Apple's CarPlay gains quick-access task switcher with iOS 10.3

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 2017
Upon updating their iPhone to iOS 10.3, CarPlay users will find that their in-vehicle system now offers a convenient multitasking menu, showcasing the three most recently used apps -- with some caveats intended to keep eyes on the road.




Previously, CarPlay simply featured a small, permanent link to Apple Maps on the left menu. But now, with iOS 10.3, AppleInsider has discovered there are icons for three apps, and they automatically change based on the user's most recent activity.

The dynamic task switcher applies to apps opened directly on the CarPlay unit, and also to apps most recently used on the connected iPhone itself, provided they offer CarPlay support.

The new task switcher can even support third-party CarPlay apps, such as Amazon Prime Music.

However, considering CarPlay is intended to keep eyes on of the road -- and away from the dash -- Apple has instituted some restrictions on how the task switcher works.




Regardless of the most recently used apps, Apple Maps is always listed on the task switcher somewhere among the top three, moving down to the lowest slot if it has not been used in some time. Either Apple's native Phone or Messages app will occupy another of the three spaces --but only one, if a different third app has been used recently.

For example, using Maps, then Messages, then Amazon Music will display those three in reverse order.

As with on the Apple Watch, the recently used apps list can also act as something of a dock. The trio of icons are always on display on the left side, above the time, LTE connectivity indicator, and virtual home button. Unlike with the Apple Watch, however, apps in the task switcher cannot be pinned to make it a "true" dock.




The leftmost icons displayed in CarPlay with iOS 10.3 also gain a new feature for the Phone app. When in a call, CarPlay now displays the current call time underneath the Phone icon in the new switcher.

iOS 10.3 was released on Monday, bringing support for the new Apple File System, as well as Find My AirPods functionality for Apple's truly wireless earbuds. Users have encountered a lengthy install time when updating to iOS 10.3, likely due to the switch to APFS.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24

    However, considering CarPlay is intended to keep eyes off of the road, Apple has instituted some restrictions on how the task switcher works.
    Ha ha! It's not quite April Fool's Day, guys. :smiley: 

    I haven't updated my phone yet but I'm looking forward to the recent apps side dock.  I love having the Maps icon there (though in my experience it isn't permanent, only when navigation is in use).  I guess it will be handy showing call time though I'm not sure how much that will matter to me.

    My wish for CarPlay is that it would take less time to start up, but that my have something to do with the system in the car.  And for us it's a very inconsistent start-up time.  Sometimes it will take close to a minute for CarPlay to be ready to go and other times only about 10 seconds.  If it was consistently 10 seconds (or less!) I'd be happy.
    SpamSandwichddawson100watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 24

    However, considering CarPlay is intended to keep eyes off of the road, Apple has instituted some restrictions on how the task switcher works.
    Ha ha! It's not quite April Fool's Day, guys. :smiley: 

    I haven't updated my phone yet but I'm looking forward to the recent apps side dock.  I love having the Maps icon there (though in my experience it isn't permanent, only when navigation is in use).  I guess it will be handy showing call time though I'm not sure how much that will matter to me.

    My wish for CarPlay is that it would take less time to start up, but that my have something to do with the system in the car.  And for us it's a very inconsistent start-up time.  Sometimes it will take close to a minute for CarPlay to be ready to go and other times only about 10 seconds.  If it was consistently 10 seconds (or less!) I'd be happy.
    I'm using CarPlay in a 2015 Hyundai Sonata and it only takes about 5 seconds or so for CarPlay to start after plugging my iPhone 7. What kind of car do you have? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 24
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,766member

    However, considering CarPlay is intended to keep eyes off of the road, Apple has instituted some restrictions on how the task switcher works.
    Ha ha! It's not quite April Fool's Day, guys. :smiley: 

    I haven't updated my phone yet but I'm looking forward to the recent apps side dock.  I love having the Maps icon there (though in my experience it isn't permanent, only when navigation is in use).  I guess it will be handy showing call time though I'm not sure how much that will matter to me.

    My wish for CarPlay is that it would take less time to start up, but that my have something to do with the system in the car.  And for us it's a very inconsistent start-up time.  Sometimes it will take close to a minute for CarPlay to be ready to go and other times only about 10 seconds.  If it was consistently 10 seconds (or less!) I'd be happy.
    I would suggest an experiment.
    1. Connect it to the car after the car's system has been fully booted up and running, say a few minutes just to be sure. Time CarPlay start up.
    (edit) Make sure the car is completely powered down, up to 30 minutes in some vehicles.

