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Driving a car and playing with your iPhone at the same time is not compatible. Apple has its own standard called CarPlay that allows you to use your iPhone safely even as a driver. But this only works if you have a compatible car. We show you the features of CarPlay, how you can retrofit it and which advantages and disadvantages you should know. If you’re driving, you should definitely keep your hands off your cell phone, because distraction is the cause of many accidents. But smartphones offer plenty of useful functions for drivers. The solution is standards like Apple CarPlay. This makes it much safer to use the iPhone in the car. Technically, CarPlay is a system from Apple that consists of two components. Car manufacturers have to integrate one of them into the vehicle, while the main component is provided by the iOS software on the iPhone. In a vehicle equipped with Apple CarPlay, you can then use your iPhone conveniently via the car’s infotainment system of the car system of the car. You can navigate with Apple Maps or Google Maps, make hands-free calls or listen to music via Apple Music.

iPhone as a passenger

Image source: Apple Apple markets CarPlay as a technology to make the iPhone the perfect passenger in the car. For this to work, you need to connect your iPhone to the car’s infotainment system. This can be done either by cable or recently also “wireless”. However, this and CarPlay support in general depends on the vehicle’s equipment. The first models with Apple CarPlay were available in some cases in 2016, and you can realistically hope for support from 2017 onwards. Older vehicles definitely do not have CarPlay.

Apple CarPlay compatibility cars

Image source: Porsche The big competition for Apple CarPlay is called Android Auto and comes, unsurprisingly, from Google. The idea is the same, with Android Auto, Android smartphones can be used in the car accordingly. There is no overarching system that can connect both Android phones and iPhones. So car manufacturers have to incorporate both, which many do. On a status web page from Apple, you can see the current status of car models supported by CarPlay, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes and VW; currently there are over 600 models. Important: CarPlay is often not part of the standard equipment, but is an extra that has to be paid for. So check carefully whether a vehicle actually lists CarPlay in the equipment list.

Apple CarPlay compatibility iPhones

Most iPhone users should be on the safe side, because CarPlay has been around for a few years and users usually change their smartphone more often than their car. Starting with the iPhone 5which received iOS 7.1 in 2015, you are there with basic CarPlay support. Of course, all iPhones currently on sale have this support on board – after all, iOS has also evolved considerably.

Set up CarPlay

Image source: BMW Apple CarPlay is not only interesting if you are or want to become a car owner. It is also practical for rental cars or car sharing, because you can use CarPlay quickly and easily. An explicit setup is not necessary. CarPlay in cars is usually only possible via a cable connection. So you need a USB cable with Lightning connectorto connect your iPhone to the car. It is best to plug in the original charging cable that comes with the iPhone. Turn on the infotainment system in the car and connect the iPhone via USB cable. A CarPlay screen should appear quite quickly. To use CarPlay, however, you have to explicitly unlock your iPhone once and agree to its use. CarPlay apps then appear on the car’s touchscreen and you can get started. iPhone 13: Highlights at a glance

Apple CarPlay apps and features

The idea of Apple CarPlay is convincing: Instead of installing any infotainment systems in the car, which would then quickly become obsolete anyway, you only install an interface to the iPhone. You can then use the apps from the iPhone on the car’s touchscreen. But there is one important restrictionThe use in the car does not work for all apps, rather the apps have to be made fit for CarPlay by their developers and Apple has to give permission. And Apple only gives the okay for selected apps. In the beginning, Apple strictly limited the apps allowed for CarPlay, but now there are different areas from which CarPlay apps can come, such as audio apps, messengers, navigation systems, car manufacturer apps, or apps for special services like finding parking spaces or delivering food. In addition to some apps from Apple itself, such as Maps, Music, Phone or News, classics like. Amazon Music, Spotify, Google Maps, WhatsApp, Waze, or ntv. are supported.

Compatible apps for CarPlay

Image source: GIGA You can see which of your apps are compatible with CarPlay in the settings under “CarPlay”. Select the car and then “Customize”. The list shows all apps that work with CarPlay and you can select them to bring them to the CarPlay home screen. As is typical for Apple, you cannot set many details in CarPlay. A switch in the CarPlay settings on the iPhone allows you to use the connection even when the iPhone is locked. This is convenient because you do not always have to unlock the smartphone. It is then sufficient to either plug in the USB cable or, in the case of CarPlay Wireless, to come within range with an iPhone that has been set up.

Retrofitting CarPlay: Costs and accessories

Image source: JVC Buying a new car just for Apple CarPlay is something very few people are that enthusiastic about and have that much money to spare. Cheaper you come with Accessories for retrofitting Apple CarPlay. Manufacturers like Alpine, Blaupunkt, JVC or Pioneer have suitable car radios on offer. You simply replace the radio or have it done at a car repair shop. What can be installed depends on the space in the console. Most retrofit systems for Apple CarPlay require a double DIN slot. Compatible devices carry the logo “Works with CarPlay” and are available from around 300 euros.

