iOS 11’s CarPlay has gained a multitude of new Maps capabilities for safer driving while bringing slight design changes to some of the stock apps and subtle interface refinements such as notification badges, cellular signal bars replacing the dots, larger app icons and more.

Here’s our video walkthrough of all the new features in CarPlay with iOS 11.

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Continue reading the article for detailed descriptions of the new features.

Speed limit along the route

Apple’s Maps app for CarPlay has definitely received the biggest update with meaningful improvements such as the tremendously useful lane guidance option, the current speed limit along your route and real-time alternative route recommendations.

Commonly available on other navigation systems, Maps for CarPlay now shows you the current speed limit (where available) along your route. This feature, along with lane guidance and alternative route recommendations, is also available in Maps for iOS 11.

Lane guidance

Lane guidance tells you which traffic lane you need to be in to avoid missing a turn or exit, which is a very big deal for users in major metropolitan areas and those who frequently cruise multi-lane highways. As a bonus, Siri also gives you audio lane guidance in navigation mode.

DND While Driving

Do Not Disturb While Driving, another major new capability put forth by the iOS 11 update, helps you stay more focused on the road with your iPhone automatically silencing all incoming alerts and notifications when it detects you’re driving. This potentially life-saving feature also keeps the screen totally dark to minimize distractions while driving.

In this mode, CarPlay responds to incoming messages from contacts listed in the Phone app’s Favorites section with a canned message to let them know you’re currently driving and unable to reply.

The sender can respond to the canned message with a “reply” to force message delivery through CarPlay. This mode can also be invoked manually from Control Center on iPhone.

Real-time route recommendations

Previously, CarPlay recommended shorter routes with an intrusive banner alert. This feature is better implemented in CarPlay on iOS 11 because route recommendations are now integrated into Maps and include real-time ETA changes, much like how it works on Google Maps.

Notification badges

CarPlay now supports notification badges for app icons in the Dock (which puts shortcuts to your recently used apps along the side of the interface). The badges don’t include numbers like on iPhone and iPad since these vertically aligned app shortcuts are too small.

That said, now you can at least see if you have any missed messages, calls or other events while in an app without needing to go back to the Home screen.

Everything new for CarPlay in iOS 11

CarPlay on iOS 11 includes the following improvements and changes:

Apple Maps

  • Lane guidance with Siri integration
  • Speed limit information along your route
  • Route recommendations are now built into Maps, allowing you to switch quickly

Visual changes

  • Notification badges in the Dock
  • New “thinking mode” look for Siri matching that on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV
  • Refined interfaces in the Podcasts and Music apps
  • Currently active app is larger in the Dock
  • Four cellular signal bars replacing the five singular strength dots


Do you use CarPlay?

Do you own a vehicle with CarPlay integration or an aftermarket CarPlay receiver?

If so, what has your experience been like thus far? How do you like these new CarPlay features in iOS 11, which one is your favorite, and why?

What else would you like to see improved about CarPlay, and how? Do chime in with your thoughts, observations and your own CarPlay wishlist in the comment section below.

  • zoLa siWisa

    Oh wow… too dope for me.

  • Pam Oakea

    Love my CarPlay!! I want it to be wireless for short trips and hope Honda can add that as a software update or some type of part that would allow that to happen. So far Honda doesn’t offer wireless CarPlay even in the few new 2018 models that have been released. I don’t understand what the big deal is and why it’s so difficult to implement. I’m assuming it’s all Honda and nothing Apple has to do or add. I have a 2017 Honda and haven’t used my car’s radio system yet except to set up all my sensing settings, etc. I would like to see a few more apps added as well.

    • jkwon15

      Only bmw 5 series has wireless CarPlay why it took long idk assuming it was hard to implement the technology into the car. Apparently Volkswagen figured it out as well but  stopped them from showing it off at CES this year. But Harman has the technology to put it into cars so hopefully soon enough it will be come standard.

      • iByron

        Alpine makes a wireless aftermarket CarPlay radio

  • edwilk55

    Love my car play! Def counting on wireless charging in the 8. If so, aftermarket wireless car play receiver paired with a magnetic / wireless charger mount in the car will be very nice indeed. 🙂

  • diggitydang

    I love DND While Driving and would totally use it and recommend it, but how does it work with Google Maps… is there a way to let navigation app notifications through? I’m doubting it, but keeping my fingers crossed…

  • Aerojb

    I love the lane guidance! That was a huge plus that Google Maps had over Apple Maps. I have yet to see the updated route recommendation while driving but that will be great. I wish we could have Google Maps and Waze on CarPlay, but I won’t hold my breath. I’m happy that Apple Maps keeps advancing and adding popular Google features. Do not Disturb while driving is also awesome. I hope other people on the road will use it.

  • Mike Stark

    why don’t they add WEATHER??? Seems like a no-brainer.

    • I think weather info is in the Maps app, like in iPhone

      • David J Delgado

        I don’t think I recall ever seeing the weather in the Maps app on CarPlay….

      • iByron

        Weather isn’t in the CarPlay Maps app. But one can always ask Siri.

  • JF

    I use CarPlay on iOS 9.02 JB with NGXPlay… There’s so much potential about carplay and iOS…, put aside the safety issue, when the car doesn’t move… Give me more controls!!

    Anemone theme works on carplay!! Wow !

    With NGXPlay I use the calendar app, I have created my schedule with customers address and a waze:// url so I can click and launch Map or Waze from my calendar… No more need to punch in the address.

    Not been able to see my sms on screen bugs me… The reading is long and unproductive.

    Callbar is not compatible with carplay, crash on 1st call after unplug from carplay.