    2. Connect the iPhone before starting the car. Time CarPlay startup.

    You may be waiting for the car's electronics to fully boot up.
    edited March 2017 repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 24
    mrboba1mrboba1 Posts: 267member
    I saw that this morning, but didn't use any of it today. It will be handy to switch directly from music to maps, which is what I tend to do the most of, and screennames is right - maps is only there if I actively have navigation going.

    I have variations of times for loading up as well, along with some issues of the car not recognizing the phone at all sometimes, where it will attempt to connect, then give up and try to connect again, ad infinitum. That's annoying because I can't stop it and just let my phone charge. I definitely think it is the car's problem, as some other issues with it the vehicle connect occur on occasion. I have a 2016 VW Jetta
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 24
    command_fcommand_f Posts: 276member
    The "dock" contains 3 small icons and they move around dynamically. In what way does this reduce time spent looking at the display whilst driving? 
  • Reply 6 of 24
    fatkid98 said:

    However, considering CarPlay is intended to keep eyes off of the road, Apple has instituted some restrictions on how the task switcher works.
    Ha ha! It's not quite April Fool's Day, guys. :smiley: 

    I haven't updated my phone yet but I'm looking forward to the recent apps side dock.  I love having the Maps icon there (though in my experience it isn't permanent, only when navigation is in use).  I guess it will be handy showing call time though I'm not sure how much that will matter to me.

    My wish for CarPlay is that it would take less time to start up, but that my have something to do with the system in the car.  And for us it's a very inconsistent start-up time.  Sometimes it will take close to a minute for CarPlay to be ready to go and other times only about 10 seconds.  If it was consistently 10 seconds (or less!) I'd be happy.
    I'm using CarPlay in a 2015 Hyundai Sonata and it only takes about 5 seconds or so for CarPlay to start after plugging my iPhone 7. What kind of car do you have? 
    I have a 2017 Mercedes E300.  As I mentioned, it may have to do with the car's system.  I notice that CarPlay takes much longer to start if I start the car, plug in my phone and then back out of the garage.  The rear-view camera immediately takes over the screen and stays active for several seconds after I've shifted into Drive and started moving forward.  CarPlay doesn't start until well after the camera has turned off.

    I'll have to try it by plugging in before starting or a couple of minutes into my trip.
  • Reply 7 of 24
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,909member
    CarPlay is somewhat useful and this is decent change.  One thing that bugs me is that it doesn't support third party nav.  I would love to integrate Waze instead of Apple Maps.  
    TiBook2002
  • Reply 8 of 24
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,097member
    I just hate how CarPlay automatically starts the first song in Apple Music every time. 
    chabig
  • Reply 9 of 24
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,097member
    sdw2001 said:
    CarPlay is somewhat useful and this is decent change.  One thing that bugs me is that it doesn't support third party nav.  I would love to integrate Waze instead of Apple Maps.  
    Waze FTW! Need this so much right now.
    petelpTiBook2002
  • Reply 10 of 24
    petelppetelp Posts: 5member
    Based on other articles I've read, this apple insider description of the carplay task switcher needs some clarification.

    From what I've read, the three task switching icons are based the most recently used apps in each of three categories:  1) Maps, 2) Music/Audio, 3) Communications.

    - There will always be a maps icon. 

    - There will be an icon for your most recently used carplay compatible music/audio app, such as apple music, spotify, or audible.

    - There will be an icon for your most recently used carplay compatible communications app, such as phone or messaging.

