Apple CarPlay getting design refresh and better Siri support in iOS 13

Apple’s CarPlay will get a significant update when iOS 13 drops later this year, including an updated visual design and new features like improved Siri support and a “light mode,” the company announced at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday. Apple called it the “biggest update ever” for CarPlay.

The most noticeable difference about the refresh, at least based on what was shown onstage, is that Apple is giving CarPlay an updated look. In iOS 13, CarPlay will get a new dashboard that can show multiple apps in a single view, like Maps and Music. Apple is updating the CarPlay calendar app to include more relevant information, and the Music app to more prominently feature album art, favorites, and new music discovery.

Notifications and Siri suggestions will be streamlined in the updated CarPlay, too. The visual updates mirror many of the changesGoogle announced for Android Auto last month, which included the announcement of a “dark mode.”

CarPlay will gain a number of compatibility and usability improvements in iOS 13, too. One major update is that opening an app on the connected phone won’t trigger the app to open in CarPlay. Apple says it’s making this change so that, for example, “passengers can pick a song on the device while the driver can keep looking at Maps.” Another is that Apple will make it possible for automakers to allow CarPlay to show up on other screens (like digital instrument clusters).

Siri will now work with third-party navigation and music apps, and Apple says it’s rolling out full hands-free “Hey Siri” support that will use a car’s built-in microphone. (An official support page for Siri says “Hey Siri” isnot currently compatiblewith CarPlay, thoughthere are examples of it working in really buggyand unreliable ways on certain cars.) Apple announced CarPlay will be able to automatically adjust to more screen sizes and resolutions than itcurrently supports, too.

The new CarPlay will also include a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode that stops notifications, building on the feature that’s currently available on iPhones. A list of the new features is availablehere.

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