iOS 10.3 CarPlay Update Introduces Quicker and Safer Way to Launch Most Recent Apps

Apple has added a small but useful tweak to CarPlay in iOS 10.3, giving drivers a quicker and safer way to switch between apps without having to take their eyes off the road for long periods of time. Before the update, users had to tap twice to get to another app in CarPlay: one tap to go home, and another tap on the designated app icon.

Image via The Verge

Now, Apple has streamlined that process. In the left-aligned dock on the CarPlay screen users will now see three recently used apps, so it's always easy to just tap one and jump directly back into Music, Messages, Maps, or any of CarPlay's other apps. Prior to iOS 10.3, the CarPlay dock had just one app at a time in this area.

The slight UI tweak should make it easier for drivers to switch back-and-forth between navigation and entertainment apps while in CarPlay. iOS 10.3 includes a number of other updates on iPhone and iPad devices, including changes to the app launch animation, Find My AirPods, and the ability for developers to update their app icons at any time, without needing to include the artwork change in a full update on the App Store.

Related Roundup: CarPlay


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11 weeks ago

This is the bomb. I only use the same 3 apps all the time: Music, Messages, and Maps. So they are now always one tap away. It's the little things that make the difference.


I actually think the bomb is that this makes for a massively upgraded user experience and it's through an iPhone iOS update. Not by waiting years for the car manufactures to update their systems and force you to buy a new car to get the latest and greatest.
Rating: 10 Votes
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11 weeks ago
This is the bomb. I only use the same 3 apps all the time: Music, Messages, and Maps. So they are now always one tap away. It's the little things that make the difference.
Rating: 5 Votes
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11 weeks ago

I wish I knew of a honest evaluation of CarPlay. Every time a CarPlay article appears whether here or another site I see a lot of people saying how bad it is.


But every time I think of trying CarPlay I see a thread where it is being trashed by users and I wonder if I would be exchanging one bad apple for another.


I will try to give you my opinion on CarPlay, and I will tell you the good and bad. I use an iPhone 6s Plus with iOS 9.3.5 and my wife uses an iPhone SE.

If I used three words to describe CP it would be simple, easy, and limited.

My only current CP system is an aftermarket Pioneer App Radio 4 model that I was able to get for only $260 back in Dec 2015. This is used in a 2015 Mazda5 that my wife primarily drives.

A few months of my wife using CP, I asked her what she thought of it, and she said something like "it is okay, but it messes up a lot". I was surprised, so I started using her car more to find out what she meant. CP would sometimes not play music, randomly disconnect, and some other minor issues that could be easily corrected by unplugging and re-plugging the iPhone in. On a rare occasion, the issues could only be corrected by restarting the AppRadio unit, which would mean turning off the car and restarting it.

It still had little annoying bugs, like sometimes on the Pandora App, the "now playing" button disappears, and this is only corrected with re-plugging your phone in.

For operating CP, it is very simple and easy to use. It is designed with safety in mind, but the downside to this is that it is extremely limited.

For example, if the only apps that you use while driving are Apple Maps, Apple's Music App, and text via Siri, then you would probably enjoy CP.

If you like any other navigation app, such as Waze, then you are screwed. There are like 20 apps that are compatible with CP, and almost all of them are music and audio book apps. 20 sounds like a lot, but the only music app that I use that is CP compatible is Pandora. No 8 Track app, no Amazon Prime Music, and no AOL radio app.

I have not tried Apple Maps in a few months, but it was very limited when compared to other navigation apps out there, so it sucks to only have Apple Maps on CP.

About sending texts, if you have any problems sending texts with Siri now, those problems will not get any better with CP. You will be subject to the same downside, but some could potentially be worse.

Example, if you cell phone has crappy coverage were ever you are driving, expect a lot of outages for Siri. If Siri has issues understanding you while sitting in your office at work, expect this to be worse when you add road noise to the situation.

If you have a quiet car, rarely see spotty cell coverage, and Siri works great for you just on the iPhone, then you will probably enjoy using it for texts on CP.

So, like I said, If you like Apple Maps, Apple Music, and Siri for text, you will probably really like CP. If you don't like these things, CP will probably not improve your driving experience.

Overall CP is not as polished as other Apple products and services of the past, but that could be said about many other current things from today.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago

Not by waiting years for the car manufactures to update their systems and force you to buy a new car to get the latest and greatest.

This is the very reason why manufacturers have been trying to create their own for years. Honda just started providing CarPlay in their vehicles and not on all of them. For years they have been working on their own tech which was crap. Reminds me of the built-in Nav and DVD systems that were the big thing a few years ago. Now for the price of it you can buy 3 decent tablets and a NAV app (if you want offline maps).
Rating: 2 Votes
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11 weeks ago

This is the very reason why manufacturers have been trying to create their own for years. Honda just started providing CarPlay in their vehicles and not on all of them. For years they have been working on their own tech which was crap. Reminds me of the built-in Nav and DVD systems that were the big thing a few years ago. Now for the price of it you can buy 3 decent tablets and a NAV app (if you want offline maps).

One might say, Apple has disrupted that business too. The car manufacturers have resisted, but save for a few holdouts, most are now realizing that 'the battle' is over, and they've lost that war.

Not to worry, as long as we are willing to pay hundreds extra for a different paint color, they're doing OK.
Rating: 1 Votes
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11 weeks ago
Still waiting on Waze integration.
Rating: 1 Votes
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9 weeks ago
My experiences with CarPlay have been excellent.