Operating CarPlay

Image source: Mercedes-Benz There are two ways to operate Apple CarPlay, manually or by voice. The compatible apps from the iPhone, for example, appear on the car’s touchscreen. You can control the functions there with a tap of your finger. But beware, while this is not as dangerous as holding the iPhone in your hand, tapping on the touchscreen can also distract you from the traffic. Some manufacturers therefore install their own controllers or control buttons for CarPlay on the steering wheel. The second way is particularly interesting for drivers, the control of CarPlay via Siri. You can then control the navigation system and music with simple voice commands.

Apple CarPlay at Audi, BMW, Mercedes and VW

Image source: Mercedes-Benz The German car manufacturers have not hesitated long to enter CarPlay. BMW was even involved in a previous project with Apple, when they developed a solution to integrate the iPod into the vehicles particularly easily. Mercedes was also among the first partners when CarPlay was first shown to the public in 2014. The German manufacturers have been all since 2016 with CarPlay support for their models. However, you often had to order it as an extra for a surcharge. Meanwhile, more and more models from Audi, BMW, Mercedes and VW carry CarPlay as standard equipment. Apple iPhone 12 128 GB price may be higher now. Price from 08.12.2022 23:52 Clock

Apple CarPlay not in Tesla

Currently, the support for CarPlay is already quite good. Most manufacturers offer it at least as an optional extra. But there are also exceptions. What might be surprising at first glance, Tesla does not offer support for Apple CarPlay. The e-car pioneer uses its own system and keeps third-party providers out.

Apple CarPlay Wireless

Image source: Mercedes-Benz Wireless is cooler with the iPhone anyway, just think of WLAN, Bluetooth, Apple Pay or charging via induction. It’s similar with CarPlay, although most vehicles actually still require a USB cable to connect to the iPhone. But already since iOS 9, there is CarPlay Wirelesswhich first establishes contact via Bluetooth and then works via WLAN. To configure it, press and hold the voice control button on the steering wheel and pair it with the iPhone. If you only have Apple CarPlay with a cable in your car, you can upgrade CarPlay Wireless with an adapter. Although they are often seen in offers under 100 euros, you often have to pay a hefty 150 euros for the fun.

Apple CarPlay Android

Image source: Volkswagen Apple CarPlay only works with iPhones. If you have an Android device, CarPlay won’t do you any good. However, Google implements the same idea with Android Auto and many car manufacturers are now to the point of integrating both systems. So it doesn’t matter if you switch from an iPhone to Android or vice versa, you can still use your smartphone in the car.

Apple CarPlay advantages

While the car has to be prepared for Apple CarPlay to get your iPhone integrated into the infotainment, the smartphone bears the brunt. The frequent updates that Apple and the app providers release ensure that the system is always up to date. It is also good that there are now many accessories for retrofitting CarPlay in older cars. The support of CarPlay by car manufacturers is also quite good.

Apple CarPlay disadvantages

Image source: Volkswagen CarPlay is not yet part of the standard equipment at many car manufacturers. In some cases, hefty surcharges are demanded and the CarPlay function is tied to expensive infotainment systems. Another disadvantage is that Apple’s approach to CarPlay apps is no longer quite as restrictive, but the range is still limited. A bit more variety would not hurt here. There is also room for improvement in hardware support. CarPlay usually ends up on the main screen in the car. Second or head-up displays are left out. Especially with Apple Maps, it’s annoying that Apple has some cool features at the start, but doesn’t bring them to Germany for what feels like forever.

iPhone as car key

Image source: Apple CarPlay is only the beginning, the iPhone is also trying to position itself in other areas around the car, including as a car key. Instead of carrying around a real key, the car key is completely digitized and displayed via app on the iPhone. This actually has nothing to do with CarPlay, but many CarPlay users will not be averse to the idea of always having the car key with the iPhone in the future. The Wallet app, in which car keys can be stored, works as a digital key board. Apple introduced the solution for integrating iOS devices into cars almost two years ago and immediately came up with a long list of prominent car manufacturers. But how far has the development of CarPlay-enabled car models progressed after more than twenty months? Many manufacturers are still hesitant, since they also offer their own infotainment systems, which they still have to bring into line with CarPlay. There is also the competition from Google called Android Auto. asked the relevant car brands in Germany about the status of CarPlay integration and compiled an overview of the models that are now available. Mercedes-Benz Daimler AG has advanced CarPlay integration in many current models of its most important retail brand, Mercedes-Benz. New cars in the following model series currently have the option to be equipped with CarPlay with the “Smartphone Integration Package” option:

  • A-Class (compact van)
  • B-Class (compact van)
  • CLA & CLA Shooting Brake (mid-size)
  • CLS & CLS Shooting Brake (upper mid-size)
  • GLA (compact SUV)
  • GLE & GLE Coupé (upper mid-size SUV)
  • E-Class: Cabriolet and Coupé (Upper Mid-Size)

