Hands on: everything new with CarPlay in iOS 16

At this year’s WWDC keynote, Apple paid a lot of attention to CarPlay. Several changes are planned – some imminent and some for later. Here’s what’s new with CarPlay and what we’ll actually see in iOS 16.

So far, Apple has only released an initial developer beta of iOS 16. Therefore, some features may change with the final release and functionality may be added.

Take Maps for example. Apple touted a major update that enables multi-stop routes. You could plan a trip from your home, to a gas station, to a friend’s house, to a coffee shop, to a final destination.

These routes can be created using macOS Ventura on your Mac before being sent to your iPhone. In this first beta, CarPlay does not support step-by-step directions for these routes. Hopefully this will be included with the full release in the fall of 2022.

Improvements to existing apps

With iOS 16, Apple has made improvements to existing CarPlay apps. With Messages, Siri can now automatically send a message after it’s read to you.

With iOS 15, Siri would require affirmative confirmation before sending a message, which can slow down the process. As long as the message is correct, it will be sent without your intervention. If the message needs to be changed, a “change” button will still be visible on the CarPlay interface.

Updated podcast library in iOS 16 CarPlay

Updated podcast library in iOS 16 CarPlay

The Podcasts app is also getting a major overhaul with iOS 16. It used to be extremely limited and couldn’t show recent episodes. Apple has added a new library with this update to make it easier to find saved episodes, as well as the latest episodes of any show you follow.

New app categories

From time to time, Apple adds new categories of supported apps for CarPlay. Typically, CarPlay apps are navigation or audio apps with only a limited number of other categories that can be displayed in the interface. The iOS 16 update supports two new types of apps.

Both fueling and driving tasks are compatible with iOS 16, although you’ll have to wait for developers to ship it as an update later this year. Fuel apps are self-explanatory and include apps that can help you find gas stations or lower gas prices.

Driving task apps are a bit broader. All apps that assist with tasks while in the vehicle can be included, such as apps that provide toll rates/routes, road information or tow assistance.

A whole new CarPlay experience

Most users are raving about the all-new CarPlay experience Apple previewed at the event. Unfortunately this is not coming soon.

The future of CarPlay

The future of CarPlay

Starting with vehicles announced at the end of 2023, CarPlay will be present on all screens of your car. It is currently limited to your primary center console display and navigation guidance in the center of your instrument panel. The CarPlay of the future will completely take over all displays, including additional dashboard displays.

CarPlay in the instrument panel

CarPlay in the instrument panel

The instrument panel is full of customization with many fonts, themes, colors and layouts to choose from. All this while preserving the required information such as speed, range, fuel level, RPM and more. This is a level of customization that we don’t often see at Apple.

CarPlay widgets

CarPlay widgets

Large displays or wide displays are home to widgets. Apple has default widgets for your calendar, weather, audio playback, time, travel information, and home controls. This is also customizable.

We are very excited about the ability to control your vehicle’s systems directly from the CarPlay interface. You no longer have to leave CarPlay to adjust your car’s air conditioning, heat the steering wheel, turn on your seat vents or tune the radio.

This is a huge departure and is likely to make automakers pause. By handing over the entirety of the vehicle to CarPlay, they can’t stress their systems.

CarPlay in iOS 16

Apple says vehicles will be announced in late 2023, meaning we won’t see this in the wild until 2024. At WWDC, Apple announced commitments from several major manufacturers to adopt this updated version of CarPlay.

Ford, Acura, Honda, Volvo, Land Rover, Nissan and others were included in this list. That said, how many vehicles and what level of support remains to be seen.

Available soon

At the moment, iOS 16 is currently in developer beta. A public beta is expected to be released in July, before full release this fall. Stay informed AppleInsider as we walk through more features for Apple’s upcoming software updates.