Apple CarPlay is getting a huge overhaul in 2024 — here’s all the new features

Apple CarPlay on a full dashboard
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple spent its WWDC keynote focused on all things iOS 18 and Apple Intelligence. Of course, there's more to WWDC than the keynote. In fact, during a developer panel, Apple showed off tons of stuff related to CarPlay and how it would evolve in the future.

The company showed off an overall change to the look and feel of its in-car infotainment system, as shared by TechRadar. However, the firm noted that it'll vary based on how much of the new stuff each carmaker wants to use in its vehicle. What should attract car companies to use more is that the display can be tweaked to match the overall look and feel of each individual car, allowing it to feel more like part of the vehicle and not an add-on. 

Basically, car interior designers can develop their own graphics, logos and instrument clusters that fit with the overall feel of their brand. That means that CarPlay in a Hyundai might look and feel different from CarPlay in an Audi, for example. Rather than the uniform look and aesthetic that CarPlay currently offers.

It also looks like the new CarPlay will be a part of the car more than it was before. Instead of just showing the content of an iPhone in a different way, the new CarPlay experience will let you tweak drive mode or assistance features that are part of the car. Typically these controls and settings are only accessible through the car maker's dedicated infotainment system, separate from CarPlay.

Instead of just a bunch of apps, the home screen will feature buttons for climate control and shortcuts for temperature control, further making CarPlay feel like part of the car.

The new Apple CarPlay

(Image credit: Apple)

The connection to the car goes even deeper for electric vehicles, with Apple showing off pop-up notifications that'll inform drivers of charge status and remaining charge times. It'll even integrate with rear-facing cameras and other park assist functionality that many cars have today.

As you might expected with a big overhaul like this, Apple also promised tons of new apps for CarPlay that'll provide greater control over the vehicle. 

In the end, the biggest change comes from the fact that CarPlay will now be able to show content from an iPhone and anything that is delivered by the vehicle itself. This lets it tap into the car in a way that isn't possible with the current version of CarPlay.

That also means it'll be different depending on what kind of access the automaker wants to give Apple. For some cars, it might feel almost like you're driving the Apple Car we've always dreamed about. For others, it could feel pretty similar to how it is now.

The big piece of information Apple didn't reveal was when the next generation of CarPlay would launch. 

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Dave LeClair
Senior News Editor

Dave LeClair is the Senior News Editor for Tom's Guide, keeping his finger on the pulse of all things technology. He loves taking the complicated happenings in the tech world and explaining why they matter. Whether Apple is announcing the next big thing in the mobile space or a small startup advancing generative AI, Dave will apply his experience to help you figure out what's happening and why it's relevant to your life.