Tidal CarPlay: A Complete Guide

tidal carplay - featured image

Tidal is one of the less used paid streaming services, with its main selling point being superior sound quality. 

However, how does the Tidal Carplay App perform well, and what do you need to know about it?

I took out the Tidals’ basic plan to test out the full features and to discover if it works well with CarPlay.

About the Tidal CarPlay App

The Tidal Carplay app has all the basic features you might want from a CarPlay music app.

Overall, the features are satisfactory for most users, but the Apps design is lacking compared to Apple Music, Spotify, or YouTube Music.

CarPlay Features & Options

The features and product offering of the App are simple, and it primarily works well.

martin garrix playing on the carplay tidal app

As you can see from the image, it has a basic interface, similar to all other streaming services.

You can pause, skip (forwards & backward), as well as shuffle and loop tracks.

The Tidal CarPlay App is broken into two main sections, “My Collection” and “Explore”. 

We’ll discuss this below.

My Collection

In the “my collection” section, you can find your existing saved music.

tidal carplay my collection section

These include:

  • My Mix
  • Playlists
  • Albums
  • Tracks
  • Artists
  • Download (Tidal and CarPlay can use a lot of data compared with other streaming apps, so downloading your favorite tunes could be a good idea.)

 

Explore

As the section suggests, “Explore” allows you to find music that might not already be in your existing music playlist or music repertoire. 

tidal carplay explore section

There are several options to choose from, these include:

  • New
  • Top 
  • Podcasts
  • Hip-Hop
  • Pop & Rock
  • R&B / Soul
  • Indie & Alternative
  • Dance & Electronic
  • Country & Folk
  • Classical
  • Global
  • Jazz
  • Blues 
  • Metal

Basically all the music genres you could ever be interested in. 

You can add music to your “collection” by saving more artists and making playlists in the Tidal Mobile app.

How to Download the Tidal CarPlay App?

Here’s how to download the Tidal CarPlay App.

 1. Already have the iPhone App:

If you’ve already downloaded the Tidal app on your iPhone, you are good to go, just plug your phone into Carplay and use the touch screen to find the app. Voila.

 

2. Don’t have the iPhone app:

If you don’t already have the iPhone app, you’ll need to visit the Apple App Store and download it.

You can find it here: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/tidal-music/id913943275

Once downloaded, sign up or log in, then plug your phone into your vehicle to access the app in your car.

Can Siri control Tidal? And on CarPlay?

You may wonder whether you can use Siri in combination with Tidal, and will this work with CarPlay?

You can control parts of Tidal with Sri, which also works with CarPlay. However, some commands are limited, and issues are present with this.

Like most other non-apple apps, you have to say “Do X on Y”, and this is the same with Tidal. 

jp morton playing on the carplay tidal app

Siri & Tidal Comand List

Here are some of the commands you can use with Siri and Tidal:

  1. “Play [Artist Or Song Name] on Tidal]” 
    1. This will play the exact song or a top song from the artist. You can also ask to play a specific album or playlist
  2. “Start from beginning” 
    1. This will start the track over again
  3. “Next track” 
    1. ISSUE: This works, but I was encouraging an issue where the tracking would not play any sound after you’ve said this command.

Interestingly, if you ask Siri to “turn up the music,” it’s not possible due to Siri and the Carplay App not having access to the car’s internal computer to adjust the sound.

Is Tidal CarPlay Worth it?

If you are paying for Tidal to use it through CarPlay or for in-car use primarily, I would say it’s not worth the price, and there are better-paid music apps for carPlay on the market. 

The bugs and issues with the present version of the app also make it somewhat unusable in its current state, although they will hopefully fix these issues soon!

martin garrix playing on the tidal iphone app

However, if you already use Tidal, it’s a sufficient app to use while you’re in the car.

Tidal CarPlay Cost

The Tidal CarPlay app is included in all subscriptions at no extra charge. 

There are several plans, including family options, but the two main plans are HiFi & HiFi Plus.  

HiFi plus comes with many more features and high sound quality, but it costs almost double the price. 

Here is a breakdown:

 

HiFi

HiFi Plus
$9.99 Per Month

$19.99 Per Month

  • HiFi Sound Quality
    • Up to 1411 kbps
  • 80M+ songs and 350K+ videos
    • Ad-free
  • Listen offline with unlimited skips
  • TIDAL Connect
  • Listen in HiFi on your supported devices.
  • Track and share your listening habits
  • Expert curated playlists
  • Innovative Audio Formats
    • Up to 9216 kbps
    • Master Quality audio, Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio, and HiFi
  • 80M+ songs and 350K+ videos
    • Ad-free
  • Listen offline with unlimited skips
  • TIDAL Connect
  • Listen in all innovative and immersive audio formats on your supported devices
  • Direct Artist Payouts
  • Up to 10% of your subscription is directed to the artists you listen to the most
  • Fan-Centered Royalties
  • The artists you stream get paid based on your streaming habits
  • Track and share how your listening habits impact your favorite artists
  • Expert curated playlists

 

See more info on the Tidal Pricing & Plans page.

MONEY SAVING TIP: Buy the monthly subscription via the Tidal website and NOT the Apple App! This is because Apple takes ~30% off Tidals monthly subscription when you purchase via, in-app purchases; this forces Tidal to charge you more. The difference is  $9.99 vs. $12.99. 

Tidal also offers Family Plans and a 50% student discount in eligible regions to save more money.

If you’re interested in trying Tidal out for yourself, they offer a 30-day free trial so that you can make up your own mind.

Tidal Cost VS Other Carplay Music Apps 

The basic Tidal plan “HIFI” is comparable in price to the other major paid streaming apps, which are also compatible with carplay. 

However, the main reason you’re likely to be using Tidal is for the Music quality. 

The “plus” plan has the best quality costs double what the other providers offer!

Here’s a comparison between the other service providers:

  • Tidal HIFI: $9.99
  • Tidal HIFI Plus: $19.99
  • YouTube Music: $9.99
  • Amazon music: $8.99
  • Spotify: $9.99
  • Apple Music: $9.99

*This does not account for the other benefits you get from some of these other services such as Amazon prime next day delivery and Youtube AD free videos.

Tidal CarPlay Issues & Bugs

There are many reports online and Tidal CarPlay issues I encountered myself as I tested the app.

At the time of writing (April, 2022) and using the latest IOS (IOS 15), the app has many bugs, likely due to new compatibility issues with the new iPhone update. 

Some of these issues included:

Sections Not Populating: Sections of the App are not populating and loading correctly. In my experience, this was limited to the “explore” section of the app and did load in after some time. However, some users are reporting no data loading in any part of the CarPlay app. 

Like in the image below:

A selected song not loading: When using the CarPlay App and trying to change tracks, some of the tracks would not change, and it would be stuck on the original song. Very annoying.

These issues are crippling for the app as they can make it very frustrating.

Unfortunately, we’ll likely have to wait until an App update for these issues and bugs to be resolved. 

Final thoughts 

The Tidal Carplay app is a great option if you already have a subscription.

However, if you have yet to pay for a subscription and CarPlay is an essential factor, you may want to reconsider your decision to a music app with more features and a bug-free one.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful and now know how to use the Tidal Carplay app and import information regarding its use. 

Alex
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
StereoUpgrade.com

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