Apple CarPlay: everything you need to know

How do you control Apple CarPlay?

The beauty of CarPlay it how it can be controlled by whatever interface your car has. Generally speaking, this means there are three options.


1. Use Siri

Using Siri, you can talk to your vehicle and tell it what to do. That includes playing music from your favorite band or even requesting a specific playlist. You can also have your messages read out to you before you dictate a reply.

You can also yell ‘Hey, Siri’ at your phone to activate its virtual assistant. However, this might not work so well if your iPhone is stored away somewhere in the cabin, like the glovebox.


2. Use the touchscreen

Some CarPlay cars come with touchscreen displays cooked into the dashboard. Using this display, you can open and close apps using a very simple home screen. 

This is certainly the most straightforward method of using CarPlay, but interacting with a touch screen can take your attention off the road more than using physical controls.


3. Use your knobs

Of course, your car has physical buttons, knobs and controls, and, in some cases, you're still able to use these alongside the touchscreen and Siri options.

Volume controls, track skip and control knobs are all seamlessly integrated and work as expected - and so too do those on the steering wheel.

carplay maps

Use Apple Maps as an in-dash sat nav system

What about digital gauge clusters and head up displays?

Increasingly these days, cars include head-up displays and screens behind the steering wheel to show turn-by-turn directions, vehicle information and music data. 

Apple CarPlay does not integrate with these auxiliary displays just yet, unfortunately, so you’ll have to look at the main dashboard screen for all notifications, media playback and turn-by-turn directions.