Apple's CarPlay has been around for some time, and while it has had the odd addition and change here and there over the years, not much has changed drastically.

So, does CarPlay on iOS 13 bring anything new? Following the launch of the iOS 13 Beta we loaded up the new CarPlay on the Nissan Leaf to see what's new.


New dashboard

One of the big new changes to CarPlay is an additional menu screen. Rather than just showing you the apps available, the additional menu screen allows you to see maps, audio controls, and smart Siri suggestions in one place.

It's much more in keeping with what a car dashboard should look like and it gives you an overview and quick access to the stuff you'll need the most. Previously you had to constantly jump between app screens to achieve this.

With Siri suggestions, the dashboard will try and guess what apps you might need before you realise you need them, such as suggesting the HomeKit app when you pull up at your home if you've got a HomeKit enabled garage door.

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New Apple Music app

Listening to music in your car is a big thing so Apple has used the move to iOS 13 to redesign the music app on CarPlay in order to make it easier and more logical to use.

As with the Apple Music app on your iPhone, everything is broken down into sections including Library, For You, Browse and Radio. Apple has also made it easier to discover your Personalised Mixes and recently played tracks however, offering a much bigger focus on album art to make it easier to pick things at a glance. 


Better maps and guidance

Apple has started rolling out more detailed maps in Apple maps, and CarPlay benefits. Sadly, the new mapping data is currently only available in the US, but Apple says that it is working hard to bring them to other countries and regions around the world as quickly as it can. In Apple's home state of California, you'll be really able to notice the difference.

While the rest of us wait for those new maps, every one will get improved navigational guidance and the ability to quickly and easily share your ETA with contacts while on route. You'll be able to search for key things like petrol stations on the route (although not electric charging points), and Apple is promising more natural language phrases, such as "turn left at the next traffic lights" to make the instructions more intuitive. 

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Siri improvements

In CarPlay for iOS 13, when you say "Hey, Siri" it no longer takes over the whole screen so you can't see what's happening.

Instead, the Siri screen only takes up part of the screen. That's going to be much better when you're approaching a turning and still need to see the map. Siri also doesn't kick in automatically when you open the Phones or Messages app. 

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You can use your iPhone at the same time

Not something we would suggest you do if you are driving, but in this version of CarPlay you can use your iPhone at the same time as you use CarPlay, without changing what's on the Car's screen.

That's going to be great if you've plugged your iPhone in for directions, but are sat in the passenger seat still want to check your messages, emails, or surf the web for something at the same time. It also means the passenger can be playing "DJ" without the driver losing the directions.

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Do Not Disturb

As you can on iPhone, with CarPlay on iOS 13, you can turn on Do Not Disturb so it doesn't disturb you with messages and notifications. You can opt to have it so no messages come up while you're driving to reduce your distractions to a minimum. 

Light mode

In CarPlay for iOS 13, you now get a light mode as well as dark mode (the default so far). It automatically detects the time of day, so it doesn't burn your eyes when driving at night. It should also mean that it's easier to see the screen when day driving too.

Calendar app

In CarPlay for iOS 13, you get a dedicated Calendar app so you can see your calendar appointments rather than having to call them in from Siri. If those appointments have an address in them, you can click it to send directly to Apple Maps and get immediate directions.

Car makers can make CarPlay show up elsewhere

Not one that you or we would have control over, but Apple has been working behind the scenes to allow car makers to implement CarPlay elsewhere in the car. Either on a second screen like a dashboard cluster or HUD, but on different shaped screens too.

Apple has also included support for car makers to use the native microphones in the car rather than Siri having to rely on the mic on your iPhone or Apple Watch.

More apps promised

During Apple's keynote presentation at WWDC, the company confirmed that more apps would be coming to Apple CarPlay in the future. So far, the company has confirmed Pandora and Waze.