iOS 14 brings new background wallpapers to Apple CarPlay but with limitations

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Apple kicked off its WWDC keynote this year, albeit in an remote way this time around. In its pre-recorded keynote there were a number of highlights to take from its unveiling of its suite of new operating systems, one of which is iOS 14.

iOS 14 brings a long with it a number of improvements, mostly to its home screen and widgets, which has also ushered some new improvements for Apple CarPlay too. So what’s new? Let us fill you in on what’s coming to Apple CarPlay in iOS 14.

iOS 14 new silver wallpaper in Dark mode

New CarPlay Wallpapers

Apple has finally release yet another one of our most wanted features for Apple CarPlay, that we shared back in 2015 – wallpapers. No longer are we going to be limited to light or dark mode white and black backgrounds in iOS 14. In the update CarPlay owners will be able to add a rich and colourful backgrounds to their CarPlay home screen and dashboard.

This is a welcome addition from Apple to its CarPlay platform, it adds some level of personality to your dashboard. But for those looking to customise the screen to fit in with their internal decor, you shouldn’t get too excited just yet.

Wallpaper is selected in the CarPlay Settings App

iOS 14 will only allow Apple’s own wallpaper backgrounds to your CarPlay home screen. Accessed by the Settings menu in CarPlay (and not via the Settings > General > CarPlay area), you have seven backgrounds to choose from. The first five will include light and dark modes of certain colours, red and blue, blue and grey, silver chrome effect, grey/gold effect and two-tone red effect. The final two options are white and black, and just black for both light and dark modes.

The iOS 14 wallpaper overview. Icons show which support Light and Dark modes

These are pretty limiting features, but I can see Apple has shown a palette that is commonly found inside car lighting environments, such as red, blue and green. Those seeking neon-pink or Fast and Furious purple are out of luck, unfortunately.

On press of a wallpaper you are asked to Set it or Cancel
Once Set is pressed the wallpaper is applied

You will also notice there are not custom options. I believe Apple has limited this on CarPlay settings at least to avoid confusion and safely whilst browsing this area on the move. I quickly headed over to the CarPlay settings on my iPhone to see if custom wallpapers could be added here and I didn’t see an option, neither did I see the option when browsing my photo library, tapping share/options and looking through adding the photo as a wallpaper option. Currently, there is just no way to get a bespoke wallpaper on your CarPlay home screen – other than jailbreaking of course.

Maybe in a future iOS 14 update or in iOS 15 will Apple unlock the ability for custom wallpapers. Apple has to be sure certain wallpapers do not cause a distraction whilst driving due to poor legibility between the background and the icons on screen. But this could be easily solved with a dim dark overlay on top perhaps.

Either way, this is a positive step forward from Apple for anyone wishing to personalise their CarPlay experience that little bit more.

Look out for our full iOS 14 impressions video on Apple CarPlay soon.

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