Apple unveiled iOS 10 at its Worldwide Developers Conference this week, and CarPlay — the company's car-focused UI — got a bunch of updates as well, some of which weren't announced on stage.
One new feature in particular will save us time, tears, and countless arguments. As reported by 9to5Mac, Apple Maps will automatically remember where drivers park their cars with the "Parked Car" feature in iOS 10. There were already third-party apps that do this, but this is the first time such a feature is integrated directly into the phone. It notes when users disconnect from a car's Bluetooth or the CarPlay system and marks the car as parked, tagging its location in Maps and pushing a notification. Drivers can add text notes and photos to the car's location, and when it's time to hit the road, Maps can guide them back to the car.
iOS 10's "Parked Car" feature saves us from ourselves
The system will also start integrating with some instrument clusters for turn-by-turn directions right in front of drivers' eyes, instead of needing to look to the display in the center console or listening for voice instructions. (Google has deployed a similar feature in Android Auto.)
CarPlay was first announced in 2014 and has been steadily gaining traction since. It only integrates with certain cars, though the list of supported vehicles has steadily grown over the past year and a half. It connects via USB (it can also connect wirelessly if a car supports it) and then silences most notifications and whittles down the apps available to drivers. Essential apps, like Phone, Messages, Maps, and Music are mirrored onto a car's touchscreen display with simplified controls and can be actuated using Siri.
The updates in iOS 10 give users even more control over what they see while on the road, said 9to5Mac in a separate story. Certain apps, like iBooks and Podcasts, can be removed from the CarPlay Home screen. Apps that can't be removed can now be rearranged in the system's settings, letting you hide unused apps on the second page of the Home screen.
Updated CarPlay will be more customizable to drivers' likes
Finally, iOS 10 will include a new Apple Music app for both the iPhone and CarPlay. The navigation tabs have been reordered to make more sense, starting with "Library" rather than "For You." Furthermore, users can now customize the arrangement of their music groupings, perhaps throwing out the "Songs" category and putting "Playlists" first if that's how they most often search for music.
The theme of this whole CarPlay update is giving users more control over the experience, and while it still may not be perfect, it's a good step forward — and considering that Google just updated Android Auto, it's a well-timed update.