Review update: CarPlay is the best of iOS for your car in 2021

Six years after the release of CarPlay, we take another look at this Apple software for your car. Read our CarPlay review update now.

Apple CarPlay review update 2021

When we reviewed Apple CarPlay, it was 2015, the year that the iPhone 6S was released. Then we called CarPlay an ‘extra’, with the conclusion: ‘Only when the possibilities of CarPlay are expanded will the platform be worth using in the car.’

CarPlay has changed considerably since then. The system is basically the same, but updates have made the software a lot more functional. More apps are available and you have more options. But does that make CarPlay beyond the label of ‘extra’?

More apps

The biggest difference with six years ago is that more apps are available, which gives you many more options while driving.

This applies to navigation apps, for example, because previously you could only use Apple Maps to find your way. Although Apple has worked hard to improve this application, the competition has certainly been ahead in recent years. Now you can also start Google Maps, Waze or Flitsmeister.

The number of apps with which you could listen to audio was also limited at the launch. You now have a wide range of apps for music, podcasts and audiobooks. You can also receive many more messages: WhatsApp is simply supported, just like Telegram.

Siri is essential

Another very important addition is that Apple has given app makers access to use Siri. That means you can control applications with your voice. Important, because that way you are not staring at a screen and are not busy with buttons, while you actually have to pay attention to the road.

For example, you use Siri to start music on Spotify or the other music service you use. The voice assistant also helps you navigate or send messages.

CarPlay is designed in such a way that you have as much information as possible on the screen, which you do not have to look at as much as possible. For example, if you receive a message, the screen only shows that you have a message. If you tap that notification, Siri will read the message.

That is a big difference with placing your phone in a holder and then using your favorite apps. iOS was created as an interface where your complete attention is on. You can immediately see and read all information. CarPlay ensures that you do not miss anything important of what is happening on your iPhone, but that you are not so focused on a screen. That is much safer.


The strength of CarPlay is also that ittouch has an easy to understand and clear interface. It is immediately recognizable and can be used without having to figure everything out first. This is a big difference from the often clumsy and cumbersome infotainment systems that car manufacturers install.

CarPlay is also always connected to the internet via your phone, so you have no extra costs to get the latest information or to navigate at all. The biggest advantage is that CarPlay gets updates at the same time as iOS. The software of your car usually only gets an update at the garage, provided the car manufacturer makes the effort to update the software of course.

carplay review update


Recently, a few useful functions have been added that make CarPlay just that little bit nicer. One of them is that you can adjust the background; a small addition that enhances the appearance of the system.

A bigger addition is the option to split the image. Since iOS 13, you can place multiple apps on the screen at the same time. For example, the navigation is shown in large on the left and your music or podcast on the right, with buttons and your upcoming calendar appointment.

That sounds contradictory to what CarPlay stands for, but it is not. The focus is still on navigation, but you no longer have to switch apps if you want to skip a song, for example. That saves several actions and therefore time in which you look at the screen.

Conclusion CarPlay review update

Apple CarPlay may not seem like much of a change from its 2015 release, but in terms of functionality, the platform has progressed a lot. You have a lot more choice in apps, Siri works the way you hope, and with the ability to split the screen you can see and do more without having to mess with multiple apps. Compared to car manufacturers’ infotainment systems, CarPlay is now the best for your car and much more than an extra.

More about CarPlay

Do you not understand how to use CarPlay? We explain how installing CarPlay works. We also tell you about the differences between CarPlay and Android Auto.

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