CarPlay is better than ever in iOS 13 — here’s what’s new

iOS 13 doesn’t just mean big improvements for your iPhone. Apple is making some pretty significant enhancements to CarPlay, too — like a brand new dashboard and better apps — and some of them are long overdue.

Here’s everything you can expect from CarPlay in iOS 13.

CarPlay hasn’t changed much since it was first introduced with iOS 7.1 in 2014. Apple finally added support for third-party apps with iOS 12 last year, but apart from that, everything else has stayed largely the same.

That’s not the case with iOS 13. Almost every aspect of the platform will be improved when the update rolls out this fall. And there’s a lot to look forward to.

Everything new to CarPlay in iOS 13

A brand new dashboard

One of the biggest — and certainly the most obvious — changes is a brand new dashboard. It’s the first thing you’ll see when CarPlay starts, and it’s a feature CarPlay should have shipped with from the very start.

CarPlay’s new dashboard puts important apps and controls at your fingertips.
Screenshot: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

The dashboard puts the most useful information and common functions at your fingertips. It lets you see a map, turn-by-turn navigation, and music controls at a glance, and makes it easy to access the things you want.

More importantly, the dashboard finally negates the need to switch between multiple apps. You can now change music tracks and see where you’re going in one place, which means you’ll spend less time with your eyes off the road.

The dashboard also supports Siri app suggestions, so you might sometimes see things like HomeKit controls for your garage door or your favorite audiobooks as opposed to music suggestions.

Apple has given third-party apps access to music controls on the dashboard, which is great if you frequently use Spotify or Pandora or something else. But you won’t see third-party maps on the dashboard.

A revamped Apple Music

Apple Music is getting a new lick of paint in the next CarPlay update. Its improved look, with dedicated tabs for Library, For You, Browse, and Radio, make it easier to get to the music you want to listen to.

Apple Music for CarPlay has a fresh look in iOS 13.
Screenshot: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

You will also find it’s easier to access things like personalized mixes and recently added tracks and albums. And you’re still just one tap away from the Now Playing screen, where you can pause, skip tracks, and more.

When you’re on the Now Playing screen, you will now see album art — if your vehicle’s manufacturer allows it.

Improved Maps and navigation

CarPlay will take advantage of iOS 13’s brand new maps in iOS 13. They’re rebuilt from the ground up and promise more realistic details for roads, beaches, parks, and buildings. You will also see more detailed intersections.

But there is a catch.

This particular Maps improvement will be exclusive to users in the U.S. initially. Those in other territories will have to wait a little longer, but there are other things for the rest of us to look forward to.

CarPlay’s more detailed maps are for the U.S. only for now.
Screenshot: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

CarPlay is getting better turn-by-turn directions, with more natural Siri language. Instead of hearing things like “in 1,000 feet, turn left,” you will hear “turn left at the next traffic light.”

You will also be pleased to know it’s easier to find things like gas stations or electric car charging points on your route. And you can now share your ETA with contacts so they know what time you’ll be arriving.

Improved Siri

More natural turn-by-turn directions aren’t the only improvement for Siri in this CarPlay update. “Hey Siri” is finally supported, which means you no longer need to press a button before asking the virtual assistant for help.

Your mileage may vary when it comes to using “Hey Siri,” however. I’ve found that Siri doesn’t always hear me over music and other background noise — but that could be down to the microphones in my car, rather than CarPlay.

When Siri is active, it no longer takes over the entire screen. You’ll see the familiar Siri animation at the bottom of your car’s display — as well as everything else behind it. Your map and directions will no longer be hidden.

A new Calendar app

One thing you won’t need to rely on Siri for anymore is accessing your calendar. CarPlay is getting its very own Calendar app, where you’ll be able to see your day ahead — and all your upcoming events — at a glance.

What’s great about the Calendar app is that it makes it easier than ever to get directions to your next appointment. Simply tap on the event you’re driving to and you’ll have the option to be guided there (if the event includes a location).

You can also call other event attendees en route with just a few taps inside the Calendar app.

Light mode

CarPlay is getting a brand new light mode in iOS 13 — as you’ll see in the screenshots in this post. Dark mode remains the default look, but you can switch between each color scheme inside the Settings app.

CarPlay’s Settings screen in iOS 13.
Screenshot: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Alternatively, you can ask CarPlay to switch themes automatically. You’ll see the light mode during the day, and the default dark mode when driving at night.

Greater flexibility

Vehicle manufacturers will have more control over CarPlay than ever before in iOS 13.

They’ll be able to develop systems that adjust the size of the screen dynamically, so you might one day see CarPlay displayed alongside other helpful information. They will also have control over the shape of CarPlay, so they’ll be able to display it on non-rectangular screens for the first time.

Even more exciting than that is the ability to display CarPlay on a second screen. This will give car-makers the ability to put CarPlay in heads-up displays or dashboard clusters, where it’s even easier to see behind the wheel.

Use your iPhone at the same time

iOS 13 finally makes it possible to use your iPhone and CarPlay simultaneously. This is obviously not recommended if you’re driving, but it allows a passenger to play DJ, use your apps, and do almost anything else without killing CarPlay.

Everything else

Those are some of the biggest changes and improvements to CarPlay, but there’s even more to look forward. With a new Settings app it’s now possible to change display and Do Not Disturb preferences behind the wheel.

To enjoy these CarPlay changes today, you’ll need to be running the iOS 13 beta — which isn’t recommended right now.

This article was originally posted here