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Can You Use Apple CarPlay on an iPad?

A man holding his ipad while opening the apple car play.

The statistics about texting and driving are clear, as it can take your eyes off of the road for five seconds. Cue the world of tech innovation, where both automakers and smartphone and tablet developers put their strengths together to introduce to the world innovations like Apple CarPlay. With approximately 1.4 billion Apple devices used in the world today, many millions of people want to bring Apple CarPlay into their world. There are many ways you can do this.

It is a natural question to wonder if you can use an iPad with Apple CarPlay. Yes, you can, but it is not as easy as setting it up with your iPhone. If you want to use an iPad with Apple CarPlay, you’ll have a different method of setting it up than you would with an iPhone. You can even use it as the infotainment center to connect your iPhone to when you are driving. Learn more about how to use an iPad with your Apple CarPlay.

Apple CarPlay defined, the answer to preventing texters and drivers everywhere

Apple CarPlay is the technological solution to using your smartphone in a hands-free and safe way when you are driving. It can access a wide range of applications that can help you to drive, navigate traffic, make your commute a little more practical, and also make any drive more enjoyable.

With Apple CarPlay you can listen to podcasts, check the weather, and even listen to the news in many models. You can also make and receive calls and send and receive text messages.

Apple CarPlay is compatible with most iOS devices with the smartphone or tablet software and interface. It works by projecting what is on your phone or iPad onto the car’s infotainment center. You can then use the hands-free Bluetooth capability with your device to navigate the roads while responding to texts and calls, play music and podcasts, and get directions without putting your safety or anyone else’s at risk.

Apple reports that in some newer car models, you will even be able to unlock your car and start it using Apple CarPlay. Apple CarPlay is changing the way you drive. The only task you will have is connecting your device to it, and it is very simple.

Apple CarPlay integration with iOS devices is available on a wide range of vehicles

A man holding an IOS device and opened apple car play.

Apple CarPlay for iOS devices like iPhone and iPad has been around longer than many people think. The first car with full Apple CarPlay capability was the Ferrari FF in 2014 while Hondaland had some versions of it but with less comprehensive functionality than the version that the FF was outfitted with. Today, every automaker on the planet develops new models with Apple CarPlay functionality.

That is not to say that you can get it in every car today. For some vehicles, it is offered in the base package, but for many others, you will have to upgrade your car or add it as an option. Even if your vehicle is already running on Android Auto, you can still use CarPlay. Tesla is a vehicle maker that does not have CarPlay, but that is because it has its own interior software system and wants you to connect your devices to that.

Related: Apple CarPlay vs Android Auto – Differences? Similarities?

If you already own a car that doesn’t have Apple CarPlay, there is a workaround for that

An apple car play mmainscreen with apps in a vehicle.


If you want to use your iPad and your iPhone with Apple CarPlay, but your current car does not accommodate that, there are ways you can bring the Apple CarPlay to you. It will all depend on the method that you want to take to make your iOS device workable in the car. Some methods are easy. Others take a little more work or could be an expensive installation.

You can purchase an in-car system that is Apple CarPlay compatible and doesn’t involve an extensive retrofitting or mechanic bill. Some are very easy to use and can be a simple plug-and-play installation. You have to also remember that Apple doesn’t do the driving here but uses an App for driving assistance. 

The driving component that makes Apple CarPlay work is called Driving Focus, and this eliminates the distractions that cause problems while driving and using a smart device on the road.

When you purchase a system for a car you already have, the functionality isn’t any different. Apple CarPlay is Apple CarPlay. You can use a wide range of devices as your infotainment system if you don’t already have one. In fact, the iPad is frequently used as an infotainment system.

You will have to have your dashboard modified for the best experience here, but it can work with the right expert that can install the iPad for Apple CarPlay and still ensure charging functionality is available at the same time.

Do your research for the right system, and also do your research with mechanics. Not every driver has a newer model with a built-in infotainment center. Having these systems installed has become a very common occurrence with mechanics today. When you are performing this research, note that the term “head unit” is frequently used interchangeably with the phrase infotainment system.

An infotainment system typically refers to the system that is built in when you buy the vehicle, but a head unit is something you might purchase separately in order to use with Apple CarPlay. A head unit can also refer to a pre-existing system that is basic in function, like a GPS or something like that.

It is easy to connect your iPad to Apple CarPlay using Bluetooth or USB playback

A man holding his iPhone while opening an apple car play app.

When you want to use your iPad in your car to use with Apple CarPlay, the process is very simple. You can have the iPad built in to your dashboard and plug your iPhone into a USB port in your vehicle. You can also have a USB port built into your vehicle if you want to.

Apple products are very easy and intuitive to use. To launch Apple CarPlay in your vehicle with your iPad, first, restart your car. Then, go to your iPad settings and turn your Bluetooth off, wait some time, and then turn it back on again. You may have to check your owner’s manual for more instructions, as each vehicle with an infotainment center will have a different method of connecting with your iOS device.

You’re not going to like this, but you really should go ahead and update the software

We’ve become a world beholden to software updates, and it doesn’t matter what brand it is, we hate them. They tie up our machines and devices for hours. So, many of us really don’t care about the latest iOS update. Or the last 5 or 6 that we intentionally missed.

For Apple CarPlay though, you’ll want to make sure that your iPad is updated with the latest iOS software. There are many Apple users out there that will roll their eyes at that and then spend the next several hours restarting their car over and over again because they can’t connect the device to Apple CarPlay.

The updates do matter in many cases. If you find that you are one of those drivers that keeps restarting the car, but haven’t updated, take the time and get the update done.

There are many advantages to the updates that the average user never knows about that go beyond the standard published glitch fixes or new streaming capabilities. The smart device operating software creates a more stable performance for your device. As your device ages, updates provide an additional layer of stability. And, like the car that begins to depreciate the second, it is driven off of the lot, the iPad is going to depreciate in physical value in time.

The beautiful thing about iPhones and iPads however is that they are built to last. Every product in the Apple lineup can last for years. That is why they are so beloved. There are drivers right now that want to use the first iPad ever built to connect to Apple CarPlay because the iPhone 4 they use to call people on isn’t compatible with it.

Everything after the iPhone 5 is compatible with CarPlay, including the 5. You can use CarPlay with almost any iOS device, but take the time to update the software before you spend the day restarting, then checking, restarting, then checking. You’ll be glad you did.