Does the Subaru Forester Have Apple CarPlay?

Subaru redesigned the Forester in 2019, so the 2020 model year is pretty much the same, including Apple CarPlay. There are a few tech and safety upgrades for this year. Now, the standard adaptive cruise control features lane-centering capability, individual tire-pressure monitoring, and a rear-seat reminder to check for the kiddos if you opened the door before you turned the car on.

Last year’s All-Weather package is now the standard on all Premium trim levels–heated exterior mirrors so ice isn’t a problem, heated front seats, and a windshield wiper de-icer. But what about Apple CarPlay?

Apple CarPlay Is Standard On The 2020 Forester

If you’re not a Subaru fan, the new bells and whistles aren’t all that impressive–Subaru is one of last car makers to make heated seats standard, and you still need to buy the Premium trim to get that accessory. So the inclusion of Apple CarPlay is a bit of a surprise, given Subaru’s history of bare-essentials comfort–they made their reputation being the vehicle of choice for hauling kayaks and driving in the snow. But safety has been a key selling point for those stripped-down early Foresters, so integrating Apple CarPlay follows that tradition. 

Apple CarPlay Decreases Phone Distraction

The Forester is one of the most reliable cars on the road today, and Subarus, in general, are considered among the best for young drivers. The most terrifying thoughts parents have about their teen drivers are texting and driving, or just being distracted by their phones when they’re behind the wheel. The idea behind this technology, integrating the entire phone into the car’s infotainment system, is to take away that distraction that phones offer.

Subaru’s infotainment is also compatible with Android for Auto, Google’s version of CarPlay. According to AAA, both Apple and Google’s apps are a safer way to use your smartphone in your car. 

“Google and Apple are proving that it is possible to reduce the level of demand in-vehicle infotainment technology places on drivers,” David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said in a statement.

The experts at AAA believe that the familiar smartphone screen is what lessens the demand on drivers. IF you look at an info screen with CarPlay activated, it looks just like your iPhone. The icons line up the same, so you don’t have to learn the manufacturer’s screen setup. 

Starlink, Subaru’s onboard technology suite, provides safety and security features like collision notification, roadside assistance, stolen vehicle recovery, and remote start with climate control. Starlink is standard on most models, just download the My Subaru App to activate Starlink. Apple CarPlay is accessed through the Starlink app’s Multimedia page. 

2020 Subaru Forester Limited
2020 Subaru Forester Limited | Subaru

How Apple CarPlay Makes Driving Safer

Subaru made their reputation on safety, so Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is something you’d expect. How does CarPlay boost safety? As noted before, the info screen mimics a phone screen–you don’t have to learn a new set of icons. Also, don’t expect to play Fortnite or Candy Crush on your car screen–the apps are limited to the informational variety–maps, email, messaging, and the like. iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify are included in CarPlay. There are some third party jailbreak apps that let you download all your apps onto CarPlay, but we won’t mention those here since you should absolutely not watch Netflix when you’re driving. 

Messages and WhatsApp, for example, are read to you by Siri, and you can reply via Siri as well–no more looking down and taking your hands off the wheel to text. CarPlay is controlled by whatever your car uses; knobs, touchscreen, or steering wheel buttons. This lets you glance at the screen while keeping hands where they belong and eyes at least up. 

Older Phones Don’t Work With Apple CarPlay

Don’t skimp on the phone when you’ve got this great new technology right there on your screen–it’s definitely time to upgrade that old 30 pin charger–CarPlay only works with a lighting-pin iPhone. Unit recently you had to plug the phone into the USB to activate CarPlay, but now wireless capability is standard in the Forester.