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What is Apple CarPlay?

What is Apple CarPlay?

Apple CarPlay is a smarter aftermarket infotainment stereo system and a safer way to use your iPhone in the car. Apple CarPlay takes the things you want to do on your iPhone while you are driving and puts it in your car. You can make and receive calls, send and receive text messages, listen to music, and also there is a growing number of other application that can be downloaded from the apple store that support CarPlay. This basically turns your head unit into an apple device, therefore you can stay focused on the road and there is no need to pick up and use your phone. JUST PLUG YOUR iPhone AND GO.

Apple CarPlay

How It Works

To start using Apple CarPlay all you have to do is plug your iPhone into the stereo via a lightning cable. At the moment, there is no wireless connection from the iPhone to a Carplay device (Apple have announced that CarPlay will go wireless, nevertheless it wasn’t specified what type of connection it will be).

The stereo system (Apple CarPlay) mainly uses Siri which results in less distraction, what you tell Siri the system will do, from calling one of your contact to writing and sending a text message. It is also possible to use your steering wheel controls or your dash board controls which you might prefer because of past habits and comfortability. Also the stereo is touchscreen to make navigating around the system that more easier.

The CarPlay stereo system uses the same format as an iPhone, Apps. Due to the simplicity of an Apple iPhone’s interface they has chosen not to change and complicate anything, keeping it simple and user-friendly makes it safe for drivers to use the same functions on an iPhone in the car when driving.

Apple Carplay also integrates your iPhone’s apps so that all of your data is transferred to the cars infotainment system ensuring all your data is accessible while driving.


The features usually vary on which Apply CarPlay stereo system you purchase, like climate control, CD/DVD player etc.

The main features the CarPlay head unit provides you:-

  • Navigating through the system

  • Applications

  • Siri
Siri on CarPlay    
  • Maps - For navigation
Apple Maps
  • Touchscreen
Touchscreen on CarPlay    
  • Phone – Integrates your phonebook with the system, for calling your contacts
Apple Phone
  • Existing dash/ Steering wheel controls
Dash & Steering controls on CarPlay    
  • Messaging – No typing is required, you can speak and Siri will type and send the message for you.
Apple Messaging
  • Music – Play your existing music off your iPhone, search song, artist, and album to play the right music.
Apple Music
  • The app market is ever growing with the number of apps that are compatible with CarPlay, Applications like Spotify, Audio Books, etc, have already been added.
Apple icons
  • Speed

  • Optional reversing rear view camera

  • The new systems react faster and interact perfectly through touch and sound.
  • Most systems will enable you to add a reversing camera to give you that extra help when reversing and parking.
  • Parking Sensors

  • With most of these stereo systems you can retain your factory fitted parking sensors so you are not losing a safety feature, also it is possible to add parking sensors to the Apple CarPlay stereo system.



The iPhones that are compatible with an Apple CarPlay system are:

iPhone 5 iPhone 5c iPhone 5s iPhone 6 iPhone 6 Plus iPhone 6s iPhone 6s Plus
iPhone 5 iPhone 5c iPhone 5s iPhone 6 iPhone 6 Plus iPhone 6s iPhone 6s Plus

*Also it will be compatible with any iPhone models that are yet to be released.


  • Less Distraction

Driving with CarPlay
  • With the help of voice command (Siri) you will feel and be more safer using your stereo system while you drive, there is less time or no time needed to take your hand off the steering wheel and eyes off the road just to make something like a phone call.
  • Also because of the simple user interface and the consistency with Apple, the CarPlay system has the same buttons and similar layout, this will result in less time navigating through trying to find something like a specific music track.
  • Predictive knowledge

Apple Points of Interest
  • Due to the fact with Apple’s operating system is always learning about the user, this feature comes through into the CarPlay with points of interest on their maps, most played music, etc.
  • Upgrades

  • In in-car entertainment, such things like new aftermarket stereos systems are coming out thick and fast and the system you get installed in your car can become an old system within months. CarPlay works the same as iPhones, upgrades come to you for free through the CarPlay app and adds features or makes it faster and responsive. Just like an iPhone 5 has the same features as an iPhone 6.


What car models are compatible with Carplay?

Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Opel, Kia, Landrover, Mitsubishi, Suburu, Suzuki and Toyota are all committed partners.

Can I install Carplay into my existing car? 

If you have an older car that doesn’t have any existing CarPlay integration, there is still a way for this to work for you. Alpine and Pioneer have created aftermarket solutions in their newer models so that CarPlay can be made available in existing vehicles. If you have a CarPlay compatible Pioneer system, all you will need to do is install a firmware update for your device.

Is Apple CarPlay The Future

YES! At CarCommunications we have seen a steady increase in orders with stereo systems that have CarPlay in them. Also Apple have announced that their CarPlay will be a factory fitted feature in some car models in the near future. With Apple not showing signs of slowing down in integrating their products in cars, we see this feature growing and becoming a standard feature in all new cars in a few years’ time, just like how DAB radio is in all the new cars.


Alpine iLX-700 Pioneer AVIC-F70DAB Pioneer AVIC-F970BT Pioneer SPH-DA120
Apline iLX-700  Pioneer AVIC-F70DAB Pioneer AVIC-F970BT Pioneer SPH-DA120


Do you have any questions about Apple CarPlay or any of the devices above? Please call us on 01254 694537 or complete our quick & simple contact form and we will be more than happy to help you. 

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