Apple's grand plans for CarPlay start with an exciting upgrade inside iOS 17.4

The forthcoming iOS 17.4 update will give you a new option for Apple Maps in your car

(Image credit: CarPlay)
Quick Summary

The upcoming iOS 17.4 update will allow drivers to see upcoming manoeuvres on their car's instrument cluster while using Apple Maps.

However, this feature is currently limited to a few car models like Volvo, Polestar, and BMW.

Apple has detailed a change coming to how Apple Maps is displayed in the instrument cluster of compatible cars with the forthcoming iOS 17.4 update.

Apple says: "In iOS 17.4, with supported CarPlay vehicles, Apple Maps will present a new instrument cluster experience with information about upcoming maneuvers.

"Users will be able to swap the desired display type between the main and instrument cluster screen by tapping the map configuration button on the upper right of the Maps main screen."

Apple CarPlay is undergoing something of a revolution as Apple looks to improve the experience in cars. Many car buyers are now only interested in making sure that any new car they buy supports Apple CarPlay and both Apple and car manufacturers want to boost this experience.

iOS 17.4 Instrument Cluster Update from r/CarPlay

This specific change will mean that drivers will soon have the option to change the view that appears in the instrument cluster of their car. Drivers who use Apple Maps for navigation will know that there are two view options for the central display of your car - and now you'll be able to get more information about upcoming turns in the instrument cluster.

There's a catch, of course, which is the "supported CarPlay vehicles" line. At present, it's only really Volvo, Polestar and BMW that support the integration of CarPlay Maps on the car's instrument panel. The vast majority of vehicles only show Apple Maps on the central infotainment display.

Apple CarPlay is evolving and there's more to come

While this might only be a minor change, there's a lot happening in the wider car industry which suggests that Apple CarPlay is going to grow in importance. In December 2023, Apple – in cahoots with Porsche and Aston Martin – showed off full instrument panel customisation, themed to match the car brand, but running from Apple CarPlay.

Since that reveal, little has been said about when this larger experience might become more widespread. We're not just expecting to see it customised for those brands, we're expecting to see it across a range of other cars too.

Apple has only said that the first vehicles offering the new Apple CarPlay experience will arrive in 2024, but beyond that it remains something of a mystery.

For those with select Volvo, Polestar and BMW models, however, your Apple Maps CarPlay experience will get a little better with the next iOS update to hit your iPhone.

Chris Hall

Chris has been writing about consumer tech for over 15 years. Formerly the Editor-in-Chief of Pocket-lint, he's covered just about every product launched, witnessed the birth of Android, the evolution of 5G, and the drive towards electric cars. You name it and Chris has written about it, driven it or reviewed it. Now working as a freelance technology expert, Chris' experience sees him covering all aspects of smartphones, smart homes and anything else connected. Chris has been published in titles as diverse as Computer Active and Autocar, and regularly appears on BBC News, BBC Radio, Sky, Monocle and Times Radio. He was once even on The Apprentice... but we don't talk about that.