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What is Apple CarPlay and how does it work?

Russell Campbell

Written by

Russell Campbell

Apple CarPlay screen

If you already own an iPhone, Apple CarPlay could be the single most useful feature you’ll find fitted to a new car – allowing you to use the best apps on your iPhone on your car’s large infotainment screen.

But what is Apple CarPlay, how does it work, why’s it good and why isn’t it so good? Keep reading as heycar explains all. 

Apple CarPlay and iPhone

What is Apple CarPlay?

Apple CarPlay brings all the functionality of your iPhone to your car’s big screen.

That means you can use apps like Waze to navigate to your destination. It tends to be more accurate than the built-in nav fitted to your car and it is also connected to the internet – so it can route around congestion and check for parking spaces. It wil usually give you more accurate arrival times and stop you getting held up in motorway tailbacks. 

Want to listen to music? Sweet, CarPlay can also mirror apps like Spotify and iTunes on your car’s infotainment display so it’s easy to scroll through music when you’re driving. 

Using CarPlay in general is very easy because it utilises the same menu layout as your iPhone. It also means you can use Apple’s voice activated Assistant, Siri, so you can choose music, set a nav destination, make calls and send messages or check your calendar without having to take your hands off the steering wheel. 


How does Apple CarPlay work?

Getting Apple CarPlay to work is easy. You either plug your phone into your car – using a USB or USBC socket – or connect wirelessly using Bluetooth. 

The first time you use Apple CarPlay you’ll have to set it up, which takes less than a minute, from then on, it should (in theory) spark into life every time you connect your phone to your car. Usually you’ll see an Apple CarPlay start-up screen on your car's infotainment display or it may just appear as an icon in the menu.  

Apple CarPlay infotainment screen

Does Apple CarPlay use my data plan?

Apple CarPlay does use your data and this is something you’ll want to factor in if you’re renewing your phone contract. How much data you’ll use depends on what you do – nav tends not to be too data intensive, but streaming lots of music at a high sound quality will quickly eat through your data. 

Can I add Apple CarPlay to my older car?

It's an emphatic – yes – to that question. Almost all cars can be upgraded with a double din head unit that includes Apple CarPlay. As well as giving you CarPlay, these newer stereos will usually include modern functions like a digital radio and a Bluetooth phone connection. A good system costs around £300 and most shops that sell them will also fit the unit for you for around £50. As upgrades go, this is arguably one of the easiest ways to modernise an old car. 

What cars are fitted with Apple CarPlay?

All the cars below are fitted with Apple CarPlay – including a number of models which aren’t sold in the UK. The list of cars fitted with Apple CarPlay is always growing so it makes sense to double check the Apple website for new additions. 

