How to use Apple CarPlay and use your iPhone apps hands-free while driving

By Dave Johnson

While your iPhone adds a lot of convenience to your daily drive thanks to its music and podcast access, voice calls, navigation, and more, it's also unsafe (and possibly illegal) to fiddle with your phone while driving.

Apple offers a safer alternative: Apple CarPlay. The custom interface puts the most important iPhone features on a display in your car, accessible using your car's infotainment controls and your voice with Siri. 

Apple CarPlay is built into every iPhone running iOS 7.1 or later. To take advantage of CarPlay, though, you need a car that supports CarPlay — the infotainment screen needs to work with CarPlay, or you need to add a CarPlay-compatible display to your vehicle. 

How to use Apple CarPlay

CarPlay should start automatically when you connect your phone to the car via USB.

If it doesn't, tap the CarPlay icon on your car's infotainment screen. The first time you do this, you might need to unlock your phone and allow your iPhone to connect to CarPlay when locked. 

The CarPlay screen starts on the Home screen, which displays your most recently used apps in a column on the left as well as the map and audio control. 

Apple Carplay on Subaru console
The CarPlay Home screen shows three most recent apps, a map, and music controls.
Will Ireland/MacFormat Magazine/Future via Getty Images

To see more apps, you can tap the view icon at the very bottom left or simply swipe to the left. Keep swiping to browse through all the CarPlay-compatible apps on your phone. To start a specific app, just tap it.

Apple Carplay on car console
Swipe to flip through your list of apps.