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If your car is not equipped with onboard navigation, then Apple CarPlay is quite the godsend. For the unfamiliar, Apple CarPlay is a feature that was released in 2014 and it connects your iPhone to your car’s native infotainment system and allows you to control certain applications on the car’s touchscreen.

Apple CarPlay users can utilize popular mapping apps like Google or Apple maps, which negates the need for an onboard navigation system. What’s even cooler is that Apple just announced the features for the forthcoming iOS 15 update, which includes 3D navigation, but CarPlay users will have to wait.

Apple’s iOS 15 contains many updates including 3D navigation

Plugging iphone to use Apple Carplay
Portrait of a driver with an Apple iPhone 5 and Pioneer head unit fitted in a Subaru BRZ, photographed for a feature on Apple’s CarPlay, taken on December 19, 2014. | (Photo by Will Ireland/MacFormat Magazine/Future via Getty Images)

When Apple previewed the forthcoming iOS 15 system back in June, the Verge reported about some of the newest features the will be available to iPhone users. Some of the most notable features include updates to FaceTime, in which users can now share music and videos during their calls and even blur their backgrounds. They can even invite Android users to their FaceTime calls.

There will also be a new feature called “Focus,” which allows iPhone users to customize the notifications that users receive during different activities. Presumably, this feature allows you to focus on what you’re doing at the time, including driving, by limiting the distractions from certain messages and apps. Additionally, the Apple Maps application receives a large update via the ability to display more detailed maps and 3D navigation.

If you’re used to using Google Maps, then this feature is nothing too new. But if you’re a die-hard Apple user, then this feature is very welcomed.

Apple CarPlay users will have to wait to use the new feature

A 3D version of Apple Maps will be rolled out to CarPlay users eventually. Apple Insider notes that adding more detail to these GPS maps takes a lot of time and updated phones and other applications can make it take even longer. However, CarPlay users could see the 3D map update by the end of 2021. Just don’t be surprised if you have to update your iOS a few times before receiving the ability to use the updated mapping software.

What’s so great about using 3D navigation?

A visitor presses the new Apple's CarPlay touch-screen commands inside the Volvo Estate concept car displayed at the Swedish carmaker during the press day of the Geneva Motor Show in Geneva, on March 4, 2014.
A visitor presses the new Apple’s CarPlay touch-screen commands inside the Volvo Estate concept car displayed at the Swedish carmaker during the press day of the Geneva Motor Show in Geneva, on March 4, 2014. | (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

If you have never used a 3D navigation map before, then you should know that they really come in handy, especially in dense city environments. For example, if you’re looking for a specific building while driving aimlessly around L.A., then a 3D map can point out all of the details of that building and make it easier to find.

In those cases, it can also make finding parking easier to find, since you’ll be able to see the street configuration better on the detailed map. In contrast, viewing that same map in a 2D view will only show the cross streets and some colored areas to denote the different geographical features. Of course, this view works just fine for most people since we’re all used to viewing two-dimensional maps, but the 3D version works a lot better.

After all, Apple CarPlay showed us the way into the future when it debuted in 2014, so we can probably wait a little longer for more futuristic GPS guidance. Even if it means waiting for a few software updates in the meantime.


How to Add Apple CarPlay to an Older Car