  • 500
  • 500L
  • Tipo
  • 500X
  • C-MAX
  • Fiesta
  • Focus
  • Edge
  • Mondeo
  • Galaxy
  • S-MAX
  • Transit
  • Transit Connect
  • Mustang
  • EcoSport
  • Puma
  • Mustang Mach-E
  • Jazz
  • Civic
  • CR-V
  • HR-V
  • NSX
  • i10
  • i20
  • i30
  • i40
  • Tucson
  • Santa Fe
  • Ioniq
  • Kona
  • Nexo
  • E-Pace
  • F-Pace
  • I-Pace
  • XE
  • XF
  • XJ
  • F-Type
  • Compass
  • Grand Cherokee
  • Renegade
  • Wrangler
  • 2014–2020 Soul
  • 2015–2020 Optima
  • 2015–2020 Optima Hybrid
  • 2015–2021 Soul EV
  • 2017–2020 Sorento
  • 2017–2020 Sportage
  • 2017–2020 Niro
  • 2018–2020 Niro Plug-In Hybrid
  • 2018–2020 Rio
  • 2018–2020 Stinger
  • 2019–2020 Range Rover
  • 2019–2020 Land Rover Discovery
  • 2019–2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport
  • 2019–2020 Range Rover Evoque
  • 2019–2020 Range Rover Sport
  • 2019–2020 Range Rover Velar
  • 2020 Land Rover Defender
  • 2019–2020 ES
  • 2019–2020 LC
  • 2019–2020 LS
  • 2019–2020 NX
  • 2019–2020 RC
  • 2019–2020 RC F
  • 2019–2020 UX
  • 2020–2020 RX
  • 2017–2020 Ghibli
  • 2017–2020 Levante
  • 2017–2020 Quattroporte
  • 2018–2020 GranCabrio
  • 2018–2020 GranTurismo
  • 2018-2020 Mazda6
  • 2019–2020 CX-5
  • 2019–2020 CX-9
  • 2019–2020 Mazda3
  • 2020 CX-3
  • 2020 CX30
  • 2020 Mazda2
  • 2020 MX-5
  • 2016–2020 A-Class
  • 2016–2020 B-Class
  • 2016–2020 CLA-Class
  • 2016–2020 CLS-Class
  • 2016–2020 E-Class Cabriolet
  • 2016–2020 E-Class Coupe
  • 2016–2020 GLA-Class
  • 2016–2020 GLE-Class
  • 2017–2020 E-Class
  • 2017–2020 GLS-Class
  • 2017–2020 SL-Class
  • 2018–2020 GLC-Class
  • 2018–2020 S-Class
  • 2019–2020 C-Class
  • 2016–2020 MG5
  • 2017–2020 GS
  • 2017–2020 ZS
  • 2019–2020 HS
  • 2019–2020 ZS EV
  • 2018–2020 Clubman
  • 2018–2020 Countryman
  • 2019–2020 Convertible
  • 2019–2020 Hatch
  • 2019–2020 Hatch 5 Door
  • 2017 i-MiEV
  • 2016–2020 Shogun
  • 2016–2020 Shogun Sport
  • 2016–2020 Mirage
  • 2017–2020 Outlander
  • 2017–2020 Outlander PHEV
  • 2017–2020 ASX
  • 2018–2020 Eclipse Cross
  • 2017–2020 Micra
  • 2018–2020 GT-R
  • 2018–2020 Leaf
  • 2019–2020 Qashqai
  • 2016–2020 208
  • 2016–2020 2008
  • 2016–2020 308
  • 2016–2020 3008
  • 2017–2020 308 SW
  • 2017–2019 508
  • 2017–2020 5008
  • 2016–2020 Expert
  • 2016–2020 Partner Tepee
  • 2016–2020 Traveller
  • 2018–2020 Rifter
  • 2017–2020 718 Cayman
  • 2017–2020 718 Boxster
  • 2017–2020 Panamera
  • 2017–2020 Macan
  • 2017–2020 Cayenne
  • 2017–2020 911
  • 2020 Taycan


  • 2017–2020 Clio
  • 2017–2020 Kadjar
  • 2017–2020 Mégane
  • 2017–2020 Mégane Estate
  • 2017–2020 Scénic
  • 2017–2020 Grand Scénic
  • 2018–2020 Koleos
  • 2018–2020 Fluence
  • 2019–2020 Twingo
  • 2020 Cullinan
  • 2020 Dawn
  • 2020 Ghost
  • 2020 Phantom
  • 2020 Wraith
  • 2016–2020 Alhambra
  • 2016–2020 Ibiza
  • 2016–2020 Leon
  • 2016–2020 Toledo
  • 2017–2020 Ateca
  • 2018–2020 Arona
  • 2020 Tarraco
  • 2016–2017 Yeti
  • 2016–2020 Fabia
  • 2016–2020 Octavia
  • 2016–2020 Rapid
  • 2016–2020 Superb
  • 2017–2020 Karoq
  • 2017–2020 Kodiaq
  • 2017–2020 Scala
  • 2018–2020 Kamiq
  • 2017–2020 Impreza
  • 2018–2019 BRZ
  • 2018–2020 Legacy
  • 2018–2020 Outback
  • 2019–2020 Forester
  • 2019–2020 WRX
  • 2019–2020 WRX STI
  • 2016–2020 Baleno
  • 2016–2020 Ignis
  • 2016–2020 SX4 S-Cross
  • 2016–2020 Vitara
  • 2018–2020 Jimny
  • 2018–2020 Aygo
  • 2019–2020 Corolla
  • 2019–2020 Camry
  • 2019–2020 C-HR
  • 2019–2020 RAV4
  • 2020 Prius
  • 2020 Supra
  • 2020 Yaris
  • 2016–2020 Adam
  • 2016–2020 Astra
  • 2016–2020 Corsa
  • 2016–2020 Insignia
  • 2016–2020 Viva
  • 2017–2020 Crossland X
  • 2017–2020 Mokka
  • 2017–2020 Zafira
  • 2016–2018 CC
  • 2016–2018 Scirocco
  • 2016–2020 Amarok
  • 2016–2019 Beetle
  • 2016–2019 Beetle Cabriolet
  • 2016–2019 Golf R
  • 2016–2020 Caddy
  • 2016–2020 California
  • 2016–2020 Caravelle
  • 2016–2020 e-Golf
  • 2016–2020 Golf
  • 2016–2020 Golf SV
  • 2016–2020 Golf GTI
  • 2016–2020 Passat
  • 2016–2020 Polo
  • 2016–2020 Sharan
  • 2016–2020 Tiguan
  • 2016–2020 Touran
  • 2016–2020 Transporter
  • 2016–2020 Passat
  • 2017–2020 Crafter
  • 2018–2020 Arteon
  • 2018–2020 T-Roc
  • 2016–2020 XC90
  • 2017–2020 S90
  • 2017–2020 V90
  • 2018–2020 XC60
  • 2019–2020 S60
  • 2019–2020 V60
  • 2019–2020 XC40

