Apple’s next iOS software update for their iPhones and iPads will be iOS 13.4 and with it comes a selection of refinements to its CarPlay in-car system.
The iOS 13.4 developer and public beta 1 has rolled out to public testers and developers who have access to the next iOS update. Below we go through what people have found in the upcoming update for Apple CarPlay, so far.
Responsive Dynamic Dashboard
The new CarPlay dashboard home-screen arrived in iOS 13 and over the months we seen a few minor tweaks and adjustments made by Apple’s CarPlay team. In iOS 13.4 this continues further with support for two different card sizes on the dashboard, which allows for more content and buttons to be displayed on-screen.
Currently, drivers with widescreen displays in their vehicles will know that CarPlay may not fully utilise the much wider than a normal displays in certain vehicles. In iOS 13.4 we will see Apple addressing this neglected display format with panels expanding to accommodate the extra real estate.
If you have a bigger than average display, it looks like Apple is making CarPlay behave more responsively to the overall dimensions and adjust panels to maximise on what it can display on it.
Contextual Panel Sizing
The dashboard panel cards have also been given a level of intelligence in that they will now resize and display certain content depending on what is currently active in CarPlay.
As you can see in the example below, if a destination is set, the Now Playing panel will be resized to take up less space and give priority to the navigation panel above it. Alternatively, if navigation isn’t active the Now Playing panel will take up more space and display additional metadata, such as album art, title and album name and the usual three navigation controls.
Full-Screen Sharing ETA Details
When sharing your ETA in Apple Maps for the first time you will now see this splash screen appear.
CarKey API Support
Although not really related to CarPlay, program code has been found in the beta that hints that Apple is to release its CarKey API in iOS 13.4. This will allow the ability for car manufacturers to build apps that will integrate with Apple Wallet and use your iPhone or Apple Watch as a key to unlock, lock or start your car if it has NFC support.
Third-Party Navigation Support in Dashboard
Although not currently in iOS 13.4 Beta at this time of writing, it has been suggested that Apple will finally allow the ability for third-party navigation apps to use the navigation panel on the dashboard.
There are currently no applications on the store that supports this feature, but in time we will soon see this long-overdue ability come to the CarPlay dashboard. Personally, unless you are in Betas for any third-party Test Flight apps, I think it is likely we will see this feature show up once iOS 13.4 comes out of beta, as it is more in the hands of the developers of the navigation apps, yet I am curious how you will toggle which app will show up if you ever multiple apps running. Likely the one that shows up in the side dock will have priority and show up on the dashboard.
New Call Controls for Third-Party Apps
It has been said that Apple will now be allowing third-party calling apps the ability to add new call controls on their CarPlay displays. Where calling was a little primitive for any app that wasn’t Apple’s own, this will now be in future updates of theses apps, these are likely to appear after iOS 13.4 has launched.
How to get on the Apple Beta
There are two routes to getting onto any Apple iOS Beta program, either as an Apple developer or waiting for a public beta release and signing yourself up to the beta program to receive them. Public releases of the betas are more stable than developer beta releases and they usually release within days of the developer release builds (just as long as they are stable releases).
iOS 13.4 Beta 1 is out now for developers and as a public beta also. There are no significant CarPlay additions for me to recommend you make the leap into the beta though. I would hold out until an updated beta version brings the third-party navigation support in the dashboard panel. iOS 13.4 is rumoured to release at the end of the month or possibly in March alongside new hardware, with around 4-5 beta revisions before its general public release.