Apple CarPlay HUDs: What Are They; Should I Get One?

apple carplay hud - featured image

Initially used in fighter jets and other high-performance aircraft, HUDs have found their way into cars to provide drivers with the information they need without taking their eyes off the road.

Apple CarPlay is one of the most popular HUD systems that allow drivers to use their iPhones while driving.

 Apple CarPlay HUD is a head-up display that projects information from your iPhone onto your windshield. This includes turn-by-turn directions, Siri commands, incoming text messages, speed, and other important data. The HUD gets its data from your phone, which is connected to the HUD via Bluetooth.

 The rest of the article covers in-depth what Apple CarPlay HUD is, how it works, and the pros and cons of getting one.

I will also touch on CarPlay HUDs in more detail concerning specific car brands such as BMW and Audi. Buckle up, and let’s get rolling.

example of aircraft hud

What Is a CarPlay HUD?

A CarPlay HUD, or head-up display, is a type of display that projects information onto your car’s windshield. This allows you to see the information without taking your eyes off the road.

 To put it into perspective, a CarPlay HUD system is more of a hologram that projects an image on your windshield. It appears just beneath the driver’s line of sight.

The image is generated by a combiner — a piece of semi-reflective glass that reflects the HUD image and allows you to see through it. 

 From the HUD, you can view the CarPlay navigation map app instructions, speed, current speed limit, and other information without looking away from the road.

The amount of data and flexibility HUDs offer depends on the price and varies from one car manufacturer to the next. 

 Some systems are very basic and only display a few pieces of information like speed, incoming texts, and calls.

Others are more complex and offer a wealth of information such as turn-by-turn navigation and the current speed limit.

How Apple CarPlay HUD Works

Apple CarPlay is a revolutionary and innovative way to use your iPhone while driving.

With CarPlay, you can control your iPhone using your car’s built-in display and controls or your voice. (Such as with Siri commands).

This helps eliminate distractions so you can stay focused on the road.

The Apple CarPlay HUD system is connected to your phone via Bluetooth and uses your car’s display to show the information.

Once you’ve connected your iPhone to your car, the HUD interface will appear on your car’s display. 

 Depending on your car model, the information displayed on the HUD will range from turn-by-turn directions to incoming text messages. To use CarPlay HUD, you need an iPhone running iOS 7.1 or later.

See this article to learn how to update Apple CarPlay software.

👍 Pros of CarPlay HUD

Reduces Distractions While Driving

Regularly checking your phone for text messages, emails, or social media updates can take your attention away from the road and put you and other drivers at risk.

According to statistics, drivers who text while driving are 6 times more likely to get into an accident than drunk drivers. 

 Let that sink in: Your phone is more dangerous than your favorite alcoholic drink. Now that’s something you can use to break the ice next time you have a get-together!

 Anyway, CarPlay HUD helps reduce distractions by allowing you to see important information from your iPhone while staying focused on where you’re driving.

You can see turn-by-turn directions (By a range of aviation apps), current speed, and incoming text messages hands-free.

Just like the example below:

example of carplay hud

Intuitive and Easy To Use

Apple CarPlay HUD system has an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. It appears just below your line of sight for easy viewing.

The information is displayed clearly and concisely so you can see it and where you’re driving at the same time.

You can also integrate the CarPlay HUD system with Siri to control it hands-free.

This is helpful if you need to make a phone call, reply to a text message, or get directions while driving.

Faster Eye-Refocus Time

Did you know it takes only three seconds after a distraction for an accident to happen?

What’s more, your brain takes 13 seconds to refocus after using your phone. This decreases your reaction time and puts you at a higher risk of getting into an accident.

 With CarPlay HUD, the information is in your line of sight, so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to see it.

The system displays the information clearly and concisely so you can see it without having to refocus your eyes.

This helps reduce the time it takes for your brain to refocus after a distraction and cuts down the risk of accidents.

Reduces Driver Fatigue

Regularly checking your phone for directions, calls, vehicle speed, and incoming text messages aren’t only dangerous: It can also cause driver fatigue. Since your brain has to switch between tasks constantly, it can lead to mental fatigue and make you more likely to make mistakes.

A common one is also switching between music and distractions via this.

CarPlay HUD helps reduce driver fatigue by allowing you to see important information from your iPhone without taking your eyes off the road.

This helps you stay focused on driving and reduces the risk of accidents.

👎 Cons of CarPlay HUD

Potential Distraction

While CarPlay HUD is designed to reduce distractions, it can also be a potential distraction on its own.

For example, if you’re trying to use the CarPlay HUD system to get directions while also talking on the phone and listening to audio via an apple CarPlay music app, it can overload your senses and cause you to take your attention away from the road.


The system starts at $500 and can go up to $1,000 depending on the features and car model.

This can be a costly investment, especially when you’re on a tight budget.

Also, you’ll need a CarPlay-compatible vehicle to use the system, which means you’ll have an additional installation cost.

See this BOYO VISION CarPlay HUD:

CarPlay HUD on BMW and Audi Models

BMW and Audi are two popular car models loved for their luxurious design and advanced features.

They are also two of the most popular car models compatible with CarPlay HUD.

 CarPlay HUD BMW system can be used with certain functions of your iPhone while you’re using your car.

This includes making phone calls, listening to music, getting directions, and more. The system is easy to use and is designed to help you stay focused on driving. 

 The system is available on several BMW models, including:


  •  1 Series
  • 6 Series
  • X3
  • X4
  • i3
  • i8
  • Z4
  • X5
  • X6
  • X7
  • i4
  • iX


 CarPlay HUD Audi system also allows you to integrate your iPhone with your car while driving for hands-free use.

This includes turn-by-turn navigation, making phone calls, listening to music, etc. CarPlay HUD Audi is available on several Audi models, including: 

  • A3
  • A4
  • A5
  • A6
  • A7
  • Q2
  • Q7
  • R8
  • TT
  • Q5
  • A8
  • e‑Tron
  • Q8
  • Q3
  • e‑Tron Sportback
  • e-Tron GT
  • Q4 e‑Tron
  • Q4 Sportback e‑Tron

*Only on select and often modern models

Key Takeaways

Apple CarPlay HUD is a convenient way to use your iPhone while driving.

The system displays critical information in your line of sight so you can stay focused on the road. It reduces distraction, driver fatigue, and improves eye-refocus time. 

However, the system can be expensive and a potential distraction if you’re not used to it.

If you’re considering getting a CarPlay HUD system, BMW and Audi models are two of the most popular car models compatible with the system.

It’s available on select models from each brand and a small number of third-party displays.

Picture of Alex
I loved my car but was frustrated with my media system. So I upgraded my stereo, making silly wires and precarious phone mounts a thing of the past. The Apple Car Play stereo was so good I wanted to show more people how this could be done and truly upgrade their cars multimedia system! Founder
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