10 Apple CarPlay Improvements I Would Like to See

Published On October 29, 2015 | Feature

Having experienced Apple’s CarPlay for over a week now, there has been a few moments when I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be good if it did this.’ So here are my top 10 Apple CarPlay improvements that I would like to see.

1. Tapping the Home button to go back to the first page


This would be a simple change for Apple, and help keep our hands more on the wheel and less flicking back through many pages of CarPlay apps to get to the first screen. Pressing the Home button to return to the first page mimics exactly how iOS on Apple’s mobile devices behave, so I think this should also happen on CarPlay too.

2. App ordering


With the growing number of CarPlay apps releasing on the App Store, it is now  time that we should be able to order our favourite apps and stop Apple from taking over the first page with their own!

3. Dock bar featuring our favourite apps


Like on iOS mobile devices, it would be more intuitive to have a bottom (or side) dock bar that we can fix our favourite apps to and see, at a glance, any badge alerts for any inactive running apps.

The side bar is already filling up our screen’s real-estate with a clock, which we already have somewhere else in our vehicles. Let’s place this information at the top (like other iOS devices), freeing up the side bar and place our commonly used apps on it.

4. View composed or received message text on screen


Composing messages and listening to received messages is currently handled, audibly, through Siri, however I think it would still be beneficial to see the message as text on screen. This is important for composed messages, to allow us to see if Siri has interpreted our voice with an incorrect word in our message.

5. Battery indicator


This is a small feature and one we’ve seen appear (but swiftly removed) during the iOS 9 beta, but the inclusion of your connected device’s battery would be a nice touch to monitor your device’s battery charging progress.

6. Easy/fast app switching


Swapping between apps in CarPlay can feel archaic at times. Having the ability to switch between the current app and the last app used would prevent time spent looking at the screen, scrolling through page upon page of apps and selecting the last used app.

We have this already when Maps is running, but once Maps is selected we don’t see our other app in the side bar, to switch back to.

7. Custom backgrounds


It took some time before we saw custom background wallpapers appear on iOS devices, and I can see CarPlay eventually have this option too in the future.

You could select your wallpaper via the Settings > General > CarPlay area on your phone. From here we could easily select an image from our device’s Camera Roll, once selected would feature as part of the CarPlay dashboard background.

8. More apps per page


I believe we can squeeze in an additional two more apps per page of the dashboard. The current 8 icons look a little oversized to me. 10 icons on screen would require a reduction in icon size (80% its current size), but I believe there is room for an increase in the apps per page, whilst still being easily selectable.

9. Notifications on screen


Being able to view your device notifications on our CarPlay screen would prevent most of us from reaching over to our iOS device to find out what alert has arrived on our phones.

A similar act of pulling down from the top of the display (or a button on the dock if that isn’t doable through just software) could be used to display notifications. For safety, selecting certain notifications would be inactive, except for compatible CarPlay apps that could launch and direct the user to the alerted content.

10. More variety of apps


There is only so many podcast or music apps you can have on CarPlay before you end up falling back to your default set of a few favourites. A variety of alternative apps would be most welcome right now. Apps such as weather, news & social alerts, or even car data-based apps would be most welcome on Apple’s CarPlay platform to help us stay connected whilst on the move.

Developers need to think outside the box a little, existing apps need to submit updates with CarPlay support, and Apple needs to look at what past and current cars have allowed drivers to access on their car displays and allow such apps through their strict app review process. I remember my old BMW was able to display Twitter, news and weather apps on its dashboard display.


This is just the tip of the iceberg of what Apple could do, and I hope, through consistent iOS updates, we will see Apple make many more improvements to its CarPlay platform. Let’s hope Apple are watching and take some of these suggestions on board. Apple, you’re welcome. 🙂

What improvements would you make to Apple’s CarPlay? Share your suggestions in the comments below.

