Aftermarket CarPlay Support Faces Technical Hurdles, Uncertain Future

carplay_touchWhile a recent report from a customer service representative indicated that Pioneer was exploring the possibility of bringing support for Apple's new CarPlay iPhone vehicle integration to third-party dashboard systems and Mercedes-Benz acknowledged efforts to bring extend support to its own older vehicles, it appears that full support will take some time to appear given challenges involved in the implementation.

AppleToolbox spoke with both Volvo and Ferrari, two of Apple's launch partners for CarPlay, and both manufacturers acknowledged that extending compatibility to older vehicles would be difficult, with Ferrari ruling out the possibility and instead promoting its alternative phone integration systems.

The new system CarPlay is available only on new range cars and cannot be installed on older ones. However, since we know that infotainment solutions are really important for our customers and also owners of older vehicles deserve the same care as all other customers, we developed an AfterMarket product aimed at offering last generation infotainment, completely compatible with most recent phones.

Volvo does not appear to have ruled out older model support for CarPlay entirely, but acknowledges that it would be difficult for the company to add that support.

We have not announced any plans for an aftermarket solution for Apple CarPlay. While I cannot reveal any potential future products, I can say that there are major roadblocks for this, both from a technical as well as from a usability point-of-view.

And despite Pioneer's statement of interest earlier this week, which the company backed away from in a statement to AppleInsider, other third-party manufacturers are expressing reservations about whether they will even pursue CarPlay support. In an email to MacRumors, a Kenwood representative indicated that the firm would be "looking at" CarPlay but that adoption is not imminent.

I can tell you Apple CarPlay won't be in any of our 2014 product. We will be looking at this operating system along with Google's.

I haven't had any discussions with our engineers regarding Apples willingness or unwillingness to extend into aftermarket.

Currently our [radios] support many of the features found on Apple CarPlay including SIRI control, AV content and even Navigation Apps, so perhaps this interface will have more of an impact with OEM systems that lack that kind of connectivity?

It's clear that there remain a number of unknowns regarding CarPlay, and it seems that Apple has not kept third-party manufacturers abreast of its plans. As a result, it may yet be some time before those manufacturers can have proper discussions with Apple and explore just what it would entail to add CarPlay support to their products.

Related Roundup: CarPlay

Top Rated Comments

aswiec Avatar
93 months ago
Can someone please explain to me what specific "Technical Hurdles" they might have to overcome? Shouldn't it be as easy as installing a new touch screen radio will a cord that you can plug your iPhone into? It doesn't seem that difficult to me.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dacreativeguy Avatar
93 months ago
You'd think Apple could just let users enable a CarPlay mode on their phones and iPads to get the car interface. Who needs a new head unit!

But that would be toooooo easy and not generate more money :(
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JAT Avatar
93 months ago
Shoot, guess I'll have to get a new Ferrari.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Boatboy24 Avatar
93 months ago
What I'm reading is that carmakers are agreeing to put this into their new vehicles as long as Apple doesn't license the thing to the Pioneers and Kenwoods of the world; effectively forcing anyone who wants this to buy a new car, or an aftermarket version of CarPlay from an auto manufacturer.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
madsci954 Avatar
93 months ago
Can someone please explain to me what specific "Technical Hurdles" they might have to overcome? Shouldn't it be as easy as installing a new touch screen radio will a cord that you can plug your iPhone into? It doesn't seem that difficult to me.

First guess? Apple being mum on the API's and SDK's who aren't OEM's. Meaning, it will probably open up in time, but not this year. Next year's not looking too good either.

And I find it BS as an excuse to buy a new car, especially for those who got a new car in the last year or two.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jettredmont Avatar
93 months ago
Don't expect car manufacturers to retrofit this into their existing models. Even if every customer agreed to pay $4,000 to have a CarPlay system adapted to their one to three year old car it would still suck. The dashboards, buttons and other design elements of the vehicle just wouldn't be right for this.

From the looks of the original models, we are talking about a double-DIN head unit in a conventional car, with steering wheel or other secondary controls for the common functions. This doesn't seem like a system it would be hard to build an aftermarket stereo to mimic (the steering wheel controls are hard, but you just use whatever controls are there already; the other secondary controls just need to be installed and wired up).


If they caved and offered it for existing vehicles I think it would generate a lot of ill will for the makers. It'd not be free, too expensive, too many headaches getting it installed and working well.

I doubt anyone would be upset that they would have to pay money to get a new stereo head unit, with large touchscreen display, etc.


The user will have a much better experience getting this in a new car that was designed from scratch to work with this system.

