What is Apple CarPlay and How Does it Work?

All commercial cars come with a simple built-in infotainment system, which usually consists of just a GPS and car radio. CarPlay can be installed as an aftermarket unit instead. Aside from what is available on CarPlay, it can take the user interface and apps of your iPhone and put them on the CarPlay dashboard display.

So, what is Apple CarPlay?

In simple terms, when your iPhone is plugged in, the CarPlay system is replaced by the iOS home screen, complete with app icons and a virtual home button. Of course, what is shown on screen depends on how you are using CarPlay and the size of your car’s display. CarPlay interacts with whatever controls your car already has, such as touchscreen, buttons, knobs, voice, or a combination of all these.

How does Apple CarPlay work?

Depending on the iPhone model, you either plug into the USB port or use wireless Bluetooth.

Thus, CarPlay is designed to remove the urge to take a quick look at your iPhone behind the wheel. This means better convenience and safety. But, to be clear, iPhone apps aren’t installed on CarPlay. The latter becomes your phone’s screen and allows you to access infotainment apps conveniently.

For safety – which is a prime feature of Apple CarPlay – some apps cannot be displayed or function in their standard capacity. For instance, you can’t play Fortnight on your car dashboard since this can lead to disaster. Some app elements might also be replaced with voice and dictation.

For example, incoming messages on iMessages and WhatsApp will be read out loud by Siri rather than shown on the dashboard.


You can rearrange the apps in CarPlay, or remove any that you don’t need. You can also change a few CarPlay options using the Settings interface, enable Do Not Disturb while driving, choose from light and dark modes, disable Siri Suggestions on the dashboard display, or hide the album art on the Now Playing page.

Are all cars compatible with CarPlay?

Almost all automobile manufacturers offer CarPlay either as standard inclusion or as an upgrade option with an additional fee. Of course, this will depend on the vehicle model. If your vehicle doesn’t sport CarPlay or you own a second-hand car, you can have an aftermarket unit that includes the CarPlay feature installed in your car.

This is where Motor Vision comes in.

Motor Vision works with quality brands like Alpine and Kenwood aftermarket units for CarPlay that are compatible with most iPhone models. We are more than experienced to help you find the right CarPlay unit model installed to suit your vehicle and lifestyle. We have been recognised for the past 40 years for providing trusted service and expert car sound and navigation installations backed by our nationwide quality nationwide installation warranty.

But don’t just take our word for it. Give us a call or browse our website for more info.