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iPhone Control with an Apple Carplay Head Unit

Apple Carplay is the next-level technology that you can have in your car. Carplay does everything you want to do on your iPhone when you are driving in a safer and smarter way. There are now many new cars with Apple Carplay and Android Auto being sold. An Apple Carplay aftermarket head unit is becoming popular as well for anyone wanting the feature without having to buy a new car. Now you can stay focused on the road and let Apple Carplay provide a safer and more intuitive driving experience.

This new feature uses your head unit to display important and useful information like navigation, incoming calls, text messages, music and much more all in a recognizable iPhone app format. All you have to do is use your lightning-to-USB cable and plug your phone into the USB port of the Apple Carplay head unit.

Carplay supports iPhone 5 models and up and is a built-in feature of iOS 9. Apple’s iOS 9.3 update adds two features to Apple Carplay; “New for You” to find new music and better recommendations with Apple Music, and “Nearby” for Apple Maps to find the best places to go. You can read more about these features later in the blog.

Read below to learn more about some of the awesome features that Apple Carplay provides. You can find a list of new 2016 Apple Carplay aftermarket head units that will are available at the end of this blog.


Apple Carplay Maps

Maps with Apple Carplay

Apple Carplay Maps


Turn-by-turn GPS directions in 2D or 3D are available on the Apple Carplay head unit screen via the Apple Maps app. The Carplay stereo can also display traffic conditions and estimated travel time just like your iPhone app does. Ask Siri to find a specific destination or a broad search for somewhere to eat for example.

You can pick which route you want to take just like the iPhone app. Just hold down the home button on the Carplay head unit screen and ask Siri. Siri can predict where you might want to go using addresses from your email, texts, contacts and calendars. All you have to do is scroll through the destinations on the screen’s menu and pick where you want to go.

If you have a set day-to-day schedule, Apple Maps also offers you the choice to begin that navigation route immediately.

With the iOS 9.3 update, the “Nearby” feature makes finding gas, parking, restaurants, coffee and other things easier to find. You’ll be able to find new places to go with a touch of a button.

If you’re wondering, Apple Carplay only supports Apple Maps so you won’t be able to use Google Maps. Android Auto supports Google Maps, but you will have to use an Android device and an Android Auto compatible head unit to use the gps function.


Receiving Phone Calls and Messages with Carplay

Apple Carplay Messages

You can use Siri to make calls, listen to voice mails and send and receive text messages from the Apple Carplay head unit. The moment you open either Text or Messages on the head unit, Siri is activated for you. This nice little feature encourages hands-free calling or texting.

You can tell Siri who you want to text or call and Siri will write the message or call the person. When sending a message, you can have Siri read the message back and make a change if needed. You can reply to the message without having to touch the screen or type on your iPhone. It is a safer and convenient way to stay in touch while on the road.


Apple Carplay Music

Music using Apple Carplay

Apple CarPlay Music


The Apple Carplay head unit will display your iTunes library onto the car stereo screen. You will have all of your songs, artists, radios and playlists to choose from while you are on the road.

The Carplay stereo can support various music apps like Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Slacker Radio and more. Many Apple Carplay compatible head units also support high resolution WAV and FLAC audio files so you can enjoy high quality audio in your car.

The iOS 9.3 update added the “New for You” feature for Apple Music. New for You recommends songs based on your preferences as well as songs, artists and albums handpicked by experts to give you quality selections and new music to listen to. You’ll have multiple options for great music and quality sound with a Carplay compatible head unit.


Apple Carplay Compatible Apps

Various iPhone apps are compatible with Apple Carplay. Podcasts, Stitcher, Audiobooks, Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio and many more are available. More apps are bound to come out as Apple Carplay becomes more popular and developers figure out new ways to integrate different apps.


Finding an Apple Carplay Aftermarket Head Unit

Apple Carplay Aftermarket Head Unit

When looking for an Apple Carplay aftermarket head unit, you can look for this logo on the Sonic Electronix product page to quickly identify if the unit has the feature. You can find an Apple Carplay aftermarket head unit from quality brands like Pioneer, Kenwood and JBL. We will help you find the best Carplay head unit for your car!


Apple Carplay Aftermarket Head Units

Pioneer, Kenwood, Alpine and JBL are coming out with Apple Carplay aftermarket head units that allow anyone to have this feature in their car. Here are some Apple Carplay compatible head units being released in 2016:


You can find an Apple Carplay aftermarket head unit on the Sonic Electronix website!


Check out this tutorial of Apple Carplay on a Pioneer NEX head unit!


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