Looking at your phone while driving is a risky habit and can land you in a dangerous situation – or with a heavy fine.


Getting bored of your in-car soundtrack? SharePlay allows passengers to change the track from their own phone so you can keep your focus on the road rather than finding a tune everyone will enjoy. Only the person who starts the SharePlay session needs an Apple Music subscription.


  1. Apple CarPlay makes driving smarter with easy access to your iPhone features.
  2. Simply connect your device using Bluetooth, a USB cable or both for a safer driving experience.

Despite this, drivers tend to favour their phone apps above their car’s built-in infotainment system, especially when it comes to navigation and music, placing them in a compromising position.

To make phone usage smarter and safer for drivers, Apple developed Apple CarPlay – an interface that mirrors your basic iPhone features to your car display.

With CarPlay installed, your driving experience becomes less distracting as it encourages you to keep your hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road.

But you may be wondering, what is Apple CarPlay really like? And is it easy to connect my car to it?

Keep reading to get the answers to all your CarPlay questions.

Android user? Don’t worry, there’s an alternative option for you too.

Read our guide to Android Auto, Android’s similar interface for safer driving.

What is Apple CarPlay?

Apple CarPlay connects your iPhone to your car’s infotainment screen, which then becomes an extension of your phone.

It means drivers can access features like navigation, take calls and listen to music, all without needing to look at their device.

For example, you can use Google Maps, Apple Maps or Waze instead of your car’s standard navigation system. And access them from your dashboard, quickly and easily.

Siri voice control can also be activated through CarPlay, so you can get the information you want without taking your eyes off the road. Looking for a nearby coffee shop? No problem – just ask away.

And for music fans, scrolling through tracks on Apple Music, iTunes and Spotify also becomes a breeze, with song titles and artists appearing on your car’s display.

How to install Apple CarPlay

 There are three different ways to install Apple CarPlay in your vehicle. You can connect to it using a USB cable or wirelessly depending on what your car supports. You may find you can even use both.

Cleverly, the interface works with whatever controls your car already has for its infotainment display, whether it’s a touchscreen, knobs, dials or buttons.

Here's how to connect your phone to Apple CarPlay in each scenario:

  1. With a USB cable

Using an Apple USB cable, plug your iPhone into the USB port in your car. Look out for a CarPlay or smartphone icon – some ports are labelled with them.

  1. Wireless and USB cable

The first time you connect, plug your iPhone into the USB port. Then the next time you drive, an alert on your iPhone should allow you to connect wirelessly.

  1. Wireless only

Press and hold the voice command button on your steering wheel and set your stereo to wireless or Bluetooth mode. Then on your iPhone, go to Settings > Wi-Fi to make sure your Wi-Fi is turned on. From there, tap the CarPlay network and check that Auto-Join is on. Lastly, go to Settings > General > CarPlay, and select your car. For more information, consult your car manual.

How to use CarPlay in your car

CarPlay is easy to use, you can control it the same way you do your car’s infotainment system. Simply use the buttons, rotary dials or touchscreen on the display – if you’re struggling there should be some details in your car’s manual.

Or you can also give Siri a shout to activate voice control. To get started, simply press and hold the voice command button on your steering wheel and you’re ready to ask Siri a question or give an instruction. Alternatively, touch and hold the CarPlay Dashboard or CarPlay Home button on your touchscreen.

Is my phone compatible with Apple CarPlay?

 Most iPhone users should have no problem using CarPlay. Here’s a list of compatible models:

  • iPhone 15 Pro Max
  • iPhone 15 Pro
  • iPhone 15 Plus
  • iPhone 15
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Plus
  • iPhone 14
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Mini
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Mini
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5

However, if your model pre-dates iPhone 5, then unfortunately it won’t work with CarPlay.

 Does my car have Apple CarPlay?

 To connect Apple CarPlay to your car display, you must have a compatible car model. There are now over 500 car models that support it, a number that includes almost all major car makers. 