    r00fus1repressthis
  • Reply 11 of 24
    I just hate how CarPlay automatically starts the first song in Apple Music every time. 
    Not for me. It either plays the last song I was listening to and continues on from there the way I expect OR it plays a random song from my library and shuffles them. 
    repressthismike1petelp
  • Reply 12 of 24
    spuditspudit Posts: 49member
    I just hate how CarPlay automatically starts the first song in Apple Music every time. 
    Not for me. It either plays the last song I was listening to and continues on from there the way I expect OR it plays a random song from my library and shuffles them. 
    I've run into same from time to time if I'm not actively listening to something, and have other audio apps closed up.   Some have suggested to add a blank track to top of playlist (using iTunes), or rename a more subdued track to place this at top.    I listen to a lot of Audiobooks and it typically starts playing where left off.    I'm with a lot of folks here that Carplay startup can be finicky sometimes.    I can go several days where it takes just 5-10 seconds to come up, with occasional delays of up to a few minutes.    Problems tend to resolve themselves after car is turned off for an extended period (mentioned above).   Phone restarts have not seemed to help in short term.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 24
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 800member
    I have a 2017 Audi A4 and have found Car Play to be very inconsistent. Sometimes it works perfectly,  often (maybe 25-30% of the time) it connects and the CarPlay screen comes up on the display, but the audio comes out of the phone. Randomly, the last podcast I was playing starts automatically, but usually not. Unplugging and reconnecting my phone usually helps, but sometimes it takes over a minute for it to recognize the phone when I do so. The worst part is that all of this is random - nothing consistently helps. I havent' tried turning off Bluetooth, so I'll try that and see if it helps. I asked the dealer and they were clueless,  other than to say that 'it's usually a problem with the phone' :neutral: 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 24
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,070member
    MplsP said:
    I have a 2017 Audi A4 and have found Car Play to be very inconsistent. Sometimes it works perfectly,  often (maybe 25-30% of the time) it connects and the CarPlay screen comes up on the display, but the audio comes out of the phone. Randomly, the last podcast I was playing starts automatically, but usually not. Unplugging and reconnecting my phone usually helps, but sometimes it takes over a minute for it to recognize the phone when I do so. The worst part is that all of this is random - nothing consistently helps. I havent' tried turning off Bluetooth, so I'll try that and see if it helps. I asked the dealer and they were clueless,  other than to say that 'it's usually a problem with the phone' :neutral: 
    Funny, I was just thinking it's probably a problem w/ the car's head unit system. Of course they'd say phone tho, smirk. I've had several Pioneer third party head units (AppRadio models) and found them flaky as hell. I trust Apple's software people way, way more than the teams putting together these kludgy car units.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 24
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,097member
    MplsP said:
    I have a 2017 Audi A4 and have found Car Play to be very inconsistent. Sometimes it works perfectly,  often (maybe 25-30% of the time) it connects and the CarPlay screen comes up on the display, but the audio comes out of the phone. Randomly, the last podcast I was playing starts automatically, but usually not. Unplugging and reconnecting my phone usually helps, but sometimes it takes over a minute for it to recognize the phone when I do so. The worst part is that all of this is random - nothing consistently helps. I havent' tried turning off Bluetooth, so I'll try that and see if it helps. I asked the dealer and they were clueless,  other than to say that 'it's usually a problem with the phone' :neutral: 
    Funny, I was just thinking it's probably a problem w/ the car's head unit system. Of course they'd say phone tho, smirk. I've had several Pioneer third party head units (AppRadio models) and found them flaky as hell. I trust Apple's software people way, way more than the teams putting together these kludgy car units.
    No, it's Apple and the CarPlay OS. This is on everyones cars of all different makes and models. There are a ton of forums about this very issue all over and everyone pretty much says the same things. Start up is not all that great and but after that it's ok/great/sucks/bestthingever. Whatever your thoughts are about CarPlay, the start up is not graceful at all. For me, it plays the same damn song from Apple Music, which I never use, and starts playing. I had to delete the Apple Music app for it to stop. Many others with the same problem. 
  • Reply 16 of 24
    OK, just drove back from the gym. Plugged my phone in before starting the car, it still took at least 15 seconds before music started to play but the CarPlay interface took about 15 more seconds to show up. This is the first time I've used CarPlay since updating my iPhone this afternoon. CarPlay crashed on me twice during my 14 minute drive home (see below). That has never happened to me before. 

    A couple of changes not mentioned in the article:

    1) under "Now Playing" the upper right corner has a new button for "Up Next". Clicking it brings up a new screen with the next few tracks listed and is scrollable. I don't know how far is scrolls but I went about 20 songs down just to see. Handy.  BUT this is where both of my CarPlay crashes occurred. When I choose a song in Up Next the song started and about a second in it crashed. I had to unplug my iPhone then plug it back in. The song I had chosen started again. I went back to Up Next, chose another song and had another crash. The third, fourth and fifth times worked fine with no crashes. 

    Also, CarPlay started in less than 10 seconds after the crashes both times. 

    2) Again, in "Now Playing" the album title appears under the track name and is selectable. Clicking on it takes you to a track list for that album (or for the tracks you have in the library anyway). 

    Both changes are welcome to me. 
  • Reply 17 of 24
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 610editor
    MplsP said:
    I have a 2017 Audi A4 and have found Car Play to be very inconsistent. Sometimes it works perfectly,  often (maybe 25-30% of the time) it connects and the CarPlay screen comes up on the display, but the audio comes out of the phone. Randomly, the last podcast I was playing starts automatically, but usually not. Unplugging and reconnecting my phone usually helps, but sometimes it takes over a minute for it to recognize the phone when I do so. The worst part is that all of this is random - nothing consistently helps. I havent' tried turning off Bluetooth, so I'll try that and see if it helps. I asked the dealer and they were clueless,  other than to say that 'it's usually a problem with the phone' :neutral: 
    Funny, I was just thinking it's probably a problem w/ the car's head unit system. Of course they'd say phone tho, smirk. I've had several Pioneer third party head units (AppRadio models) and found them flaky as hell. I trust Apple's software people way, way more than the teams putting together these kludgy car units.
    AppRadio 4, Nex 4100, 4200. I found them to be pretty decent, way better than the Kenwood ddx9902.
  • Reply 18 of 24
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 610editor

    OK, just drove back from the gym. Plugged my phone in before starting the car, it still took at least 15 seconds before music started to play but the CarPlay interface took about 15 more seconds to show up. This is the first time I've used CarPlay since updating my iPhone this afternoon. CarPlay crashed on me twice during my 14 minute drive home (see below). That has never happened to me before. 

