Next-gen Apple CarPlay features confirmed by iPhone's iOS 17.4 beta as a 2024 launch nears, but you might need a new car to use them

Apple CarPlay
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple announced its next generation of CarPlay back in June 2022 when it held the annual WWDC event. Part of the iOS 16 unveiling, the next-gen CarPlay is designed to take the in-car dash system people use today and upgrade it in multiple ways, not least by adding support for multiple displays for the first time. Now, it looks increasingly likely that the refreshed CarPlay will ship in 2024 and some of its features have now appeared in the very first iOS 17.4 beta.

That iOS 17.4 beta is doing a lot of heavy lifting as Apple gets ready to allow third-party app stores in the EU, but it also appears to be laying the groundwork for new CarPlay features as well. Eight new CarPlay apps have been found in the first iOS 17.4 beta and they are all designed to hook into a vehicle's systems in a way the current CarPlay simply isn't capable of. Those apps include those designed to adjust the climate control, identify if doors are open or closed, and more.

However, all of these new features seem likely to require work on the part of carmakers which means that drivers will likely need to buy a new model to benefit from them. However, some tweaks that have been spotted could well roll over to older vehicles as well, giving those who already enjoy CarPlay something new to look forward to when the updated version finally ships this year.

All-new CarPlay, coming soon?

Starting with the new apps, digging through the iOS 17.4 code Steve Moser and Aaron Perris were able to identify a number of new apps that are coming to CarPlay.

Those apps, reported by MacRumors, include Auto Settings, an app that will let users manage vehicle settings as well as Car Camera, an app that will likely display the vehicle's rear-facing camera on the big screen. Another app, Charge, will be specifically for electric vehicles and is expected to display pertinent information like current charge state, battery level, and more.

One of the most-used apps is likely to be Climate and that's where drivers will control their vehicle's climate control, A/C, and things like heated/ventilated seats and any heated steering wheel that's present. Closures will be used to identify whether doors are open or closed, and those with electric tailgates may be able to close them from within this app.

The Media app is likely to give CarPlay users quick access to things like their vehicle's radio as well as any other music services that it may have. Tire Pressure is self-explanatory, while Trips will house driving-related information like fuel efficiency, mileage, time driven, and more.

All of those apps are likely to require new vehicles in order to work, but a new "Goodbye" screen has been discovered, as have customization options for themes and colors. Both of these things could come to older vehicles as well, but that is yet to be confirmed by Apple.

If you do decide to buy a new car, Porsche and Aston Martin are the two companies that have confirmed they're on board of late. When Apple announced its new CarPlay plans in 2022 companies like Ford, Honda, Nissan, and Renault were all touted as partners among others. That's good news for those of us who don't want to have to buy a luxury car just to enjoy Apple's latest upgrades.

When any of these vehicles will ship however is a question we don't have answers for. The iOS 17.4 update will have to launch before March 6 — the date when the EU's new App Store rules come into effect.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • ggore
    I would be happy if Apple fixed some of the huge issues they have with CarPlay right now. The biggest being that all the album artwork that shows up on-screen while I am playing music from my phone's library is incorrect. I have checked the individual files and they do have the correct artwork in the file but evidently CarPlay ignores this and just selects some random piece of artwork from another file to display on the car's screen. This is extremely annoying and has just gotten worse over the past few versions of iOS. None of the "fixes" I have seen on the internet work.