Getting to grips with Apple CarPlay

Week 249 was posted by Charanjit Chana on 2022-08-01.

We recently took in a new car which has given me my first experience or Apple's CarPlay system that runs through the infotainment system.

Overall, CarPlay is really good for managing that part of the car. Maps are great, music is much easier to manage when compared to Bluetooth only systems and the UI is really nice.

We have access to CarPlay via a non-touch screen interface and it's not ideal. The rotary controls are fine but can be cumbersome in some situations. Getting from the top left to the top right can be any number of rotations and getting back to the dashboard would be much quicker if I could tap the screen a couple of times instead.

That's probably my one big wish for CarPlay to get a 'go to dashboard' shortcut via the hardware. Something like triple tap on the hardware button(s) to go to the dashboard. Or a long press. Anything really, as the dashboard view is my favourite for access to navigation and media controls all in one.

I saw an article about CarPlay and shortcuts (I was looking for the aforementioned dashboard shortcut) and set up one that would say hello to the kids and another that would make it easier to jump into various apps... But the prompts appear on your phone and not in the CarPlay interface so they were completely pointless.

The Amazon Music app can be frustratingly slow and there's a lack of Shortcuts support is also annoying. You can't even start a playlist or do anything beyond open the app but that's not what I always want to do when I connect to CarPlay. If they want it to be your go to app for music then it needs to be much better integrated than it currently is. We also recently had an issue where the app takes over Siri meaning you can't voice control when driving and that baffled me for a few days until I found the option to turn of Alexa.

To be fair to Amazon and CarPlay, some of my issues with performance could be down to an ageing iPhone. Let's see what September brings...

Oh, one other gripe which is car related, rather than with CarPlay itself, but the hardware I have in the car has a touch interface in the console. Works a treat, but you loose the haptic feedback when in CarPlay mode. If this is Apple, then I'd plead for them to feedback to the car so this worked and if it's down to the car itself then I guess I'm out of luck there.

As I said, overall CarPlay is really good. I'm still not quite sure how or if Apple will convince manufacturers to give them full control, but it would be really interesting to see what they do with access to every screen in the car.

Tags: apple, car, carplay

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