Review: What’s New in Apple CarPlay in iOS 13

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Apple has greatly improved the Siri user experience with this update.  Upon summoning Siri, the visual indicator will no longer take over the entire screen. Rather, it will merely appear across the bottom of the current screen as an overlay without hiding anything.

The new Siri frameworks being introduced in iOS 13 will enable developers of apps that work with CarPlay, such as maps, music, and podcasts, to also integrate with Siri. This allows the user to tell Siri to queue up a Spotify playlist, listen to a book on Audible, or get directions with a third-party map app.


Possibly the most-used aspect of Apple CarPlay, Apple Maps is gaining an improved interface and benefitting from the major overhaul of the Maps app in iOS 13. Maps will be more detailed and the system will have more accurate map data. The changes will make it easier to find locations to stop at along a route, such as a filling station or diner.  It’s now possible to share one’s ETA with contacts listed as favorites as well.

Siri will speak more precise instructions in the updated Maps app.  This means more detailed intersections, and more realistic details for roads, beaches, parks, and buildings.

A significant change is in the delivery of turn-by-turn directions. Siri will use more natural language such as “Turn left at the next traffic light” versus “In 1,000 feet, turn left.”


FBT Editorial Director Jonathan Spira has long had access to Weather and Calendar apps on his wish list.  With the new version, while he doesn’t get Weather (although Siri will provide spoken weather info on request, even with the current version), Apple is adding its very own Calendar app. The app shows the current day and all upcoming entries and it interfaces with Maps so getting directions is possible by clicking on the entry and then the address.

The Calendar app also allows users to call other attendees if they are listed on the invitation.


CarPlay’s Music interface has been completely redesigned.  The new look makes it easier to find new playlists and albums and album art and recommendations are more prominent.

Apple has redone the Now Playing interface and it more prominently features music art as well.


With the introduction of iOS 13, it will be possible to use CarPlay at the same time as someone (hopefully a passenger) uses the iPhone.  This means that a passenger could take over the DJ function on the iPhone without removing the map from view on the CarPlay display.

A small change, but one that will be appreciated by some, is that CarPlay gets a light mode in the new version, while dark mode remains the default. This is controllable via the Settings app.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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