We have already exclaimed our excitement over CarPlay changes coming in IOS 13. But now that the beta seasons are up, we have had the opportunity to go full out on your hands.
Having taken it on a road trip, using it while commuting, and exploring the new features, this is our hand at looking at CarPlay in iOS 13.
IOS 13 seems to be basically unchanged. It is a new light mode that looks good. There is also the addition of calendar app to CarPlay, which may seem odd at first, but has some good benefits.
CarPlay's new (ish) look
The most obvious changes are the new dashboard. It serves as quick and cloudy access to a few key features. On one side of the new dashboard is a map that provides some limited detailing for mapping, without recording the entire screen.
On the other side of the dashboard, you can see a small widget that shows suggested destinations – either from frequently visited sites, newer map searches, or calendar items. A now playing widget gives you quick access to play / pause your current music, podcast or audiobook. A third widget also lets you see a list of upcoming appointments – if they include location information.
The new Calendar app has the upcoming appointment, making it quick and easy to get directions to the next meeting, meeting or scheduled event. Best of all, if you have nothing in order, the calendar recognition is not displayed on the dashboard.
Small but good updates
The Music Cup received less visual updates, making it a little more polished and bubbling than in previous years. The new design now shows more album art, which reduces the number of cranes required to start listening to recently added and recently played music by making the album a touch destination.
App interactions in CarPlay also saw some small changes. Apps are less quick to jump to Siri-driven interactions. Instead, open an app such as Messaging or Phone directly to the contacts you have recently or frequently contacted. This means you spend less time telling Siri who is going to call or text, and take action faster.
In CarPlay for iOS 13 you can now invoke Siri in voice-on-compatible vehicles – using "Hey Siri." This allows you to quickly call the assistant without having to press a physical or virtual button. Using Siri is also visually enhanced, with the Siri animation only taking up a small space at the bottom of the screen.
Maps also received some small updates in iOS 13. In particular, there are additional features such as sending ETA to contacts based on navigation information. There is also now a keyboard for easier address search. Finally, some visual changes in directions and junctions make it easier to navigate as you go down the highway.
Another new feature of CarPlay in iOS 13 is the way it works when interacting with apps on a connected device.
Before the iOS 13, the app running on CarPlay also ran in the foreground of the connected iPhone. This meant that actions on the connected iPhone also occurred on the CarPlay interface.
In iOS 13, the link between the app running on CarPlay and the app running on the iPhone is shared. This means that if you insert maps as the main app in CarPlay, someone who opens another app on the connected iPhone will not jump out of map.
All in all, the changes in CarPlay are not groundbreaking, but they are fine updates and improvements. They make CarPlay more useful and functional. They are especially good for commuting, or traveling. Best of all, CarPlay keeps your car infotainment looking and feeling fresh and new. There is much more to it than can be said about the stock radio system in most cars these days.