If you love your iPhone, then you’ll love Apple CarPlay — a system that mirrors your iPhone’s functionality on your car’s infotainment system. It’s a new feature that’s available on a wide range of new models, from Chevrolet to Ferrari.
How It Works
Here’s how it works: Plug in your phone with a USB cord and tap the CarPlay icon. You’ll immediately see the familiar Apple interface on the car’s touchscreen. You control CarPlay using the car’s touchscreen, Siri voice commands, steering-wheel controls or traditional knobs and buttons.
The system works well with directions, and we think the maps function is a good replacement for most in-car navigation systems. As for keeping in touch, the system can play voicemails and read or reply to text messages — all via voice command.
Apple CarPlay also gives you lots of options for accessing your favorite music, podcasts and audiobooks, allowing you to call up a playlist, listen to a favorite song on iTunes or call up a popular app such as Pandora, Spotify or Audible.
With its many safety benefits and easy-to-use interface, look for CarPlay to show up on more and more new vehicles.
Apple’s CarPlay feature isn’t perfect. We do like it but there are a few drawbacks. First, you need a cable. CarPlay doesn’t work without a hardwire connection to the car. The similar system for Android users (called Android Auto) does not need a wired connection. One thing we dislike about this setup is that finding an Apple Lightning cable has become our new hobby and is not fun. Second, the system can freeze or get confused. If you try to do too many things very quickly, the system can freeze or stop working for a few seconds. Lastly, you need a strong cellular signal to keep features like Pandora and Apple maps working well and properly.