How to use Apple CarPlay on your Volkswagen

CarPlay projects your Apple iPhone's screen onto your car’s infotainment display. It works like an extension of your iPhone and means you can use its apps – for things like music playback and navigation – through the car’s infotainment and stereo 

There is no monthly charge for Apple CarPlay – not from Apple, anyway. That said, for a brief period BMW charged a subscription for Apple CarPlay, a decision it quickly rowed back – meaning it’s now free to use on any car makes and models that have it fitted.

Yes, you do have to have an iPhone (5 or later) to use Apple CarPlay. That said, Android Auto is an identical system that mirrors the display and functions of Android Phones – it works equally well. 

Find a car with Apple CarPlay fitted

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Vauxhall Corsa
Vauxhall Corsa
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Vauxhall Corsa

1.2 SE Premium 5dr

  • 2020
  • 5,241 miles
  • Perrys Vauxhall Broadstairs
  • Kent, CT102NP
Price:£14,295
PCP: £277.37/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 37 months, 36 Monthly Payments: £277.37, Customer Deposit: £2,144.00, Total Deposit: £2,144.25, Optional Final Payment: £5,558.00, Total Charge For Credit: £3,392.57, Total Amount Payable: £17,687.57, Representative APR: 12.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 6.6%, Excess Mileage Charge: 9ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Ford Kuga
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Ford Kuga

2.5 PHEV ST-Line X Edition 5dr CVT

  • 2021
  • 988 miles
  • Perrys Ford Chesterfield
  • Derbyshire, S402WG
Price:£39,999
PCP: £756.61/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 37 months, 36 Monthly Payments: £756.61, Customer Deposit: £5,999.00, Total Deposit: £5,999.85, Optional Final Payment: £16,404.00, Total Charge For Credit: £9,642.81, Total Amount Payable: £49,641.81, Representative APR: 12.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 6.61%, Excess Mileage Charge: 22ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Vauxhall Combo Life
Vauxhall Combo Life
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Vauxhall Combo Life
Vauxhall Combo Life

Vauxhall Combo Life

1.2 Turbo 130 Energy 5dr Auto

  • 2020
  • 506 miles
  • Perrys Doncaster Used Car Outlet
  • South Yorkshire, DN24PE
Price:£22,924
PCP: £486.95/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 37 months, 36 Monthly Payments: £486.95, Customer Deposit: £3,438.00, Total Deposit: £3,438.60, Optional Final Payment: £7,075.00, Total Charge For Credit: £5,119.80, Total Amount Payable: £28,043.80, Representative APR: 12.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 6.61%, Excess Mileage Charge: 15ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000