How to Use iOS 17 CarPlay – A Complete Guide

CarPlay allows you to access your iPhone’s apps and features while driving. With iOS 17, Apple has introduced new enhancements and capabilities to CarPlay, providing an even more seamless experience between your iPhone and compatible vehicles. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to get started with CarPlay on iOS 17.

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CarPlay first launched in 2014 as a smarter, safer way to use your iPhone while driving. It enables you to get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, listen to music, and more while staying focused on the road.

With iOS 17, Apple has introduced new features like customizable wallpapers and enhanced third-party app integration. Read on to learn how to connect your iPhone and use all of the latest CarPlay features.

What You’ll Need

To use CarPlay with iOS 17, you’ll need:

  • An iPhone running iOS 17
  • A CarPlay compatible vehicle or aftermarket car stereo

CarPlay can connect to your car using a USB cable or wirelessly in supported vehicles. Wireless CarPlay allows your iPhone to connect using Bluetooth or WiFi so you don’t need to plug it in.

Connecting Your iPhone to CarPlay

Follow these steps to connect your iPhone and start using CarPlay:

Using a USB Cable

  1. Plug your iPhone into your car’s USB port using an Apple certified Lightning cable.
  2. Once connected, the CarPlay home screen will automatically appear on your vehicle’s display.
  3. You can now access CarPlay’s apps and features both through your vehicle’s controls like the touchscreen, knobs, steering wheel buttons as well as using Siri voice commands.

Connecting Wirelessly

If your vehicle supports wireless CarPlay connection:

  1. Make sure Bluetooth and WiFi are enabled on your iPhone.
  2. Go to Settings > General > CarPlay and select your vehicle under “Available Cars” to connect.
  3. The CarPlay dashboard will now launch on your car’s display.
  4. You can control CarPlay applications and features on the touchscreen as well as with Siri voice commands.

CarPlay Home Screen

The CarPlay home screen displays app icons that you can tap to open like Phone, Music, Maps, Messages etc. The icons are displayed in a customizable grid. To open an app, simply tap the icon.

You can swipe left and right to move between multiple home screen pages if you have more apps than can fit on one screen.

To return back to the main CarPlay home at any time, press the hardware button on your car’s dashboard.

Key Features and Apps

CarPlay offers interactive apps and iPhone features designed for simplified use while driving. Here are some of the core apps and functions available:

Maps and Navigation

The upgraded Maps app in iOS 17 boasts more detailed maps with 3D landmarks, transit directions, and immersive mode for driving. You can easily navigate by entering destinations or using suggested routes. Maps will display turn-by-turn directions, traffic information, estimated arrival times and more.

To begin navigating:

  • Tap the Maps icon to open the app
  • Enter a destination in the search bar or tap it on the map
  • Tap Go to start navigating

You can switch between different 2D and 3D map views by pinching and zooming. Immersive mode provides a more visually engaging navigation experience.

Phone Calls

CarPlay allows you to easily make and receive calls through your car’s speaker system. Incoming calls will appear as notifications on your car’s display – tap to answer.

You can also use Siri voice commands like “Call Mom” to make calls hands-free. Your full iPhone contacts list and call history sync to CarPlay.


Access your Apple Music library, podcasts, audiobooks and more. Use Siri to play any song, playlist, station or podcast hands-free. The Music app will display all your media content and playlists. Tap a song to start playing.

You can use the vehicle’s controls to skip tracks, adjust volume and more. Album art for the Now Playing track is shown on the CarPlay dashboard.

Messages and Texts

Both iMessages and SMS texts will appear on your car’s display. Siri can read out incoming texts so you don’t need to look down at your phone.

You can tap to listen and reply to messages using your voice. Siri converts your speech to text to send iMessages or SMS replies.


View your iPhone calendar events and meeting details on the CarPlay dashboard. Upcoming events for the current day will be shown so you can quickly check your schedule.

Tap into a specific event to hear more details like date, time, location etc. Siri can also remind you of calendar events to make sure you never miss an appointment.


