After Android Auto’s Major Overhaul, It’s Time for Apple to Update CarPlay as Well

Google has recently announced a major update for Android Auto, therefore going for an interface based on cards that essentially allow users to run several apps side by side regardless of screen size.
The new Android Auto UI 6 photos
The new Android Auto UIThe new Android Auto UIThe new Android Auto UIThe new Android Auto UIThe new Android Auto UI
While in many ways this feature looks and feels copied from CarPlay, as Apple’s dashboard view has been around for a while, Android Auto’s highly anticipated update is good news for everybody committed to this ecosystem.

Running multiple apps side by side, no matter if the display in the cabin features a wide resolution or not, comes in handy in so many ways, essentially eliminating the need to toggle between apps.

And now that Android Auto has received this eagerly awaited Coolwalk makeover, it’s the right time for Apple to also come up with a major overhaul of CarPlay.

The new Android Auto UI

In theory, it doesn’t look like CarPlay needs anything new at this point.

CarPlay runs flawlessly for the majority of drivers out there, as long as the right support on the car manufacturer side also exists. It runs Google Maps, Waze, and Apple Maps, it comes with support for Apple Music and Spotify, and it shows phone call controls at a one-tap distance.

At first glance, everything is there.

But it’s not. CarPlay has barely received any improvements lately in terms of new functionality. To put this in perspective, the dashboard feature that Google has just copied for Android Auto was introduced with iOS 13, the operating system update that Google announced in 2019. In other words, it’s already three years old, and it has barely changed in the meantime.

But right now, the overhaul that CarPlay needs pretty much comes down to features and not necessarily to the user interface.

The new Android Auto UI
Unless you’re only interested in the basics, you probably noticed the way Siri reads messages when CarPlay is running. The whole thing has been designed in such a way that it takes the entire screen, basically hiding the navigation or whatever was on the display before the reading of the message was triggered.

You can imagine how frustrating this can be when driving in a place you’ve never been to, so it makes missing a turn or anything similar extremely easy.

There’s still no support for Shortcuts on CarPlay, even though some, such as those based on the location, would make perfect sense to be available on the vehicle screen.

Then, there are many things to be improved in CarPlay. And the best way to understand this is to just look at the jailbreak community.

While many don’t think that jailbreaking an iPhone is no longer worth it, when it comes to CarPlay, unlocking the smartphone opens the door to a wide variety of customizations. For instance, you can set up your own wallpapers using a photo stored on the iPhone, and there’s no reason for Apple to ignore this request in the full version of CarPlay as well.

The new Android Auto UI
And here’s an unpopular opinion. Apps like YouTube and Netflix should totally be allowed on CarPlay ONLY when the car is parked. Blocking them when the vehicle is moving is a must, there’s no doubt about it, but there’s no reason not to allow them when you’re waiting to pick up your kids from school.

Obviously, there’s absolutely no chance of seeing this happening anytime soon, but such features should be available not only on CarPlay but also on Android Auto. Of course, more, let’s call them shady, ways to enable YouTube on both systems are still available, but such functionality should be available natively.

The timing for Apple to come up with a CarPlay revamp seems just right. The company will hold its WWDC developer event in just a few weeks, and a new major iOS update is due later this year. Given that CarPlay updates are tied to OS updates, the debut of iOS 16 seems the perfect occasion for such an overhaul.


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