With the recent iOS updates Apple added a feature to change the default map on the CarPlay home screen. There is not that many customization options but at least the map can be changed. Although it is not that straightforward to change it. Setting Google Maps or Waze, instead of Apple Maps, as a default app requires few inconspicuous steps.
Hopefully Apple gives more freedom in the future to customize all the apps on the CarPlay home screen. Left side map is handy but then 3 other buttons are unnecessary. Why there is e.g. calendar showing that I have many appointments today. This could be removed and replaced with something more relevant to the driver. E.g. weather forecast or maybe if there are traffic announcements available to that specific location.
CarPlay split screen with Google Maps / Waze
To change your default map to the home screen is actually quite simple. First I though that settings are done actually outside of Apple’s own menus. There is actually some instructions on the internet that suggest user to download Google app and configure preferences from there. Actually it does not do any harm to do so but it does not lead you to the goal either.
- Start the preferred navigation app (Waze, Google Maps or Apple Maps)
- (start navigation and cancel navigation)
- Return to the home screen
Next time when you connect your mobile device to car and use CarPlay, home screen / split screen will have new default map. It will stay there as long you don’t use any other navigation app.
Apple CarPlay settings
In-car settings menu does not offer that many options to choose from. One noteworthy settings is however screen light / dark mode. If you choose automatic, it does not change e.g. Google Maps background accordingly as it has similar setting hidden under Google Maps gear menu.
Example: I was listening Spotify and suddenly background went to light mode. Still when changing app to Google Maps, it was still in dark mode. Reason for this behavior was that I had set automatic in both CarPlay settings and Google Maps settings. But they seem to have different threshold values even though I both uses the same light sensor.
My recommendation is to set CarPlay background to always Dark mode and leave Google Maps to automatic. That way e.g. Spotify looks better all-day-long but navigation is visible well during bright sunny days.