How Apple plans to turn your iPhone into a controller for your car's radio, seats, and more

Deeper CarPlay integration isn't far away

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Apple is developing a bunch of new CarPlay features for deeper in-car integration, including the ability to control air conditioning, radio, and adjust seats, amongst other things. 

Internally, the project is known as “IronHeart,” and it could one day see Apple's in-car controller become more intricately enmeshed with your vehicle, extending far beyond its current function as a simple infotainment system.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman first reported info relating to the project, which is clearly still very early in its development. For Apple to successfully integrate CarPlay more deeply, it would also rely on cooperation from a broad spectrum of car manufacturers – no easy feat considering just how many automakers there are across the globe.

That said, you wouldn't want to bet against Apple seeing project "IronHeart" through to the bitter end, which could ultimately see increased CarPlay integration that lets it modify temperature and humidity, speedometer, and more. While CarPlay is already a capable service, despite some recent teething problems in iOS 15, you currently have to leave Apple's system to adjust your car’s seats or climate control. An improved CarPlay would remove the need to do this.

CarPlay in the driving seat

According to Gurman, “The work underscores the idea that cars could be a major moneymaker for the tech giant, even without selling a vehicle itself," alluding to Apple's widely rumored interest in one day producing its own vehicle.

So, while IronHeart could take CarPlay a step further by offering more intricate controls for the iPhone-based system, there's little more than that to go on right now as tends to be the case with anything concerning Apple and its plans in the auto sector. One of the biggest hurdles to clear will be getting automakers on board with Apple's vision, especially if this project is to offer any real degree of universality amongst a myriad of car manufacturers and brands. Still, we'll wait and see.

Luke Wilson

Luke is a former news writer at T3 who covered all things tech at T3. Disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors (when not indoors messing around with gadgets), Luke wrote about a wide-array of subjects for, including Android Auto, WhatsApp, Sky, Virgin Media, Amazon Kindle, Windows 11, Chromebooks, iPhones and much more, too.