Wish list: 9 new CarPlay features for iOS 12

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in iOS
After seeing release four years ago, Apple's CarPlay continues to gain traction in the automotive world as it bulks up on features with each major revision of iOS. As frequent users of the in-car infotainment platform, we amassed quite a wish list of features and changes we hope to see unveiled alongside iOS 12 at WWDC in June.




WWDC 18, which is set for June 4 through June 8, is where Apple is widely expected to introduce iOS 12, watchOS 5, tvOS 12, and macOS 10.14. There are countless new features Apple could add to CarPlay, but after using it daily for the past couple years, here are our top requests.

Support for third-party map apps

Ranking high on the list is the ability to use third-party mapping applications like Waze or Google Maps.




Apple heavily restricts the types of apps that are able to run on CarPlay, primarily limited to chat or audio apps. With its own mapping service in Maps, mapping apps are not among the approved list.

This means when you are driving, you have three options: your car's navigation system, third-party apps on your phone's display, or Apple Maps through CarPlay. Apple Maps has worked fine for us, but we tend to be more of the exception than the rule. Countless people have had issues with Apple Maps, even after all the improvements Apple has made since a series of very public criticisms shortly after the service debuted in 2012.

Easier support for wireless CarPlay

CarPlay has offered wireless data transfer support officially since iOS 8.3, yet only one or two manufacturers have adopted it thus far.

This is largely on the shoulders of car and aftermarket radio manufacturers, but Apple can push this feature as more of a priority. Having to plug your iPhone into a USB-connected Lightning cable each time you enter your car really hurts the user experience, especially now that the latest phones support wireless charging.

Many accessory makers have brought wireless car chargers to market, but if you want to use wireless CarPlay, you have a very limited set of options.

Multi-screen support for other apps

It is a often-overlooked feature, but one of the things that Apple Maps has going for it is its multi-screen interface. Yes, Maps in CarPlay can support your car's infotainment screen as well as the one within your instrument cluster.

While using Maps, you can also use your iPhone as a second screen. While navigating, your iPhone will display the list of upcoming directions while your infotainment system shows the map.

It would be handy for other applications to have the ability to take advantage of this same technology. For example, a music app might use your phone's display to show a list of upcoming tracks, while the car's screen shows what's currently playing. There will always be a need to balance information with distraction, but if it works for Maps, it would be interesting to see what other developers can do with it.

Speed limits not during navigation




When iOS 11 came out, one of the new features for Maps was the inclusion of speed limits. It works in CarPlay, as well as the standalone app.

The rub though, is that speed limits only are displayed while you are navigating from Point A to Point B. We would like to see the speed limit show up in Maps at all times, a plus for route planning and general road awareness.

Weather app support

Siri has always been able to answer questions about weather, but Apple's built-in integration can be limiting.

We would love to see Dark Sky, Carrot Weather, or WeatherUnderground on CarPlay compatible screens. Most cars around these days already have their own weather apps built-in, but they are quite lackluster.

If weather maps or multi-day forecasts are too information dense to use while driving, display could be limited to times when the car is in park.

HomeKit control




It would be a fantastic convenience to ask Siri to start your car, or include similar functionality into HomeKit scenes. Many cars already support Amazon's Alexa or have an iOS companion app that provides remote control support.

Enhanced HomeKit triggers would also be a welcome change. Instead of turning on house lights when a user enters a geofenced area, CarPlay integration might be able to unlock house doors when a user returns home and opens their car door, for example.

While it would be additional work for car manufacturers, it shouldn't be that much of a leap. Security, however, would be of great concern, meaning extra work for Apple.

Updated interface

Apple has been rumored to be working on an updated CarPlay interface, though that and other features have reportedly been tabled to devote more time to bug fixes and stability.

Currently, the interface is looking quite dated. Even third-party apps look plain thanks to interface requirements Apple imposes on developers.

The existing interface is a bit clunky, requires a lot of jumping between apps, doesn't support custom backgrounds and is generally not optimized as well as it could be.

Video playback (in park only)

Put this request on the not likely to happen list. Quite a few times we found ourselves waiting in the car, catching up on some videos (like the excellent AppleInsider YouTube channel), and yearned to watch them on a bigger screen.