    A couple of changes not mentioned in the article:

    1) under "Now Playing" the upper right corner has a new button for "Up Next". Clicking it brings up a new screen with the next few tracks listed and is scrollable. I don't know how far is scrolls but I went about 20 songs down just to see. Handy.  BUT this is where both of my CarPlay crashes occurred. When I choose a song in Up Next the song started and about a second in it crashed. I had to unplug my iPhone then plug it back in. The song I had chosen started again. I went back to Up Next, chose another song and had another crash. The third, fourth and fifth times worked fine with no crashes. 

    Also, CarPlay started in less than 10 seconds after the crashes both times. 

    2) Again, in "Now Playing" the album title appears under the track name and is selectable. Clicking on it takes you to a track list for that album (or for the tracks you have in the library anyway). 

    Both changes are welcome to me. 
    Reboot your phone if CarPlay is crashing. That usually fixes it for me - I've seen a lot of CarPlay crashes in the past few years.

    ihatescreennames
  • Reply 19 of 24
    vmarks said:

    OK, just drove back from the gym. Plugged my phone in before starting the car, it still took at least 15 seconds before music started to play but the CarPlay interface took about 15 more seconds to show up. This is the first time I've used CarPlay since updating my iPhone this afternoon. CarPlay crashed on me twice during my 14 minute drive home (see below). That has never happened to me before. 

    A couple of changes not mentioned in the article:

    1) under "Now Playing" the upper right corner has a new button for "Up Next". Clicking it brings up a new screen with the next few tracks listed and is scrollable. I don't know how far is scrolls but I went about 20 songs down just to see. Handy.  BUT this is where both of my CarPlay crashes occurred. When I choose a song in Up Next the song started and about a second in it crashed. I had to unplug my iPhone then plug it back in. The song I had chosen started again. I went back to Up Next, chose another song and had another crash. The third, fourth and fifth times worked fine with no crashes. 

    Also, CarPlay started in less than 10 seconds after the crashes both times. 

    2) Again, in "Now Playing" the album title appears under the track name and is selectable. Clicking on it takes you to a track list for that album (or for the tracks you have in the library anyway). 

    Both changes are welcome to me. 
    Reboot your phone if CarPlay is crashing. That usually fixes it for me - I've seen a lot of CarPlay crashes in the past few years.

    Will do. 

    The consistent issue I've had aside from slow start-ups is that sometimes the display will show that music is playing but I get no sound. I have to fiddle around, pausing, skipping a track etc before I hear the music. After a couple of months I finally found that invoking Siri or taking a phone call will get the music to play properly. 

    It doesn't happen every time but enough that I've noticed. 
  • Reply 20 of 24
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,070member
    MplsP said:
    I have a 2017 Audi A4 and have found Car Play to be very inconsistent. Sometimes it works perfectly,  often (maybe 25-30% of the time) it connects and the CarPlay screen comes up on the display, but the audio comes out of the phone. Randomly, the last podcast I was playing starts automatically, but usually not. Unplugging and reconnecting my phone usually helps, but sometimes it takes over a minute for it to recognize the phone when I do so. The worst part is that all of this is random - nothing consistently helps. I havent' tried turning off Bluetooth, so I'll try that and see if it helps. I asked the dealer and they were clueless,  other than to say that 'it's usually a problem with the phone' :neutral: 
    Funny, I was just thinking it's probably a problem w/ the car's head unit system. Of course they'd say phone tho, smirk. I've had several Pioneer third party head units (AppRadio models) and found them flaky as hell. I trust Apple's software people way, way more than the teams putting together these kludgy car units.
    No, it's Apple and the CarPlay OS. This is on everyones cars of all different makes and models. There are a ton of forums about this very issue all over
    You haven't provided any evidence of that tho. I am of the position that nearly all the auto-makers suck. Their software sucks, their head units suck. I don't trust a single one of them as equipped to make decent software, because we have no evidence of that so far, w/ the exception of Tesla. So does the fact that many auto-makers' head units have issues prove that "It's Apple!" Not at all.
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