Apple CarPlay gets a design refresh at WWDC 2019



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During the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, the company unveiled its new operating system for the iPhone – iOS 13 – which includes what Apple calls the “biggest update ever” for CarPlay.

A feature that most vehicle owners have enjoyed for quite a while, the refresh comes with a new dashboard that is now capable of showing multiple apps in a single view.

As shown on stage, the dashboard has Maps on the left, with small widgets to the right for media, suggested navigation, door garage opener and upcoming calendar appointments.

On the mention of the calendar, the dedicated app within CarPlay now shows more relevant information. The Music app also gets updated to display album art, your preferred music and suggestions, while the Maps app now comes with junction view for a more detailed view of intersections.

Other improvements involve notifications and the Siri personal assistant, which are now more streamlined. The latter will now work with third-party navigation and music apps, plus there’s now full hands-free support that only requires users to say “Hey Siri” to call up the assistant via the car’s in-built microphone.

Digging deeper, CarPlay adds on a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode that prevents notifications, similar to what’s already available on iPhones. Oh, an easy-on-the-eyes dark mode has also been added if you’re not a big fan of glare, which is a highly requested feature from users, and is also available with Android Auto.


A more important update is independent app views, whereby opening an app on an iPhone doesn’t affect what is open on the CarPlay screen, allowing your passengers to pick a song on the device while you keep looking at Maps.

For automakers, Apple now allows them to develop CarPlay systems that change the size of the display dynamically, even for non-rectangular screens. Companies can also develop their systems so that information from CarPlay is displayed in a second screen, such as in a cluster or head-up display.

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