While some infotainment systems do offer video playback, access to these features are almost always prohibited unless the car is in park. It is these safety concerns that would make it unlikely for Apple to implement in its in-house offering.

Still, one can dream!

Music controls




Audio playback may be the single most used feature of CarPlay, but third-party app support is severely lacking.

Starting playback is a breeze, but controlling audio means jumping back into the originating app using the sidebar. This is frustrating when you are inside another app, like Maps, and want to see what is playing, skip tracks or perform other functions.

It would be handy to be able to view currently playing content or to quickly access controls from any app, not just sidebar navigation. Integrated app support would take some work, as iOS itself still lacks similar features, but the foundation is there with iOS multitasking.

Wrapping it up




What Apple will choose to include with CarPlay in iOS 12 is a mystery; we won't find out until WWDC, and perhaps not even then.

The features detailed above are clearly tailored to our personal tastes, but we would love to hear your requests. Tell us below in the comments section.
raoulduke42Alex1Nh2p
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 71
    Great suggestions. I’d like to see multi-display apps in general. Besides CarPlay, I know there are a few games that will treat an AppleTV display as the main display and show controls or info on the iPhone or iPad display... but why not apps that can use multiple iPhones and iPads in concert? I’d love to see all the sliders for Adobe Lightroom take over my iPhone display, leaving the larger iPad display just for the photo I’m processing. They could call it “Handshake.” One can dream.
    neo-techAlex1Nrepressthis
  • Reply 2 of 71
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,709member
    3rd party map is good idea but Instead, Apple should keep making it's map better.There is nothing to gain for Apple giving access to other Map Apps. Apple put efforts to create CarPlay and Google map rips the benefit collecting in-car data mining.
    superklotonAlex1Njony0
  • Reply 3 of 71
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 900member
    Better WiFi connectivity would definitely be nice, especially since Apple has embraced wireless charging and more auto makers are including charging pads. What’s the point if you have to plug it in?

    i continue to have intermittent connectivity problems with CarPlay in my A4. Most of the time it works perfectly, but not infrequently I’ll plug my phone in and the CarPlay screen will come up, but audio plays over the iPhone speaker rather than the car speaker. Apple blames Audi and Audi blames Apple and I’m just annoyed 
    Alex1N
  • Reply 4 of 71
    MplsP said:
    i continue to have intermittent connectivity problems with CarPlay in my A4. Most of the time it works perfectly, but not infrequently I’ll plug my phone in and the CarPlay screen will come up, but audio plays over the iPhone speaker rather than the car speaker. Apple blames Audi and Audi blames Apple and I’m just annoyed 
    Interesting. My E300 does something similar but only occasionally and at startup. Music will appear to be playing but there is no sound whatsoever. I’ve found that if I invoke Siri and just ask for the time (because it’s a quick response) that music will play directly after Siri’s reply. 
    raoulduke42Alex1Nrepressthis
  • Reply 5 of 71
    gfurrygfurry Posts: 3member
    I second third-party apps like Waze and Google Maps. While they are at it how about complications like on the watch? Let me pick my screen design and put the data I want to see in the places I want to see it. The map in the middle, time and temp on the side. Speed limit over in the corner and ETA over here.... Speaking of temp how come it is on the phone Apple maps but not on carplay? When I bring up carPlay in my Ford Explorer the only way I can get the outside temperature is by clicking a few buttons to get back to a non-carplay screen. 
    neo-techAlex1N
  • Reply 6 of 71
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,431member
    The lack of aftermarket head units with wireless CarPlay is very strange. Particularly annoying is that Android Auto only just got wireless capability recently, and Kenwood have put out a whole series of head units with wireless android auto, but not wireless CarPlay! Why? Is it a marketing deal with google, or is it some stupid hardware requirement on Apple’s behalf? 

    It it would be interesting to know what is Kenwood’s reasoning, if you could penetrate the wall of BS or should I say marketing speak.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 7 of 71
    mdossmdoss Posts: 18member
    wood1208 said:
    3rd party map is good idea but Instead, Apple should keep making it's map better.There is nothing to gain for Apple giving access to other Map Apps. Apple put efforts to create CarPlay and Google map rips the benefit collecting in-car data mining.
    Bolding mine for relevance.

