How do I use Apple CarPlay?

How do I use Apple CarPlay?

Apple CarPlay is a system developed by Apple Inc. that allows you to connect your iPhone to your vehicle’s infotainment system, providing you with a simplified, safe, and efficient way to access your phone’s features while driving. CarPlay offers an intuitive interface, allowing drivers to access maps, music, messages, phone calls, and a variety of third-party apps, all while keeping their focus on the road. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss how to use Apple CarPlay, set it up, and explore its various features.

Part 1: Setting up Apple CarPlay

Check compatibility

Before you begin, it’s essential to ensure that your vehicle is compatible with Apple CarPlay. Most cars manufactured after 2015 are likely to support CarPlay, but you can check your vehicle’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for confirmation. Additionally, you’ll need an iPhone 5 or newer running at least iOS 7.1. It’s also a good idea to update your iPhone to the latest iOS version to ensure optimal performance.

Connect your iPhone to your car

There are two ways to connect your iPhone to your car for Apple CarPlay: wired or wireless. The majority of vehicles currently support wired connections, while a growing number of vehicles offer wireless CarPlay compatibility.

Wired connection:

To set up a wired connection, follow these steps:

Turn on your car and ensure it is in park or neutral.

Connect your iPhone to the car’s USB port using a Lightning-to-USB cable. In most cases, this port will be labeled with the CarPlay logo or a smartphone icon.

Wait for the CarPlay interface to appear on your car’s display.

Wireless connection:

For vehicles that support wireless CarPlay, follow these steps:

a. Turn on your car and ensure it is in park or neutral.
b. On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > CarPlay.
c. Tap “Available cars” and select your vehicle from the list.
d. Follow the on-screen prompts to pair your iPhone with your car using Bluetooth.
e. Once paired, CarPlay should launch automatically on your car’s display.

Customize the CarPlay interface

Once connected, you can customize the CarPlay interface to suit your preferences:

Rearrange app icons: On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > CarPlay, and select your vehicle. You can then drag and drop the app icons to rearrange them as you see fit.

Add or remove apps: To add or remove apps from your CarPlay interface, open the App Store on your iPhone, search for CarPlay-compatible apps, and download or delete them as desired.

Part 2: Navigating the Apple CarPlay Interface

Accessing the Home screen

When you connect your iPhone to your car’s infotainment system, the CarPlay Home screen will appear, displaying a grid of app icons. To return to the Home screen at any time, tap the virtual Home button, which is usually located in the bottom-left or bottom-right corner of the car’s display.

Using Siri with CarPlay

Siri is an integral part of the CarPlay experience, allowing you to control various features using voice commands. To activate Siri, press and hold the voice command button on your steering wheel or the virtual Home button on the CarPlay display until the Siri prompt appears.

You can use Siri to perform tasks such as:

Making phone calls: “Call [contact name].”

Sending text messages: “Text [contact name] [message].”

Playing music: “Play [song/artist/album/playlist].”

Getting directions: “Navigate to [address/landmark/POI].”

Checking the weather: “What’s the weather like?”

Setting reminders: “Remind me to [task] at [time].”

Using Siri with CarPlay allows you to perform these tasks hands-free, helping you maintain your focus on driving.

Navigating with Apple Maps

Apple CarPlay integrates seamlessly with Apple Maps, providing you with turn-by-turn directions, real-time traffic updates, and nearby points of interest. To use Apple Maps with CarPlay, follow these steps:

Tap the Maps app icon on the CarPlay Home screen.

To search for a destination, use Siri by pressing the voice command button on your steering wheel or the virtual Home button on the CarPlay display, and say something like, “Navigate to [address/landmark/POI].”

Alternatively, you can use the on-screen search bar to type in a destination manually. However, it’s safer to use Siri while driving.

Once your destination is selected, Apple Maps will display the route and provide turn-by-turn directions.

You can also view alternative routes, see an overview of the entire route, or access step-by-step directions by tapping the corresponding buttons on the screen.

Making phone calls and sending messages

CarPlay allows you to make and receive phone calls and send messages without taking your hands off the wheel. To do this, use Siri, as described earlier, or follow these steps:

To make a call, tap the Phone app icon on the CarPlay Home screen, then select Contacts, Favorites, Recents, or Keypad to dial a number manually.

To receive a call, tap the green answer button on the CarPlay display when a call comes in.

To send a message, tap the Messages app icon on the CarPlay Home screen, then use Siri to dictate your message.

To listen to and respond to incoming messages, tap the notification on the CarPlay display, and Siri will read the message aloud. You can then use Siri to dictate a reply.

Playing music and podcasts

CarPlay supports various audio apps, including Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and Podcasts. To play music or podcasts, follow these steps:

Tap the desired audio app icon on the CarPlay Home screen.

Browse through your playlists, albums, podcasts, or stations to find the content you’d like to play.

Use the on-screen controls to play, pause, skip tracks, or adjust the volume.

You can also use Siri to control your audio playback by issuing voice commands, such as “Play [song/artist/album/playlist]” or “Play the latest episode of [podcast].”

Using third-party apps

In addition to Apple’s native apps, CarPlay supports various third-party apps, including messaging, navigation, and audio apps. To use third-party apps, download them from the App Store on your iPhone and ensure they are CarPlay-compatible. Once installed, the app icons will appear on the CarPlay Home screen, and you can use them just like the native apps.


Apple CarPlay offers a convenient and safe way to access your iPhone’s features while driving. With its intuitive interface, voice control via Siri, and seamless integration with various apps, CarPlay enhances the driving experience by minimizing distractions and allowing you to focus on the road. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can set up and use Apple CarPlay with ease, making your time behind the wheel more enjoyable and connected.