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Which are the best Apple CarPlay Apps?

Once you have installed our Retrofit CarPlay Kit, you will want to know which CarPlay apps you should be installing to get the most out of CarPlay. In this article we list our favourite CarPlay Apps, divided into the various App sub categories.

Radio streaming Apps

The most common question we receive regarding Apps for CarPlay is “Which is the best Radio streaming app?”

RadioPlayer

Our favourite is RadioPlayer, the reason for this is that RadioPlayer can stream more or less ANY radio station (certainly in the UK). Whether you want to listen to BBC Radio 2, GEM, Smooth Radio or a local channel such as Free Radio Coventry – RadioPlayer has it all.

RadioPlayer is a free App and is not laden with advertisements. You can choose whether to stream in high quality or not when you are using your mobile data, but from our experience the “normal data streaming” quality is absolutely fine.

It is best to originally setup RadioPlayer on your phone rather than ok your vehicle display via CarPlay. This is because it is easier to add your favourite stations in the phone app. Once added, your favourites will be quickly accessible via the CarPlay user interface.

When using CarPlay in your car, RadioPlayer offers a quick and friendly user interface and you will be listening to music before you know it. Whether you have a touch screen or a rotary control based in-car entertainment system, you will have no problem accessing stations.

Below is the RadioPlayer user interface when in CarPlay, this is what you will see on your central dash display.

Another app worth mentioning is BBC iPlayer Radio, this app not only offers access to all BBC radio stations, it also provides you the option to download shows at home and then listen to them in the car. If you are on a tight data allowance then this can be beneficial. Although, if you drive around 1 hour a day everyday, you will only require around 1.5Gb of data for your CarPlay experience to be 100% live streamed.


Navigation Apps

There are three Navigation Apps available in CarPlay, Apple Maps, Waze and Google maps.

Waze

Our favourite is Waze which is a little different to the other apps as it allows people using Waze to update the rest of the Waze community using the a App on the current road conditions. Users can alert others to any roadworks, crashes and Police locations, you will also see other “Wazers” on the map as you bimble around.

Waze Navigation using retrofit CarPlay

For some the map is a little “busy”, but for us Waze is perfect as it keeps you updated, is interactive and is very simple to use. Specials mention should go out to Google Maps as there is certainly not anything wrong with it, it offers a less cluttered map and can work with Waze to bring you the same “notifications” rather than “on map” information.

For us, Apple Maps made it difficult to enter new destinations in iOS 12. iOS13 has addressed many of the issues with Apple maps and offers a “split screen view” in which you can now view the Apple Map, your selected music App and a notification box.


Music Streaming Apps

One of the biggest benefits of equipping your car with CarPlay or Android Auto is Music Streaming. If you like music, your options are both varied and truly excellent. Where do we start? We must start with what we consider the best App for music streaming, Spotify.

Spotify

Spotify could be considered an intelligent music streaming App that is both very easy to use, has a vast selection of music to suit (almost) all tastes and the best bit? It introduces you to new music similar to the genres you already like – this is a great feature as it will open your mind to new music and prevent boredom on those long journeys.

Spotify’s daily mix is a great way of listening to new music you will like

There are other music streaming options including YouTube music and Amazon music, which are both paid subscription services and will offer an excellent user experience. But overall, Spotify is our go to music streaming app as both the functionality and price (free if you are happy to accept adverts) cannot be matched.


Messaging

While driving, writing text messages is not the safest way of living your life (it is also illegal), so Apple have devised a safe method of receiving, reading and writing text messages without having to even look at your phone.

The primary interface to your messages is via Siri, which is a great way of interacting with your iPhone through your car microphone. When a message arrives you are prompted and asked if you want Siri to read it, if you accept the prompt the message will be read out into the cabin. You then have the option to respond, via Siri.

While messaging with Siri has it’s limitations, it provides a method for the driver to safely read and respond to text messages and WhatsApp messages.


Calendar (iOS13)

In iOS13 you will have access to a Calendar App designed specifically for CarPlay, this App allows you to view your daily appointments, call event participants and quickly get directions to each appointment.

Don’t have CarPlay? You can add it to your existing OEM in-car entertainment system by installing one of our Retro fit CarPlay kits!

If you have a central information display on your dashboard and you have an Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Mini or Porsche, it is likely that one of our Retrofit CarPlay kits will be compatible with your car! Take a look at our Retrofit CarPlay kits today for more information