In the age of connected things, the car is no exception. With cutting-edge vehicles like the Tesla Model 3 — a car that allows drivers to download updates to their vehicle as if they were updating their smartphone — to services like Apple’s CarPlay, those of you who love technology can certainly get your fill of dashboard gadgetry. But which apps should you use? We’ve put together a list of the best CarPlay apps for the iPhone, each of which should make your daily commute far more tolerable.
With an incredibly useful, crowdsourced mix of information giving you a picture of real-time traffic, where the cheapest gas stations are, and where traffic accidents have occurred, Waze is one of the best navigation apps around. You can access it on your dashboard via CarPlay and always find the fastest route home. You can also listen to music or podcasts from within the app. If you aren’t keen on Apple Maps, then it’s a solid alternative worth trying.
TuneIn Radio has one of the largest selections of content on the face of the planet. Download this app and you get access to more than 100,000 stations. You can stream real-time audio from radio stations all around the world, and access sports, news, music, and a variety of other popular radio formats. There’s also a premium subscription, which comes with a few added perks. For example, the service ($8 a month) provides play-by-play access to a host of sports, so you’ll never have to miss a beat when it comes to your favorite NFL or MLB team. You’ll also gain access to more than 60,000 audiobooks — rendering long-distance drives far more tolerable — and be able to access to more than 600 commercial-free stations without ads.
The iHeartRadio app is a great way to discover AM and FM radio stations from around the globe. If you want to listen to your favorite podcast or check out the latest sports scores, this app has you covered. iHeartRadio will even collect the songs you like as you listen, and create a personalized station just for you. Like most radio apps, you can also snag a premium subscription which allows you to save and replay songs from the radio, create unlimited playlists, and skip as many tracks as you like, among other things. Currently, there are two premium options available: iHeartRadio Plus ($6 a month) and iHeartRadio All Access ($13 a month). Here’s how to add iHeartRadio on your car via Apple CarPlay.
If you like podcasts and you’re looking for an alternative to Apple’s proprietary podcast app, you should take a look at Overcast. This app comes with a myriad of welcome features, including voice boost and smart speed, the latter of which allows you to speed up conversations without distorting audio. You can also search, browse, or download podcasts for offline use. The app features push notifications, too, so you’ll never have to miss a new episode of your favorite podcast. It’s currently chock-full of ads, though you can purchase a premium subscription for $10 a year.
Amazon owns Audible, so if you’re already a Prime member, you’ll have access to Audible Channels, which offers exclusive original series and features one of the largest selections of audiobooks around. All of your favorite audiobooks are here, whether you’re into psychological thrillers, medieval epics, or something else entirely. The app also lets you navigate via chapter and download individual chapters for offline use. You can even make clips of your favorite passages to share with friends and family.
If you’re planning a long drive, or just like to listen to audiobooks on your way to work, then you may want to take a look at Audiobooks.com. You can download audiobooks straight to your iPhone without having to sync with your computer, or you can just choose to stream them over Wi-Fi or through your data connection. The app has a selection of featured samples that you can listen to and a huge library of over eight thousand free books. You get your first premium audiobook for free, then you can choose a new one every month for $15 per month.
Here’s an app for listening to shows and podcasts from NPR and local public radio. You’ll have access to the shows that you already follow, and the app also lets you listen to any news that you missed with its Catch Up section. The more you use the NPR app, the more it will learn what you like and bring you the stories that matter most to you. From news to podcasts, NPR One has something for everyone, and it’s very easy to use.
MLB.com At Bat
If you like baseball, you’re probably already familiar with this app. MLB.com At Bat has everything you need to know about baseball. One of the standout features of the app on iPhone is the ability to watch videos. You won’t be able to watch videos while driving, of course, but you can listen to any games available through the radio feature. You get access to stats, breaking news, schedules and more. Subscription prices are $3 per month or $20 per year, and you need to subscribe to access the radio feature.
When it comes to music, Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming services with an enormous library of tracks, shared playlists, and more. If you’re not one of the 50 million subscribers who chose Apple Music, then you should check out what Spotify has to offer. When you open the app in your car, you have three sections on top to access your library, browse, and radio. You can listen for free with ads, or if you want to get rid of all ads, you can opt for Spotify Premium. The premium service costs $10 per month, $5 per month for students, or $15 per month for a family package which includes you and up to six other people.
Pandora’s app is as simple as they come. You just open the app, choose the station, and it will start playing your music. The idea is that it will evolve with you and your listening tastes. Because Pandora learns from you, it will keep playing music you enjoy without needing input from you while you drive. An app that you can just set and forget is ideal while you’re behind the wheel. If you want the ad-free experience, you can subscribe to Pandora Plus which costs $5 per month. For even more features — like downloading songs to listen offline and higher quality audio — you can subscribe to Pandora Premium for $13 per month.