Apple iOS 16 has some new CarPlay treats in store

A major CarPlay update isn’t due until 2023, but there’s still a visual update coming later this year

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Apple is set to roll out a major update to its CarPlay infotainment system next year, bringing the iPhone-powered software to more in-car displays.

But before that arrives, we’re expecting to see a couple of user interface changes as part of iOS 16, the new iPhone software due out this autumn.

Spotted by 9to5Mac in the latest beta build of iOS 16, is a set of new CarPlay wallpapers. These look pretty great in their own right, but an added bonus is how each of the three images includes both a light and dark mode.

We quite like the monotone look of the black and grey wallpapers, but it’s the blue one that really caught our eye. Maybe it’s just us, but we think the colour reminds us of the blue wallpapers used by Apple in old versions of its Mac OS X software. Meanwhile, the multicoloured options are more in keeping with what we’ve seen among iPhone and iPad wallpapers in recent years.

This is admittedly only a very small update for CarPlay, but it’s an update nonetheless and goes to show Apple is keen to keep investing in the infotainment system.

Of course, what we’re most excited about is the major update due to roll out next year, which will bring CarPlay to more displays within the vehicle, including the driver instrument cluster. It might not be the Apple Car we’re all waiting for, but an iPhone-powered car UI is still something to get excited about – and will of course be a shot across the bow of Google and its Android Automotive system.

iOS 16 beta builds are currently available for developers to download and try out, while the public version will be released by Apple later in the year, likely around September to coincide with the launch of the upcoming iPhone 14.

Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.