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What Is Apple CarPlay?

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If you've been wondering what Apple CarPlay is, read our guide to it and wonder no more!

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If you own a car and use an iPhone but haven't heard of Apple CarPlay, then your world is about to change! With the help of an intelligent interface, easy and fast connectivity to your phone and tons of features that make using your phone while you drive a lot safer, Apple CarPlay is the ultimate co-pilot for any kind of journey.

Apple CarPlay is a piece of software that is installed on car head units, allowing them to act as a controller for your iPhone. Many cars now have head units (the interface in your centre console where you control the stereo, phone connectivity and sometimes navigation) with Apple CarPlay, as an optional extra when you buy the car, so you can simply plug in your iPhone and start using it. However, if you have an older head unit or a system that isn't compatible with CarPlay, you may want to upgrade.

How does Apple Carplay work?


Apple CarPlay seamlessly integrates with all your car's inbuilt audio controls, so you don't need to take your eyes off the road. As long as you have an iPhone 5 or better, you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of Apple CarPlay.

Once you have plugged in your iPhone and gone through the first-time setup (which is very straightforward), you can access selected apps on your iPhone via the car head unit, including maps, phone calls, messages, music apps and settings.

What are the benefits of Apple CarPlay?


Rock out! You can listen to your music from iTunes, your Apple Music subscription, podcasts, or use a compatible third-party apps such as Spotify.

Navigate: Apple CarPlay can display Apple or Google Maps on the head unit display as you drive, acting just like a built-in sat nav.

Hands-free Calling: With the help of Siri, you can ideal contacts using just your voice, meaning you can keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

Check up on your Messages: If you spot an important text message notification on your head unit's display, you can ask Siri to read it our for you, then dictate a reply, all without taking your attention off the road.

Third Party Apps: With a bit of exploration and some playing around on your head unit when you're parked up safely, you can add a whole host of voice-controlled apps to your CarPlay home screen. From audiobooks and live radio to real-time sports and news updates, there are plenty of additional apps for Apple CarPlay to make the journey go quicker.

Is Apple CarPlay safe to use?


Absolutely. As everything is voice activated while you drive, the head unit isn't any different from a normal hands-free system or sat nav. The only time you'll be breaking the law is if you physically pick up your phone instead of using voice activation, or if you try to operate the screen without giving full attention to the road.

Will my car be compatible with Apple CarPlay?


It's highly likely that you'll be able to get Apple CarPlay in your vehicle.

How do I get Apple CarPlay?


If you've got an older vehicle or a head unit that doesn't support Apple CarPlay, then you'll need to upgrade your head unit at a minimum. Luckily, Halfords can help you to find the right head unit with Apple CarPlay for you, then fit it (at an additional cost).

If you're shopping online, then just select 'add fitting' when you check out. If you're visiting us in-store, then you can book your fitting at the till. Don't forget to check out our Android Auto bundles too, which could save you money by providing the stereo, parts and fitting for a single price.

Start by browsing our range of Apple CarPlay head units, or feel free to pop to your local Halfords store for a full demonstration.

Note: If you don't have an Apple phone, then you'll need Android Auto.

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