Before CarPlay, Apple was working on ‘iOS in the Car’ – this is what it looked like

It’s been ten years since Apple publicly renamed ‘iOS in the Car’ to CarPlay. Let’s look back in time!

So saw ‘iOS in the Car‘ looked like ten years ago

CarPlay has gone from a niche upgrade option to a mainstream standard feature in new cars. Clumsy user interfaces have been replaced with a design that iPhone users are very familiar with. But before Apple introduced CarPlay, the world got to see a completely different design called ‘iOS in the Car‘.

Also read: CarPlay wireless: these are the best dongles

Eddy Cue gave a preview of ‘iOS in the Car‘ as a new feature in iOS 7. Cue shared a glimpse through a series of slides. “What if you get iOS on a screen built into your car,” Cue said 15 minutes before the end of the keynote. “If you have a phone conversation, it will look something like this,” he continued.


The screen of ‘iOS in the Car

The home screen was clearly inspired by the iPhone’s lock screen. The clock above the date would still be replaced by app icons. The centered virtual home button at the bottom would still move to the more accessible corner on the driver’s side. The latter also applied to the bottom status bar, which only shows the battery status with a wireless connection.

The presentation of included a few animations, but was mainly a slideshow of design concepts. Here’s a comparison between what Apple showed and what was released the following year:

iOS in the car

Apple CarPlay

Developer Steven Troughton-Smith was the first to discover the completely different ‘iOS in the Car‘ interface before it was actually released. He discovered the new home screen and the new Maps app in late January 2014.

A few weeks later, Apple announced that ‘iOS in the Car‘ was renamed to the more compact ‘CarPlay’. The rollout was slow, but today CarPlay is available in at least one model in some form or another from almost every major car brand.


Car display manufacturers offered CarPlay in late 2014 as an upgrade for the car you already have. This made CarPlay much more accessible to consumers. After all, there were only a few cars with CarPlay as an option and buying a brand new car is expensive.

CarPlay’s design has undergone many changes since it came out. But no design change was as dramatic as the one between the announcement of ‘iOS in the Car‘ on WWDC 2013 and the launch of CarPlay in iOS 7.1. We can probably expect another major update soon, because Apple is working on CarPlay 2.0. Read all about the next generation of CarPlay here!

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