supporting CarPlay receiver over Bluetooth, establishing a two-way Wi-Fi connection; or by using a dongle adapter to enable a wireless connection to the system's USB port.
The concept of CarPlay was based on the 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 at WWDC 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 WWDC 2013. In January 2014 it was reported that Apple's hardware-oriented corporate culture had led to release delays. iOS in the Car was then rebranded and launched as "CarPlay" at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2014 with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo among the first car manufacturers.
Features by iOS version
iOS 9 added the ability to link car and iPhone wirelessly, not just a wired USB connector. It also allowed vehicle manufacturers to load apps that allow a user to control vehicle-specific features such as climate controls, gas levels, or radio via CarPlay.
iOS 12 added turn-by-turn guidance, including searching for points of interests and navigating to a destination.
iOS 13 added Dashboard, an alternative to the app home screen, that presents a split layout of maps, media information, Calendar, or Siri Suggestions. It also added Calendar to the home screen, allowing suggested events to link towards map directions to the event location. A new Settings app enabled 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. Third-party maps may also be displayed on Dashboard starting with iOS 13.4. It also added Apple's News app.
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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