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CarPlay isn’t expected to gain any major features this year according to recent reporting, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream. One simple change I would love to see in some future update is support for HomeKit alerts through CarPlay. Going a step further, a dedicated Home app for CarPlay with a few key features could be very beneficial.
CarPlay prevents most alerts from reaching your car so you don’t get distracted by a new email or tweet while driving, but that filter can sometimes catch useful alerts too.
For example, if you create an automation in HomeKit to automatically open your garage door or unlock your front door when you arrive home, the Home app requires confirming through an alert. Requiring confirmation on your iPhone prevents you from accidentally opening your garage or unlocking your front door when you’re near your house but not going inside, but that alert does not come through CarPlay.
Apple doesn’t actually have to make a Home app for CarPlay for alerts to come through either. Clock alarms and alerts from Reminders and Calendar are examples of apps that can send alerts through CarPlay without offering CarPlay versions of their iPhone apps.
For example, my wife’s work appointment for a somehow mandatory staff meeting on our shared calendar came through CarPlay while I was driving this morning:
The current alternative to interacting with the iPhone is to use Siri each time you arrive home which is certainly convenient but not as efficient or proactive. Having an actionable alert that you tap to confirm would be way easier.
Here’s how the system looks now:
And here’s how it could look (ignore my poor Pixelmator skills):
Battery icon appears when using Wireless CarPlay
Going a step further, CarPlay could benefit from a dedicated Home app that launches to reveal favorited scenes (groups of smart accessory actions) like “I’m Home” and “I’m Leaving” so commonly used commands are a tap away.
HomeKit control through CarPlay is easily accessible through Siri today, but adding an on-screen interface optimized like the other CarPlay apps could prove very useful for drivers.
Additional apps like Waze would also be welcome, but supporting a third-party map sounds a lot less likely than one of Apple’s own apps joining the scene.
For more on CarPlay:
- Best CarPlay apps for iPhone
- WhatsApp adds CarPlay app for messaging whilst driving
- Starting with 2019 Avalon, Toyota finally bringing CarPlay to select vehicles
- Review: Alpine iLX-107 delivers the future of driving with Wireless CarPlay for under $1000
How to make a phone call with CarPlay
How do you make a phone call using CarPlay? There are options, so let’s check them out.
There are a few different ways to make a phone call using CarPlay in your car. Most of them involve using your voice to state who you wish to speak to, but there are some other ways as well. From Siri to using your actual phone to initiate the call, you can get the call started in just a few easy steps. Safety is a top priority in the car, so don’t let phone calls distract you.
So, how do you manage your phone calls in the car using CarPlay? Let’s take a look.
- Using Siri to make a call
- Using the phone app to make a call
- Listening to your voicemail
- Answering an incoming call
- Things to keep in mind
Using Siri to make a call
Using Siri may be the easiest way to make a call while in the car, but some situations could cause it to be more difficult. If you are in a loud car or on a highway with a lot of other noise, Siri may have trouble understanding the command and figuring out who to call. Using Siri is pretty simple, and here is how you do it.
- Activate Siri by either saying “Hey Siri”, using the control on your steering wheel, or pressing the on-screen home button.
- Say “Call XXXX” (replacing XXXX with name of person as it appears in your contacts).
- Confirm that they are who you wish to call.
Using the phone app to make a call
You can also make a phone call using the touch screen which may be easier for some and less ideal for others.
- Press the phone button on the screen.
- Say the name of the person you want to call or press the view contacts button.
- Select the correct contact to call.
If you press the view contacts button, it will first show you all of your favorite contacts, and you can then select other lists from there. You won’t want to be fumbling around with scrolling through a list of your contacts while you are driving, so voice will be the best way while the car is in motion.
If you are having trouble with getting the right contact, you can always pull over safely and then select the contact from your phone to call through CarPlay. You won’t want to pick up your phone to find the right contact on it while driving down the highway. Remember that CarPlay is all about being hands-free, so use your voice to make the call.
Listening to your voicemail
Depending on your profession, you may receive tons of voicemail that you need to listen to and keep up with. In most cases, you can listen to that voicemail right from your car. Select vehicles and aftermarket head units seem to have some trouble with Apple’s voicemail system, making it so that you can’t access it. Accessing it is simple, so here is how you do it.
- Open the Phone app.
- Tap the Voicemail tab on the top.
- Select the one you want to listen to.
If this doesn’t work in your vehicle, you are not alone. There are a number of reports online of it not working properly, so you may need to disconnect your phone from CarPlay and listen to them the old-fashioned way.
Answering an incoming call
Not all of the phone calls in your car will be ones that you initiate. Receiving a phone call is even easier than making one in the car. While it may seem overly easy to understand how to answer it, there are actually a few ways you can do it, and here they are.
- Press the Green phone button on your steering wheel (if your car has one).
- Press the Green on-screen button.
- Slide to answer on your phone (if you are parked only).
That’s it. It is that easy to answer an incoming phone call, and it automatically routes the audio through the speakers of your car.
Things to keep in mind
There are a few things to consider when making phone calls through your car. Naturally, the phone calls will be coming through the speakers of your car, so if you have passengers, they will also be able to hear the call you are making. If you want to make a private phone call, you’ll want to disconnect the phone from CarPlay and use a headset to make it safe. Even if there are no other people in the car, you want to keep an eye on the volume level of your calls, as people around you at lights, in parking lots, etc may be able to hear parts of it.
CarPlay helps make you safer in the car, and while you are hands-free while making and receiving phone calls, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to pay attention. If you find yourself getting upset, overly excited, or distracted, you should still pull over to the side of the road or park in a spot to safely finish the phone call before getting back on the road.
Your favorite tips?
Do you have any favorite tips for making phone calls in the car using CarPlay? If so, be sure to share them in the comments!