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June 5, 2018

Bye to Apple Maps, hello to Waze: CarPlay to support third-party navigation apps

by John_A

Do you have an iOS device and a car with Apple CarPlay? If so, you probably love being able to run all your favorite iOS apps through your vehicular dashboard. There is one major drawback to CarPlay, though: Apple Maps, Apple’s proprietary navigation software, is just not very good. In fact, some people have developed a deep-seated hatred of iPhones because of it.

At today’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple announced that in iOS 12, CarPlay will support third-party navigational apps — including Google Maps and Waze, the two most popular options in America today. For many users who eschew CarPlay altogether in favor of phone-based navigation, this could streamline commutes and reduce transportation stress when driving to new locations.

If you’re unaware, CarPlay is a software overlay that essentially turns your car’s dashboard display (the video screen, not the part with the speedometer and gas gauge) into a second screen for your iPhone. We say “essentially” because CarPlay isn’t compatible with the full suite of iOS apps; it’s mostly limited to navigation, voice-activated communication — both calls and texts — and playing music. The list of supported third-party apps is scarce, comprising mostly just music apps like Spotify, Pandora, and Tidal.

The addition of support for Google Maps and Waze — not to mention the brevity of the announcement in the WWDC keynote and the news’ relegation to a footnote in this press release — may signal an admission from Apple that its navigational software is, indeed, inferior. Last June, Apple deployed a program, TryRating, that allowed users to test Apple Maps software and provide feedback, ostensibly in an attempt to improve the app’s accuracy.

Apple’s iOS 12 update isn’t limited to CarPlay improvements. As with each iteration of the operating system, the company has compiled a bevy of new bells and whistles to both optimize phone performance and increase capabilities. This year’s slate is headlined by some neat augmented reality features and the addition of group FaceTime calls. Other notable improvements include changes to Photos, Notifications, Apple Books, and Apple News. Head on over to our WWDC 2018 landing page to get the scoop on everything Apple announced.

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