I have two CarPlay compatible units in two separate vehicles. I use my personal iPhone 6 Plus in both vehicles as well as a company iPhones 6S in both vehicles. I replaced the head unit in my Ford F250 work truck with an alpine ILX-007. If I remember correctly, it was about the only third-party CarPlay compatible head unit that I could find at the time. In my brand-new 2016 Toyota tundra TRD pro, I got rid of that crappy, stock, entune unit as soon as I could and put in a pioneer 4200. I did this with a brand-new truck because I bought the truck in Montana and drove it thirty hours home to Houston and had plenty of time to play with that Toyota Entune business.

Having had that alpine CarPlay compatible head unit in my work truck for several years before I bought my brand-new tundra, I knew right away I wanted CarPlay in my new truck.

I have had excellent luck with both of my CarPlay head units. The main things I use are maps, music and Siri for texting. Sometimes I use the phone app as well. In addition, I also use the iHeartRadio app which is CarPlay compatible. Also, I have the Sirius XM radio app installed on both of my phones and I am able to listen to Sirius XM radio through my CarPlay compatible units. However, I must use the phone to navigate the Sirius XM app.

I'm not sure why people are complaining about the Music app. I have multiple playlists created on my phone which I play through my CarPlay stereo without any issues. I use the CarPlay unit to navigate the Music app, usually straight to my playlists. Simple.

The pioneer 4200 head unit in my new tundra, automatically dims when I turn on my headlights. In addition, both head units, the one in my company truck as well as my personal truck, the map app changes to a nighttime mode automatically after sundown and before sun up.

On a few very rare occasions, I have had to reboot a head unit that was acting up. And this simply involved turning it off and turning it back on via the front panel buttons. I will say that the Alpine unit seems to be a great deal more robust in this regard.

Summing up my experiences with CarPlay, I have to say they are excellent and that I would recommend CarPlay to anyone. I believe that CarPlay is about the best vehicle system out there that I have been exposed to.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago

I will try to give you my opinion on CarPlay, and I will tell you the good and bad. I use an iPhone 6s Plus with iOS 9.3.5 and my wife uses an iPhone SE.

If I used three words to describe CP it would be simple, easy, and limited.

My only current CP system is an aftermarket Pioneer App Radio 4 model that I was able to get for only $260 back in Dec 2015. This is used in a 2015 Mazda5 that my wife primarily drives.

A few months of my wife using CP, I asked her what she thought of it, and she said something like "it is okay, but it messes up a lot". I was surprised, so I started using her car more to find out what she meant. CP would sometimes not play music, randomly disconnect, and some other minor issues that could be easily corrected by unplugging and re-plugging the iPhone in. On a rare occasion, the issues could only be corrected by restarting the AppRadio unit, which would mean turning off the car and restarting it.

It still had little annoying bugs, like sometimes on the Pandora App, the "now playing" button disappears, and this is only corrected with re-plugging your phone in.

For operating CP, it is very simple and easy to use. It is designed with safety in mind, but the downside to this is that it is extremely limited.

For example, if the only apps that you use while driving are Apple Maps, Apple's Music App, and text via Siri, then you would probably enjoy CP.

If you like any other navigation app, such as Waze, then you are screwed. There are like 20 apps that are compatible with CP, and almost all of them are music and audio book apps. 20 sounds like a lot, but the only music app that I use that is CP compatible is Pandora. No 8 Track app, no Amazon Prime Music, and no AOL radio app.

I have not tried Apple Maps in a few months, but it was very limited when compared to other navigation apps out there, so it sucks to only have Apple Maps on CP.

About sending texts, if you have any problems sending texts with Siri now, those problems will not get any better with CP. You will be subject to the same downside, but some could potentially be worse.

Example, if you cell phone has crappy coverage were ever you are driving, expect a lot of outages for Siri. If Siri has issues understanding you while sitting in your office at work, expect this to be worse when you add road noise to the situation.

If you have a quiet car, rarely see spotty cell coverage, and Siri works great for you just on the iPhone, then you will probably enjoy using it for texts on CP.

So, like I said, If you like Apple Maps, Apple Music, and Siri for text, you will probably really like CP. If you don't like these things, CP will probably not improve your driving experience.

Overall CP is not as polished as other Apple products and services of the past, but that could be said about many other current things from today.


Great review! I have the Pioneer AVH-4200NEX and have the same thoughts. CarPlay is nice, but not a "must have". I do like Apple Maps (I do wish Waze, for police and hazard alerts, was available) and having Siri always available. Downside for me is that it is painful to use the Apple Music app. I always end up using my phone vs going through the CP music interface. Also, I don't think there is a night mode so when using CP at night the screen is quite bright. For me, I was going to get a nice radio regardless (I wanted a large touch screen for the rear backup camera and HD radio) so for a little more CP has been worth it for me.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
11 weeks ago

The map was out of date the day I bought it, and it has gotten worse in th 5 years since then. But given that you have similar problems it's probably not worth $1000 for just a slight improvement.

I didn't mention this is the review, mostly because it wasn't necessarily comparing CP with auto manufacturers' infotainment systems, but a good thing about using Apple Maps vs some of the auto companies' navigation systems is that Apple Maps is updated for free, and often.

I remember my wife was in the same situation as you when she had her 2007 CX-7. The navigation maps DVD was outdated, and it cost like $300 to get an updated on disk. This was a ridiculous price for something that gets outdated so often. Especially where I live.

An upside to CP is that the Apple Maps will most likely always be up to date. It is the other things about Apple Maps that sucks, when it is compared to other navigation apps like Waze.

I always end up using my phone vs going through the CP music interface.

This is one of the biggest problems with CarPlay. Due to the bugs and limitation of CP's design, I found myself touching my phone more than I ever did with other headunits in the past.

What is the point of making it so limited for safety's sake, if you end up touching your phone anyways.

A lot of this could be fixed with updates though.
Rating: 1 Votes
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