Many new cars from 2016 onward are fitted with Apple CarPlay, especially models with higher specs. Here are some popular brands and models that support CarPlay:

  •  Audi: A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q3, Q5, Q7, Q8, and e-tron.
  • BMW: 2 Series, 3 Series, 4 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7.
  • Chevrolet: Camaro, Colorado, Corvette, Equinox, Malibu, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, and Traverse.
  • Ford: Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, Mustang, Escape, Edge, Explorer, Expedition, and F-Series trucks.
  • Honda: Accord, Civic, CR-V, Fit, HR-V, Odyssey, Passport, Pilot, and Ridgeline.
  • Hyundai: Accent, Elantra, Sonata, Tucson, Santa Fe, Palisade, Kona, and Veloster.
  • Kia: Forte, Optima, Soul, Sportage, Sorento, Sedona, Niro, Telluride, and Stinger.
  • Mercedes-Benz: A-Class, C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, GLA, GLC, GLE, GLS, and G-Class.
  • Toyota: Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Prius, RAV4, Tacoma, Tundra, and Sienna.
  • Volkswagen: Golf, Jetta, Passat, Tiguan, Atlas, and Arteon.
  • Volvo: S60, S90, V60, V90, XC40, XC60, and XC90.

Can’t see your car? Don’t worry, there are plenty of other models that support CarPlay too. Check if your car is on the list.

Apple CarPlay features

 Apple CarPlay gives you access to a host of iPhone features, including ones related to:

  •  Navigation: Find your way with GPS tools like Apple Maps, Google Maps and Waze
  • Messaging and Communication: Chat on the go with access to messages, WhatsApp, and Skype, send and receive text messages, make calls, and listen to voicemail
  • Music and Audio: Stream music and recordings through services like Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, and Audible
  • News and Information: Stay informed wherever you are with app updates from BBC News and the Guardian
  • Productivity: Keep organised with easy access to your Calendar, Reminders and Notes
  • Weather: Be prepared for the elements with apps like The Weather Channel and AccuWeather

What are the benefits of Apple CarPlay?

 Some of the biggest benefits of Apple CarPlay include:

  •  Convenience: It allows you to use many of your iPhone features without having to hold the device. This way you can access maps for easy navigation, listen to your favourite tunes, and receive text alerts on the go – all while keeping your hands on the steering wheel.
  •  Greater safety: Using CarPlay minimises distractions behind the wheel and ultimately can help reduce risks on the road.
  •  Keeping in touch: Send audio messages via Siri and have it announce incoming messages so you never have to look at your phone while driving. You can even ask Siri to share your ETA if you’re on your way to meet someone.
  •  Personal experience: CarPlay supports loads of apps, so you can pick and choose what suits your needs. Then you can arrange them exactly as you want on the screen.
  •  Regular updates: Apple regularly release updates to enhance CarPlay’s capabilities further, for example, in 2023 SharePlay functionality was added to allow other passengers to control the music being played.

What to do if your Apple CarPlay won’t turn on

 As mentioned earlier, Apple CarPlay is only supported by certain vehicle brands and models, so if it’s not working, first see if you can find your car in the list above.

Once you’ve confirmed your car is good to go for CarPlay, the next step would be to look at your settings, connection and vehicle compatibility.

Try the following to see if you can fix the problem yourself:

  • Restart your phone
  • Make sure your phone has the latest version of iOS downloaded
  • Double check CarPlay is enabled on your phone’s general settings
  • Make sure Siri is enabled on your phone’s general settings
  • Check you’ve selected the Allow Siri When Locked option
  • See if Bluetooth is enabled on your phone
  • Test your USB cable is working
  • Make sure your USB cable is connected to the correct port
  • Forget and reestablish your connection on your phone’s general settings

A small issue like a faulty USB cable could be the culprit and is easy enough to replace. But if the problem is a little more complex, you may need to call on an expert.

If you’ve tried the above and are still having trouble with your CarPlay connection, contact Apple Support for assistance.


Is Apple CarPlay safe to use?

Apple CarPlay is designed specifically for drivers, with just the features and functions you might need while on the road, making it safer and legal to use.

They’re provided in a simple interface, meaning you can use voice commands as much as possible, while keeping your eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel.

You can go one step further and activate Do Not Disturb while driving, a feature that was made available in the recent iOS 13 update.

Can you install Apple CarPlay in older cars?

You can fit Apple CarPlay in older cars, and, luckily, it’s not too tricky a task. While in newer models CarPlay typically comes built in, if your vehicle has had a few more years on the road you’ll need to make some upgrades to support it.

One option is to change your car’s entertainment system to a CarPlay compatible head unit with a touchscreen. As this involves dealing with your car’s wiring, it’s usually best to ask an expert to instal for you. Alternatively, you can buy a standalone CarPlay touchscreen that attaches to the dashboard or windscreen and works with your car’s existing stereo.

You can find out more about our car insurance here.

To find out more about how to stay safe on the roads, go to Solved.