  • escruting

    The best thing a lot of people is waiting for is Google Maps on Carplay, it would be wonderful and it a lot more useful than the actual Apple Maps we have now on Carplay…

  • Arnaud Campion

    I would like carplay to run on background and allow another app to display simultaneously on the iPhone.
    What about a splitview on car play ?

    • CarPlay Life

      Nice idea! 🙂


    This is suresh may i know that how to connect emil & facebook through applecar ply

    • CarPlay Life

      Hi ya. Sadly you can’t display email or Facebook on the CarPlay display. You can use Facebook messenger via voice calls as well as Skype. I can’t see Apple allowing you to browse and read your emails or Facebook timeline.

  • Larry

    Like to use CarPlay with IPad

  • Fred Davenport

    Great report. Many if not all your suggestions were very good

    I would add:
    • Waze App
    • ESPN and other sports radio apps
    • Show the outside temperature while in CarPlay
    • allow a screen saver/background images

    Let’s keep this thread going

    • CarPlay Life

      Great ideas Fred. Temperature is covered on my new vehicles these days via their centre console display. But it would be nice to have it displayed on the side bar.

      Background and savers would be easily doable via the settings menus for CarPlay on your phone.

      Let’s hope we see such features implemented this year.

  • Fred Davenport

    Been using Apple products since 1970/80’s and will continue to do so. Like being a sports fan, just because we love our team does not mean we love the team on the field on a given day/year.

    CarPlay is a great technology, but a long. long way from a playoff contender.

    Apple is on the right track with CarPlay, but a long, long way from a product that is user friendly and also keeps our eyes on the road and NOT a distraction.

    Waze, Waze, Waze, Waze

    CarPlay has exposed how BAD Apple Maps really is.


    • CarPlay Life

      Apple needs to change their stance on what apps they release on CarPlay before we see apps like Google Maps and Waze on their platform. I predict a long wait. Sadly.

  • jswede

    Happy new year to all. I just picked up a new car and it has apple car play – just starting to explore it. Do I understand correctly that it cannot continue to play music in the background as I toggle to messages/maps etc?

    • CarPlay Life

      Happy New Year and welcome. 🙂

      That’s almost correct. If playing music within CarPlay (via Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora etc.) and you switch to Apple Maps app, music will continue and you can choose if navigation commands stop audio or play over the top via the settings menus.

      Launching Messages app whilst playing music will trigger Siri who is ask whom you’d like to message. To avoid this you can access message via your phone and bypass CarPlay launching Siri. But there’s little else you can do here without stopping music audio when listening to messages or composing one via Siri.

      Hope that helps.

      • jswede

        Helps – thank you! Great article btw. Will be sticking around here to learn.

      • Fred Davenport

        My quick comments is that CarPlay is all about Apple products and Apple Apps. Apple needs to make CarPlay more user friendly and NOT a promotion of Apple Apps.

        Apple CarPlay should allow us to “mirror” what we can do on our iPhones.
        To shout out apps like ESPN, Waze, Google Maps and others is WRONG. Very, Very Wrong!

  • Fred Davenport

    Happy New Year CarPlayers! Let’s Hope 2017 brings us more improvements to CarPlay.

  • Discodunk

    Just use the accelerometer & GPS in the phone to only enable it when the phone (& therefore the car) is stationary.

  • Craig Murray

    Netflix and YouTube would be great! I know people keep saying safety this and safety that… but in fairness, as soon as I leave park display can be cut. I don’t see the issue with safety here. As long as there is a parking break connection. Also, people who bypass this, do so at their own risk! if CarPlay is factory fitted or correctly aftermarket fitted, safety is no concern, just cut the display and throw up a warning message and continue audio

  • michael bonacini

    How about more navigation apps, there is so many out there, off road maps apps offline map apps,

    Maps n traxs

    There is just a few in Australia that would make Apple and developers millions if they allow them to work in CarPlay

    Drives me insane, innovation is there trademark…
    Yeah as long as they are making 100% profit from it.

  • Andy Perrine

    Time to update this list… we’ve gotten some of these features with 10.3