How To Add Apps to Apple CarPlay: 3 Simple Steps

how to add apps to apple carplay - featured image

Apple CarPlay is an incredible new feature that allows you to use your iPhone safely while on the go.

You can use basic messaging and mapping features, all while never taking a glance at your phone.

You can also add apps to Apple CarPlay in a few simple steps to improve your driving experience. 

Here’s how to add apps to CarPlay:

  1. Download the desired app on your iPhone from the Apple App Store if not already installed.
  2. Establish a connection between your iPhone and CarPlay, either wirelessly or using a Lightning cable.
  3. Navigate to the desired app within the CarPlay interface and open it for use.


We’ll discuss the above steps in detail in the rest of this article.

We’ll also talk about several apps you can download to make your life easier for specific tasks.

If you’d prefer, you can watch how to add apps to CarPlay in my video tutorial below:

5 Steps to Add Apps to CarPlay

IF YOU ALREADY HAVE CARPLAY SET UPIf you’ve already set up CarPlay, simply visit the Apple app store on your iPhone and download the app you desire.

If not, follow these steps…

1. Ensure Your Vehicle Is Compatible With Apple CarPlay

BMW Wireless Carplay & Android Auto

To begin with, you’ll need to ensure your car supports Apple CarPlay.

You should be able to tell from your manufacturer’s manual whether or not your vehicle is compatible, but if you’re not sure, you can check the list of compatible models on

Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to make sure your iPhone has the latest updates.

This will ensure you’ve got access to all the apps compatible with CarPlay.

2. Ensure That Siri Is Enabled on Your iPhone

Enabling Siri on your iPhone allows you to use voice commands in your car to send messages, find directions, and much more.

Follow the steps below to enable Siri on your iPhone:

  1. Go to your Settings app from the home screen.
  2. Scroll down to Siri & Search.
  3. To activate voice commands using Siri, switch on “Listen for ‘Hey Siri.’”

View the full instructions for how to enable Siri for CarPlay.

3. Connect Your iPhone Using a USB Cable or Do It Wirelessly

Apple CarPlay Home Screen With iPhone

Depending on your vehicle, you can either connect your iPhone to CarPlay using a USB cable or connect wirelessly.

Most vehicles will accept USB cables, and only some will accept wireless connections.

The screen in your vehicle should mirror the apps you have downloaded on your iPhone that are compatible with CarPlay.

4. Test the Functions Using Voice Commands

To ensure that everything is up and running correctly, you can test out the software by using voice commands.

Ask your car to give you directions or to send a message.

If it responds the way it should, you are ready to add your apps to Apple CarPlay.

There should be apps already installed on your iPhone that CarPlay recognizes, such as Apple Maps, SMS app, and maybe some other apps you’ve already downloaded.

5. Add Your Chosen Apps to CarPlay

Download the standard apps from the Apple App Store. They will then also work with CarPlay if compatible.


There are hundreds of compatible apps, but we’ve made a handy list of the best:

See our full list of the: Best CarPlay Apps

Customizing Your Added CarPlay Apps

You can now customize the apps you will be using on CarPlay. Doing this is simple:

  1. Go to the Settings app from your home screen.
  2. Click on General > CarPlay, then select your vehicle
  3. Click on Customize and select the plus button to add an app to CarPlay. You can drag your chosen apps in or out and rearrange them in the order you like.

screenshot of adding carplay apps and customising positions

Remember that only certain apps will be compatible with CarPlay.

What Apps are Compatible With Apple CarPlay?

The apps compatible with CarPlay include Apple Maps, Messages, alternative messaging services such as Telegram and Whatsapp, and Calendar features. You can also play music from compatible apps such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.

The apps available to use with CarPlay will appear automatically in the CarPlay settings feature on your iPhone.

If an app is not yet compatible with CarPlay, it won’t appear on the display.

Using these apps, you can safely drive while listening to your favorite music channels or podcasts.

You’ll also be able to call people without looking at your phone, a safety feature that allows you to communicate with others without taking your eyes off the road.

Why do some Apps not Show up on Apple CarPlay?

The reason some apps do not show up on Apple CarPlay is due to the fact that not all applications are supported.

Apple specifically supports apps that are designed for use while driving, such as Navigation, Music, Podcasts and Messaging apps. Other types of apps may not appear because they don’t comply with Apple’s guidelines for driver safety.

Does CarPlay have an App Store?

Apple CarPlay does not have a specific app store. Instead, it utilizes apps already installed on the connected iPhone.

Only apps that have been optimized for CarPlay and approved by Apple for use while driving will appear on the CarPlay interface. You can download CarPlay-compatible apps from the regular iOS App Store on your iPhone.

Apps for Apple CarPlay

Waze and Audible are two of the very best apps to use with Apple Carplay.


waze carplay navigation screen

One of the best apps for Apple CarPlay is Waze.

Waze is mapping software that receives information directly from other drivers in the area. You can get live traffic updates—often faster than you would in Google Maps—and real-time information about your destination.


Audible CarPlay - Featured Image

Audible is also an excellent choice for Apple CarPlay.

You can use voice commands to play your favorite audiobooks and talks, all at the touch of a button.

It is free to use (although there is an upgraded version you can pay for) and allows you to customize what you listen to in the car.

Some Other Top CarPlay App Picks Include:

Final Thoughts

Adding apps to Apple CarPlay is relatively simple as long as your vehicle is compatible with CarPlay.

Most people believe CarPlay is an app, but this is not true as it is based on your iPhone’s IOS, making it super easy to add apps to Carplay. 

Most of the built-in apps on your iPhone will be usable while in CarPlay mode.

However, you should be aware that many third-party apps you may have downloaded may not yet be compatible with the software.

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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