Apple Carplay review: apps, features and so on, everything you need to know

ByFields Corrielus 2019-06-24 463

Carplay is Apple's solution for integrating iPhones into the infotainment system of a car. We have tested Carplay, explain advantages and disadvantages and the different ways to Carplay.

Apple Carplay

Every iPhone can be connected to the infotainment system of a modern car via Bluetooth. Then you can use the iPhone to make calls via a hands-free system, listen to music and web radio from your smartphone via Bluetooth audio streaming in the car and, depending on the infotainment system installed in the car, also use various Internet services. You don't need a carplay for all these possibilities!

Advantages of Apple Carplay: Familiar operating concept

But Carplay goes one step further and offers some advantages over the usual Bluetooth pairing. Carplay mirrors some selected iPhone apps on the large touch screen of the car, which is easier to read and safer to operate in the car. With large buttons for the individual apps, which you can easily hit with your finger while driving. Siri is also available for voice control. So for Carplay you don't have to use the car's voice control, which works better or worse depending on the car manufacturer, but can operate the iPhone apps with the proven and familiar Siri.

Equally familiar and proven is the touch operation of the carplay screen. For example, there is a home button that always takes you back to the home screen. But if you press it longer, Siri starts. Even the wake-up call "Hey Siri" works with Carplay, as long as this function is activated on the iPhone. An iPhone owner can immediately find his way around Carplay in his familiar environment.

In addition, the control elements available in the car such as buttons on the steering wheel or the controllers on the centre console can also be used.

Always up-to-date functions

Carplay offers a further advantage: if the iPhones become more powerful, this performance gain is also available in the car. Just like new apps and new functions, for example for Siri.

Limited app support

But if you now expect all your familiar iPhones apps to be available on the carplay screen in your car: No way. Apple only allows a few selected own apps for Carplay and so far only very few foreign apps. These few exceptions include Spotify, but also Stitcher and Audible. In particular, we don't find an alternative navigation app like TomTom's for Carplay.

iPhone as central switching point

Carplay thus functions as an interface between the infotainment system of the car and the iPhone. Carplay uses the existing control elements such as the steering wheel button for voice control or the touch screen and combines them with the functions of the iPhone and its apps. According to Volvo, mirroring the iPhone screen works in such a way that the iPhone sends its image to the car via H.264 video stream. But we couldn't verify that in the test.

With Carplay, the paired iPhone takes over the entire computing power. With all advantages and disadvantages: The iPhone is performant, the apps and Siri react quickly. But the iPhone's battery is hardly recharged any further while driving, because the iPhone is constantly in use and thus consumes power. In addition, the iPhone's mobile phone contract must be designed in such a way that it can cope with the volume of data generated. For example, the map app constantly reloads maps just like Google Maps Navigation.

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