    KuaiDial T9 search make the keypad useless and the same for native phone app on carplay… Keypad is deactivate when driving… What about press 0 to reach xyz !?! 50% of my business call can’t be done as I need to press keypad to reach someone! My native Lincoln interface allow me to punch keypad.

    The list is long, wish I was a developer to plug into the full potential of carplay!

  • Rowan09

    I’m waiting for a wireless CarPlay unit worth getting before I make the move over.

    • iByron

      Alpine makes one. The iLS-107

      • Rowan09

        Thanks just checked it out

  • MrM3000

    CarPlay is not as useful as Apple wants you to believe. Too many steps to do even simple things and Siri reading out messages or other text is annoying. Often it doesn’t even give you relevant information or understands what you’re saying no matter how clearly or slowly you say it.
    Also, some apps are buggy (looking at you, Pandora) and fighting with them while driving defeats the whole purpose of CarPlay in the first place. I’ll be more impressed when they make it more intuitive and less intrusive and when wireless is more widely available. Less distractions, PLEASE!

  • iByron

    I’m using CarPlay with the public beta and now that we’re on public beta 3 and I can count on more stability, it’s working very well The Maps improvements/additions are quite useful and bring the app more in line with third party commercial apps like TomTom GO (which I was using prior to my CarPlay purchase). Also liking the new dock.

    Shortcomings are the third-party apps. TuneIn Radio — buggy in itself on the iPhone — is really terrible with CarPlay. You can’t even see your Favorites, which is kinda necessary for quick access to, well, favorite stations. And while they all mostly do the same thing — play music — one can’t count on them working in the same way. Apple’s UI guidelines must be really broad for CarPlay because only the most basic interface features are consistent app to app. Some use the alpha list and some don’t. Folders may or may not be part of the UI. Some apps offer all of the features of the iPhone interface, and other apps seem to just be there because they can be. These have been shortcomings of CarPlay from the beginning, though. I hope once we get production iOS 11 they’ll have been addressed by the devs.

    All in all, though, it’s a big improvement and I’m liking what I see. It’s much more user friendly.

  • Jay

    I think Apple should allow people who cannot afford to purchase a car just for carplay to use it on there device. Sure the displays real estate is smaller but the plus or the 4.7 it can support it just fine. A lot of people have their phone mounted to use as their GPS so why not allow it in a special mode for driving.

    Yes I know there are jailbreak tweaks for this.

  • Corey B

    I have it and would rather use Bluetooth. CarPlay doesn’t have any apps. Most annoying thing is being in maps and getting a text. Won’t read it. But will let me respond. Haha I haven’t heard it yet. They need to focus on it. Or kill it. Worst con. I have to plug it in just to use it. With the least battery charger as well.

    Rant. Sorry but i can’t stand it

  • Kloppnipotent

    It’s all about third party apps – or not, as Apple deem they’re not worthy to be ported to CarPlay.

    I use a third party navigation app (not Google) because Apple won’tdon’t include safety cameras in their maps app! So I don’t use it. I’m fairly un-phased regarding most other apps, but Navigation is one thing I need when driving! Apple not only don’t deliver themselves in this respect, they prevent others from delivering too! Which all just seems that little bit childish and domineering from a company that supposedly prides itself on the customer experience. Apple is inadvertently proving “they know” their own mapping effort isn’t a patch on 3rd party nav apps, because they wouldn’t be afraid of the competition if they had confidence in their own offering.

    The other issue I’m having is a CarPlay crash that sometimes occurs when using Siri to carry out commands or replies to messages, etc. The headunit in my 2016 VW will go blank and eventually return to the default Apple CarPlay startup screen. This is with an iPhone 6s, so it’s not like my phone is too old to handle the processing power needed to drive the interface. If I’m going to rely on a port of my phone screen to my head unit, I need it to be reliable …as any failure is a potential distraction, and I can’t always pull over to interact with the phone – which is now unlawful in the UK unless the car is off and the keys removed (stupid law).

    My conclusion is that CarPlay needs more work on its robustness, and an allowance for certain “driving related” 3rd party apps before its worth upgrading your head unit for. You’re really not missing much if you don’t have CarPlay.

  • MADG33k

    I have been using CarPlay for the last three months ( including a 1400 mile road trip) and overall I like it and most of the new features that they are bringing out.

    There is one feature (setting) that I have found that is sorely missing and needs to be added ASAP. Specifically they need to add a configuration switch which allows the disabling of auto play of the iPhone’s audio when nothing is currently playing after plugging it in. Personally I find this to be quite irritating, especially since when it is first plugged in CarPlay is so busy that it can be very slow to respond to any control commands, on either screen.

    The second irritant (no where near as bad as the previous) is the need to always have to re-connect the phone when first starting it up. This may actually be a Honda problem but when I connect my phone to the car I always have to unplug and re-plug it in for the CarPlay to start up properly.

  • Thiago Queiroz

    Brazilians doesnt have any maps app in carplay. We´re so disapointed.

    Grrrr… thanks for this sh*t Apple.

  • John Sobraske

    I miss the thing that is standard on every GPS known to man, except Apple Maps & CarPlay… YOUR SPEED! How hard would it be to show that?

  • David Chidsey

    getting somewhere but Waze is king of gps. I have both carplay and android auto. I prefer the look, feel and performance of carplay. but for longer trips I use android auto for waze. Google maps is the most accurate gps.

  • Bruno

    What is wrong with your voice?

  • Aline Cardoso

    with the DND. does it send an auto-message every time someone messages you? Like, if someone were spamming you would they get an auto-message every time? Does it do the same thing for group chats?