The 2016 E-Classes of the 213 series (sedan and station wagon) will then also join this list. In addition, Mercedes offers the option of having the large COMAND Online multimedia system installed for all models. This optional equipment in the four-digit price range has CarPlay integrated into the system. Audi Audi relies on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in equal measure. So far, the integration of both systems has been made possible by the “Audi Smartphone Interface” option on the

  • Audi A4 (mid-size car)
  • Audi Q7 (SUV)

selectable. A successive expansion of the offering to other vehicle models is planned in the coming months. Opel The Rüsselsheim-based company also gives its customers the choice between Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, provided they opt for one of the R 4.0 IntelliLink or Navi 900 IntelliLink infotainment systems. These are optionally available in the following car models:

  • Karl (subcompact)
  • Adam (compact car)
  • Corsa (compact car)
  • Astra K (compact class)
  • Insignia (mid-size car)

Volkswagen The VW Group has already gone a long way toward smartphone integration in its passenger car division. A large proportion of VW models are equipped with Car-Net. The add-on option “App Connect” includes Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto and MirrorLink. App Connect is available in the following models:

  • Golf (compact class)
  • Polo (compact car)
  • Beetle (compact class)
  • Scirocco (compact class)
  • Jetta (lower mid-size)
  • Passat (mid-size) incl. VW CC
  • Touran (compact van)
  • Tiguan (SUV)
  • Sharan (van)

The following VW commercial vehicle models can also be equipped with App Connect if required:

  • Caddy
  • Transporter
  • Multivan
  • California
  • Caravelle

Seat With the “Full Link” multimedia system, the Spanish VW subsidiary Seat also provides a platform that is just as compatible with Apple CarPlay as it is with Android Auto and MirrorLink. The following model series can be optionally equipped with Full Link:

  • Ibiza (compact car)
  • Leon (compact class)
  • Toledo (lower mid-range)
  • Alhambra (van)

Skoda Since May of this year, the Czech VW subsidiary Skoda has also been offering CarPlay in its first models. The optional “SmartLink” equipment, which includes CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink, can be added to the following model ranges:

  • Fabia (compact car)
  • Rapid (compact class)
  • Octavia (lower mid-range)
  • Superb III (mid-size)
  • Yeti (SUV)

Next page: CarPlay-compatible car models in Germany, continued

Other pages of the article:

  • 1. CarPlay-compatible car models in Germany
  • 2. CarPlay-compatible car models in Germany, continued


Apple CarPlay (2023): iOS 16 on all displays

Smartphone takes over all displays Photo: Apple The presentation of Apple CarPlay in the iOS 16 version at the Worldwide Developers Conference 2022 shows: In the future, the app on the smartphone will be able to take over all displays in the car. So far, we know Apple CarPlay primarily as an interface between the smartphone and the car’s infotainment system. But with the iOS16 version, which is to be compatible with cars from a wide range of manufacturers at the end of 2023, the company’s own phone will be integrated even more deeply into the vehicle, according to Apple’s announcement. The Apple app will not only be able to control the central touchscreen as before, but also take over essential functions so that you no longer have to leave the CarPlay interface. This would also include operating the radio or air conditioning. Apple CarPlay will also take over the displays in the digital cockpit. The app accesses all vehicle parameters and displays speed, fuel level and temperature in a customizable design on the digital instrument cluster. More on this topic: Our product tips on Amazon Guide Apple CarPlay: Retrofits at a glance This is how Apple CarPlay is retrofitted. Verdict: Use infotainment at 200 km/h (video):  

Apple CarPlay on all displays from 2023

Drivers should be able to add more information with Apple CarPlay iOS 16 via widgets and thus customize all screens in the car. Numerous carmakers are said to have already pledged their cooperation, which would mean making vehicle data and their systems accessible to Apple. According to media reports, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche and Ford are also among the manufacturers that want to build iOS 16-compatible vehicles in the future, as well as Land Rover, Nissan, Lincoln, Jaguar, Acura, Volvo, Honda, Peugeot, Infiniti and Polestar. According to Apple, 79 percent of car buyers in the U.S. already consider the compatibility of their car with the iPhone to be a decisive factor in their purchase decision. The manufacturer plans to announce which models the upcoming iOS 16 will be integrated into at the end of 2023. Read more:

  • How to retrofit a digital speedometer for your car
  • These driver assistance systems have been mandatory since 2022
  • Autonomous driving: Co-invented in Germany

News Android Auto: Update for apps & operation Google improves Android Auto. Victoria Zippmann Our conclusion The speed at which cars are progressively digitized is enormous. This is proven once again by the new Apple CarPlay, which has now been introduced. The possibility of being able to individualize one’s car independently of the manufacturer and change it to suit one’s own needs and wishes is likely to appeal not only to tuning fans. But: Only a practical test can show how useful and well thought-out the new Apple CarPlay really is. Tags:

  • New Mobility
  • Connectivity
  • Newsletter
  • News
  • Industry News

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