New in iOS 7.1: Maps navigation prompts through your car’s stereo over Bluetooth

By , Mar 11, 2014

iOS 7.1 (HFP Prompts)

Apple has delivered iOS 7.1 yesterday, its first major iOS update since the software’s launch nearly six months ago. We’ve already detailed some of the noteworthy enhancements like Touch ID reliability improvements, new Siri features, CarPlay support, a bunch of bug fixes – some of which have been credited to prominent iOS hackers like the evad3rs team - and more.

According to developer Mike Piontek, Maps in iOS 7.1 includes a poorly labeled new feature called HFP Prompts which allows the app to play navigation prompts over your car’s speakers, via Bluetooth, even when the iPhone is not selected as the audio source. It’s a great addition to Apple’s in-car initiative because no longer do you have to fiddle with audio settings as HFP Prompts automatically does the right thing for you.

Jump past the fold for the full breakdown…

The switch to enable HFP Prompts is available in the Maps app, but only if you’re connected to your car’s stereo via Bluetooth. Simply open Maps start a route and tap the audio button in the bottom right. A panel will pop up with Volume settings for Navigation Voice and the Output section with the HFP Prompts switch right below.

As can be seen on the below screenshot, you can choose between listening to your navigation prompts on the device itself or route audio through your in-car’s Bluetooth stereo. Again, you have to be connected to Bluetooth and navigating or else HFP Prompts won’t be available.

The feature is dependent on your car’s model and its software support.

“When supported by your car, HFP allows navigation prompts to play over you car speakers even when iPhone is not selected as the audio source,” explains Apple.

iOS 7.1 (HFP Prompts 002)

How’s this useful?

Well, it’s like receiving a phone call through your car’s Bluetooth system: the feature basically tells your car to connect to your device over Bluetooth whenever a voice direction needs to be played.

As a result, you can listen to music or radio stations through your car’s built-in audio system and at the same time hear spoken directions, which is really nice. So if you’re listening to FM radio, navigation prompts now automatically interrupt and play just like an incoming phone would.

This poster on MacRumors’ forums has confirmed that audible navigation prompts work on his Honda Accord’s Bluetooth audio system, after a Siri Eyes Free update on the car’s audio.

Previously, your device could only play navigation prompts if you switched your car’s stereo to the Bluetooth input, which in turn stopped music playback from the CD/MP3 player, FM tuner or any other audio source.

It’s interesting that Apple’s official changelog for iOS 7.1 makes no mention of HFP Prompts in iOS 7.1, despite the feature’s usefulness.

Speaking of Maps, Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac reported this morning that not only does Apple Maps in iOS 8 include more reliable data, it also features augmented-reality capability for finding points of interest, public transit directions and more.

As a reminder, jailbreakers should stay away from iOS 7.1 because it’ll kill your jailbreak and you won’t be able to downgrade.

How do you like iOS 7.1 so far?

What do you think of the HFP Prompts feature?

Isn’t it one of the most useful new features in iOS 7.1?

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  • pauleebe

    I’ll have to try this out with my BMW’s iDrive. Curious if it’ll push the directions over bluetooth, like Google Maps can.

  • Justin

    So you updated, Christian?

  • Rowan09

    About time. I always wondered why they didn’t include this feature. I’m not updating my daily drive (5s) though until the jailbreak is released.

  • Anthony Scouras

    this has always worked for me through my bluetooth stereo never need this function before worked in ios 7.0.6

    • Kevin Osborne

      Even if you don’t have your phone as the source selected and you’re listening to, say, FM or something else, it will interrupt that source and play audio through your car stereo even though your phone source isn’t selected??

  • gittlopctbi

    Don’t know what’s the big deal about this feature. Always had it in Waze. Never had to fool with any setting, it always played through my car speakers via Bluetooth.

    • Kevin Osborne

      With Waze, even if you don’t have your phone as the source selected and you’re listening to, say, FM or something else, it will interrupt that source and play audio through your car stereo even though your phone source isn’t selected??

      • Anthony Scouras

        That is correct

      • sadaN

        I doubt so, will try in a bit…

      • gittlopctbi

        Yep. You can go into settings and choose that. I believe it is that way by default. So like I said, whoopee on this announcement as Waze has had it.

      • Kevin Osborne

        Confirmed working! :D

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    “that not only does Apple Maps in iOS 8 include more reliable data”

    Why does the entire iPhones OS need to be updated just to improve the map data. Surely this should be server side and not matter what OS is on your phone…

    • William B. McIntyre

      Yes exactly, that was the whole excuse when Maps first (diabolically) shipped, that it would be improved from the server side. The whole “wait a year for an improvement stuff” is quite ridiculous really.

  • sadaN

    “Apple has delivered iOS 7.1 yesterday”

    As far as I’m aware, Present Perfect Simple is not used with a defined moment in the past.
    Past Simple should be used instead.

    • TechThingy

      So there’s should be a “had” instead.. Dude. Boo freaking hoo

  • chjode

    HFP = Hands Free Profile, for those wondering why it wasn’t defined in this article.

  • Digital FX

    When I select my phone, I get voice commands over audio system that interrupt the radio, as soon as voice command finishes radio continues just like my built in nav. I don’t have the HFP option shown, but seems to work exactly the same.

    • CDew

      I’m also not seeing the prompt, but it seems to work with my iPhone 5 on SYNC MyFord Touch (current firmware).

      The only downsides are: 1) That the first part of the step seems to get cut off (e.g. “Turn right…”) and 2) I get a “Call ended” dialog after every step.

      Are you seeing the same issues?