Um, no, probably not. OEM car stereos, across the board, suck compared to what can be gotten aftermarket. Yes, a new car might work better for someone than an old one, but just from the stereo system perspective, likely not.


Car manufacturers are in business to sell new cars and this helps them sell new cars.

Yes, exactly. That is why all the car manufacturers are claiming aftermarket devices will never work; their interest lies in getting you to buy a new car, not make the old one "habitable" by upgrading the stereo head unit.

Note that car manufacturers officially profess that after-market stereos don't work in their vehicles. That doesn't mean it is true. They just want you to see a modern stereo system as something you get when you buy a new vehicle.


If you don't like that concept maybe you should consider moving to North Korea.

And you get the Overreaction of the Thread award! Congratulations!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
apple event hashflag

Twitter Hashflag for April 20 Apple Event Goes Live

Tuesday April 13, 2021 2:21 pm PDT by
Following the overnight Siri leak and subsequent announcement that Apple will hold a media event on Tuesday, April 20, a new Twitter hashflag has appeared to help provide visibility for the event on the platform. For the last several recent events, Apple has utilized hashflags, which are little icons next to hashtags on Twitter, as a way to market its events. The company first started the...
iphone12cameras

Kuo: 2022 iPhones to Feature 48-Megapixel Camera, 8K Video, and 6.1 and 6.7" Sizes With No 5.4" Mini Option

Tuesday April 13, 2021 10:45 pm PDT by
The upcoming 2022 iPhone lineup will feature two 6.1-inch devices and two 6.7-inch devices, with no mini-sized 5.4-inch iPhone, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Two of the iPhones will be high-end models and two of the iPhones will be lower-end models, similar to the current iPhone 12 lineup. Apple introduced the 5.4-inch...
macos catalina serial number

Apple Preparing Rollout of New Randomized Product Serial Numbers Ahead of 'Spring Loaded' Event

Wednesday April 14, 2021 2:08 am PDT by
Apple is advising its authorized premium resellers and dealers to prepare for new products with 10 and 12 digital serial numbers, days ahead of when it's expected to reveal a slew of new products. MacRumors previously reported that Apple plans to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021. The company now seems to be preparing for that roll-out, telling...
duanrui iphone13 notch samples

More Leaked iPhone 13 Samples Show Smaller Notch, Repositioned Earpiece and Front Camera

Wednesday April 14, 2021 1:06 am PDT by
Leaker known as "DuanRui" has today shared an image of two iPhone 13 "film samples," which show the same rumored smaller notch design coming to the iPhone 13 series that we've seen from other sources. In past tweets, DuanRui has accurately leaked the correct names of the iPhone 12 models and an iPad Air 4 manual revealing its new design, so there's good reason to think this leak is credible, ...
Google maps feaure green

Google Maps App for iOS Finally Updated After Four Months

Monday April 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Following the completed rollout of App Privacy labels for its App Store apps, Google today updated the Google Maps app for the first time in four months. Apple in December began requiring all new app submissions and app updates to include App Privacy labels, detailing the data that is collected by the app so consumers know what they're sharing. Google didn't begin implementing App Privacy ...
iPad Pro Mini LED

Mini-LED iPad Pro Expected at Apple Event on April 20 as Production Ramps Up

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:53 am PDT by
Apple today announced that it will be hosting a virtual event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, and one of the new products expected to be unveiled at the event is a new iPad Pro with a Mini-LED display. In a brief snippet shared with paid subscribers, Taiwanese supply chain news website DigiTimes today reported that Apple supplier Ennostar has substantially improved its yield...
apple event particularly innovative article

Gurman: Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Won't Feature Anything 'Particularly Innovative'

Thursday April 15, 2021 1:30 am PDT by
Bloomberg's highly-respected Mark Gurman says that he expects nothing "particularly innovative" or "extraordinary" to launch at Apple's "Spring Loaded" event next week, Tuesday, April 20. Gurman made the remarks during an interview for Bloomberg Technology, in which he reaffirmed that Apple will launch a new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with the higher-end model featuring a brand new...
spotify car thing 1

Spotify Announces the 'Car Thing' as its First Hardware Device

Tuesday April 13, 2021 7:03 am PDT by
Spotify has today announced its first hardware device, the "Car Thing," which is an in-car dash-mounted music and podcast player (via TechCrunch). Spotify is looking to provide a product for customers who want a "more seamless" and personalized in-car listening experience, especially in the large number of cars that do not support modern in-car infotainment systems. The Car Thing is aimed ...