How to get directions and use Apple Maps with CarPlay

Outside of streaming services, I'd be willing to bet the most used CarPlay app is Maps. Whether you're looking for a business to or traveling out of state, it's much easier to be told where to go than navigating from memory or a map.

Most of Maps interface in CarPlay is pretty easy to understand, but there are a few tricky parts. Let's take a look at some of the app's basic functions and how you can use them to get the most out of your experience.

How to use the CarPlay Maps interface

To launch Maps, you need only tap on the Maps icon, then let it find your location. From here, you can zoom in and out on the 2D map; change the terrain to a 3D map; or explore and seek directions.

How to use CarPlay Maps

Heading to an area you aren't really familiar with, or looking for something new to do in an area you've been to a number of times? Tap the Destinations button.

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CarPlay offers suggestions based on your location: Each icon on the screen represents a different type of venue, including Parking, Gas, Food, Coffee, and the like; tapping one will populate a list of places close to your current GPS location.

If there are places that you visit frequently and you don't want to have to search for each time, you can mark them as a favorite on your iPhone or iPad for quick and easy access; on your CarPlay system, you can access those favorite locations by tapping on the Heart icon within the Destinations screen to see your list.

How to search for specific locations with Maps and CarPlay

If you are looking for a specific location or type not represented on the Destinations button, you can tap the magnifying lens to search manually for it. This is how, for instance, you can search for EV charging stations:

  1. Tap on the Maps button.
  2. Tap Destinations.

    Tap Maps, tap Destinations

  3. Tap the Microphone icon in the upper right corner.

  4. Speak the item you're searching for.

    Tap the Microphone, Speak

  5. Select the result you're looking for.

    Select desired result

How to get directions with CarPlay

Whether you're traveling somewhere new or just want to check your route, the Maps app in Apple's CarPlay system can give you directions to wherever you need to go. There are a few ways to get directions: Most of the time you'll likely initiate the process from the touchscreen display in your car, but you can also use Siri or your iPhone to get directions.

How to get directions with the Maps app

  1. Tap on Maps.
  2. Select Destinations. Your recent destinations will show up under the Recent icon, but if you want to search for something specific, tap the Microphone icon in the upper right corner.

    Tap on Maps, select Destinations

  3. Speak your desired destination if you're searching.

  4. Tap the destination you're looking for, whether on the Destinations screen or in your search results.
  5. Tap More Routes to get alternative directions.

    Tap your destination, tap More Routes

  6. Once you've chosen your route, tap Go and you'll begin getting directions.

    Tap Go

How to get directions with Siri

  1. Press and hold the CarPlay button on your steering wheel, or press and hold the CarPlay Home button in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  2. Tell Siri "Get me directions to [place]" or "Find me [type of place]".
  3. Siri will offer suggestions; pick one to display it on your CarPlay touchscreen.


How to get directions with your iPhone

Sometimes, searching for a place or finding an address may be easier from your iPhone. If you have a passenger in the car or are stopped safely in a parking lot, you can search for the information via the phone's Maps app. (We very much encourage you to not search for things or mess with your phone while driving, however, as that is far from safe.)

Once you've selected a destination on your iPhone, it automatically displays on your car's touchscreen.

Your favorite tips?

Do you have any favorite tips that help make it even easier to get around with CarPlay? If so, be sure to drop them in the comments below so we can benefit from them.

Update September, 2017: Updated the screenshots for iOS 11. Cleaned up some of the language around getting directions and searching for locations.

Maps for iPhone and iPad


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