    Your point is from the perspective of a user in countries where Apple Maps is supported. There are many countries where Apple does not support Maps. In those countries Google Maps is the only solution. Google Maps works very well on the iPhone, and directions are extremely accurate and optimal.

    Please note that most of the cars sold in such countries do support CarPlay and whatever Android's version of CarPlay is.  And the Android version supports everything right now. Apple is perceived to be wanting in some areas of CarPlay.

    Cheers
    Alex1Njony0
  • Reply 8 of 71
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,434member
    Great list.

    wood1208 said:
    3rd party map is good idea but Instead, Apple should keep making it's map better.There is nothing to gain for Apple giving access to other Map Apps. Apple put efforts to create CarPlay and Google map rips the benefit collecting in-car data mining.
    Why can't Apple continue to make their Maps app better while still allowing 3rd-party options? It would be saying that Apple should just make Apple Music better but not allow   other streaming music services on the App Store. While I use Maps I know plenty of people that prefer Waze and don't think it's fair for me to say Waze shouldn't exist because I don't use it.
    Alex1NMplsPbonobobjony0
  • Reply 9 of 71
    chopdogchopdog Posts: 10member
    I fully agree with ALL of these - it's as though you read my mind. 
    It would be great to have some way to manage a car's radio outside the CarPlay world, and then you could only use CarPlay as your one stop shop interface. A lot of Audi's issues with CarPlay is that Audi have their DREADFUL MMI interface that requires so many clicks and pushes just to get back to CarPlay or to do some simple actions. Drives me ABSOLUTELY insane.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 10 of 71
    andyrmillerandyrmiller Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Maps is biggest thing. Living in Scotland where mobile signal cannot be guaranteed I'd like to be able to use TomTom, then Google Maps. Given Apple licensed most of TomTom you'd think that should not be too much to ask. Whilst Apple Maps is improved it still lacks behind Google. Unlike your other contributor I don't have confidence they will catch up. Recently the number of software blunders they have made have been very large indeed. Apple seem focused on Wall Street targets now not on things that "just work" going down the same road as Microsoft did in early 90s. 
    pembrokeAlex1N
  • Reply 11 of 71
    LatkoLatko Posts: 173member
    Does Apple even realize that it is in competition with in-car solutions that have evolved far faster than CarPlay ? Let them make it more open, accessible, adaptable and able to use the iPhone screen itself. Currently, my iPhone is nothing more than a bluetooth streaming source to my Volvo entertainment system as (neither Google nor Apple) Maps is able to detect one-way streets
    edited April 2018 Alex1N
  • Reply 12 of 71
    HakonOrriHakonOrri Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Can you really use the car's navigation while listening to iPhone music/podcast through the Carplay interface? I can't find it. I have to unmount the phone and listen to music through the usb connection, Otherwise I would like the Carplay to not silenece my notifications while using it. For example Facebook messenger and my home alarm system. Then I would like to see "upcoming calender events" app. And phone battery status.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 13 of 71
    HakonOrri said:
    Can you really use the car's navigation while listening to iPhone music/podcast through the Carplay interface? I can't find it. I have to unmount the phone and listen to music through the usb connection, Otherwise I would like the Carplay to not silenece my notifications while using it. For example Facebook messenger and my home alarm system. Then I would like to see "upcoming calender events" app. And phone battery status.
    Depends how integrated the system is, I had a Vauxhall Mokka X on hire a few months back which had CarPlay - you could start any app via carplay then switch to the home screen and select the built in apps (nav etc.) while the carplay app remained in the background. It was a nice novelty but after 1 or 2 days I couldn't be bothered plugging in my phone every time.