If you have HomeKit enabled accessories at home like smart lights, thermostats, cameras etc, you can control them through the Home app. Adjust settings, view live camera feeds and more.

Third-Party Audio Apps

In addition to Apple’s music app, third-party audio platforms like Spotify, Audible, Overcast, Amazon Music and more are available on CarPlay. Open these apps to access their libraries just like on your iPhone.

Other iPhone Apps

Many other apps on your iPhone including Podcasts, Audiobooks, Apple News and more are accessible on the CarPlay dashboard. Developers can now create apps specifically optimized for CarPlay on iOS 17.

Customizing Your CarPlay Experience

iOS 17 brings new ways to tailor CarPlay to your preferences. Here are some customizations you can make:

Change Wallpaper

Go beyond the default black background by customizing your CarPlay wallpaper.

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Wallpaper.
  2. Select “Choose a New Wallpaper”.
  3. Pick from Dynamic, Stills or Live wallpaper options.
  4. Toggle on “Dark Appearance Dims Wallpaper” if desired.
  5. Tap “Set” and your new wallpaper will sync to CarPlay.

Rearrange Icons

You can customize the layout of icons on the CarPlay home screen.

  1. Go to your CarPlay home screen.
  2. Touch and hold any icon until the apps begin to jiggle.
  3. Drag icons to rearrange their positions.
  4. Tap Done to save your new layout.

Add Widgets

Widgets provide quick access to useful information from apps like calendar events, weather, stock prices and more.

To add a widget:

  1. Go to the CarPlay home screen.
  2. Touch and hold until the icons jiggle.
  3. Tap the “+” icon.
  4. Select a widget from the list of options.
  5. Place it on the screen and tap Done.


CarPlay offers various accessibility features for easier use including options like:

  • VoiceOver screen reader
  • Support for switch controls and other assistive devices
  • Adjustable text size
  • Bold text and increase contrast

Enable these in your iPhone’s Settings under Accessibility. VoiceOver will be available in CarPlay to read out items on screen.

CarPlay Tips and Tricks

  • Use Siri voice commands to interact with CarPlay hands-free for calls, music, texts, navigation and more.
  • You can have CarPlay automatically launch when your phone connects to your car’s USB. Enable this in Settings.
  • Arrange your most used apps on the first CarPlay home screen for quick access.
  • Open the Now Playing app on CarPlay to control music playback and switch between music apps.
  • Use Apple Maps’ share ETA feature to easily share your arrival time with others.
  • Add calendar, reminders, and other widgets to your CarPlay home screen for at-a-glance info.

CarPlay FAQs

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about CarPlay:

What iPhones work with CarPlay?

CarPlay is compatible with iPhone models 5 and later running iOS 7 or higher. Both Lightning and 30-pin connection iPhones work.

Does my car need to be new to use CarPlay?

No, many older vehicles can be retrofitted with an aftermarket CarPlay receiver. Check with manufacturers like Alpine, Kenwood, Pioneer and others to add CarPlay.

Can I use apps like YouTube or Netflix on CarPlay?

Due to safety concerns, only certain whitelisted apps approved by Apple can run on CarPlay. Entertainment apps like YouTube and Netflix cannot be used.

How do I get Waze or Google Maps on my CarPlay?

Third-party apps like Waze and Google Maps have CarPlay compatible versions. Download their iOS apps on your iPhone and they will show up as available apps within CarPlay.

Why can’t I see song lyrics in CarPlay’s Music app?

Displaying lyrics is not currently supported in CarPlay. You will only see album art and music playback controls while a song is playing.


CarPlay offers an easy, engaging experience for iPhone users to access their apps, music, maps and more while driving. iOS 17 expands CarPlay with new wallpapers, widgets, enhanced apps and deeper vehicle integration.

Follow the steps in this guide to connect your iPhone, customize your CarPlay dashboard and start enjoying a safer, smarter way to use your iPhone on the road. Tap into the latest Maps, Music, Podcasts and third party audio apps optimized for CarPlay. With Siri and accessible controls, CarPlay makes driving with your iPhone a breeze.

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