Siri Eyes Free vs CarPlay: What’s the Difference?

Siri Eyes Free vs CarPlay - featured image

Modern cars have more choices than ever before when it comes to the in-car experience.

Manufacturers are constantly adding new features to their models to make them as convenient as possible.

The control center for all this convenience is the In-Car Infotainment System which combines all functions into a unified system that the driver can manage.

The key difference between Siri Eyes Free and CarPlay is the type of connection established between devices. CarPlay interacts with an onboard touchscreen system and steering wheel controls, while Siri Eyes-Free requires a Bluetooth connection to the car’s audio system.

If you’re deciding between the two, CarPlay is far superior.

In this article, I’ll discuss these two popular systems on the market and help you decide whether Siri Eyes Free or CarPlay is an essential feature for your car.

Siri Eyes Free and CarPlay are two different ways to interact with Siri while driving.

They both offer hands-free access to Siri, but they do so in different ways; here’s what you need to know.

Siri Eyes Free vs CarPlay: Similarities

First, let’s start by looking at the similarities between Siri Eyes Free and CarPlay:

  • Both allow drivers to use their iPhones without touching their phones or taking their eyes off the road.
  • Both Siri Eyes Free and CarPlay enable you to use your iPhone with your vehicle’s infotainment system.
  • Both are designed for safety and convenience.
  • Both are available on newer cars from manufacturers like Ford, Chevrolet, Honda, Subaru, Kia, Toyota, and Hyundai.


Let’s take a look at the features of each product. Read on.

How Siri Eyes Free Works

Siri Eyes Free is a feature of the iOS operating system that allows you to use Siri with your compatible vehicle’s built-in controls.

Your iPhone can be connected to your car’s stereo system.

Then, you can control Siri Eyes Free through the vehicle’s steering wheel.

Siri Eyes Free’s main selling point is that it recognizes and responds to voice commands: thus enabling you to do various tasks hands-free, such as making phone calls and sending text messages.

Siri Eyes Free does the same thing as the Siri app for iPhone, except you do not have to take your hands off the steering wheel.

See the example video below for how Siri Eyes free works on a 2016 Honda Acord:

How To Get Started With Siri Eyes Free

Setting up Siri Eyes Free is simple:

  1. You’ll want to make sure that your phone and car are compatible with Siri Eyes Free. If they are, then you’re ready to go.
  2. Ensure that you have an iPhone 4s or a more recent model. Finally, verify that your car supports Bluetooth. You can find out if your car has Bluetooth by looking at the owner’s manual or by checking its dashboard. If it doesn’t support Bluetooth, there are other options available for hands-free driving—just check with the manufacturer of your car to see what they recommend.
  3. Once you’re sure you have the right equipment, it’s time to pair your iPhone with your vehicle. This can be done either through the Settings app or through Siri Eyes Free mode. 
  4. As soon as you connect your iPhone to your car with Bluetooth and activate Siri Eyes Free via a button on the steering wheel, all of Siri’s capabilities are at your fingertips. While driving, you can use Siri to make calls, send messages, and more without looking at or touching your phone.


Here’s an example location of the location you’d enable Siri Eyes free:

how to use carplay without charging - siri button on seat

In brief, Siri Eyes Free is an extension to Siri that allows users to control the features of their iPhone by speaking commands aloud without engaging with the mobile device’s touchscreen.

Pros of Siri Eyes Free

Here are some of the most notable benefits of using Siri Eyes Free:

  • Easy to set up and use. Simply establish a Bluetooth connection, and you’re ready to go.
  • Access Siri with ease. You can use Siri for various things, including making calls and sending messages, getting directions, and playing music from your phone.
  • Doesn’t drain battery life. Because the app uses the car’s built-in display, it doesn’t need to run on your phone’s battery as regular Siri does. 

Cons of Siri Eyes Free

There are a few downsides to Siri Eyes Free:

  • Some cars don’t support it yet. Some vehicles still don’t support Siri Eyes Free because their systems aren’t compatible with Apple’s software. 
  • You must have an iPhone 4S. You must have an iPhone 4S, 5, 6, or a newer model to use this feature.

How CarPlay Works

Apple CarPlay Home Screen
Apple CarPlay Home Screen

CarPlay is a system that allows you to use your iPhone safely while driving.

It’s built on a proprietary operating system created by Apple that enables you to use your iPhone in the car by connecting it to your vehicle’s infotainment system. 

How To Get Started With CarPlay

Various cars support CarPlay, but not all are compatible with this feature, so check first if your vehicle is compatible.

The system allows you to connect your iPhone to your car’s infotainment system. CarPlay works by displaying a simplified version of the iOS interface optimized for use in the car. 

CarPlay gives you access to all of the apps on your phone, including Apple Maps, Spotify, and a range of other navigation and CarPlay music apps, through your car’s touchscreen display.

You can also use Siri to send messages, get directions to destinations, and make calls.

carplay facetime while on call

Pros of CarPlay

These are some of the benefits of using CarPlay:

  • Easy access to apps. CarPlay makes it easy to access your favorite apps like Apple Maps, Apple Music, or YouTube music, and it is integrated into vehicle infotainment systems.
  • A dedicated phone app. You access your contacts, calendar, and messages. 
  • You can use Siri hands-free. This means you don’t have to take your eyes off the road + Access a range of Siri voice commands.
  • Easy to use. What makes CarPlay so appealing is its ease of use.

Cons of CarPlay

Still, there are some drawbacks to CarPlay:

  • Not available in many vehicles. Still not supported in many cars.
  • Expensive. An aftermarket infotainment system that supports it is costly.


CarPlay is the best option for the in-car experience because it’s packed with many features. The system gives you access to all your apps and services—including Siri—to send messages, make calls, and get directions.

With your iPhone, you’ll be able to mirror your phone to the screen on your car without any extra hardware. 

I would recommend this feature if you want to access your mobile phone and many of its apples while driving.

CarPlay is truly the future of in-car technology if you are looking for technology that makes driving safer.

If you’re interested in purchasing a new head unit, see our article on the best stereos for trucks for more information.

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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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