    My daily driver is a Fiat 500X and it's Uconnect system works wirelessly, I can set off and select an app on screen all while my phone remains in my pocket. If CarPlay requires a hardware upgrade for Wireless then its gonna take several years before people switch over imho.
  • Reply 14 of 71
    Alex1NAlex1N Posts: 37member
    Still no CarPlay support by Toyota here in Australia, apparently. Very, very annoying. Especially as their current ‘smartphone’ ‘interface’ is atrociously awful. Maybe Apple could pull their collective finger out and talk to Mr Toyota. Surely it can’t be that difficult.
  • Reply 15 of 71
    drdbdrdb Posts: 99member
    The only feature I'd like is for it to NOT automatically start playing music the second I plug into the charger on the car.
    Alex1NmacxpressDavidAlGregory
  • Reply 16 of 71
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,681member
    Alex1N said:
    Still no CarPlay support by Toyota here in Australia, apparently. Very, very annoying. Especially as their current ‘smartphone’ ‘interface’ is atrociously awful. Maybe Apple could pull their collective finger out and talk to Mr Toyota. Surely it can’t be that difficult.
    Or, you could just not buy a Toyota? Speak with your dollars, not on a forum. When Toyota starts losing sales because customers want Apple CarPlay and its not available then they'll either put it in and get their customers back, or decide to keep it out and continue losing customers. 
    Alex1N
  • Reply 17 of 71
    Why can't Apple continue to make their Maps app better while still allowing 3rd-party options? It would be saying that Apple should just make Apple Music better but not allow   other streaming music services on the App Store. While I use Maps I know plenty of people that prefer Waze and don't think it's fair for me to say Waze shouldn't exist because I don't use it.
    In a way, that’s what Apple is doing with Siri.

    You cannot use Siri to control Spotify. This is an Apple restriction because they exclude music streaming apps from being connected with Siri, Apple’s awful voice ‘assistant’.

    Which causes me to have to control it by touch in my car (or my HomePod). Apple is causing me to operste my phone in an unsafe way because they rather block competition from providing th same amount of usability. I find that a distribing trend and arrogant stance, not putting customers first. In the end Apple is shooting themselves in the foot, because users on Android users have access to a) a better voice assistant that b) works with their app of choice.
    I am surprised that Europe for example hasn’t acted upon the monopoly Apple created by abusing their operating system to put their own apps and services first (e.g Apple Music, iCloud, Apple Maps), creating unfair competition. There used to be a time where a certain operating system developer got into trouble by preinstalling a certain browser. 
  • Reply 18 of 71
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,898moderator
    Why can't Apple continue to make their Maps app better while still allowing 3rd-party options? It would be saying that Apple should just make Apple Music better but not allow   other streaming music services on the App Store. While I use Maps I know plenty of people that prefer Waze and don't think it's fair for me to say Waze shouldn't exist because I don't use it.
    In a way, that’s what Apple is doing with Siri.

    You cannot use Siri to control Spotify. This is an Apple restriction because they exclude music streaming apps from being connected with Siri, Apple’s awful voice ‘assistant’.

    Which causes me to have to control it by touch in my car (or my HomePod). Apple is causing me to operste my phone in an unsafe way because they rather block competition from providing th same amount of usability. I find that a distribing trend and arrogant stance, not putting customers first. In the end Apple is shooting themselves in the foot, because users on Android users have access to a) a better voice assistant that b) works with their app of choice.
    I am surprised that Europe for example hasn’t acted upon the monopoly Apple created by abusing their operating system to put their own apps and services first (e.g Apple Music, iCloud, Apple Maps), creating unfair competition. There used to be a time where a certain operating system developer got into trouble by preinstalling a certain browser. 
    iOS is 15% of the market.  Where’s the monopoly in that?  
    StrangeDaysCesar Battistini Maziero
  • Reply 19 of 71
    CarPlay is mediocre. I was one of its biggest supporters when it was first announced. But it has since languished, sort of like Siri. Many of the problems are noted above in the blog. 

     Here’s a simple test, based on revealed preferences: the last time I used it in my car was four months ago. 
    Alex1N
  • Reply 20 of 71

    Which causes me to have to control it by touch in my car (or my HomePod). Apple is causing me to operste my phone in an unsafe way because they rather block competition from providing th same amount of usability. I find that a distribing trend and arrogant stance, not putting customers first. In the end Apple is shooting themselves in the foot, because users on Android users have access to a) a better voice assistant that b) works with their app of choice.
    I am surprised that Europe for example hasn’t acted upon the monopoly Apple created by abusing their operating system to put their own apps and services first (e.g Apple Music, iCloud, Apple Maps), creating unfair competition. There used to be a time where a certain operating system developer got into trouble by preinstalling a certain browser. 
    No, Apple is not causing you to operate your phone in an unsafe way.  You are choosing to operate your phone in an unsafe manner and then attempting to place the blame on Apple.  How about you take responsibility for your own actions, eh?
    StrangeDaysCesar Battistini Maziero
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